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Sunday, October 07, 2012

Crunch Time Previews! - Linking between Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Showcase

“My body felt extremely tired, ... I've got five or six gears in me, but I was crunching to get into second without a clutch. It was a tough day.”
Grant Hackett

Today is a much shorter post that usual, since most of my waking hours has been spent on creating my materials for KETIV's Autodesk Manufacturing Academy in Oregon on October 10th. 

So in this post, I'm afraid I don't have much that I can get into regarding new adventures or experiences, since..... well.  Look at that above statement on AMA!

But to that end, I've got a fantastic dataset graciously provided by Datum3 Studios.  You can check it out as the "Flight Controller Bases" section in the gallery HERE!  This data will be playing a big part in my "Digital User Manuals & Documentation" session.

The Throttle rendered in Autodesk Showcase
As part of the event, I've been busy creating supplemental videos that go along with the sessions, so this is what I'm sharing today.

In this video for AMA, I briefly show how Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Showcase can link their data together, creating a loop of "collaborative development" where the rendering in Showcase can develop along side the engineering design developing in Inventor.

By utilizing this process, the aesthetics of a product can be developed and approved by the customer, all the while the engineering is going on in the background.  Both can develop simultaneously, instead of linearly as in the "traditional way".

Here's the video!  I hope you all enjoy this AMA preview!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Using Model Sketches on a Drawing in Autodesk Inventor

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

Last week, I was talking to someone about how to best represent a spot weld in Autodesk Inventor.

The first observation to make is that Inventor has a Weldment environment that provides several tools to help with welding.  It's got a variety of tools.  It can separate the weldment into different sections, the assembled environment, the preparation environment, the welded environment, and finally machined environment.

This is a great tool if a high degree of detail is needed in creating a welded environment.

But what if  just a simple representation is needed?

In the brainstorming session, an idea was brought up.

What about creating a sketch in the assembly, showing the spot welds in the sketch, then showing it on the drawing?

The sketch added to the model

The sketch added to the drawing

I tried it.  It works!  The sketch can be shown, annotations can be added and so on. 

Here are the basic steps:
  1. Create a sketch on the model (part or assembly)
  2. Place the view in a drawing.
  3. Right Click the Assembly in the Drawing Browser
  4. Choose "Get Model Sketches"

And BOOM!  That's it.  It's pretty easy!

So keep this in mind for your designs.  And keep it in mind for any application it can help in.  I used spot welds in this example, but any place a sketch can help, use it! 

Of course, here's a video showing the example I described!

One last thing.  Do you have a place where this workflow helped you out?  Share a comment and let me know!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

An Autodesk Manufacturing Academy Preview video - iParts

“The whole is more than the sum of its parts.”

It's been another busy weekend.  I was busy catching up with family, so I'm afraid no blog was built today. 

However, I have been busy putting a lot of work into KETIV's Autodesk Manufacturing Academy, so as this weeks post, I offer up a preview video for my "Automating Repetitive Designs" session.

This particular video is on the iPart portion of the session

Recall that an iPart is a "table driven part" where a component of shape can be controlled, via parameters.  This makes it much easier to create different sizes, colors, and so on, without recreating the part every time.  The table helps drive that geometry.

A classic example of an iPart, open up the McMaster Carr catalog, and look at any screw you can find.  See that table of values?  iPart!  

So without further delay, here's a video.  Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy, and I hope to see a few of you a the AMA event!

I'll see you in next week's post! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Off Topic - The Space Shuttle Endeavour

“What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past”
Victor Hugo

It can definitely be said that this post is off topic.  I didn't use Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Showcase, or anything for this blog.

All I had was the opportunity to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour make her last flight to her final home, The California Science Center.

I couldn't resist.  This would be the last time that I could see a space shuttle in the air, even if it was riding piggy back on a Boeing 747.

A few of us from the office headed a few miles down the road to Anaheim, and saw the 747 carrying Endeavour on it's fly by of Disneyland.

It was impressive on so many levels.  The engineering feat of the 747 carrying Endeavour, the excitement being able to watch history being written. 

And last but not least, a little bit of sadness knowing that this is the end of an era.

So hear are my pictures of "Endeavour's Last Ride".  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! 

At first it looked like a ghost in the Southern California haze.
But it was very real indeed!

You could feel the excitement in the air.

It was amazing to see it get closer.

And just keep getting bigger.

And bigger!

And become a truly impressive sight!

The chase planes look tiny!

A grand entrance for Endeavour

And she heads away

Her flyby is over.

And a grand space craft heads for her final home.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Backing Up Autodesk Vault - On a Budget

“Back up my hard drive? How do I put it in reverse?”

I would be the first to say that we should all be making backups of our CAD data!

Do you think I follow my own advice?

Pffft!  No! 

Of course I have my excuses!
  1. My CAD Data isn't use for production, so it's not critical.
  2. I work in a highly mobile environment, and everything runs on my laptop.   That means I 'm not connected to a good backup server much of the time
  3. I'm too lazy to take 15 minutes to plug in my portable hard drive and copy my Vault Backup over to the drive. 
  4. The most famous, used by many; (wait for it). "It hasn't failed yet!"
Are these good excuses? 

Pffft! No!  

So if  the The Oatmeal's Famous "Tumbeasts" made an appearance and at my hard drive, I was out of luck.

Try passing this excuse off at work.

One day, I had an epiphany that was worthy of MacGyver.

I implemented it, and thus far it's been working well! 

First I had to take stock of my assets.
  • I already have a script that backs up my Autodesk Vault database and filestore that contains my CAD data. 
  • I have a Dropbox account that has more than enough room to accommodate my current backup
  • At my home, I have an old retired computer that I use as a data server, which also has plenty of room for my Vault database and filestore.
That's enough for me!

I created a new script that moves my backup file to a Dropbox folder.  In turn, that folder syncs up with my online Dropbox account, which is stored in the cloud.

My Vault Backup in my Dropbox Folder

BOOM!  Backup! 

Then, I setup my old data server to sync with my Dropbox account, so now I have a backup at home, as well as on online! 

BOOM!  Redundancy!  

I've been running this system for about a week now, and it's been working pretty well.  I've restored from it once already successfully

But just like everything it's got good and bad. 

First the good!
  • It's a simple and effective backup strategy, especially for the budget minded. 
  • By using Dropbox, I can sync the backup to multiple machines, they just have to be syncing to the Dropbox account.
Now the not so good!
  • Since this is a cloud backup, there needs to be sufficient bandwidth to support uploading and downloading potentially gigabytes of data.
  • Online storage accounts, such as Dropbox, Autodesk 360, and SkyDrive have limited storage capacity (typically a few gigabytes until you purchase more).  So monitoring usage can be important, especially as data gets larger.
Fortunately, my Vault data is about 750MB, so I have more than enough room in my Dropbox account (over 6GB), and I upload across a fiber optic line, so bandwidth isn't an issue for me, so this is effective for me.

In summary, this system probably isn't good for everybody, but for a small environment, with limited resources to purchase hardware and infrastructure, it may be exactly the ticket.

P.S.  I'm sure there are those of you might be wondering why I didn't use my Autodesk 360 account.  The reasons are simple.  I tried my Dropbox account first, and I'm too busy (read too lazy) to switch it over.  I could just as easily have used my Autodesk 360 account!

I hope this is a tip you might be able to use in your own environment!

Have another idea to create a backup like this on a budget, check out the comment section! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Using an iFeature in Autodesk Inventor - Part 3

“All respect comes from persisting to completion.”
Melissa Lima

At long last!  The final part of my little "iFeatures & Autodesk Inventor" series (at least for now)!

In this final post, I'll discuss taking and iFeature, and driving it via a table.

But first of all, why drive an iFeature with a table?  What does a table do for us?

Well the single biggest reason to use a table driven iFeature is to create is to create a consistent series of choices for features that vary in predictable ways.

An Example of an iFeature Table
For example, lets say there's a mounting hole of three consistent variations.  It may have two different size holes, but the holes all expand in intervals of a given increment (.125 inches for example).

An example of different holes (yes, I know the biggest one is 'too big'
If  a non-table driven iFeature is used, the different diameter holes could be mixed and matched.

The 'standard' iFeature screen
In other words, a "create a combo" situation could arise, and a non-existant hole created.

If a table driven iFeature is used, then the mounting holes can be called out by a specific value, such as an "tool number", and a consistent set of holes can be placed.

Special fields can also be created, so institution specific criteria can be used for selecting an iFeature.  For example, in my video, I use Tool Number.

But enough of the describing! Let's switch to the video, and see how these tables can be used!

And on a final note.... Who knows what an iFeature was called before it was named an iFeature? Hint: it's the reason an iFeature has the file extention "*.ide"!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A KETIV AMA Preview Video - Automating Repetitive Design Tasks

“All the people were nice. They all acted like family and friends.”
James Bush

During this weekend, there was no time to create a video for the blog I was hoping to create. 

It was lost for one of the best reasons a weekend could be lost.  I had friends come from out of town for a visit! 

So this weekend was a blog free weekend (and even a mostly computer free weekend) that was consumed by catching up with life long friends, so part three of my iFeatures blog post will be delayed a bit.

But all is not lost.  Here's a preview of the video series that will accompany the Automate Repetitive Design Tasks session at  Autodesk Manufacturing Academy  on October 10th in Lake Oswego in Oregon, and October 25th in Cerritos, California.  

I hope to see you there!  

And here's the preview for the whole event!  Check it out!

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.