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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

On the Road Again - Autodesk Inventor Publisher Viewer

“We are in or are entering TWO cycles instead of one — broadband Internet and mobile.”
Mary Meeker

 I just got back from my July Snowboarding Trip.  That's right, July snowboarding.

Even up there, I couldn't complete stop thinking about CAD, so between runs, while sitting at the watering hole, enjoying the sun reflecting off the slushy snow, I was thinking about CAD.

I wonder if there's a support group for that....

That's me, on the 4th of July at the top of Mammoth Mountain


What I'm going to blog on today isn't exactly earth shattering.  I'm talking about Autodesk Inventor Publisher Mobile viewer.

First, what is Autodesk Inventor Publisher?  Inventor Publisher let's you create technical documentation, from a 2D instructions in a traditional format, or in 3D interactive formats.

If you've never seen Inventor Publisher before.  Rob Cohee does a nice job describing it here.


If you've heard of Inventor Publisher, then you probably have heard of the mobile applications Autodesk Inventor Publisher Viewer, available at no charge on the Apple Store and Android Market.

Once again, I'll rely on Rob Cohee's excellent work.  It would be a shame for it to go to waste, and I didn't get a chance to create my own, being on vacation and all!


Wonderful!  If you have Inventor Publisher, you can publisher them to your mobile device.  The Coefficient of Really Cool pegs the meter at a 9+. 

But now we get to the part of the story where I thought things got interesting.

I was talking to someone about Inventor Publisher Mobile, and they stated, "I'm not giving our shop, iPads.  They're too expensive and we can't afford to have them get broken."

Fair enough!  I think of how long an iPad would last in the restoration hangar at Planes of Fame.  Probably not long.

Could you picture an iPad or Droid plummeting to its death off the top of this Avenger?  I can.

But that doesn't mean that the mobile apps are immediately not an option.  How many technical folks out there have personal Android phones, iPhones, or iPads we carry around?

I'm on a Droid!
I'm on an iPad!


Sure if you make components with "some assembly required", you can make the files available on your website.  But what you don't do that?

To put it simply.  I told this user to keep their options open.  The shop is just one place you can use the mobile applications!

What if you have someone off site, in a different facility somewhere.  Maybe they aren't "on the floor", but they need a quick reference of an assembly?  Perhaps they don't have Inventor Publisher itself, and dealing with your laptop's boot time is a nuisance (I've been known to put something off because I didn't feel like waiting for my laptop to boot).

Then Inventor Publisher Mobile becomes an option.  It's quick and it's interactive.  You can zoom in on parts and inspect the assembly operations up close.

So the morale of the story?  Don't limit yourself.  Inventor Publisher Mobile applications just aren't for the shop.  They're for anyone who can take advantage of them!

Monday, July 04, 2011

I'm On Vacation this Week

Good morning, everyone!

Once again, I'm delaying this weeks blog post.

It's Independence Weekend in the U.S., and I took a snowboarding vacation to Mammoth Mountain

That's right, snowboarding in July, in the Northern Hemisphere! 

I'll be putting something up a little later, in the meantime, I've got one more day to go enjoy the slopes.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hiding the Skeleton in Frame Generator Part 2 - Using a Reference Part.

Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.
Benjamin Franklin

Okay, this post didn't quite come out at the end of the week like I promised.  Last week got busy, with trips to Fresno, demos, and a million other little things taking up most of my time.

So finally, here's the post I've been promising.

In my last blog post.  I showed how to hide the skeleton component when using Frame Generator.  In that video, I used a phantom component to do so.

A very astute reader,  Piou2fois,  pointed out that even though the skeleton has been made a Phantom component, it's mass is still added to the overall mass to the assembly.  This can result in an erroneously high number if you're using a solid as your skeleton.

Piou2fois pointed out that by using a Reference Component instead of a Phantom component, the skeleton's mass will be removed from the calculations and you'll get an accurate result for your overall mass.

Use "Reference" instead of "Phantom"


Thanks for the correction, Piou2fois!  Keep it up!

Here's the video showing all the steps!

Monday, June 20, 2011

This Week's Blog Post Delayed

I'm afraid that I have to delay this weeks blog post for a bit due to visiting friends and family. 

Yes, even I have them! 

I'll be posting later this week, so watch the Twitter feed for my announcement! 

Talk to you all later this week!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hiding the Skeleton Part in Your Inventor Frame Generator

“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”
George Bernard Shaw


Many a blog post has been inspired by a simple question.  This post is definitely one that came out of the "How can I get rid of the skeleton model used for Inventor's Frame Generator." 

Since the skeleton is part, by default, Inventor counts it as a component when we use it to make a frame with Frame Generator.  Every frame created using Frame Generator has one.

This leaves us with an extra part, one that Inventor uses for it's purposes, but will never exist in the real world.

Wouldn't it be great if we could make that component a "ghost" component?  Maybe like a "phantom"?

I'm playing on words, Inventor does have phantom components, and just like their name implies, they're intended to help us build our assemblies, but may not be part of the "real world" design.

In short, you can edit the Bill of Materials from the Assembly tab in your Inventor assembly, and change the BOM structure there.

First, edit the Bill of Materials
Then you can change the structure

 Naturally, there has to be a video to go with it.  So here it is!  Enjoy!


And by the way! If your new to Frame Generator, Rob Cohee has some nice videos HERE on how to use Frame generator!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Publishing a Downloaded Valve to Inventor's Content Center

“The biggest difference between time and space is that you can't reuse time”
Merrick Furst

This weekend I was put forth the challenge to "Build a valve from this website, then use it in an Inventor Design".

I went to the website to get the specifications, and found that the company had already published their content for you to download, which is becoming quite common these days.

The downloaded valve


So why rebuild it?  I'm sure you could make a case for having full control over the model, since you decide how it's built.  But then again, why spend your time, and money, building another company's part if they've already supplied it?  It might take you a couple of hours to build it, when you can download it in a few minutes.

So I decided to go ahead and download the part.  Then show how you can publish it to content center, straight from the website.  And many times, the part has all the accuracy you need for it's proper integration in the design.

So the next time you think about building a vendor part, make sure they haven't done the heavy lifting for you.

After all, isn't good engineering about not reinventing the wheel?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Setting Default Project in Autodesk Vault 2012

“Instruction does not prevent wasted time or mistakes; and mistakes themselves are often the best teachers of all.”
James Anthony Froude

Like so many of us, I'm guilty of ignoring instructions. 

When I installed Autodesk Vault 2012, I used the same migration procedure I've used for the last few releases.  Surely nothing could change, right?

Wrong!  I used Vault quite happily for the first couple of days.  Then I needed to use the Copy Design tool.

Poof!  I get this new error I've never seen before.

Hello.  What's this?


Projects?  I need to set a default project?  Since when?

I finally break down and read the directions.  As your typical male.  This is difficult for me.  As a matter of fact, I may deny this at a later date.  

Well, since the new version of Vault allowed us to enforce a default project!  If I had read the directions, I would have learned that!  

So what does the default project let us do?  It allows us to choose a project that is going to run our Vault.  It helps prevent us from having file associations get confused, as can happen when multiple project files exist in Vault, and makes sure all our users are on the the "same page" as it were.

It can be set in Tools>Administration>Vault Options

Setting the Default Project at an administrative level


Now that it's set, I like this tool.  It helps me keep things more consistent, and predictable.  But the first time I saw that error, it was unnerving indeed!

So what is the moral of the story!  Read the directions!  You'll avoid surprises! 

Here's a video on my experiences with this particular function!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

This Week's Blog Post Delayed for the Holiday

This weekend is Memorial Day in the United States. 

So we're taking a long weekend to honor those who served the country over its history.    

As a result this weeks post will be pushed back a few days (it'll be up by mid week, check my Twitter feed for the announcement).

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

And as a final note, thanks to all those soldiers how served, and thanks to all those soldiers from other countries, who have stood as our allies. 

The famous "Missing Man' formation.  Image courtesy of David C. Copley

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Using Positional Representations in Autodesk Inventor Drawings

“Painting is the representation of visible forms. . . The essence of realism is its negation of the ideal.”
Gustave Courbet

For this week's blog.  I decided to continue last weeks blog

Last week I showed a video on how to create Positional Representations in an Autodesk Inventor Assembly.  But did you know that you can also show those Positional Representations on a drawing as an overlay view?

An example of a Positional Representation Overlay on a shaded view.
 


It comes in handy when you need to show alternate positions, such as extended vs retracted, or open vs closed.  Inventor will even create the overlay as reference lines for you, and you can dimension to either positional representation, so you can show the dimensions of each position.

It's a really hand way of bringing things full circle!

Here's the video!  Happy Inventing!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Updates Have Arrived - Service Pack 2 for Autodesk Inventor 2011

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
~Suzie Wagner, 1998

I found out that Service Pack 2 for Autodesk Inventor is out today.  You can download it from the link:  HERE

Installing is usually pretty easy.  But there are a few things to know before you get started.
  • There are different Service Packs for 32 bit and 64 bit installations.  Make sure you download the correct one for your operating system
  • Autodesk Inventor Service Pack 2 is an "Incremental Update".  Translation:  You'll need to download and install Service Pack 1 before installing Service Pack 2
  •  If you've installed the Subscription Advantage Pack, there's a different Service Pack 2 for you.
Don't worry, they're all located at the same link above.  It's just a matter of knowing which one to get.

If you don't know the answer to any of the above questions, you can check at at Help>About Autodesk Inventor

Finding the "About" screen

You'll see this dialog box come up, and this contains a lot of information about Inventor's current "Build". 

Autodesk Inventor information screen.  Note the "64 Bit" & Build Numbers

I've circled the Build Number and 64 Bit areas of my screen.  These are the ones worth noting.

Are you wondering which build number corresponds to which Service Pack level?  Autodesk has a tech document at the link HERE.  It's a great reference to help you out.

 Lastly, if you try to install the service pack, and you get this error:



This isn't as scary as it looks.  Typically, the "Wrong Version" or "Missing Program" the Windows Installer is referring to is caused by one of the following:

  • You're trying to install a 32 bit patch to a 64 bit system
  • You haven't installed Service Pack 1 yet
  • You're trying to install a Subscription Advantage Pack SP2 on a system that doesn't have the Advantage Pack installed, or vice versa.
That's it!  Once you know the tricks, it's pretty straight forward!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Using Positional Representations in Autodesk Inventor

“Everyone is jockeying for position in a rapidly changing world and industry.”
Jeff Kagan

I have discovered that I can sometimes have a memory like a steel sieve. 

Not that long ago, I was teaching in class, and the question came up: "How can I show alternate positions, like fully extended and fully retracted, inside Inventor.

"Positional Representations are perfect for showing exactly that."  I say. "I have a video for that!"  I continue triumphantly. 

Those of you who've been in a class, or in one of my presentations have probably heard me say that. 

Sometimes I even imaging myself in that "Captain Morgan's" pose.

I go to locate my video, and suddenly I feel a bit sheepish. 

I don't have one.  I must have never created the video I swore I had created! 

So, in order to rectify that particular situation, here you go, a video on creating positional representations in Autodesk Inventor.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Planes of Fame Airshow - Blog Delayed.

“Lady, you want me to answer you if this old airplane is safe to fly? Just how in the world do you think it got to be this old?.”    ~ Anonymous

This weekend I spent nearly every waking moment at the Planes of Fame Airshow, getting my warbird fix.  

Which means after one heck of a cool weekend, I don't have much of a brain left for blogging. 
 Look to a little later this week for my technical post.  It's coming.  But until then, enjoy some pictures from the show!  

Two Corsairs flying in formation

A rare WWII PV-2 Harpoon

A collection of Douglass aircraft from over the years, an SBD Dautnless, an AD Skyraider, and an A-4 Skyhawk

Two P-40 Warhawks

The N9MB Flying Wing.  The only one of its type flying.
Two F7F Tigercats and two P-51s in the twilight after the show was over.


Sunday, May 08, 2011

How's Your Form - iLogic Forms in Autodesk Inventor 2012

“I know it may seem surprising to people, but learning dialog that has a conversational flow to it is not that difficult.”
Deidre Hall

I'm not a Visual Basic programmer.  That much is apparent pretty quickly.  I can create a dialog box in VB, but it can be a process of determination winning over skill.

Now, in Autodesk Inventor 2012 iLogic provides the ability to quickly create a form (read dialog box), without having to be a Visual Basic genius.

So one night, I sat down and tried creating a form on a Inventor 2011 template I created.

The template changes the joints on the end of a wooden board from a tenon (tabbed) joint, to a regular joint.

All I can say is that I was amazed at how easy it really is.  I had it done in a few minutes.

I'm not joking, it really is that easy.
Here's my finished form.  I'm not kidding.  Less than 5 minutes!

So here's the video everyone.  Don't be intimidated by it!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

New for Autodesk Inventor 2012 - Rotate Sketch with View

 “You can't do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh.”
John Singer Sargent

Subtle, but significant.  I've used the term before.

I like to use it for tools that don't necessarily have a lot of flash or pizazz, but are good steady tools that are really useful when needed.

One of these 'hidden gems' of a tool is the ability to attach sketches to your drawing views, and then have them keep their orientation relative to those views, even when the views are rotated.

So did everyone get that?

It's tough to describe in a few words, so here, of course, is a video.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Changing Your Options - Changes to "Select Other" in Inventor 2012

“Don't think of it as being outnumbered, think of it as unlimited target selection”
Anonymous

From the "subtle, but significant" category of Autodesk Inventor 2012, are the changes in the Select Other tool. 

The "Old School" Select Other tool consisted of two arrows and a middle button to choose your option.

It worked great.  It's been that way since I started way back when on Release 4.

The "Old School" Method Inventor 2011 and earlier
But now, Inventor 2012 has changed even that old standard.  Now instead of the "double arrows", we see "the list".

The Inventor 2012 "List" of options

I've had some time to get used to the list now, and I'm really beginning to like it.  I don't have to click on the arrows over and over again.  Now I just move my mouse over the options, until I see the one I want.

For me, it makes things a little bit quicker, and much, much smoother.

So with that, here's a video to compare the two! 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter - Off the Topic

"She was a Stradivarius of an airplane..."
Colonel Robert Morgan, pilot of the Memphis Belle


My next technical blog will be put off a day or two, since this was a busy Easter weekend for me.

But every once in a while I like to do something "off the page".  Plus, I got to experience something so exciting I can hardly contain myself.  :-)

Those who follow my blog know that I get a kick out of old airplanes, and that I volunteer at Planes of Fame in Chino, Ca. 

This weekend EAA sent their  B-17 Flying Fortress, named Aluminum Overcast to visit the museum, giving rides to visitors. 

Aluminum Overcast - A gorgeous example of a B-17 Flying Fortress
Seeing how myself, and most of us live our lives in technology, it always amazes, and inspires me to see how it was done 70 years ago.  No CAD software, not even a calculator.

With just drafting boards and slide rules, they produced a machine that borders on an art form.

Just imagine what those designers would say if they saw the tools we have today.

I got to experience the process of "pulling the props", the process by which the engines are checked to make sure that any oil that collects in the lower cylinders is clear before startup. 

That was a lot of work.  It's not nearly as easy as it looks.

Then, I got to stand next to this magnificent machine, watch it start up, and take off.  Simply amazing to see this 70 year old machine start up and do what she was intended to do.

It's an amazing tribute to those who designed it, without having tools we take for granted today, then for those brave souls who flew it.

So to share the experience, here's the video of the startup and taxi.  It was exciting to be so close I could touch it.

Seeing it is an amazing tribute to those who designed, built, and ultimately flew these incredible machines into combat. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Good Hardware - Never Take it for Granted

 “Hardware: the parts of a computer that can be kicked.”
Jeff Pesis

I'm not the kind of guy who has to have the latest and greatest of everything.  My truck is a 2005 Chevy Colorado, my T.V. is at 5 years old, desktop computer at home is nearly 7 years old.

This isn't my home computer.  Mine is at least a third that size!


But the truck runs great, the T.V. works fine, and the computer is really only used for occasional web surfing.

Things change when I go to work.  KETIV makes sure we're equipped with some pretty serious hardware.  It's serious, top of the line stuff.  That's why my personal computer is a 7 year old fossil.  

But many times, expensive hardware is less expensive than your time.  Here's a case in point.

Not that long ago, I was uploading a large dataset (about 60GB), into Autodesk Vault.  The data had to have links repaired, and then loaded into Vault.

Trust me, it's time consuming, and tedious.  This project was expected to take a couple of weeks as scanned data, fixed links, and finally a push into Vault.

The first computer we tried it with was a Windows XP box with 2GB of RAM, it was all that was available on site.  It was adequate for the first few days.  But we had to push the data in small bites.  It mean a lot of repetition as steps were checked, doubled checked, and then repeated on dataset after dataset.

Suddenly, I started getting out of memory errors, AutoCAD and Vault begin crashing unexpectedly.  Then, without warning, everything locks up with a fatal memory error, no amount of rebooting, reinstalling, or throwing of pixie dust can repair it.

Then, the poor little computer, pushed to it's limit, collapsed and died.  We tried CPR by throwing another 2GB of RAM in it.

It spasmed and kept throwing memory errors at me.  It looks like it's breathing its last as far as data upload is concerned.
 
Finally, like a cowboy who's has a horse with a broken leg.  We put it out of it's misery.

That poor little 2GB box looked a bit like this

Next, we plug in my laptop.  64 Bit windows 7, 8GB RAM, rich Corinthian  leather (okay, not really).

I grab a grip of data, just over 4GB, and fire it up.

Hard drives spin and fans spool, and the data starts traveling into Vault.  The RAM in use settles in somewhere between 3.5 & 4.5 GB of RAM.

After plugging in my machine.

I let it chug away.  It takes several hours, but it's in.  What had taken me 3 days of sifting, repairing, and cleaning was done in less than a normal working day.

So what's the moral of the story?

Computer prices are perpetually dropping, but that doesn't mean we can all go out an purchase the latest and greatest monster machine.  If it were that cheap, I wouldn't have an old relic of a computer at home.

But even if it isn't brand new, make sure it's up to the task you're going to ask of it.

Not only is older hardware more likely to fail, you can invest far more time managing your meager resources, than investing in a newer machine and letting it "rock and roll". 

Older hardware means longer waits, more babysitting of the computer, and more importantly, less time for other projects (which can cost money), and less time for yourself

So always be aware when it makes sense to put that old system out to pasture.

So maybe someday in the future, you can ask me about it.  I'll probably be the old guy with the classic 2005 Chevy Colorado explaining to some kid how, when I was young, ALL cars had internal combustion engines!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Do You Notice a Draft? - New Drafting Tools in Autodesk Inventor 2012

“I am an obsessive rewriter, doing one draft and then another and another, usually five. In a way, I have nothing to say, but a great deal to add.”
Gore Vidal

When there's a new release of Inventor, there are always the big, flashy items that go to the top of the list.

The Marking Menus, where the buzz is at!
For Autodesk Inventor 2012, marking menus seem to be the thing that has everyone buzzing. 

But sometimes I like to go on a bit of a mining expedition through What's New, and see what I can find that maybe isn't so flashy, and hasn't got the community buzzing.

One of those is some new additions to the drafting tool.  Now, in Inventor 2012, you can:
  • Create a draft feature using a parting line (2D or 3D sketch) to position the start of the draft.
  • Use separate angle values above and below the parting line or fixed plane.
  • With Automatic Face Chain enabled, faces tangent to the selected face are included in the draft.
  • Automatic Blending is available for adjacent faces that blend with a fillet or other feature. Turn on Automatic Blending to maintain blended geometry.
  • Direct Manipulation controls are included with the Draft command. 
Is it flashy environments with Image Based Lighting?  Is it fancy Marking Menus?  No, it's not.

But it is part of some solid additions that can really help your daily workflow!

Here's a video showing some of the new draft tool!


Enjoy!  Happy Inventing!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sweeping Along an Edge - What's New in Autodesk Inventor 2012

“Sweep first before your own door, before you sweep the doorsteps of your neighbors”
Swedish Proverb

I love an improvement that just makes the day to day workflow simpler.  One of my favorite "day to day" improvements in Autodesk Inventor 2012 is the ability to sweep using an edge. 

In prior releases of Inventor you had to have two sketches, one for the profile, the other for the path.  It didn't matter if there was already an existing edge, you still had to create a sketch, and project the edge.

Autodesk Inventor 2011 & earlier required to sketches for a sweep

Now, in Autodesk Inventor 2012, you only need an edge.  So if you're sweeping a profile on an edge, you can go ahead and go for it!

Now, in Autodesk Inventor 2012, you only require an edge!

And for a more in depth tour, here's a video!


Have a great week everyone!  And Happy Inventing! 

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Best Geek Day in a Long Time! - 3D Connexions New Tools

SHINY! 
Various times in the Firefly Series

Earlier in this week, I found out about some exciting news on Engadget. 3DConnexion added a driver that lets their 3D mice work with 2D Applications! 

I love my SpacePilot Pro.  I use it with every Autodesk product it supports.  The opportunity to use it with even MORE programs really made my geeky self happy.

That's the SpacePilot Pro I know and love!

Needless to say, I flew home, downloaded, and installed the new driver off of 3DxLabs.  it was installed before the microwave had dinner warmed up!

I tried it in MSWord!   Slick, I can scroll up and down in my document, zoom in and out, all off my 3DConnexion device.  I'm snickering like joker already.

I try it in Firefox!  It works there too.  Hootsuite!  Booyah!  Evernote!  WOOHOO!  I'm in the full throws of a maniacal laugh now!  This is great!

But there's always been one thing that's been on my wishlist for yeasr.  It doesn't work with Autodesk Showcase.

It didn't work in Showcase 2009. 

I was disappointed in Showcase 2010.

I was disappointed again in Showcase 2011.

Yesterday, after training an Inventor class. I installed Showcase 2012.  I'm looking forward to checking out the new features. 

I had just opened a sample model when my boss comes in to ask me some questions about Autodesk Vault.

We're having a deep discussion on data management.

In the middle of the conversation my hand touches the puck on my SpacePilot Pro.

My eyes jump to my laptop screen.  My boss's conversation suddenly sounds like, "Blah, Blah, Blah."  

The Showcase model moved!

Controlling my Autodesk Showcase model with the 3DConnexion device.  Cool beyond words

I move my left hand with all the caution of a cheating poker player palming a card in a high stakes game.

I push the puck again....

The model moved!  THE SHOWCASE MODEL MOVED!  SHOWCASE 2012 supports 3DConnexion devices.

So there it is!  Autodesk Showcase 2012 supports 3DConnexion.

Definitely some cool news to close out my day!

Thanks Autodesk and 3DConnexion!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

View Representations in Part Files - The Movie!

 This is a continuation of my previous post on View Representations in Part Files - New for Autodesk Inventor 2012

Thanks to a little help from Paul Munford of CadSetterOut and Techsmith, my Camtasia is up and running again.  it was indeed an easy setting (see my previous post for the solution).

So, now as an addendum to the text only post on Monday April 4th, here's the video below!

Enjoy!


Sunday, April 03, 2011

View Representations in Part Files - New for Autodesk Inventor 2012

“People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.”
 Epictetus

I had originally planned a video for this.  But for some reason my screen recorder didn't register my right pick menus, so I had to go the old route.

*****************************EDIT (4-April-2011)*********************************

Thanks to Techsmith and Paul Munford of Cad Setter Out for helping me resolve the issue!  It was a simple setting!  Uncheck "Captured Layered Windows" and it works like a charm!

Unchecking this fixes it!

It's been a busy Monday, so I couldn't add the video for this blog today, but I'm hoping to add it later this week!

*******************************************************************************


So instead of figuring out why that was happening, I'll fall back to the old way.  Good ol' screen captures.

Hopefully I'll be back to cracking out videos soon!

But for now, back to the topic!

So what is a View Representation?  We've had them in assemblies for years, and in an assembly they remember part visibility, camera position, and part color.

View Representations in an Assembly

Now we've got them in parts as well.  In the case of parts, they remember the camera position and the part color (no sense in them remembering part visibility, since we're only looking at one part!) 

So how do we create one?

In the part file, there's a View Representation area now.  Right click on it, choose 'New'

The same exists in a part.  Right click and choose "New"
When "New" is selected, you'll see a new line added named "View 1".  Double click on it to change the name.

Here are my View Reps.  I'm in the process of renaming this one.

 I'll call it "Red" to give it a more meaningful name.  I'm also going to change the camera angle, and change the color.  To red of course!  You'll also notice that I right clicked on the View Representation named "Red".


I'm going to Lock that view.  Locking the view prevents any future changes to camera angle or color from affecting this view.  That is until I unlock it again.


The view changed.  Now I'm locking the view.


Now I can go through and create as many View Representations as I need.  At any point I can double click on one of the names, and activate it!


More View Reps added


One last trick with View Representations.  When you're placing the part on a drawing, you can reference them in the view. 


Calling the View Rep in a drawing view


Notice there's a check box for "Associative" (Indicated in Red in my above screen shot).  If you check this, any changes to part color in the part file will automatically update the part view.


Personally, I check this one, but the choice is ultimately yours!

Happy Inventing

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Captain's Log - Migrating from Inventor 2011 to 2012

“desire to migrate is strong.”
Roberto Suro

As I sat staring at the progress bar for my Autodesk Inventor 2012 download.  The words "Download Complete" greet me like gifts under the Christmas tree.

The enthusiastic geek in me wants shout "Saddle up!  Lock and load!", click on the self-executing zip file and bask in tingly feeling that only comes with a new software release.

But this time, something stays my hand.  But how do you want to go about this?  My inner voice asks. 

In a rare deviation from my normal behavior.  I actually listen to my inner voice.  

I can't just dispose of 2011.  I have testing to do, files that still need to remain in 2011.  I can't just throw the switch.

So this is my little journey about I decided to move my personal data over.  I'm not writing this as some sort of decree of the "Best Practice" or "Whitepaper".   I'm not standing on a virtual hill shouting "By order the king, thou shalt migrate thy Inventor data in using the aforementioned process."

This is just what I chose to do, for reasons that I thought would best work with my data.  I hope that you find this helpful as you decide to make you're own migrations.

So what do I need to be able to do with my data when I'm done?
  1. I'm using Vault, so I want to transition the data from Inventor 2011 & Vault 2011, to Inventor 2012 & Vault 2012 ultimately.
  2. Item 1 means I'll need to have a project file for Inventor 2011, & Inventor 2012.  These projects will be looking at the same set of working folders
  3. In need to have Design Data that can be used in both Inventor 2011, and Inventor 2012
  4. I need to have templates that can be used in both Inventor 2011 and Inventor 2012. 
So my first step?  Start copying stuff!  I make copies of my project file, design data folders, and template folders.  Fortunately, I keep my Design Data and Templates in one subfolder, and I locate them via a setting in my project folder, so this is pretty easy

The New Folders Copied
Now with copies made, I first migrate my templates.  I'm going to do that using Task Scheduler.



Then I migrate my design data, using Style Library Manager


Then I change the locations my project is pointing at.  Save that, and I'm ready to go!

Changing the location in my project file

So there we have it.  I've copied my project file, and migrated my templates and design data.  Now I have my original data for use in Inventor 2011, as well as new, migrated data for Inventor 2012!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How (Inventor) Suite it is - New Design Suites Released

Word is already getting out, but I thought it best to do my part.

Autodesk has released the new design Suites, giving us some new packages with new tools!

It's going to be a lot to take in, but there's definitely some new things to start playing with!

Click here for the press release.

And here's an intro video from Rob Cohee!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Setting Virtual Memory Size - Don't Forget the Basics!

“Fundamental progress has to do with the reinterpretation of basic ideas.”
Alfred North Whitehead

Recently, I was returning to my office having retrieved yet another cup of coffee, when Nicole Morris, one of the KETIV team members, said to me. "Virtual memory still matters."

Naturally, this puzzled me for a moment.  Of course the statement seemed "out of the blue", but then Nicole explained her seemingly random statement.

She had been working with someone who was having problems with performance on a really large assembly.  The computer was sluggish for some reason, but the system had 12GB of RAM, plenty of processor speed, and a video card that would have made the typical geek drool like a Labrador Retriever.

The Virtual Memory was set wrong.  Nicole explained that they'd set the virtual memory to 1.5x RAM, and the computer began singing like a song bird.

"No kidding?"  I say, surprised (Okay, I've substituted "kidding" instead of the actually word I used!)

Nicole nods to the affirmative.  She's become accustomed to my exclamations of surprise.

This was what I have come to call "Life Lessons".  I recall being fanatical about virtual memory.  I set it, tweaked it, then tweaked it again.

But somewhere RAM became plentiful, and I rejoiced.  Then 64bit operating systems came out, and I frolicked in the amount of RAM I had at my disposal.

Then I forgot about virtual memory.  With all that RAM, it surely couldn't make the difference it once did, right?

The answer seems to be..... WRONG!

Needless to say, I let myself make an assumption, and get sloppy! 

What's the moral of the story?  Don't forget the basics.  Even with a screaming processor, boatloads of RAM, and a Video card with enough power to dim the lights in the office, shorting your virtual memory can hobble your system!



Setting Virtual Memory in Windows 7


So how do we set virtual memory?  Here's a quick video in Windows 7.  Other operating systems set the virtual memory in a similar way!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fine Tuning Object Defaults in Inventor Drawings

“I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Robert Frost

I've taken another weekend for a "snowboarding retreat" at Mammoth Mountain.

Another Snowy day in Mammoth
So as you can guess, blogging isn't really high up on the list. 

But, true to my geek form, I do have something to share.

I was asked about setting the default dimension styles recently.  Basically, how do I set my default dimension style?

So here's a quick tip on how to set up your default dimension standards.

To set default dimension styles for your drawings, go to Tools>Format Standards.

Getting to the styles and standards screen

Once the Standard and Style Library Editor pops up, select Object Defaults.  Now you can select each dimension type, and set the default dimension style for each.

Setting the Default Linear Dimension
Notice that you'll have to set the default dimension style for linear, angular, radial, and so on.  It's very flexible, but you'll need to make sure you get all the styles you want to change.

Also, notice that dimension styles aren't the only thing you can set here.  You can set everything from text styles, to table styles, to default layers.

It's worth some time to take a look at it.  Getting your defaults set correctly can save a lot of time and headache. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Numbers Don't Lie - Creating a Numbering Scheme in Autodesk Vault

“The numbers speak for themselves. That's a good score.”
Howard Rubenstein

Creating a part number scheme can be quite a challenge.  Getting everyone to follow it can be an even bigger problem.

Getting everyone to reference the book of numbers, trying to get everyone to renumber parts, can be quite a challenge.  

And it's not always the fault of the users.  End users are human, they forget, they feel pressure and skip it because their efforts are needed elsewhere..

So how can we help automate that step?

Autodesk Vault Workgroup, Autodesk Vault Collaboration, and Autodesk Vault Professional all have the ability to create file naming schemes.


These schemes will prompt you to name a file on the initial save.  By eliminating that need to stop what your doing and look up the next available block of numbers from a book, or Excel spread sheet,, this function makes it much easier to keep a unified numbering scheme.

On top of that, it knows when a number has been issued, so all but eliminates the possibility of two users grabbing the same part number!


File naming scheme prompting on save


So how do you do it.  I've got a video for that, but first, a couple of things to be aware of.
  1. You have to be logged in as an administrator to make these changes.  This isn't available to just anyone!
  2. Once you save a file with a naming scheme, that numbering scheme is in use.  You can't delete it, or change it.  You can only disable it.  So it's definitely worth it to take the time and make sure you haven't missed anything before you make it live!
But aside from that, this can be a great tool for helping stick to a part numbering scheme!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

FlexNET Publisher – A License to Network (Part 7) - License Server Schemes


So we come to a close on our “License to Network” series. 

In this final segment, I talk about different licensing server schemes, single server, distributed, and redundant servers, and how it can affect the I.T. department, and the users at the other end.

This blog post will break down the different servers, the differences between them, and the advantages and disadvantages for each. 

That being said, let’s get to the nuts and bolts, what are the different licensing schemes?

Single Server Licensing

This is the system I’ve described the previous steps in this series, and it’s the most common system I’ve encountered in the ‘real world’.  A single license server uses one license file, containing all your licenses. 

What’s the advantage of this system?  It’s simple.  One server maintains one license, so it has one central point to maintain your licenses. 

Of course this is its downside too.  If the server fails, everyone loses a license until the server is brought back up. 

Now granted, servers don’t tend to drop like flies these days, so running this system is fine.  I’ve known many a system that’s happily run on this type of server.

Distributed Server Licensing

If I had to make a compromise between simplicity, and fault tolerance, I’d choose distributed. 

In a distributed system, you’re licenses are split between two different servers.  For example, if you have ten licenses, you could put five licenses on one server, and five on another (although the number of licenses can be divided in any combination between servers). 

In this system the clients acquire the licenses from either one of the servers, as designated by the environment variable ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE = @SERVERNAME1; @SERVERNAME2

The advantage of this system is that you can have one server fall off line, and you’ll only lose the licenses on that server.  You don’t lose the entire pool.  The department can carry on with the remaining licenses in the pool. 

Granted, losing a significant number of your licenses can be no picnic, but it’s better than the whole pool!

Redundant Server Licensing

This is the most complicated, and the rarest licensing system.  I’ll be up front and say I haven’t configured this one personally, so I don’t know every detail of it.  So I can’t say I’m intimate with the functions of the Redundant System.

That being said, I’ve heard enough from the community to not be eager to try this system.

But it does have one advantage.  Three servers share all your licenses.  However, you can lose one server, and all your licenses remain available.

It sounds pretty tempting right?  So what would be the downside?

The downside is you require three servers, but you can only afford to lose one server.  If you lose two, the entire system goes down, and all licenses are lost.

So why have three?

The third server maintains a quorum.  That is, it makes sure the other two agree. It actually doesn’t directly help you access more licenses.

I’ve also heard (but not personally verified), that one of your servers designates itself primary.  The second becomes the secondary, and the last becomes the quorum. 

Should the server designated primary fail, you have to stop and restart the remaining servers to designate a new primary, or the system still goes down. 

The servers also have to be on the same subnet, and I’ve even heard they have to be in close physical proximity. 

Taking all that into consideration, not to mention that most servers are pretty dependable these days, it seems like a lot of work for not much gain. 

So in my humble opinion, if I need fault tolerance, I’ll take distributed. 

But as I said before, I’ve not personally used this system, so if someone out there has used it, and likes it?  Throw a comment; I’d love to hear about your experiences! 

Also, for additional information, check these documents from the Autodesk Website.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

FlexNET Publisher - A License to Network (Part 6) - Setting up an Options File

I always say don't make plans, make options.
Jennifer Aniston

After getting ahead of an installation this weekend, here's the promised blog on options files.

This is a continuation from Part 5 last week.

First, the necessary definition.  What is an options file? 

In short, an options file is a text file that allows FlexNET (and by extension the CAD Manager), to control access to the licenses under control.  For example, the administrator can

  • Reserve licenses to specific users or groups
  • Set how long a license can be borrowed from the license server
  • Set how long a license can sit idle before it's returned to the pool
And yes, there are many things you can do.

Since there are so many things and variations an options file can control, we'll show this by example. 

Before we'll get started, you'll need to know the Feature Code for the product you wish to control.  In the screen capture below, I've highlighted the feature code for my Vault Professional 2011 license.


The Vault Manufacturing Feature Code


For a full list of Feature Codes for the Autodesk products.  Look to the Autodesk Technical Documents Below

Now that we know the feature we're going to control, let's decide what we want to do.  Let's say we want to do the following

  • Ensure a license can't sit idle for more than 60 minutes
  • Reserve a license for the user "jonathan.landeros" (That's me!)
With that decided, lets go ahead and start a brand new, empty Notepad file and type in the following code

#LIcense can only sit idle for 1 hour (3600 seconds) before being returned to the license pool
TIMEOUTALL 3600

#Reserve 1 license for Vault Professional
RESERVE 1 85588VLTM_2011_0F USER jonathan.landeros

Once you have the license options typed in, save the file under the name ADSKFLEX.OPT and save it in the same directory as you have your license file.

The options file in it's natural environment.

But we have one more really important step.  Make sure to open up LMTOOLS, and on the START/STOP/REREAD tab, click the REREAD LICENSE FILE button.

Hit the reread license file

Now the license file is read in, now switch to the Config Services tab, and click the VIEW LOG button.  Click the close license when done

Log file with license codes
 So those are the basic steps.  But where did I learn the proper codes to type in?  Autodesk has a great technical document on Options Files HERE.  It's absolutely worth it.  It shows you all the different commands you can use.

You can also check the licensing guide, located in the documentation section of your Autodesk Product Install. 

Check the "Read the Documentation" section of your installation

So now we're done.  For now at least.  Next, we'll talk about the different server configurations.