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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Using an iFeature in Autodesk Inventor - Part 2

“Ideas are the building blocks of ideas.”
Jason Zebehazy

In my last blog post on iFeatures (see that post here), I extracted and placed an iFeature, but that was all we did at that time.  I did mention that dimensions could be added to the iFeature, but I stated we'd get back to that.

Well, we're back to it!  In this blog (and its video), we'll add dimensions to the iFeature we used in the last blog.

The basic steps for this process are below:

  • Rename Parameters (okay, this isn't strictly necessary, but it makes the process easier, and I recommend it. 

Parameters renamed
HINT!  To rename parameters quickly, edit the feature, and type "Parameter_Name = X.XXX" to rename it in the feature.  This will rename the parameter directly from the feature it drives.

Renaming the parameter in the feature

  • Extract the iFeatures you want.  Note in the image below, the renamed features automatically are made available to the iFeature.

Extracting the iFeature

  • Set any ranges or lists you need

Setting a range
Setting a list
  • Save the iFeature, and you're ready to go! 

Saving the feature

  • Now the feature can be placed, taking advantage of the settings used!
Placing the iFeature.  Notice the list being used.

So that will place the iFeature into the parts you intend to use it in, and now you've seen the steps to create this iFeature.

But it would be an Inventor Tales blog without a video.  So here it is, a video showing the process! 

Have a suggestion on how you might use iFeatures?  Throw a comment!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Blurred Reflections in Autodesk Showcase (via Autodesk)

“Sometimes in our confusion, we see not the world as it is, but the world though eyes blurred by the mind.”

As we head into a long weekend here in the states.  I found a cool video produced Marion Laundry at Autodesk. 

Why do I like this video so much?  Marion showed a great tip that I hadn't taken advantage of yet! (Hint: Never stop learning!)

How to blur reflections!  I've always thought that if a rendering looks "too perfect", it gives it away as being a computer generated image.

It's a fact of life, nothing is perfect.

Take a look at this Lockheed P-38 Lightning owned by Allied Fighters in California.  It's got a pretty shiny paint job.  Not fully polished, but pretty shiny.

The Allied Fighters P-38 Lightning "Honey Bunny"
Notice how the reflections are blurred however?  It's not a mirror finish. 

Marion's Video gives a great tip on how to create blurred reflections.  So instead of talking about it, check out the video below! 

One last note!  While it should be obvious right away, I DID NOT CREATE THIS VIDEO!  This is created by Marion Landry at Autodesk, and all credit belongs to her!  Take a look at her channel here and check out more of her videos!

And just for the fun of it, here's a video of Honey Bunny in flight at the Living History Event at Planes of Fame Air Museum.  With a unique camera perspective too!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Autodesk Inventor's Special Functions in Parameters

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”
Abraham Lincoln

Today, just a little tip for a midweek blog!

Most of us are familiar with Autodesk Inventor's Parameters.  It's where Inventor stores the dimensions that it uses to create it's components.

If you've used parameters before, you might even know that you can rename the parameters to give it more meaningful names than the defaults.

The Parameters used for this part

An additional capability of the parameters is the ability to build equations using Inventor's parameters.  Many of us have seen those before too.

Equations in Parameters can help make a design much more intelligent

But what many may not know, is that there are many special fuctions that can be used.  For example, the "Ceiling" function can round a number up to the nearest integer, while the "Floor" function will round a value down to the nearest integer.

For example, in the equation below : Maj_Dia_Ht / 0.4375 = 4.571 without an additional function.

Using the Ceiling function to round up to then next integer

But add the "Ceiling" function: Maj_Dia_Ht / 0.4375 in = 5.0 because this function rounds up to the nearest integer.

Why did I use this function?  Because I'm calculating the number of holes in the circular pattern, and this number needs to be an integer (you can't have 4.571 holes in a pattern!).

This is just a quick example of what can be done, but there are several functions available/

For more information on these functions, check out the Autodesk Wikipedia site

Take advantage of these when building equations!  Use the to your advantage!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Using an iFeature in Autodesk Inventor - Part 1

“Ideas are the building blocks of ideas.”
Jason Zebehazy

The Autodesk Inventor iFeature.  I've described it as Inventor's version of an AutoCAD Block.  When there's a repetitive feature that needs to be placed multiple times with repeatability, this is a place to look.

First, Autodesk Inventor has several iFeatures that ship with it.

Inventor ships with several iFeatures built in
You can find them by clicking on the "Insert iFeature" icon.  It's found on the Manage Tab.

Placing iFeatures
But the iFeatures Inventor has may not cover all the iFeatures that might be needed.  In that case, new iFeatures can be created and added to the library.

In my humble opinion, I think this is one of Inventor's tools that gets overlooked.  While it may be an answer for every solution, there are definitely some places it can make a job go by a lot more easily. 

 The iFeature has a lot of flexibility, among these are:

  • The ability to add variable dimensions that can be changed by the user
  • The ability to limit these dimensions to a list of numbers, or a range of numbers
  • The ability to create table of variants for different types of placed features

So there is a quite a bit to go over.  So I'm going to break this particular blog into parts.  So in the first part, I'll just show how we can create an iFeature, and place it onto a part.

A couple of suggestions before the video, I like to create an "iFeature generator".  That is, I create a component to build the iFeature.

I do this because if I need to adjust the iFeature, I can return to the generator and make the adjustments I need. 

My iFeature Generator for this post

Trust me, I learned this one the hard way.  In this case the hard way wanted to make an adjustment to my iFeature, but having to rebuild it because I didn't save it the first time!

So to see how this iFeature was used, take a look at the video!

And if you're looking for some additional iFeatures to use, try Charlie Bliss's site here!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Autodesk University 2012 - It's Coming and the Class Schedule is Out!

“I'm not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Autodesk University 2012.  It's coming around again starting November 25th (click here for full Schedule) in Las Vegas, Nevada!

AU Image Courtesy of the Autodesk University Website.

For those who aren't aware of Autodesk University (commonly known as AU), it's a series of classes, seminars, and network sessions on all manner of Autodesk Technology.  I've gone in the past, and I think it's well worth attending.

But as they say, "don't take it from me".  Take a look at the class schedule HERE!  Take a look at the classes that are available this year.

And on a final note, become an AU Member and become eligible for early registration!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

KETIV's Autodesk Manufacturing Academy- We're Baaaack!

“He's a good guy to pick his brain a little bit. It's great to be by his side and talk to him and learn from him and watch his work habits.”
Sean Marshall

It's back everyone!  KETIV's Autodesk Manufacturing Academy returns to Lake Oswego in Oregon (October 10th), & Cerritos in California (October 25th)! Registration is now open!

I'll be there again, and so will all the techies from the KETIV team!

So if you need a reason for work to send you to Oregon, or Southern California, check out this link

(nudge nudge) Check out the keynote speakers!

And look below for the "preview movie".  If you look quickly, you can see me.  It's like Where's Waldo for bald guys!

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Weekend Off & Updates for Autodesk Showcase 2013

“Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving, make every day a holiday and celebrate just living!”
Amanda Bradley

I was out of town this weekend, enjoying a short weekend excursion to Big Bear, Ca. with some friends.

It was a good weekend of hanging out, having a drink or two, and enjoying attending the local Renaissance Faire.

So this week, there isn't an Inventor or Showcase Video.  But since last week I posted about the release of Autodesk Inventor Update 2, I thought I'd continue the theme of updates and point out that Autodesk Showcase 2013 has updates for it as well.

So if you're running Autodesk Showcase 2013, and you want to make sure you have the latest updates, check the following links:

Update 1 for Autodesk Showcase 2013

Update 2 for Autodesk Showcase 2013

Note that Update 2 does include Update 1.  So if you want to jump straight to Update 2, you can install that without having to install Update 1 first.

I'm hoping to get a video out later this week, but until then, here's some pictures of the Faire I attended!

Adam the "Bawdy Juggler" - Quite a show!

"Gallows Humor" A band that put on a great show!
And a video showing some of the jousting.  These guys weren't acting!  They knocked the snot out of each other.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Update Time! Autodesk Inventor 2013 Update 2 Arrives

I tried to draw people more realistically, but the figure I neglected to update was myself.
Joe Sacco

While searching Google for information on a troublesome Material Library, I ran across something I hadn't noticed before.

Autodesk Inventor 2013 Update 2 is out, and can be downloaded HERE.

The readme describes what's been addressed by the hotfix, so if you're seeing any of these issues, Update 2 is likely a good one to install.

It's also important to note that Update 2 contains the updates from Update 1, so if you haven't installed Update 1, you don't have to go hunting in it down.

When the zip file containing the update is uploaded, there are two files named
  • DL20082900_32-bit.msp   ==> Update for 32 bit systems
  • DL20082900_64-bit.msp   ==> Update for 64 bit systems
In the zip containing Update 2 also contains a hotfix for Autodesk Vault; DL19384851, which fixes an issue with crashing when checking in files. 

Today might  be a good day for a little "Update Maintenance"!  It prevents the more violent "Percussive Maintenance!"

We've all wanted to do it!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Changing the Backgroud Color in Autodesk Vault's Preview Window

"It is only after years of preparation that the young artist should touch color - not color used descriptively, that is, but as a means of personal expression.”
Henri Matisse

Last week I was installing Autodesk Vault onto a series of computers at a facility, and was asked a question I've never been asked before.

"I don't like the background color.  How can I change it from white to black?"

How do we go from this?

To this?
I was puzzled by this one.  I didn't know off the top of my head.  So I promised to look it up and find an answer.

Once I went home, I fired up my computer and started looking up what I could find. 

I found the answer on the Autodesk Discussion Groups.  It's actually a simple series of steps.

1) Close Autodesk Vault

2) Open Autodesk Design Review, location options, and on the sheet tab, and on the Paper Settings section, choose the color you want.

Choose options
And choose background color

3) Close Design Review, and open Vault.The color will be changed!

One last note.  This setting is unique to each client.  So each user could have their own setting if they'd like!

If you prefer, here's a video on how to perform the above steps. 

Have a suggestion how you approach background color?  Leave a comment!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

New on Autodesk Labs - Augmented Reality for Autodesk Showcase

I reject your reality and substitute my own.
Adam Savage

Edit by Jonathan Landeros

As of May 2013, The Augmented Reality Plugin for Autodesk Showcase has been retired.  I liked this plugin, and the post does state that it may be back at a later date. 

My fingers are crossed!

Shame on me for not updating this sooner, but things sometimes go into the archives, and collect dust.

This earlier this week, an email flew about the KETIV Technologies office with the subject:  "Watch Autodesk Showcase blow your freaking mind".

The body of the email just said: "Watch the video!"

So I follow the link to Autodesk Labs, where it shows me an "Augmented Reality Plugin" for Autodesk Showcase.

So what is this Augmented Reality thing

There's some text talking about "the ability to overlay semantically in context information", but my mind interprets this as "Blah Blah Blabbity Blah". 

I click the link, and immediately feel like I've just taken the red pill in The Matrix.

With a help of a webcam and the plugin, a Showcase scene can be overlaid into the real world, so it can be interacted with.

A "marker" board is held in front of the webcam, and Showcase projects takes reality, and uses it to create an environment for your scene. 

And it's all real time.

Now I feel like Neo in The Matrix when I say "Whoa."

Here's a link to the Autodesk Video.  Lets see if you say the same thing I did when I saw it.

And by the way.  It seems I may be in the market for a webcam soon.   So if you have any recommendations, leave a comment!  :-) 

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Quickly Running Prechecks for Autodesk Vault

A winning effort begins with preparation.
Joe Gibbs

***Edit  7-August-2012***

If we take notice Theo's comment below, he very astutely pointed out that Autodesk doesn't recommend this practice in the post at this link, which frankly, I was not aware of. 

In that light, I considered removing the post, but instead have opted to leave it in place, as in the spirit of "a lesson from the real world", this is indeed that life lesson. 

To that end, I have used this .process with success in the past, in an installation this week it saved me a great deal of difficulty by finding issues before I arrived on site

But I will also be more cautious where I use this process, I'll likely use it on new installs, where I know IIS isn't running other processes.  

So yes, I leave this post up with a word of warning, but I leave it up nonetheless

***End Edit***

When getting ready for installing the Autodesk Vault Data Management Console (the server side of Autodesk Vault), a little prechecking can go quite a long way.

One of the tools Autodesk has provided for us is the Autodesk Server Diagnostic Tools.  During the installation, the Vault installation runs these checks to make sure that it's ready to accept the Vault installation.

If it finds something wrong, it tells you, and provides possible solutions to help rectify the situation.

An example of a precheck screen.  Clicking on the link will show possible solutions for this error.

In my experience, the tool does an excellent job of helping fix the issues by providing possible solutions.  Granted, it can't solve every last little thing, but it does get several issues you might encounter.

If it has any drawback, it's that the installation has to be started before the precheck runs.  This isn't a huge problem, but it can take a little while to step through the installation screens before you get to the precheck.

Then if the precheck finds a problem, you may be stuck repeating the process again.

So what do you do if you're not quite ready for the installation?  Maybe you're local reseller is going to perform the installation next week, or perhaps you want to minimize potential server downtime.  Wouldn't it be convenient to quickly run the precheck and see if you're ready for the ADMS install?

Fortunately there is a way.  If you know where to look, you can run the prechecks without having to start the installation!

It's pretty easy to locate. 

Whether you've downloaded your media from the Autodesk Subscription site, or you have physical media in your hands, the location is.

....\x64\ADMS\Program Files\Autodesk\ADMS 2013\Tools

The executable is "ScriptTool.exe", so you can also just search for the executable file in the installation directories.

The actual executable to run the precheck.
Now there's a means to run the precheck quickly, and fix as much as possible before going for the "big show!"

So for a little help, here's the video showing the process!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Blast from Electricity Past - For Fun & Interest

“I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all.”
 James Arthur Baldwin

Just a quick blog post for something I thought would interest my friends in the electrical world.

A very old electrical panel from the Baldwin Estate at the Tallac Historical Site in Lake Tahoe!

Here's something old school! 
I hope you find it interesting!

I'll be thinking of new blog posts when I get back from vacation!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Off the Topic - Vacation in Lake Tahoe

“If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.”
Henry David Thoreau

In this post you won't find a tip on Autodesk Inventor or a rendering in Autodesk Showcase.

So this week if you're looking for the usual CAD tip or video, that's not to be found here.  I'm going "off topic" today.

Those of you who follow my Twitter account have probably noticed that I'm on vacation in Lake Tahoe this week.   It's the longest vacation I've taken in about five years.  It's been a much needed rest and recuperation.

Between work, volunteering at Planes of Fame, and maintaining Inventor Tales, I have much of my week planned.  While I enjoy them all, during a hectic week, I might only have a portion of Sunday to "not do a thing".   So when I came up to Tahoe, I decided my plan was to "not have a plan", and simply enjoy my days as they came, and not rush to cram in as much as I could.

I made a point of bringing up my bike, and so far, I've ridden about 30-40 miles around South Lake Tahoe.

My truck and bike

It's been well worth it.   Cycling around, I've been able to stop and see things I never would have noticed at 50MPH in a car.  Slow down and smell the roses, so to speak.
Cold Creek.  I only saw this while pausing on a bridge.  Something I would have passed if I hadn't ridden my mountain bike

Another view that never would have been seen by speeding car.

So what's the point.  Why put this in my blog post here?

Perhaps there is no point.  But I've had a chance to see things from a different perspective, meet some great new people, and clear my cobwebs, so to speak.

And cruising a bike path on a gorgeous day is a great way to clear cobwebs!

So in our fast pace world of CAD, Digital Prototyping, 3D Printing, and so on.  Slow down and enjoy things  once in a while.  You never know what you might see out there that will give you some inspiration!

Sometimes the best thing you can do with a situation, is walk away from it for a while.  This week off has given me a chance to come back to my tasks with a new energy.  

And after putting the bike back on it's rack, I feel the urge to map the suspension of my mountain bike has made me a bit curious.  Perhaps I'll map it in Autodesk Force Effect...

How do you unwind from the pressures of your day job.  Feel free to drop a comment. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Using the Organizer in Autodesk Showcase

“A first-rate Organizer is never in a hurry. He is never late. He always keeps up his sleeve a margin for the unexpected.”
Arnold Bennett

This week is only a brief post, as I've taking this entire week for a holiday in Lake Tahoe.  This time I've brought my trusty mountain bike up with me, so I'm hoping to get some good riding in, even though I'm about 6000 ft (roughtly 2000 meters), higher than my usual riding altitude. 

My truck and my bike.  Both better prepared for working at this altitude than I am!

I hope I don't end up gasping like a landed fish.

But now, the post!

Most of the time when I'm using Autodesk Showcase, I can pick what on want by choosing the part, on screen, right in the scene.  It's there, it's simple, and it's easy.

But there are also those scenes that aren't so simple.  They have a lot of parts that aren't easy to find on screen, making working with the model a tedious and frustrating affair.

Not every component in this scene can be easily selected

But Showcase provides a tool that can help out with that. It's called the organizer, and it lists the parts by in a list type of format that you can use to, well, organize your information!

The Organizer can help  locate and organize your scene!

It's my personal belief that this tool doesn't get the credit it deserves, and is probably underused since I think many users get accustomed to picking on screen, which lets face it, probably covers most of our needs. 

By using the organizer, data can be moved into folders that make it easier to select, move, hide, change materials, etc.

But why describe it when I can show it.  Here's a quick video on using the organizer.

And by the way, have a suggestion on how you use the organizer?  Throw a comment (it's down at the bottom).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Autodesk Showcase - Create New Faces for New Colors

“The hole and the patch should be commensurate”
Thomas Jefferson

There are times when I'm working in Autodesk Showcase that I find I need to change the color of a portion of a face, and I'm not able to do so.

For example, here's a model I built in Autodesk Inventor.  It has the KETIV logo on it, which I'd like to change it to red. When I select the model, the entire model highlights
I just want to select the letters!

Usually this is because the faces were imported as a single color, and Showcase "unified" them.

So what to do?  I could open the file in Autodesk Inventor, copy faces or change color there, and update the CAD model.  But Showcase has a tool that can do this for us, without having to fall back to a CAD tool.

Extract Patches as New Objects.  This tool copies faces and creates new ones that can have Showcase materials applied to them.

Extract Patches as New Objects will do the trick!
 Once the patches are selected, all that's left to do is select which patches to extract!

Extracting the patches
And these colors of these faces can be changed separately from the faces they were copied from!

Now the patches can be selected separately
For a little more detail, here's the video portion!  Enjoy!

And if you have a tip on how you might approach this challenge, leave a comment!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Anti-virus and Autodesk Vault - When Security is too Secure

“If you hack the Vatican server, have you tampered in God's domain?”
Aaron Allston

Not that long ago, I ran into a real head scratcher with Autodesk Vault.

A user was trying to start the ADMS Console, and recieved the following error.

Error starting service 'Autodesk Data Management Job Dispatch'onmachine 'SERVERNAME'.
This service is required for execution of the server console.

Apparently the Job Dispatch Service wasn't running. No problem!  The scary part was ADMS would not open.  That meant no backup could get made.

Even worse, this also meant the command line script wouldn't run, since all it's doing is starting ADMS sans the user interface.. 

No problem though! I can just open up the Windows Services and start that bad boy up!

Start 'er up!

Instead, I was created with this, disheartening error.

Windows could not start the Autodesk Data Management Job Dispatch service on SERVERNAME.Error 1053: The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion.

 Now what? 

No ADMS, no backup.  One rightfully worried end user.

My goal, we need a backup.  A new server is ready and and able to accept a Vault upgrade, but how do we get the backup to the server, when ADMS can't be opened.

I actually did find a way to copy the filestore and database over to the new machine and reattach them to a new Vault. 

But it's crazy,... just crazy enough to work.  

I feel like I'm about to hotwire the Starship Enterprise...

But just before we pull off the covers to the reactor and try to MacGyver something, the user tries "one more thing".

They were running Kaspersky Antivirus, and played a hunch that it was causing a problem.

So they uninstalled it.  

And ADMS started to the light from heaven and the voices of angels. 

So it was an overzealous anti-virus seeing the job dispatch and marking it as something bad.  I had never seen that happen before.

Now before everyone goes out and tears out your anti-virus software, an exception to the Job Dispatch Service will likely fix this. I found this on the Kaspersky site for adding this exception here.

In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't add the exception personally, nor can I speak for every anti-virus software out there.

But what I do hope, is that this experience I found helps someone else out there. 

When in doubt, turn off the anti-virus and give it a shot.  You never know when it's gone a bit too far!

Do you have an experience with anti-virus crossing up Vault, or any other Autodesk product? 

Throw in a comment and help a reader out!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Autodesk Vault - Using Groups to Set Permissions

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does”

There isn't a video for this weeks blog.  I'm currently dog sitting for my sister and her husband while they're on vacation, so I'm away from my recording gear.

But it was good company this weekend!  

Smokey the incredible fetching mixed Chihuahua

Aretha.  Quite the diva, her name suits her.
So we'll revert to the written word for this post!

Here it goes!

One of Autodesk Vault's strengths is how it can handle user permissions and therefore, accessibility to the data in safeguards.  But there are two ways to grant user permissions in Vault, at the user, level, or via a Group.

When I first plunged into Vault basic in the back several years ago, I started by assigning user permissions.  It seemed easier at the time.  I also was working in Vault environments that only had a few users and relatively simple permission schemes.

When I first looked at Groups as a method of controlling user permissions, it seemed like an unnecessary level that was going to do nothing more than create a convoluted the system.  So I stayed far away from Groups.

But a few years of experience, and the wisdom of mentors has taught me the values of Groups, and what I thought was an extra layer of complexity is actually simplifying the task. 

Now, almost without exception, I look to Groups to set up Vault permissions.

So what caused my change of heart in my approach?

The Users have no permissions by themselves.  They are members of a Group, and the Group contains all the permissions they'll need.

In other words, you have to be a member of the "Vault Club" to get inside.  And if you're not on the "VIP list", you're not getting into the Administrator's lounge, and so on.

This approach began to really show it's strength when in environments with many users. 

Typically these environments have Users that lend themselves into being organized by groups, such as Administrators, CAD Users, CAD Viewers, and so on.  The Users in these Groups have the same permissions, and therefore, the Group can manage the permissions.

Now, Users permissions can quickly be moved from one group to another if their permissions changed.  And if an entire Groups permissions change, it can be changed in a single screen instead of clicking through several users and hoping you don't miss one.

With all that being said and done, how do you assign a user to groups?

First you need to be an Administrator, so if you're not on the "list" (that is Group), you're not getting past the bouncer.

  • But if you do have those privileges, you can go to Tools>Administration, and choose "Global Settings

Accessing Global Settings in Vault Explorer

  • Once in the Global Securities dialog box, choose the "Groups" button

The Group button is on the Security Tab

  • Next,the Group Management Dialog opens up.  Here Groups can be created, and edited.  In this example, the Groups are already created, one of these Groups can be edited by right clicking , and choosing "Edit"

Right click and choose "Edit"

  • Now the heart of the matter.  Now Groups can be given roles, given access to specific Vaults, and even collect different groups under this group (although I haven't needed to do this yet.

So there it is.  Using Groups in Autodesk Vault.  It's definitely something that's worth a look if you're a Vault Administrator.

And if you access Vault through the ADMS Console, the same options are available through the Console as well.

  • In ADMS Console, got to Tools>Administration

  • On the Security Tab, choose the "Groups" icon.  From that point, it's like the steps above!

Choose the Groups icon, and you're off!
That's it for this post!  And I'll be adding some more video tips later on!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Redefining a Sketch or Workplane in Autodesk Inventor

"If at first you don't succeed, redefine success."

I've done it before.  I've been working on a part that is nearly symmetrical, but not quite.  I draw a profile on a face, extrude it, and it's then that I realize that I should have put it on a different face.  

Usually there's a bit of profanity at this point.

In cases like this, many of us would just redraw the profile on the new face, and carry on.  And  there are cases where this "cut bait approach is the fastest way to complete your task.

But if there's been a significant amount of work put in the sketch, this may be "less than appetizing", so to speak.

What to do if this was accidentally built on the wrong face.

In cases like this, there is another, little known tool that may be an option for you.


So what makes this tool special?

Redefine is selected by right clicking on a sketch or workplane and choosing "Redfine".

Selecting Redefine to move the feature

After activating the tool, a new face can be selected, much like when a new sketch or workplane is created.

Moving the sketch and the feature.

The sketch or plane will attach to the new face, bringing nay geometry with it.  The sketch may have to be rotated and moved to get it correctly placed on the new face, so there may be a little bit of work involved on the "back end".

Some repositioning may be required.

That's why I say there will be cases where it's easier to rebuild the geometry.  Redefine won't necessarily "Redefine" how you approach ever sketch (pun intended).

But what it does do is give you another tool, when faced with having to get geometry from one face to another. 

So while there may be times when it's easier to recreate geometry, there may be those other times when redefine saves you the trouble of having to recreate a lot of geometry.

So keep keep it close, and use it wisely!

I've attached a video for redefine below, take a look! 

And if you have any suggestions, or places where you've used Redefine, leave a comment!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Open the Right Door - Changing AutoCAD's Default Open Location

“What Romantic terminology called genius or talent or inspiration is nothing other than finding the right road empirically, following one's nose, taking shortcuts.”
Italo Calvino

As you might have noticed, I had a long trip out of the USA to Edmonton, Canada for work.  It was a great trip that I enjoyed, but I'm still playing a bit of catchup.

So this week's blog is a bit brief, but does contain a lesson that I've been wanting to share. Once I'm caught up again, I'll be looking to create some more "verbose" blog posts!

One thing I've always liked about Autodesk Inventor's project file is it's ability to set a Workspace that defines a root open and save location for all your Inventor files.   It's always helped me keep things a little more organized.

The Workspace helps organize your files

It's a bit of assistance I've always been grateful for.

Although I don't use AutoCAD as much as I did back in the days of R14, I did want a way to direct AutoCAD to do something similar.  Open in the directory I'd like.

Fortunately, there is a way to do it.  It's a two step process.

First take the AutoCAD shortcut, right click on it, and choose "Properties".

Choosing the shortcut.

The Properties screen for the shortcut appears.  Next, choose the "Shortcut" tab and change the "Start in" directory to the desired directory.

Setting the new open location

This tells AutoCAD to start in the folder you define.  But there's one more step.

Open up AutoCAD and type "REMEMBERFOLDERS" at the command line. If AutoCAD is set to default, the setting will be "1".  Change this to "0". 

Now when you start AutoCAD and choose the open or save command, it will open in the folder you set in the shortcut.

Have any suggestions on how you've approached this challenge?  Drop a comment below!