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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Placing an iFeature from Autodesk Vault 2014 - New for 2014!

“Burglars know there's more than one way to skin a vault.”
James Chiles

Early this week, I had a chance to play with an intriguing new feature of Autodesk Vault 2014. 

It's the ability to add iFeatures to, and place iFeatures using Vault.

I'm going to definitely use this tool in my personal projects.  I've created plenty of features in my day, and many times, I recreate them because I'm careless and lose them, forget to migrate them, etc.  I can get creative when losing iFeatures.

Trust me!  No matter how many times I tell myself I'll be more careful, I've sent many an iFeature to the "Land of Lost Files"!  Vaulting iFeatures will definitely reduce lost iFeatures in the future.

But, is it set up to work with Vault? 

I don't claim to have all the tricks figure out.  I'm still trying some things out, but here's what I've discovered so far.  Take my ideas, modify them, tweak them, and use them for inspiration. 

The first thing I did, was choose a folder in my Vault Workspace to store my iFeatures.   I also copied my default iFeatures here, so I can use them if I want.

Why?  This will prevent this error, when trying to check in iFeatures from the default Inventor location!  This error is caused because the default iFeature location isn't located in the Vault Workgroup path.

This is an error.  Years of experience have taught me that errors are bad.
I'm also going to change Inventor's default iFeature location to match the workspace.  This will make sure that I'm always using the same iFeatures I've Vaulted, even if I don't place the iFeature directly from Vault.

First, I change the default iFeature location in Tools>Application Options>iFeature Tab.  Note that sheet metal punches are a special class of iFeature, so I'm going to change that location too.

The new locations specified in Inventor's application options
 Now, an iFeature can be checked in and out of Vault, and enjoy all the benefits of being stored in Vault!

Checking into Vault

Once it's checked into Vault, now it can be placed from Vault onto a part that needs it.

Placing an iFeature from Vault
And after that, it's just like an iFeature has been place for years!

And it's placed
And here's the video version of the process!

One thing I have noticed, is that this tool doesn't work with sheet metal punches.  So I've decided that I'll have punches Vaulted but keep them in my local workspace, using the settings I created above.  Maybe we'll see that one come in the next release!

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