3DVIA Composer Tech Tip: Actors Savant (aka Dummy Actors)

3DVIA Composer create dummy actorOK, so I’m stretching the word play a bit. My intended reference (found at merriam-webster.com) is the second definition of idiot savant: a person who is highly knowledgeable about one subject but knows little about anything else. This is the perfect way to describe 3DVIA Composer‘s “dummy actors.”





3DVIA Composer universal joint


What is a dummy actor? Essentially, a dummy actor is a place holder in the 3DVIA Composer assembly tree. It allows you to add important non-geometry based information to your project. You know what I’m talking about…you’re documenting a project based on a model that the engineer has sent down, and that model contains all of the hardware necessary to assemble the final product, but something major is missing. Something that ensures the product will stay together or allow moving components to overcome friction, but isn’t very easy to graphically represent. Products like glue, grease, solder, paint, and heat paste are all examples of important materials which need to be represented in work instructions and bills of materials (BOM).  Dummy actors allow you to attach a myriad of meta-properties (ex.BOM ID’s, descriptions, materials, custom meta-props, etc.) to them…hence Actors Savant!!

3DVIA Composer before and after dummy actors with bill of material (BOM)

How do I create dummy actors?  Creating a dummy actor couldn’t be easier.  Activate the Assembly tab in the Assembly Pane, right mouse click on the actor to which you wish to attach the dummy, and choose “Create Dummy Actor”.  That’s all there is to it.  The image shows the dummy actors, as I’ve renamed them, attached to the various actor levels.  Please note that when attaching Edgar Bergen to the spider-3DV actor, the icon changed from a part to an assembly icon.

3DVIA Composer create dummy actor with universal joint, assembly tab

3DVIA Composer meta properties, add the meta property to the selection

3DVIA Composer Properties BOM description

How do I convert my dummy to a savant?  Not surprisingly (or maybe surprisingly), this is also a simple process.  Select the soon-to-be savant and navigate to the Properties Pane.  From the top of the Properties Pane, click the Manage Meta-Properties button to invoke its dialogue, and choose the desired property from the Name selection or create a new property.  Be certain to check “Add the meta-property to the selection” and click OK.  Now select the empty box next to the newly added User property, and type the desired text.  Voila…. you’ve created a savant!!

3DVIA Composer add callout, author tab, modify text and text string properties



How do I apply my savant?  When you are ready to set your savant to work, simply apply a BOM ID to its properties, shown above, and it will add itself to the BOM.  To add a callout, as shown in the “After Dummy Actors” image above, add a Callout from the Author tab, then modify the “Text” and “Text string” properties as highlighted below.  I chose to modify the ”Attach Type” property, also highlighted, for clarity.

Now who’s the dummy?…..Not you!
Dummy sitting on woman's lap




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