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Friday, May 23, 2014

Sharing the Wealth - A Few Excellent Websites for Sheet Metal Unfolding

“If you're going to build an airplane, first you have to know how to bend sheet metal, and before that you have to know how to render iron from the ground.”
 Eric Henderson

The last couple of weeks have been a non-stop rush, so blogging has definitely been a tough thing to get to lately!

But the lessons never stop!  Learning is a dance that is in constant motion!

While I was sitting in an Autodesk Inventor update course earlier this week, the instructor shared some fantastic sheet metal links and encouraged us to pass them on, so that's exactly what I intend to do!

And why am I sharing these resources?  I mean aside from the fact that the instructor told us to?

The one thing about using sheet metal in Autodesk Inventor, is it's a tool.  And like so many tools, it takes the knowledge of the user to really make it reach it's full potential.

One thing has not changed.  Experience counts.  Pure and simple.

The resources I'm sharing are intended to help obtain that experience.  They let us, as users, assimilate the knowledge we need to make us more knowledgeable, which in turn allows us to use the tools to amplify that knowledge.

So at last, here are the resources past onto us by the instructor.

Bend Calculator from the,  Do you need help generating K-Factors and bend tables, here's a place to start.  Here's a direct link here!

The next, is from  Follow the direct link here to a list of formulas used to calculate sheet metal setbacks!

Third on the list is from and is a resource for designers, operators, and  "anyone else interested in sheet metal manufacturing".  It has great resources for calculating bend allowance on this page.

The last of the four big websites, have a look at this link at to calculate things such as bend allowance, setback, and stamping forces.

Finally, another place to try is the Google Apps store.  There are tons of Sheet Metal Apps that are available.

I haven't tried any, but they com recommended, and if you us sheet metal, and have an Android, it's worth a look.

For you Apple users, I have been told there are apps, but not as many.  But not as many.  I can't speak to this myself, but if you have an Apple App you like, feel free to throw a comment down below!

Friday, May 09, 2014

Getting Ready for Autodesk Inventor 2015 - Migrating Design Data

I have a sweet tooth for reading, so books migrate to my zip code en mass.
Dawn Olivieri

After installing your Autodesk Design Suite, migrating the Vault, and migrating Inventor templates, there's another migration to consider, at least with respect to Inventor

Migrating your Autodesk Inventor Design Data.

First of all, what does the Design Data include?  Design Data includes information such as drawing standards (balloon styles, dimension styles, etc), sheet metal bend tables, thread charts, and so on.

A sampled from my Design Data Directory

If you're running nothing but Inventor's defaults, then no migration is needed.

But seriously, who's doing that?  Nearly everyone has custom settings they need to migrate.

So this is how to go ahead and make that happen!

First, I like to make a backup of my Design Data.  Just in case I make a mistake, or something goes wrong.  This can be as simple as zipping up the design data and storing it in another location.

Make a backup.  You may not need it, but if you do need it, you won't regret it! 
Next, I can go to Windows Start>All Programs>Autodesk>Autodesk Inventor 2015>Tools>Style Library Manager.

Locating the Style Library Manager

Once the Style Library Manager opens, there will be two columns. One is for Style Library 1, the other, Style Library 2.

For Style Library 1 I'm going to browse to my 2014 Design Data (which is backed up, of course).  For Style Library 2, I choose the destination directory where I want to place my migrated 2015 Design Data.  At the moment, this directory is empty.

Notice that once I select the destination directory, the migrate button becomes available.

Now what?  I click the migrate button, and the styles begin their migration!  The Style Library Manager will tell me that the library will be migrated.  It'll also tell me I can't undo this!

But this is alright for two reasons.  One, I'm migrating to a new, empty directory.  The other?

I made a backup.  See?  I keep telling you there's a reason!

I click OK, and I now, I let the migration grind away.  Get coffee, watch YouTube videos.  Do both!

After a few minutes, the migration will complete.

Now, my custom libraries are ready to use!

I hope everyone finds this post helpful!


Monday, May 05, 2014

Getting Ready for Autodesk Inventor 2015 - Migrating Custom Templates

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

In previous posts, I showed how to install your Autodesk Design Suite, as well as migrate a Vault from 2014 to 2015.

However, there are still things that need to be done.  For example, what about custom templates that have been carefully crafted in previous releases?  They aren't usable in Inventor 2015 until they've been migrated.

It goes without saying that this step is important.  So what are the steps to migrate template files?

The simplest, is to just open each template file in Inventor 2015 and save it.  It will work just fine, and it's a completely valid way of doing things.

However, I'm going to describe something that's more automatic then just opening and saving.

Here is my scenario.
  • My custom template files are checked into Vault
  • I want to check them out, migrate them, and check them in all in one fluid process

And while it's possible to perform these tasks manually, I'm going to use a tool called Task Scheduler.

Why?  I like letting the computer do the work where possible, and this is my chance!

The steps required for Task Scheduler are in reality, straightforward.  It's more a matter of knowing where to find the right tools.

Having said all that, what will Task Scheduler do for me?

It's going to check the files out of Vault, migrate them, and check them back in again.  Making sure they're all ready to use in 2015.

First, what are my preparation steps?  Really, there's only one.  But it's a big one!

Make sure everything is configured the way you want it.  For example, I'm still using 2014, so I've kept my 2014 templates safe and sound in a separate directory, so I can still use Inventor 2014.

Remember, once migrated, there's no going back!  So plan accordingly!

The first thing to do, is locate Task Scheduler, which can be found in:
Windows>Start>Autodesk>Inventor 2015>Tools>Task Scheduler

Once the Task Scheduler starts, choose Create Task>Migrate Files

Now, I see a screen to setup my migration.  There are several settings I can choose from.  For your migration, you can change any of the settings here.  For my migration for my vaulted, files, I'm going to make sure to check the following:

  • I'm going to choose my 2015 Inventor project
  • I'm going to check migrate from Vault
  • I'm going to start the migration instantly, instead of scheduling it for later (I'm impatient)

Now, I add the files from Vault.  The icons allow me to add Files, Folders, and an entire project.  I can even create combinations of these if it suits me!

But in my case, I'm just going to choose a single folder in Vault. This is the one with my custom templates.

After choosing the folder,  I'm going to choose my options icon, where I can change settings on what functions to use when checking in.

The first tab, the Local Options, such as rebuilding files, deferring updates, and so on.  The help system describes the steps well. In my case, I'm just going with the default settings.

On the Vault tab, I can add a Vizualization file, and delete the local copy from my workspace.

In my case, I'm not creating a visualization file, only because this is a template, and it's just a blank file.

I'm also not going to delete the local copy.  I need them locally to use them, so they have to stay!

Finally, I'm all ready to go, and I can hit the "OK" button, once to close the options, and once to "pull the trigger".

The migration begins, and all I have to do is give it a little time.

After a short time, it's done!  I have my new templates.

I can even double check by looking at the new versions created in Vault.

Now, my templates are all ready to use!

And for the video of the steps, take a look below!