Wouldn’t it be great to use custom shapes with Frame Generator?

Well now you can with a simple download utility available at http://labs.autodesk.com/.
If you have not visited this site it’s a must. There are many great utilities available for your use. Today I will cover the steps it takes to add your custom content to your Frame Generator library. So if you’re in need to work with extruded shapes or just unique shapes watch and learn how simple it is when using the customization tool. I will start with the shape of choice, constrained in my sketch and extruded noting which parameters/dimensions may need to be altered when selecting our material size using Frame Generator. Then I will proceed with the use of the customization tool to capture and define my new shape.

Check out my video of how to do this.



Dave Another one of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Sheet metal to DXF for burning

I have a lot of sheet metal parts to get made and I keep saving out my IDW as a DWG and creating a DXF after I clean up the profile in ACAD, isn't there a faster way to get this done?

I get this question a lot. The answer is yes there is. If you are using Inventor to design your sheet metal parts you can use the flat pattern to generate a cleaned up dxf with layer mapping.

Check out this quick video on how its done.

Keep crankin' out the parts!

Another one of the INCAT CAD Geeks!

How do you know which Inventor Drawings to update...

Using Autodesk Vault, the status of any file can be determined at a moments notice. This can be a life saver to anyone detailing drawings and needing to update them after a design has been modified.

The following video shows how to set up the "File Status" option, and how it can be used with Inventor:

Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Pick a Winner!

Well, I'm on the road again. What benefit does that have? I get to learn more about how actual users are USING Inventor in their day to day activities. It also allows me to make their job easier by showing them things that may be under their noses but they don't understand how to fully use it. For instance, take the selection filters in Inventor. Too often I see users using AutoCAD commands (window, ctrl key, picking individual, etc.) to select objects in their assemblies. There are a wide variety of selection filters based on what you really want to select waiting for you to explore.
Check out the video to see just a few of them in action.
Happy Picking!
John with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Picking out your names.........dimension names that is

One of the most commonly overlooked features within Inventor is the ability to create realtionships between your part dimensions. However out of the box your dimenisons only get a generic name using some D value that increments when you place each one. Check out this video to see how you might be able to benefit from the naming.

Before Naming....

After Naming.......

Enjoy Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Getting Custom Properties into your Template

After visiting a customer and taking questions about templates and creating custom iproperties, I showed how to make those custom iprops available for your template .idw or dwg. I have put together a short video showing how to map your drawing template file to your model template file which would contain custom iproperties.

Check out my video of how to do this.

Dave Another one of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Skeletal Modeling, It's not Halloween but...

The following link contains an example of the new capabilities Inventor 2008 provides with its new "Export Geometry" tool used in conjunction with the updated "Derived Component" command. These tools enable a Skeletal Modeling workflow in which a change to the Skeleton will only affect the components using a specific set of derived geometry or parameters from it.

You could hypothetically have a skeleton with hundreds of parameters in it, and have hundreds of parts linked to these parameters in an assembly. When the skeleton is changed, only a small number of parts would need to "Update" in Inventor. This allows the technique to be used with much larger assemblies, and makes them much easier to manage in Autodesk Vault. Check out the example in this link:

Ben with the INCAT CAD Geeks

FEA Your Weldment as an assembly

Most of us would agree that FEA on parts is important. So how do we get that done on a welded bracket that we are fabricating? Well since Inventor only has ANSYS part level FEA, I came up with a pretty accurate way to test my brackets that have multiple parts welded together. I use the original welded assembly and turn it into a derived assembly/component. This allows me to make it into a single part, and now I can run it through the stress analysis engine for a solution.

Checkout this short video file for a step by step run through.

Give it a try on your next welded bracket!


Just another CAD Geek

Trusty Rusty - How accurate are your old AutoCAD DWG's?

I've come across this dilemma quite a few times at INCAT.... A customer is migrating from 2D AutoCAD to Inventor (finally) and the question comes up to if they will re-model some of their existing AutoCAD data into Inventor. More often than I like to hear, the answer is NO, we can't verify that our AutoCAD data is accurate. Over-ridden dimensions are mostly to blame for this answer. It seems it is much easier to edit a dimension to the length that you want it to be rather than go through all of the hassles of updating all of that non-associative geometry (I smell trouble). My Dad always used to tell me "If you can't find the time to do it right now, how are you going to find time to FIX it later?"

Inventor to the rescue! Although it won't compensate for the fudge factor your colleagues choose to use in AutoCAD, Inventor WILL adjust imported dimensions to the correct dimension that the geometry is drawn to.

Check this video out of some changed dimensions in AutoCAD and how Inventor "repairs" them to what the geometry reflects....


Hope that helps,

John with the INCAT CAD geeks

Get your priorities straight……with Autodesk Inventor that is.

Depending on what you need to select within your parts and assemblies you have tons of choices. Considering the task at hand you might want to select a sketch and not a face, or a feature and not a part when you’re in an assembly. Take a look at this video for a few examples.

Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Another Sheet Metal Tube

Well I was out on the road traveling and am a little behind in getting this post up.

So here it is. Like Dave's post earlier for a sheet metal cone, here is a straight tube that can be used for a holding tank or a pressure vessel. It will alow you to unfold it and get an accurate burn pattern. We can use a simple sketch and some construction geometry to create it.

Check out this video of how it works.

Another one of the CAD Geeks

30 minutes with Autodesk Showcase

Well today we took some Showcase Training, here is my first project......stay tuned Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Video HERE

Creating a Sheet Metal Cone

I have been asked many times while onsite how to make a sheet metal cone. I will show you one method to produce a flat pattern for a sheet metal cone.

The first step is to draw my basic sketch in this case I will use the idea that my opening will be 3” at the top and 5” on the bottom. Once completed, I will revolve my sketch around my origin Y axis making sure I am not at a full 360 degrees. The small opening that will be created by not fully revolving the section will allow Inventor to be able to flatten the cone. Remember, a quick short cut to the revolve command will be to select "R" from the keyboard. Once created you will convert your standard .ipt file into a sheet metal file and make sure to change your metal thickness in the sheet metal styles to match your sketch. To create the flat pattern you will need to select the inner or outer face of the cone, and then select the flat pattern command. This is one way to create a sheet metal cone, but there are many others. Have fun with it and find the best way to suit your needs.

Check out my video of how to do this.

Dave Another one of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Face Fillets: You need to see it to believe it.

One of the features that you may have read about when Inventor 2008 was released was a new "Face Fillet" option in Inventor's usual Fillet command. The face fillet option will allow a fillet to be created between two faces that don't even share a common edge! If you haven't seen the new tool in action, take a look at the following video for a quick example:


Until next time,
Ben with the Incat CAD Geeks

iFeature Help

Have you utilized the power of iFeatures at your company? If you have, you probably have created many shapes that you use over and over in your daily designs. Problem is, how do other designers in your company know how to place the objects? Worse yet, what if you forget how! No worries. Check out this short video on how to attach a word document that you can access when placing an iFeature. You can use it as a way of outlining the steps for easy placement.

Check out my video here:

Happy modeling...

John with the INCAT Cadgeeks

Move off MDT already....Inventor is the way to go - Part 2

To continue the series here are few more reasons why MDT users need to make the move.

  1. Inventor Graphics - OK when AutoCAD came out it was cool, but 25 years later you need a more up to date way to look at 3d models, and the Inventor Graphics are light years ahead of the MDT/AutoCAD based graphics.

Sample Image -http://screencast.com/t/CZqI4eSqK

  1. Inventor Studio - Rendering! not shading:) Inventor has photorealisitic rendering built right in. Once you model a part or assembly you are only about 5 clicks away from a photorealisitic rendering.

Sample Image - http://screencast.com/t/uSJ14n89FM

  1. Feature Previews - Within MDT you can only rely on the image within the dialog boxes to try and figure out the impact a feature will have before you add it. Within Inventor you get real time previews on almost every feature type, even lofts!

Sample Image - http://screencast.com/t/vCUTygPi


Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Working with Frame Generator Bill of Materials

Anytime I work with customers using the frame generator tool inside Inventor I am asked how to customize the information being displayed. An example of this would be that your company requires the part number to be the stock number and that you also need to display the total length of a given object for that part number. Today you maybe manually entering a part number and maintaining the proper length this can be time-consuming and error-prone task. With the use of simple expressions inside the Bill of Materials dialog box these task are made simple and automatic. The following illustrations show the before and after.

Check out my video of how to do this.


Dave Another one of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Make That Drawing View Simpler to Read!

Back when I had a real job as a designer, I always hated having to sort through my complicated assembly views. Well with Inventor, you can pick and choose which parts in the view show up with or without hidden lines. This can take that very complicated view and make it a lot simpler to relay the exact information that you want.

Check out my video of how to do this.

Another one of the INCAT CAD Geeks

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Batch plotting Inventor files with AutoCAD

Yet another great example of what can be accomplished with Autodesk's DWG TrueConnect technology. Batch plotting or publish Inventor DWG drawings can now be done through the AutoCAD publish interface. This allows a single tool to be used for plotting both Inventor and AutoCAD based drawings.

Check out an example in this link:

Posted by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks.

Work Planes

One of the things that always bothered me about using work features in Inventor, when I first started, was that I had to keep going back to restart the command when I wanted to place more features. Well, as I always say, "it's a right click away" from what your looking for in Inventor. When you are in one of the work features commands, such as work plane, right click in the graphics window. There is an option to "Repeat Command". Toggle it on and the command stays active until YOU want to stop placing features.

Check out this link to see it for yourself: http://screencast.com/t/fNLTj4UA

I also show a way to create a work plane by creating two axis to define the plane....all in the same step. Inventor neatly tucks both axis under the work plane in the browser AND suppresses them.

John from the INCAT Cad Geeks

Dimension to Apparent Intersection within an Inventor IDW

I was recently asked how to dimension to Apparent Intersection within an Inventor IDW.
I thought I would post since I do recall learning this for the first time and it was one of those commands that isn't very discoverable. :(

Link to Video to see how

Hope this helps

Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Move off MDT already....Inventor is the way to go - Part 1

Year after year I still bump into a few Autodesk Mechanical Desktop Users floating around. So I wanted to create a list of features that I thought really makes the jump well worth considering if your still using MDT. Feel free to add some of your own by posting a few comments.

Assembly Modeling - Part 1:

1. Drive Constraints - This command allows you to take your assembly constraints and show them in motion to better understand how your concept will function.

2. Contact Solver - This tool allows you to have your parts physically stop or move as they bump other components.

3. Flexible Status - The ability to have a sub assembly placed multiple times but function as it does in real life independently of the others.

Also down in the file sharing zone below on this blog I have uploaded a white paper on how to move some of your MDT data sets forward into inventor. Link to PDF.

More to come on this topic...Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks