Creating Bill of Materials with TinyCAD

Creating a useful bill of materials in a repeatable process for many drawings requires a bit of discipline and planning.

This is the process we have worked out.

  • Each object in the drawing must have its own unique reference (“Ref” in the TinyCAD Tool Options when selecting an object in a drawing).
    • Use reference letter prefixes based on part-number-functions.
    • In multi-page drawings, each object must have its own reference number. Using the same reference number on two different objects means that the same object is used in two places, which may be the case at times.
    • For multi-page drawings which iterations of the same drawing, it is often useful to have all the parts on page one start with 1x or 1xx, and all the part references on page two start with 2x or 2xx, etc.
  • Each object needing listing in the Bill of Materials should have an additional parameter of “PARTID”, where the value is the MT-Yxxx MetaTek part number. PARTID should only appear once in each ojbect's parameter list.
    • Items like switches often need additional parts linked with a single object; in that case parameters “OPERATOR” and “LABEL” with MT- part numbers can also be used.
  1. Ordered List Item Once the drawings are complete and the design has been saved, open the menu Special → Create Parts List….
    1. Set Output file to “Spreadsheet compatible CSV file”. The default output name will be the drawing name with .csv.
    2. Normally you will check “Include all sheets” and “Include all attribute information”.
    3. Click Export. TinyCAD will save the .csv file and also display it on-screen.
    4. Right-click and click on Select All.
    5. Right-click again and select Copy.
  2. Open a new spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.
  3. Name the worksheets “BOM”, “Parts List” and “MTParts”. (Or use reference file: MT-BOM.xls))
  4. Click on “Parts List”.
    1. Paste the copied text into Excel.
    2. Open the Excel menu Data → Text to Columns…. (The column that was pasted should still be selected. If not you need to select the entire column first.)
      1. Select the button for “Delimited” data. Click Next.
      2. Uncheck everything but “Semicolon”. “Text Qualifier” should be (the default).
        The Data Preview should show everything in correct columns. If not, adjust parameters until they are. (Reference numbers should be grouped in one column.)
      3. If you want to adjust column numeric formats click Next, otherwise click Finish. 1)
    3. Delete unneeded columns –
      1. Required columns are: Reference, Quantity, Description, PARTID optionally also: LABEL, OPERATOR, COLOR, others as needed.
    4. Copy Quantity & PARTID columns to columns B & C on Sheet1.
    5. …. (tbc)
1) Note that Excel will preserve these settings until you close the program. If you paste similar data into a new sheet or workbook (“file”) Excel will automatically format the text into columns for you. This can be confusing later when its unclear how to get that “magic” to work again. Selecting the data and formatting it from the Data → Text to Columns… menu will re-enable it.
reference/tinycad-bom.txt · Last modified: 2015/11/23 18:21 by Alan Shea
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