3 for 1......Three quick tips in one

Keyboard shortcuts, Sketch Pattern Settings and Repeat Workplanes.........

Today I just wanted to quickly highlight a few tips that I felt were easy to apply soon after you see the video.

Keyboard Shortcuts - I started on AutoCAD and love typing commands!

Sketch Pattern Settings - When using the Sketch Pattern command I like having a bit more flexibility in case i was creating something like offset work planes that i want to control from a sketch.

Repeat - When i create work planes sometimes I need more than one at a time, so just Right Click and toggle on repeat.

Enjoy, Kevin with the INCAT CAD GEEKS

View Representations or Level of Detail What’s Right For You?

You can save both types of representation with a name and activate it for modeling tasks or select it for creating drawings, presentations, and derived assemblies. So which one makes sense. If working in large assemblies LOD has the advantage. This allows you to suppress components to save memory the negative is when adding a component to your assembly it automatically gets added to all LOD you have created. View Representations takes over there allowing you to lock each representation created so when adding components they can be added to the master without affecting the others but has no memory saving option. In a perfect world LOD with ability to lock representation would be great.

Check out my video of how to do this.

Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Interference Check Mate! - I Win Again

We have all had the misfortune of being strapped of time and rushed through making designs in our past. Don't you wish you had the tool in 2D to check your assembly for crashes and interferennces?

Inventor to the rescue! When making your designs in 3D with Inventor, you can always take a check of the assembly to see what is crashing or not.

I whish I had this back in the old days of 2D.....would have made some of my days alot easier.


Jim......Another one of the INCAT CAD Geeks.

Explicit angles instead of Expletives for angles

New to the upcoming Inventor 2009 is an option in the "Angle" assembly constraint called "Explicit Reference Vector". This allows us to define a direction perpendicular to the rotation direction and thereby enforce the "right hand rule". Check out this video for an example:


Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks.


Well, we have all been there. Trying to accomplish what seems like a simple task on our computer only to find that it just isn't working. On almost every application there is a help pulldown menu. How "helpful" is it to a specific task you are trying to accomplish? Take a look at most of them and they quickly lead to extensive searching and some really dry reading. Most of us are lead to "Google it" or some other web search engine to find some real answers (which might be how you found our website). Autodesk has done a really nice job of adding very useful information right from the help menu. From traditional Help topics to What's new, Tutorials and Skill builders there is a lot of useful information included right from the help menu.

Check it out, it might make you feel a little less helpless.


Of course, don't forget to bookmark us for more cutting edge stuff and in depth knowledge.
John with the INCAT CAD Geeks.

3D Part Template

Templates are not just used for setting drawing and part standards. I have found a great use working with commonly used parts in a design, in this case I never know the actual length of my given part and it may change throughout my design creation. My video shows the creation of this part template and working with it inside my design. In this case I could have taken advantage of frame generator but at times that functionality does have limitations. Remember any part you choose to use as a template must be saved in a template folder.

Check out my video of how to do this.


Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Just Relax....with Inventor 3D Grips

Recently we covered 3d grips during our web based user group meeting (click here).

3d grips are a very powerful way to rapidly edit your models. However, sometimes this can be dangerous in the wrong hands, so be sure to review the 3d Grips application options and this video to learn more.


Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Patterns...Not just checkers and stripes anymore!!

Most of us get caught up in making very linear types of designs and everything is in nice neat rows and columns. HOW BORING ARE WE PEOPLE? Lets put some patterns into some parts that make people give us a "WOW!"

Inventor has the tools we need to make this today, we can put patterns onto a spline easily.

Check out the (2) quick videos on this funcionality.

Watch Video 1

Watch Video 2

I think it is so cool and just imagine the possibilties after you see it.

Jim, another one of the INCAT CAD Geeks!

Copy Cat 3: Coming to a CAD model near you!

Do you ever run across situations where you would like to pattern or mirror a feature, but they won't work because your intended result isn't to have symmetrical features?

Try Copying the feature instead. You can copy features from one face onto another, and can even link the copy to the parameters of the original.

Check out this video to see how it's done: http://www.screencast.com/t/gwxDNTlV

Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks.

$95 CAD Training update....

A few weeks back I mentioned our ILDL program, $95 Instructor led CAD training from YOUR desk. Well the web site is live so check it out HERE

Link to blog post discussing the details

Kevin with the INCAT CAD GEEKS

Award winning......Techsmith picks the geeks

Sweet....."Camtasia Studio Screencast of the Week" LINK HERE

Find out more about Camtasia Studio and the power of desktop recording

As referenced in a past blog post we love our techsmith products!


Thanks Techsmith Team

Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

First Ever....Inventor Web based user group meeting

Last week we hosted the first ever Inventor web based user group meeting. Over the last 4 years here at INCAT myself and my team have launched 5 land based user groups and 3 web based user groups. Last week was the kick off for the Inventor web based one, where as the other two focus on Data Management and AutoCAD Electrical. Learn more about our user groups HERE

We covered 4 topics:

  • 3d Grips

  • Imate basics

  • icheck for Inventor (3d CAD Standards Checker)

  • Highlighted a few Inventor 2009 new features

The recording of the webcast will be posted HERE and if you would like to sign up for future emails about our user groups please take this SURVEY Even if you didn't make the meeting, this survey will allow you to tell us if you want future notifications about user groups etc.

Thanks and hopefully you can join us for a future meeting.

Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Material Dependent Hatching

Hatching can now be controlled by the type of material that is assigned to a part. This can be extremely useful if you create a lot of section drawings and need better clarification. Keep in mind that Inventor provides two options to minimize the time needed to set up
the Hatch Pattern Defaults. Material names can be read directly from the active style library, or they can be read from the material definitions stored in a specific part file. Either way, it will help you churn out production drawings faster with less time spent "cleaning up" your views to get the look you want.

See how easy it is....
John with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Whats new in Inventor 2009 - Drawing View Crop

This will be the first of many post to quickly highlight newer features coming in Inventor 2009.

The first one is Drawings View Crop. Basically you can take any view and crop out what you dont need to see. I will post a video this weekend so consider this a tease.

Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

And you thought you had a "SPLIT" personality....

Well since much of todays designs are now being focused on ergonomics and customer appeal, I thought I'd throw a quick way to start making those type of parts out at you without using surfaces. Sure we can do surfaces but check out how easy it can be done.we'll create a part with "nice curves" and only take a few minutes to do. By the way you won't get in trouble for looking at these curves.

I captured it in a quick video....please excuse my voice, I have a slight cold.

It isn't a Speilberg picture but it's pretty GEEKED OUT.

Jim...One of the INCAT CAD Geeks.

ReName those Stubborn file in Autodesk Vault

One of the things I see many Inventor users struggle with is renaming their Inventor files from a descriptive name to a "Part Number". This typically breaks the links with any referencing files, and requires all of the files to be "Resolved" in any place they have been used.

Autodesk Vault offers a much better solution that allows batch renaming of files, and it even repairs links in files that would otherwise be broken. Check out this ScreenCast video for an example:


Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks.

Finding my way....

A little known searching tool in Inventor can be used to locate all sorts of useful information. I guess that's why it's called Find....It can be accessed in the open dialouge to find files as well as for searching contents of files while you have them open. It offers different options based on what type of file you have open. For instance: If I have a part open, I can search sketches and features that meet certain criteria. If I have an assembly open, there are quite a few options for searching there as well.

I'm sure you will "find" some way to use this often overlooked but powerful tool.

John with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Copy Cat 2 - Making your dimension settings match

In one of the most recent versions of Inventor (R11 or 2008) this tool was added to the right click menu within drawings so at anytime you could copy properties from one annotation to another.

Check out this video to the tool in action - WATCH VIDEO HERE


Kevin with the INCAT CAD GEEKS

Copy Cat.....Quickly copy iproperties from part to part

Many of us that where around pre-vault recall using Design Assistant for a number of tasks realted to updating part information. Just in case you forgot how easy Design Assistant was to use for this task as well, here is a quick video showinh how fast you can copy iproperties from one file to many.

Hopefully you will find this helpful

Kevin with the INCAT CAD GEEKS

What does $95 in the CAD world get you these days.......How about 4 hours of CAD training!

What does $95 in the CAD world get you these days.......How about 4 hours of CAD training!

Last fall the INCAT CAD Geeks kicked off our remote training solution with great results, so we are ready to go for round two, classes start in early March and run through June. Basically we have broken down our traditional classroom training into half day blocks and can conduct it over the web with a LIVE instructor, using really cool technology.

Our website will be updated soon, but I couldnt wait to share the news. Email me if you want further info sooner @ krobinson@incat.com but I will repost here on the blog once the site is live.

Hopefully your boss will spring for this simple, cost effective, training approach.
Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Below are the Inventor ones, but we also have AutoCAD, Electrical, Mechincal and we now are even having Essentials courses for newbies!

With a grand total of 20 different classes broken into half day blocks and over 150 hours of training without leaving the office. SWEET

Autodesk® Inventor™ Series 2008: Transitioning from Inventor 11
Duration : 3 Half Day Sessions

Autodesk® Inventor™ Series 2008: Advanced Assembly and Machine Design
Duration : 3 Half Day Sessions

Autodesk® Inventor™ Series 2008: Sheet Metal Design
Duration : 3 Half Day Sessions

Autodesk® Inventor™ Series 2008: Inventor Studio
Duration : 1 Half Day Session

Autodesk® Inventor™ Series 2008: Importing Data for Fixture Design
Duration : 2 Half Day Sessions

Autodesk Inventor Professional Autodesk® Inventor™ Professional 2008: Dynamic Simulation & Stress Analysis
Duration : 2 Half Day Sessions

Autodesk® Inventor™ Professional 2008: Tubing and Piping
Duration : 2 Half Day Sessions

Set the cruise control “Part 1”

Autolimits, a tool I wish I would of had available to me when I was designing the last fourteen years. This allows the designer to concentrate strictly to designing. I would have used all three types of the autolimits. On the dimensional side I would of added autolimits to all my cylinder files to set-up for stroke distances and would have always made sure I always had stroke to go for an example. Area-Perimeter I would have used for when I was designing inside a swing radius for a machine. The last one physical property I would have used on at least 85% of the jobs I have done over the years. I seemed to be always working on a design that had some type of weight restriction and having autolimits would have definitely saved time in the design phase and probably took the word rework off of the shop floor because of weight issues.

AutoLimits are categorized as monitoring three different types of input
1. Dimensional
2. Area-Perimeter
3. Physical Property

AutoLimits are designed to be used sparingly, monitoring only critical design information of interest to you. In an assembly, only AutoLimits in the edited document are enabled and displayed. AutoLimits existing at other levels (subassembly or components) are neither visible nor accessible until that level or component is edited.

AutoLimit boundaries use both color (green, amber, red) and shape (circle, triangle, square) to provide feedback related to boundary conditions. The colors equate to conditions:
• Green: within boundary limit
• Amber: near boundary limit
• Red: exceeds boundary limit

The following short video shows working with setting the Physical Property Limit dealing with mass. Watch how my display changes when I have exceeded my limit.

Check out my video of how to do this.


Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

I'll Take Multiple Parts for $1,000...Alex

So here we are trying to get our assembly built and I am sick of placing each part into the assembly one at a time.
Well help is hear TODAY!! Yes we can insert groups of parts right into the assembly file and then start placing constraints to hold them together.
We can either multi-select from the place component dialogue box or we can also drag and drop from a Windows Explorer file list.

Check out this super time saver for assembly building in this quick video:
Click for video

One of the INCAT CAD Geeeks!

Autodesk Labs in action again......3D Share Now

This video shows how you can use the newer Autodesk Labs tool to quickly share your Inventor models OVER THE WEB! Link here to learn more and download the free tool.

Kevin with the INCAT CAD GEEKS

Clarify your Drawing intent with Isometric Dimensions

For those of you that have been using Inventor for a while, I wanted to make sure you haven't fallen into a rut with your dimensioning techniques. Check out this example of dimensioning in Inventor drawing views as an example of what can be done in Inventor 2008!

Submitted by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks.

It's all in the Presentation...

I've often been asked how easy is it to create an exploded view to send to someone to clarify a design. Well, for most small assemblies, it's almost too easy. Check out my video on how to create an exploded view with different sequences, camera angles and assembly instructions. Then, it's published to DWF for sharing with anyone. Notice how the DWF captures everything you have in Inventor.... complete with the parts needed for each step of assembly.

I wish they would include this with some of my kids toys I have to put together!

John with the INCAT Cad Geeks

Our Blogs backbone........ cool apps we get to use

Our team of INCAT CAD Geeks love sharing our knowledge abour the Autodesk MSD productline. However we also rely heavily on a few other tools to bring you a higher level of content in the form of images and videos. So I wanted to do a quick technology overview of the tools we use since I feel very stongly that all of you can benefit in a number of ways from the same technology. So here goes, but I will also post something more CAD related later today.

The Blog tool itself - Blogger and feedburner from Google, All Free (We are newbies to the world of blogging, but I think the site gets the job done, but you can give us your thoughts.

Autodesk MSD products - Duh :)

Videos, Images, content storage - All of the images and the videos we post links to are all powered by Techsmith products.

For many of you that I have worked with over the last few years you most likely already heard me tell stories and or demo Snag It or Camtasia Studio both are wonderful tools that can help communicate your designs and share your knowledge around the office. However thier are TWO new products to the Techsmith family that are really the fuel for the our content here on the Blog.

  1. Jing - This wonderful application allows a seamless way to share images and videos to whomever or just allow another quick way to capture ideas for your own usage.

  2. Screencast - This is the online service for sharing any and all of your media.

I know we love both tools and they make our job of sharing our CAD Geek skills with you much easier, so thank you Techsmith (Betsy and friends) and Google......and keep cranking out cool applications.

Techsmith Blog

So please check out these tools and consider adding them to your toolkit. Please feel free to drop me a note if you want me show these great tools in action...

Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks