SolidFace 3D CAD

Exploded View

An exploded view plays on the curious nature of engineers. An engineer would quickly understand that the fastest and easier way of understanding how something works is to take it all apart, study how the components relate and respond to one another, and then put it back together.

What is an Exploded View

A technical drawing, picture or diagram of an object is said to portray an exploded view if all the several components that make up the part are slightly separated. We love the way this display works since all the individual parts are perfectly arranged in the air; we get to see how all these pieces, that would otherwise be hidden, work together.

A design displayed with an exploded view allows the engineer to show the relationship between several parts of a design, how they fit and work together by separating these parts by a small distance.

This method of depicting drawings got its name from the very fact that exploded view gives the illusion that the parts of the machine had been blown outward by a small measured explosion.

hand drawn exploded view in the renaissance era
Exploded View of a Camera

Several designers have taken to creating their exploded views by manually drawing several pieces of a part on the same page, relative to one another but the main issue with this technique lies in the inaccuracy.

The best approach has always been the use of CAD software, and when it comes down to it, we highly recommend using SolidFace, its user interface is next gen., easy to use, and provides the best online collaboration between co-users anywhere.

An exploded view is extensively used in assembly drawings because it captures the relationships between parts that would otherwise be hidden.

When combined with the BOM, exploded view further helps the engineer understand the number of components required in a part, the materials the components are made of, and the order of these components.

There’s a saying that if a design has got more than one component part, then it can be exploded.

The Renaissance Era and Exploded View

leonardo da vinci's representation of the exploded view
An Exploded View Drawing by Leonardo da Vinci

The exploded view was introduced to engineers during the renaissance era, a period when the field of engineering drawing saw a lot of advancement. Engineers in this era developed better methods and effective styles that helped them create a more natural representation of engineering drawings.

Some popular artists of the time like Marino Taccola, Leonardo da Vinci, and Francesco di Giorgio popularized the use of exploded views when it came to depicting engineering drawings.

These artists were successful in depicting isometric drawings, by hand, in such a way that displayed their mating relationships between the assemblies, subassemblies, and the various parts that make up the object or machine.

example of an exploded drawing
An Exploded Gear Pump

Today, what had started by hand has now been perfected by the use of CAD software.

Why Use Exploded View

Before building a part or assembly, manufacturers need to know how many pieces make up the part and exactly how these individual pieces fit together, and this information can only be gotten accurately with an exploded view. Exploded view is heavily used in industrial construction manuals because they can be really helpful with putting things together.

exploded View of an auto engine
An Exploded V8 Engine

Benefits of Exploded View

Since exploded views provide the best way for users to understand an object, it makes perfect sense for assembly manuals, part catalogs, maintenance manuals, and DIY instructional guide to use exploded view in the display of materials.

To Clients

Exploded views are really handy when you need to explain a design concept/idea to a client. It shows the client everything, including the parts that would be hidden, drastically reducing the time it’d take a client to understand what works and what doesn’t work. This is the reason why DIY furniture manuals always display their furniture in exploded view.

To Manufacturers

To successfully create a product, manufacturers would need a detailed drawing that captures all the dimensions of the product, the number of components a part is made of, and what kinds of materials are to be used.

It’s also useful in displaying the position and orientation of the several parts of the product, as well as the order of assembly. Adding a BOM to a design displayed with the exploded view allows you to add call-outs to the components for easy identification. You might want to try this method the next time you design something complex.

To Designers

With explode view; designers can quickly identify any loopholes in the product design at the design stage before it enters production. Consider the fact that with exploded view, architects can display house plans in a fun and creative way that gives a simple representation of everything that’d be involved in executing the project.

How to Create Exploded Views with SolidFace

exploded view of a Tourbillion watch
An Exploded View of a Tourbillion Watch

Creating exploded diagrams has never been easier. SolidFace allows its users to create 3D models that show the relationship or they should assemble various parts of a machine, allowing the designer to specify defined displacements/translations on the X, Y, and Z axes.

These are the steps to creating the exploded views of an assembly diagram to document the assembly and disassembly of the object.

  • First, create the assembly drawing or just open the file with SolidFace.
  • On the left side menu, click on “View Explode”.
  • Select the components of the object you want to explode, preferably from the design tree.
  • Select the direction of translation you want the component to follow. The object can translate either in the X, Y, or Z axes or according to a normal plane vector.
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  • Confirm that the movement of the components doesn’t hide your view of another component.
  • After confirming your component’s movement, simply click on the close explode operation on the top left bar of the screen.
  • Repeat the process for as many components you want to explode; just remember to vary their distance of translation.

Benefits of Using SolidFace Exploded View

  • SolidFace allows designers to easily and efficiently explode their designs.
  • It automatically provides options so you can set the direction the exploded view would take in the X, Y, and Z direction.
  • SolidFace is flexible and the units are adjustable, allowing them to be quickly revised by the designer or anyone who needs to use the drawing.
  • Changing a 3D or 2D design into exploded view is executed within moments, which is much faster than manually placing the parts respectively.
  • SolidFace is user friendly, and you’d definitely find that the process of creating an exploded view is easier and smoother than ever.
exploded view of a gamepad
An Exploded Game Pad


Using exploded views is part of the best innovations introduced to engineering drawing by the Renaissance era, and although it’s very subtle, it has formed a critical part of our industrial processes. That said, it will be difficult to imagine a world where modern designs are done without being displayed in exploded view.

With leading CAD software, like SolidFace, anyone can explode their diagrams and designs. The entire long, boring, and exhausting processes have been cropped off and it leaves only the ease of executing simple steps in SolidFace.

Now, designers everywhere can display their amazing designs with the exploded view, so that manufacturers can have a better understanding of their product.


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