Thread: How to get BOM out of Alibre PE
For the price, Alibre PE a great program. I evaluated more than ten packages under 1k€, some free, and Alibre was way ahead of anything I could find in creating assemblies from parts. My project is more about building a contraption out of standard parts than machining: 575 parts, counting all washers, nuts and bolts, only 12 custom parts and all those are plain sheet metal cuts. So, I bought it, and I'm very happy I did. But I bought the PE edition. The main shortcomings of PE edition is lack of 3D input formats and BOM creation. Creating parts is easy enough, drawing my own hasn't bothered me enough to buy a full version. Creating a BOM out of 575 parts (63 different kinds) would be a chore, but there is a way:
You need a text editor with programmable macros and Excel. Start by generating a 3D PDF of the design. (Very cool feature, btw.) Open it, and there is a model tree on left side column. Right click that and export an XML file. Open that in a text editor. You'll have a file with lots of lines such as "<Node Name="M3 washer<2>_Config<1>_2"/>". Use a programmable macro to delete everything from line start to =" and from < to line end. Another macro to delete lines with </Node> in them. Manually delete a few header and trailer lines, and you have a list of parts of your design, each on its own line.
Then, take that to Excel. Make a header row with part and count columns. Copy/paste a 1 to all counts. Then, insert pivot table and you'll get a table with one line for each different part with count. If you used sub-assemblies you get those as parts, too, but again, easy enough to delete those few lines manually.
For real work, I wouldn't recommend this but for me, the trick saved the price of the parts of first design.
I like Alibre and they have a new version due out early 2013 which will let you use one Sketch to generate more than one extrusion, you can even fragment it. Their current one Sketch per is a pain.
I got the "Standard" version for $99, which was dumped and my licence grouped in with "PE". Hassle is PE only comes in 32 bit whereas Standard came in 64.
I liked their sketch, constrain, dimension approach so I had to fork out for a "Pro" 64 bit upgrade. They told me to me buy the cheaper Standard service contract at the same time as I got the upgrade so I saved a few quid, I got it in writing that I will get the new Pro version when it comes out on the strength of that.