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In Inventor you can use assosiative parts to do what you need. Essentially an associative part uses geometry from another part to define elements of itself, instead of having all parts of itself defined according to its own centerpoint. What you need to do is this:
Create an assembly with all the pieces you need for the bolted connection.
Constrain the pieces together just as they should be in your final configuration.
While still inside the assembly, double click on another part to begin editing it.
Create a new sketch on this part.
Press Project Geometry and then click on whatever geometry you need from whichever part you need.
You can then use this geometry to contrain sketches in this part, or just simply use projected geometry as its own sketch in this part.
Give this a try. If you get stuck, post what you have here and I'll help you further.
A better solution than using adaptive parts is probably going to be to start off with a multi-solid body part, which you then spin off into separate components in an assembly with MANAGE --> MAKE COMPONENTS. Adaptive parts have a way of breaking, at times, and you can wind up with motion and constraint issues you hadn't planned on nor had you anticipated.
There is a name for the technique you describe, and it is..... 'Top Down'!
Can I suggest that you check out this class from Autodesk University?
I tend to agree with you that adaptive parts isn't the most robust technique; I've had many problems with adaptivity before. It's just that until I looked into the methods you described I didn't really know a better way.
My question is, if adaptivity has such instability and there are what looks like several different, better ways to achieve the same effect, then why have adaptivity at all? When I discovered adaptivity it was a huge timesaver, because I could make assemblies that were very configurable, with parts updating themselves without me having to think about it. But pretty soon, as the assemblies got bigger adaptivity would cause problems, induce noticeable lag, and I ended up just turning it all off.
If, then, adaptivity should only be used on small assemblies to avoid these problems, then why have it at all? What is the correct scenario to use it in?
... better ways to achieve the same effect, then why have adaptivity at all?
Adaptivity has it's place, but I have seen very very few uses that know how to properly use it.
Given that my estimate is only 10% of users Inventor know how to use Inventor (not even considering techniques like adaptivity), well...
I've been using what I (very likely mistakenly!) call the "Master Sketch" approach. I make one master IPT into which I create a number of sketches, parameters, etc. This lets me lay out the related components in the sketch environment and add any kind of cross-geometry relationship very cleanly. I also regularly share parameters between multiple sketches that may affect many parts. Next, Derive requisite sketches/parameters into a new IPT in which you will do all your 3D modeling and you end up with a very robust link as well as a single point-of-edit for many changes. Any time, during modeling, that I come across a feature I'm adding that may affect or interact with other parts, I just go add the rough geometry to the Sketch Master, update my Derive and model away.
There are some limitations - like I am unable to pass thread dimensions between parts/sketches, but those are relatively minor in most cases. For the most part, I've had very good luck and very few issues with this technique.
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