from Civil to Inventor

The Autodesk enthusiast exile

Inventor – Assembly Constraint Naming

Management of features and components in Inventor is kind interesting.  In AutoCAD, the technician is free to create things in almost any way.  A great deal of management is required to be efficient.  I recall using Inventor for the first time.  It was such a relief, because Inventor automatically took care of entity management through styles.  Features however are a different story.

Naming features such as constraints is one option available to help reduce the confusion in Inventor.  If you don’t rename constraints, you can end up with spaghetti.  Waiting until you have a troubleshooting session to rename the Assembly Constraints will result in a disaster, because you will have numerous Constraints all named similarly.

Design Accelerators compound the issue because they autonomously create features at once, without consulting the user for names.  When you get done with a few gears, you have a mess.

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In this example I was troubleshooting why my actuator was not moving in the assembly when the motor motion was applied.  When sorting constraints out, I recommend 3 things:

Changing to Modeling View

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Changing the view will group all the constraints into 1 region, assembled into 1 feature instead of broken into pairs over the 2 respective constrained components.  This allows us to see them in a simple collection.

Rename the Assembly Constraints

Renaming the Constraints as you go is quite important.  After creating 2 sets of gears and a shaft, I have about 18 constraints named Angle:2 and Mate:5.

So I like to give them names that include:  The 2 components that are being constrained; The purpose of the constraint; possibly the nature of the constraint as well.

In this example I had an overlapping constraint, but could not see it until I had changed to Modeling view and finished renaming everything.  I pick each object, and Inventor highlights the planar faces and features that are associated in the Constraint, which allows the user to get a feel for what is going on.

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I renamed this angular constraint to WormToSpurGearLock, so I would see the 2 Gears involved (Worm and Spur gears), and the purpose was to lock their rotations together.  In another I used MotorShaft-Drive so that I could find the Drive components quickly and distinguish them from the others.

Isolation

If I wasn’t sure what was constrained, which is often the issue, we can Isolate the pair.  This way it is quite easy to see how and what is being constrained.

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Thoughts

Once the naming was complete, it did not take long to read each one, and check off the list of what was expected between each component. Eventually I found where I had included an angle control on the shaft that would not allow the actuator to turn.

Naming your Constraints as you complete procedures, whether it be manual assembly, or Design Accelerators is a good habit to get into.  In his example I just needed to proof out a solution, but inevitably wanted to keep it.  Taking the small amount of time to name the constraints as you go will really pay off in the future.

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January 4, 2010 Posted by | 2010, Constraints, Gear Generator, Inventor | , , , , | 2 Comments

Inventor – iFeatures provide a quick fix

This weekend I was up to my neck in a problem with having to rebuild a fast and dirty project.  It was built for pretty only.  The problem was that a weekend build did not cover enough time to do the job right. Shortcuts lead to failures in Inventor.

I had constrained latches of a door in the door assembly, and then reversed my build and snapped the cut edges off the latch in the door part, and cut out the hole.  It was fast and I didn’t need solid build, just fast.  Hmmm, sounds familiar.  Don’t have time to do it right, but always have time to do it over….  And do it over you will.

I started the job with a skeleton containing the global resources, and the overall shell.  This worked like  champ.  Eventually as I began to run out of time, I started to cut corners.  Portions of the projected geometry began to fail for one reason or another (because of the shortcuts).  Everything was fine until I had to make a change.

So was tired of recreating my ‘shortcut’ doors, and decided to get a better shortcut.  The latch plate had to recut for each change. 

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Use the iFeature to reduce repetitive steps

Rather than create it for the third time (eventually even I learn from my mistakes), I created an iFeature.  This part however had no geometry and was just the solid model.  Fine.  I created a cut extrusion from sketched cut edges, an sent it out in all directions.

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October 7, 2009 Posted by | 2010, iFeatures, Inventor | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – Part Builder Part 2

Today we continue from where we left off in Part Builder Part 1.

Before we proceed, I’d like to note that a wing wall may not be everyone’s biggest desire.  I needed it, and I felt that it would proved a fairly well rounded view of things. It needs equations, and gets worked laterally instead of vertically, which make it more of a challenge.

Sitting on the axis of 2 different careers I can see this type of workflow from 2 different perspectives, and want to provide everyone with a bit more information that may have been unavailable.

  • The 3D modelers understand the construction methods.  What they need to understand is the limitations stopping them from working naturally through this process.
  • The Civil 3D techs know about odd application limitations, but need to understand how the construction methods, dependencies, and calculations work.

If you don’t get something out of this session, it will be because you already had a good working knowledge of Part Builder, or you failed to post your questions here.

The 3d Model (which is what you came for, right?) is created using the following procedures:

Create a Work Plane, Create Geometry, Add Dimensions, Add Constraints, Create Profile, Modify Dimensions, Create Modifier, and Configure Parameters.  We will discuss the first six today.

Open the part for the last session, named Wingwall Sloped.

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Create a Work Plane

Let’s begin by creating the Top Work Plane.  I always like to get my Top plane in first.  Either I am working on it, or visually referencing it.

Under Modeling, Right Click the Work Planes folder and select ‘Add Work Plane…’

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November 25, 2008 Posted by | Part Builder, Pipes | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Inventor – Horizontal and Vertical Constraints

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We all know about constraints.  It make the world go round. 

I have a reasonable amount of twisted workarounds, but very little every day constructive examples.  So, I as thinking of AU (as ALWAYS) and was reminded of Dan Banach drilling productivity tips at us, and Horizontal and Vertical constraints were mentioned numerous times (seriously, take his class at AU).

Whether you are in training or didn’t pay attention to this feature, you should consider it.

This Horizontal constraint should be applied to geometry that passes through the horizontal plane from another reference feature. Refer to the image below.  I’d like the sketched geometry to be evenly distributed across this part.  The best way is with constraints.

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November 21, 2008 Posted by | 2009 | , , , | Leave a comment