PBS tutorial for Product design

Hi all,

I have encountered a system for managing the production and design of a multi-part object: The Product Breakdown Structure. It has a bit of an overhead for a small project but it is so better to organize files and the advancement of a project, even more so if it is a collective project.

My proposition and files are directly copied from Wintergatan Youtube Channel and Project. In particular, this video which includes a rundown of the files.

This is the file to be copied, not edited here.

The PBS consists of a systematic approach to the design of a product by its component instead of its steps or schedule. It hierarchizes assemblies (complete structures), into sub-assemblies (smaller component) into parts, individual objects.

I use it with my file system with a name: Tea Boat #110-004. I then can reference specifically at that part in the sheet and know what it is instead of searching within files name like Cover, back-01 and the like, which aren’t that descriptive. And since there is both the project name and the number, you don’t mix it up with your other project. In the Name field, you can give a detailed name longer than what is appropriate for a file name.

The other columns are for the state of the part, the number, the type of file and other information. It would need to be adapted to laser cutting and the type of product you make, and even could include detailing separated from the fabrication, but that is for each individual to make.

for a 3-4 parts object, using this is way too cumbersome. Also, since I think and design in 3d I see the direct relationship, but for a 2d designer, that may not help them, I don’t know.

I hope you find this interesting and helpful


Probably since that is a tutorial, we ought to shift it to the Tutorials section so folks can find it.
(I’ll move it over there.) :sunglasses::+1:


Thanks. Should I detail more the procedure and method for here?

Well, if you want to provide a few examples of how you use it with a Glowforge design process you can just add them in a post below…not a bad idea. Then people can find it all under the same heading. :slightly_smiling_face:

Here is an example for my tea boat project.

At the basis I use Autodesk Inventor, a professional equivalent to Fusion 360 (sort of) then output the 3D shapes into a 2D surface for cleaning and organizing in Inkscape. As in Fusion 360, you have Part, the individual component, and assemblies, the combination and relationship between parts. You can have assemblies inside assemblies.

In the sheet, you will see that #000-000 is the whole project. I then separated it in 2 main assemblies, the wood boat and the acrylic boat. Inside the wooden boat assembly #100-000, there’s 2 sub-assemblies, the boat and the cover. Each assembly is made from parts, each with a sequential number and a descriptive name. But as you can see, you can repeat name since it is not what the actual files will be named with. The first digit is the main assembly (#1XX-XXX), and the second is the subassembly (#X1X-XXX). It this project I don’t need sub-sub-assembly. The right number is a sequential number increment. It can go beyond 0 to 9 by including letters, but that is way more parts then I plan to design. So for my project, the long side of the wooden box is numbered: #110-002, because it is part of the first main assembly, the first sub-assembly and is the second part.

The fourth column is the kind of object it is, a designed part, an assembly or hardware. The fifth is the material (a place to be improved), the sixth is the quantity of that part or assembly. The eight column is the state of the progress on the object, not designed yet, in progress, designed, ordered, and so on. The Third and seventh column is more for the original Wintergartan project, signifying for him that the Cad has been cleaned for fabrication and that it will not change. The ninth column is the current person responsible for the part, and so the current step. It is only useful if you do a multi-person project and that each person works on the same part at different steps. Finally the comment cell.

I added in my example a depreciated part, one that I would have scrap and redone differently and decided to give a new name instead of changing the original.

To be noted the sheet automatically format the lines for assemblies.


Thank you for sharing this, I am definitely in need of using a system like this as some of my projects are getting complicated and this might help me save some time and give some extra peace of mind too.

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I have been following since the the original marble machine video was posted and am just floored at this project. The global collaboration is amazing. Doing the PBS seemed a turning point for the whole thing and especially enabled the collaboration. Thanks for documenting this.


It really seemed a turning point and created a real change in perspective and focus on the project.

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