from Civil to Inventor

The Autodesk enthusiast exile

Inventor – the Virtual Reality Blog

Wasim Younis has a new Blog site titled “Virtual Reality”.

http://vdssolutions.wordpress.com/

Wasim wrote the book “Up and Running with Autodesk Inventor Simulation”, and has proven to be an informative look at numerous points throughout the simulation process.  I plan to promote the book with some chapter reviews and a book giveaway as well.

The site is brand new so go check him out.  If we can extend some attention his way, perhaps he’ll keep the simulation tips coming.

January 11, 2010 Posted by | 2010, Autodesk, Inventor, Simulation | , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

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

Inventor – Weld Gap nominal parameter

I’d like to see a way to get the Frame Generator tools to access the parameters.  I am a top down kind of guy, and like using extrusions and dependent sketches for my frame skeletons.  I derive almost everything to keep all my parameters centrally located. 

image The design I am currently engaged in was started without some specs, and after receiving them I find that he builder does not want any weld gapping.  So I have to run through every weld and remove the gaps.

It would be nice to set the gaps a local parameter that is factored from a derived parameter, like ‘NomWeldGap = MatThickness * NomWeldGapFactorl’ or something similar.  This way I can change the NomWeldGapFactor in the skeleton, and all the gap would alter in relation to their individual material thicknesses. 

October 19, 2009 Posted by | 2010, Design Accelerator, Frame Generator | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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.

Continue reading

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

Inventor – Creative Design With Autodesk Inventor 2010/2011™

image I am very pleased to announce that I am working with Dennis Jeffrey at Tekni!

He has assembled a team of experts to create the new Web Based training series titled Creative Design with Autodesk Inventor 2010.  Many training programs just ‘throw the information at you’; we (authors)  don’t want a repeat of the status quo, non-intuitive and inflexible methods sometimes employed.  We are developing a complete training course focused on real world application, and a start to finish methodology.

The Creative Series is designed to give the student a better sense of direction and confidence. Students work at their own pace and receive mentoring when needed.  Furthermore we have spent a great deal of time focusing the lessons around solid ‘real world’ design practice. Details, notes, and exercises detail why certain steps are counter-productive, and what can be done to create more efficient and flexible designs.  As the students move from one lesson to the next, they will have developed an awareness of some things that could go wrong in the current lesson, and are conscious of these while studying the steps.  This allows the student to gain more self-confidence as they verify that their cultivated concerns were substantiated. 

While nothing can replace real world practice, this course was designed to put the student a step ahead of the basic (and some advanced) problems that traditional lessons can’t identify.  The result is with designers and engineers that have more self confidence about applying solid design practice in their workplace, what to do when something does go wrong, and how to use that knowledge in an adaptive way at your company.

Tekni web site

I have spent numerous days on each of my segments in the series, going through each portion and applying the lesson to the examples provided.  I focused my troubleshooting skills on creating powerful examples that work well and are easily adaptable.  Bulleted lists of commonly known issues and new insights are furnished in the lesson so that the student gets the benefit of past and present research and adaptations.

The Creative Design series is scheduled to be available by the end of 2009, but we will begin releasing packaged segments earlier.  Check in with us in the mean time as things become available.

September 30, 2009 Posted by | 2010, Autodesk, Inventor | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment