from Civil to Inventor

The Autodesk enthusiast exile

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.

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

Civil 3D – Data References

I wrote this some time ago, and figured I’d better get it out here before 2010.

Data Shortcuts are Cool. The list of reasons to use these is growing. One such reason is a small amount of companies have shunned Vault for varying reasons, including the learning curve involved. I have repeatedly been tasked to produce methods that would allow the greatest flexibility in sharing, with the least amount of interruption to workflow. In earlier versions, Land XML had always been my preferred method of transfer, allowing some anonymity of the data origin. When the origin has been updated, the XML is overwritten and the definitions would recreate themselves like a data XREF, only more stable.

In the past I have reserved certain procedures away from Data references, however since 2009 issued, these reservations are almost gone.

Data shortcuts provide references to objects that can be inserted into other drawings. These references are like the best combination of a MAP queried object, LandXML data, and an XREF all in 1. They lie in the drawing, and distribute information, in the form of the original object, as an uneditable shell. Labels can be applied, and objects can be derived from the reference. These limitation are that only surfaces, alignments, profiles, pipe networks, and view frame groups can be referenced. They provide a nice alternative to vault.

The Working Folder

The working folder encapsulates a work environment much like a Land Desktop project did, and will contain the shortcut information. It may include the related drawings and data shortcuts for a project. The Data Shortcuts node on the Prospector Tab shows the shortcuts in the current working folder. When an object is updated in the source drawing, notification appears in the main application window and in Toolspace Prospector.

Continue reading

March 24, 2009 Posted by | 2009, Data References | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inventor 2009 – 2D Environment

The first volume of the vBook series for Inventor 2009 was released by the publisher, Retrieve Media, and is on the shelf today.

Inventor 2009 – 2D Environment is a complete reference covering the procedures and options regarding the beginning steps of creating Inventor parts.  image

This volume contains detailed video lessons on:

  • Sketching profiles and references
  • Constraints and DOF
  • Dimensions
  • Parameters
  • Edit features
  • Inserting objects
  • Application Settings and Options. 

We step through and explain every item and demonstrate the chapter exercises. You can download the exercise files, and follow along while you practice.

This reference is intended to give the Beginner a good head start with a solid foundation, and add some additional insight for the Intermediate skilled user as well.

The remainder of the series is in production, and will be released volume by volume, until the compilation is complete.

March 19, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Civil 3D – Part Builder Comments Please

Ok, Part Builder is not easy. Evan with a tutorial and a workflow, it’s still not easy.

There is at least 1 person in the community that has had trouble with the series outcome.  I need to know how everyone did.

Good, Bad, and otherwise.  Please offer us your comments.

If there is a bug in the procedure, I need to get it fixed for everyone else.

January 30, 2009 Posted by | 2009, Part Builder | , , , , , | 12 Comments

Civil 3D – Part Builder Part 7

Back to Part Builder Part 6

In the last session we created the Structures in the Civil 3D environment.  In this session we will modify the configuration to add the slopes to a list, in order to change the structure to be consistent with the corridor side slope.

Open up Wingwall Sloped in Part Builder.  Since we have something that hopefully works, let’s save a new part.  This way we have both.  “If it aint broke, then don’t try and fix it”.  Let’s try Wingwall Variable Slope.

Pick the ‘Save As’ button on the toolbar. The ‘Save Part Family As…’ dialog will appear allowing us to change the Chapter, Part Name, and Part Description.  Leave the chapter as Inlet-Outlet-Custom, cut change the Name and Description to Wingwall Variable Slope.

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Hit OK.

Right Click Size parameters and select Edit Configuration.

image  Continue reading

January 26, 2009 Posted by | 2009, Part Builder | , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Civil 3D – Part Builder Part 5

Back to Part 4

Ok, it’s been awhile.  Everyone knows I am studying for the test, but I feel so bad for all the people who have been emailing me about the series.  I will run through the ‘Homework’, and then complete the configuration session soon hereafter.

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Homework Review

We left off with your homework, which was to transfer the Toe plane out, and complete the transitions. I’ll recap it as I run through.

Create the Toe Plane, Offset from the Right Plane a distance of ‘(bHeight-bThick)*bSlope’.  Insert the Anchors.

Don’t forget the model parameters for the offset distances.

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Continue reading

January 20, 2009 Posted by | 2009, Part Builder, Pipes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – Part Builder Part 4

We will pick up where we left off from Part Builder Part 3.

Open our saved part “Wingwall sloped” from the last session.  Adjust the view so that you have something similar to the following image:

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It’s time to speed things up a bit, so as I refer to procedures, I will once again detail them, and thereafter I will just state that it needs to be completed. 

Note: Halfway through I realized some changes needed to be made, in order for this process not to be more confusing than it might already appear.  If I missed any odd things in the images, or got out of sync with the variable names, please notify me, and I’ll do my best to correct them.

In this session we will create another offset plane, and additional profiles and transitions. Before we do, it would be prudent to create the remaining profiles that will be referenced to our (current) Right Plane. These will be the locations that the extending walls project into, the “tie in” points.  You should be fairly familiar with the basic procedures, Lord knows you’ve had tons of time to practice since my last post, we will pick up the speed a bit. Continue reading

December 9, 2008 Posted by | Part Builder, Pipes | , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Civil 3D – Part Builder Part 3

We will pick up where we left off from Part Builder Part 2.

Open our saved part “Wingwall sloped” from the last session.  The image below should be representative of what we had before.

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Model Parameters

The Model Parameters are the nuts and bolts variables that control the size of the part. The parameters are either dimensions or offsets that are controlling the size and angle of features, or parameters that the user has defined. Expand the collection heading, and you should be able to see all the parameters stored in the part, as well as the values currently assigned.  Lets create some user defined parameters to help us in our equations.

Right click on the Model Parameters collection, and select ‘Edit…’

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The Model Parameters dialog will appear, allowing changes, additions, and deletions to the existing parameters.  On the right you will see buttons, all of which are self explanatory, with the exception of the ‘Calculator…’ button.  This allows you to pull variables form a list (without having to remember and type them), and evaluate the result of a proposed equation.  Any time you need to map a parameter to another, you can use this feature instead of typing if you wish. Continue reading

November 27, 2008 Posted by | Part Builder, Pipes | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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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Continue reading

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

Civil 3D – Part Builder Intro

image Part Builder is a functional parametric modeler that 90% of the industry steers clear of.

If it is functional, then why stay away?

The main reason is that Civil personnel are not modelers.  Historically, that isn’t what they do.  The road through Civil 3D is long and bumpy because it is a reactive dependent model in nature, not because the software is difficult. Civil personnel are not modelers, at least not until now.

So why have a parametric modeling app in the middle of Civil 3D?

Well, to quote one of my party chiefs, “To have and not need it better than to need and not have” (His motto was to carry everything in the truck…for ME to carry everything).  Without the app, modified structures would be hopeless.  We would be stuck with the same old OEM structures, and as new structures come out, they would not be accessible.  Eventually, everyone would use styled NULL structures for everything, reducing the effectiveness of Civil 3D as a 3 dimensional tool (You know, the object viewer is not just a toy).  Pipe conflicts can be seen and evaluated easily……..IF the structures and pips are accurate.

Here is an example.  Let’s say you need a custom headwall manufactured to help at an odd bridge embankment, or a weir storm structure with an odd inlet.  The tolerances are a bit tight, and simply using something styled in 2D is leaving a lot of frustration and insecurity (I bet you rerun the same calcs 6 times of more before the project is complete, JUST so you can sleep at night).  With part builder, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Just take an hour (wink wink) and build the part so that the plan can be conveyed accurately in a complete form. Continue reading

November 20, 2008 Posted by | Part Builder, Pipes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment