Adding Non-visible items to your BOM

Article by Jim Peltier, CSWE updated March 11, 2015


Sometimes when working with an assembly, it may be necessary to have something shown on your BOM which is not part of the model (non-visible items). A good example of this is paint, since you may need to purchase it for your assembly but it does not have it’s own part in the assembly. One way to achieve this is by adding a row to the end of your BOM and manually completing the information. While it might seem to rebuild fine and not have any problems, it can be dangerous if you ever delete the BOM, or if you have to recreate it on a new drawing. Such a modification can easily be forgotten or lost, and if the specifications for it are only listed on the old BOM, recreating it can be a source of error.

Paint item in a BOM

Paint item in a BOM

Use a Virtual Component

A better way to do this is by inserting a virtual component and just not add any features to it. This would allow you to store the information about the paint in the custom properties of a virtual part within the assembly, which makes it safer to store and will be effortlessly added to every BOM you make of that assembly. Here is a step-by-step process of how to do this:

  1. Go to: Insert > Component > New Part
  2. Select one of your assembly’s starting planes (Front/Top/Right)
  3. Go to File > Properties, and add the necessary Custom Properties for the component
  4. Click “Edit Component” to stop editing the component and go back to your assembly
  5. (Optional) Rename the component in the tree so you know what it is.
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Jim Peltier, CSWE

Jim has been using SolidWorks since 2001, and has spent most of that time working in the design of industrial automated manufacturing equipment. He has been working as an Applications Expert at Javelin Technologies in Oakville, Ontario since July 2012 and is a Certified SolidWorks Expert (CSWE).