An approach to the problem of controlling automated assembly tasks using artificial potential functions is described. The authors address the automatic generation of actuator commands for a robot manipulator that result in the motion of a collection of rigid-body parts from disassembled initial configurations to an assembled final configuration. A simple class of tasks, 2D sphere assemblies, is examined. A primitive constructive theory for the control of this class of tasks is presented. Preliminary computer simulations demonstrate that the proposed approach may provide surprisingly good performance.