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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's That Time of the Year Again! What's New in Autoedesk Inventor 2015

“When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.”
Anonymous 

It's an exciting time of year for Autodesk Inventor geeks!  Surfing around the internet, I found my first "What's New" video for Autodesk Inventor 2015!

I'm really looking forward to getting into the free form technology that was just added!  It looks powerful, very powerful indeed!

But, why not talk a look at the video from Autodesk below!  Take it straight from the source and see what you think!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Choosing a Sheet Metal Base Face before Creating a Flat Pattern in Autodesk Inventor

Simon: I'm trying to put this as delicately as I can... How do I know you won't kill me in my sleep?
Mal: You don't know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake, you'll be facing me, and you'll be armed.
Simon: Are you always this sentimental?
Mal: I had a good day.

Exchange between Simon Tam and Mal Reynolds in the television series "Firefly"

The trick I share this week is one I've actually known about for a while.  As a matter of fact, it's become part of my "background knowledge".  Something that has become second nature.

I've known it so long, I can't remember when I didn't know it. f

But I'm sure there are those that may not know it, so I choose to share it today.

When unfolding a sheet metal part in Autodesk Inventor, inventor chooses which face is going to be shown to the user via it's own means.

It might be considered common knowledge that the face can be changed in the flat pattern screen by right clicking on the Flat Pattern icon in the browser, and choosing Edit Flat Pattern Definition.



This tool invokes the Flat Pattern Definition dialog box.  This has a button where the flat pattern can be flipped.



But there's another way that it can be done before the flat pattern is created.

Just pick the face you want to see before hitting the flat pattern icon, and that will become the "Base Face"



And if you really want to make sure, change the color of one of the faces to a different color by selecting it and right clicking.  Give it a try!  It works!




And for those who prefer a video format, here you go!

Windows XP - Rest in Peace

“In this business it takes time to be really good - and by that time, you're obsolete.”
 Cher 

As I work on something for my next post, here's a bit of news that is flying all over the web. At this point, this is little more than a reminder that a die that was cast a long time ago, is coming to rest shortly

Tomorrow, April 8th, 2014, is a big day for computer operating systems.

Windows XP is no longer going to be supported by Microsoft.

What does that mean?

No more security patches, tech support, nothing.  Windows XP is set adrift, just another piece of jetsam in the technological world.



Hopefully, everyone has made their moves.  Decommissioned Windows XP boxes from production, or relegated them to old test stations.

But get ready!  Tomorrow is the big day.  After twelve long "computer years", Windows XP is passing into history.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Setting Component Materials Upon Import in Autodesk Inventor

“Finding the material wasn't a problem — remembering what to look for was.”
 Steven Severin

A question was posed to me earlier this week.  I'm importing files of different formats into Autodesk Inventor, but I need the material to be Mild Steel, instead of default.

Is that possible?

I wondered for a moment.  I looked around, and thought "what if I change the material in the standard.ipt template?"

It made sense.  Inventor starts with that template, what if the imported files made a pass through that template first?  There was only one thing left to do.


Try it! So the first thing I did was browse to the directory containing the standard.ipt template file, and open it directly. 


Make sure to open the file with the open command!  Do not create a new file from the template!  The material has to be changed in the template file, so when a new file is created from it, the material is already set.




Once the template file is open, it's time to choose.  In this case, I'm using Mild Steel.




Once it's the active material, I save the file and close it. 


Now that my template has Mild Steel set as the material, I can import the files that I need.  In the example here, I'm using Solidworks files that I've downloaded from GrabCAD at the link here.



The files will translate, and Inventor will now use the template to apply Mild Steel to the Imported Parts.

Checking the Bill of Materials screen in Inventor, I can see that indeed, all the materials are set to Mild Steel.


Now there are a couple of notes.

This option sets everything to Mild Steel.  Anything using this template will start with Mild Steel, so this may not be the perfect solution for everyone.

But it can be useful, and it's pretty quick to change.  So think about it, give it a try, and see what it can do for you!

And be sure to check out the video version below!





Monday, March 24, 2014

Uninstalling Your Autodesk Design Suite - Did You Know There's a Tool for it?

“Hopefully everything will be a clean slate here,”
 Koren Robinson

The 2015 releases of Autodesk software are approaching soon...

And I don't know release dates.  So please don't ask me.  :)

As part of that process, many of us may already be planning out how we're going to deploy new software.

For this post, I'm going to talk about one of the steps that I perform when I'm getting ready to upgrade my system.

First, some background on how my system is setup.  This is far from the only way, and your setup may be much different from mine.  As a result, your upgrade procedure may be different too!

My system is configured with a combination of Autodesk Factory Design Suite 2013 and 2014.  I'm also running Autodesk Vault Basic 2014 for my data management.

Time to move on from 2013!


I'll cover migrating Vault in a later post.

The first thing I do.  Is remove my oldest version of my suite.  I only keep one version back, and I like to make sure I have enough room available.

So in my case, the 2013 version of Factory Design Suite goes first.

Uninstalling all the programs in Factory Design Suite via the Control Panel is beyond daunting.  It's flat out frightening! 

Fortunately, Autodesk has a tool provided that can help with that situation.  It's called the "Uninstaller" and it can uninstall the suite much more easily than one program at a time via the Windows Control Panel. 

And it's installed with the Suites for 2012, 2013, and 2014!

The uninstaller can be located by going to Windows Start>All Programs>Autodesk, and finding the Autodesk Factory Design Suite Uninstaller 2013.



Selecting this tool will bring up a utility that let's me choose which products in the Suite to remove. 


It's important to point out that if the product is checked, it's getting uninstalled!  Make sure that if you intend to keep a product, uncheck it! 

With the proper programs selected, choose Uninstall, and let the Uninstaller do it's magic.  It might take a bit of time to uninstall, but it's time that you can spend doing something more productive! 

P.S.  There wasn't an uninstaller included with the 2011 version of the Autodesk software, but Autodesk did make one available for download at the link here!