Thank You Sir May I Have Another....

A simple but useful feature has been included in Inventor 2009.... Place Component Orientation. What this allows you to do is place multiple instances of a component into your assembly based on the LAST INSTANCE orientation. That's a component and position it where you like in your assembly based on the last occurrence. An option in the Application Options allows you to place subsequent instances in the assembly in the same orientation as the last placed instance. This will allow you to insert many components into your designs without having a one and only default orientation. This should make it easier to place multiple components in your designs without having to constantly re-orientate it to what your design dictates.

Check out this Short Video to Show You How:
Watch Me

John with the INCAT CAD Geeks.

Digital Prototyping Task List - #2 "Contact Sets"

As mentioned a few weeks back we all need to create a Digital Prototyping Task List.

Digital Prototyping Task List - #2 "Contact Sets"

Contact sets allow you to check where your assembly interferences take place based on the degrees of freedom. Basically all you need to do it select which parts you want to check, right click turn on Contact Set for each, then use drive and or drag to see where you will interfere with other parts.

Within Document Settings you can also adjust if you want to run this on all parts or just the ones you have in the contact set.

Check out this short highlight video to get you started with DP task #2.


Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Center of Attention, with Inventor 2009

We all know that one person you needs to be the center of attention. When we relate that back to Inventor we could always display the Center of Gravity (COG) and receive X,Y,Z, but not much more. With 2009 Inventor we have some long awaited abilities to utilize the COG. The COG glyph now displays in a part or assembly model with three planes and a point. You can select the planes or point when measuring from an object to the center of gravity. To select the planes or center point, Selection Priority must be set to Feature Priority or lower. You can also resize the planes of the glyph to better match your visual and selection requirements.
To identify and document the center of gravity location in a drawing view, you can select to have a center mark display at the current calculated center of gravity for the model. The center mark's location is associative to the model and you can add annotation to the center mark. In the past you may have done this with adding a sketch point or something else to represent the COG.

Check out my video of how to do this.

Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Will you make your POINT already!...PLEASE

In the days of old when knights were bold and pistols weren't invented. Oops, that is a different story. Ah yes a point, there needs to be a point. Let's take a look at that idea for makng extrusions in Inventor. In the past there were not options to extrude to work points or sketch points, you needed a plane, feature or a known distance.

Well in Inventor 2009 there is added functionality for this work flow. We can now put in a work point or sketch in a point and use that to drive the distance of an extrusion.


Enjoy it,

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

Assembly Instructions DWF

One of the forgetten uses of presentation files in Inventor is for creating great animated assembly instructions. These can easily be published to DWF for free viewing through Autodesk Design Review (free download from

Take a look at this video for the general creation and publishing process:

Watch Video
Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Digital Prototyping Task List - #1 "Drive Constraints"

As mentioned a few weeks back we all need to create a Digital Prototyping Task List.

So here is the first one for you to check out, this great tool enables you to test some basic function of your assembly.

Drive Constraint - Within the context of the assembly you can Right click on your assembly constraints and test the range of motion for the given value. There are tons of different ways to use this command, this short video is only an ice breaker to get you thinking about checking it out.


Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

2009 Parts List Filters

Life is only getting easier with the newest release of Inventor. With the addition of Parts list filters you now have the ability to control which items are displayed in your parts list. Choices you have for filters are: Assembly View Representation, Ballooned Items Only, Item Number Range, Purchased Items and Standard Content. These filters are used in combinations and are available either globally in the Parts List Style, or locally in the Parts List itself. Check out the video to see these items in action.

Check out my video of how to do this.

Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

You won't need that GPS to navigate in 2009

We all feel lost from time to time, but Autodesk wants us to all feel more at home when navigating in the world of 3D. They have adopted an entire new set of Navigation Tools for 2009 products.
Say goodbuy to the Ol' Glass Box. Hello To the Steering Wheel and Smart View Cube!

If you have been on some of the Design review software you will feel right at home.


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

What is that Chrome Reflection?

One of the questions I have commonly run accross is "What is that image in the Chrome Reflection?". In Autodesk Inventor versions prior to the upcoming Inventor 2009 this was hard coded into the software and any change to the default "parking lot" reflection could only be changed with a registry hack. This reflection can now be changed on the "Colors" tab in the Application options. The included images are just a sample of the new available reflections in Inventor 2009.
Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Laying Some Tube and Pipe

While visiting with customers the past couple of weeks, undoubtably there comes a question that I cannot answer due to being less than knowledgable about their specific business needs. A recent visit landed me at someone wanting to know if the tube and pipe module in Inventor had the capability to out put .xyz or .lra files for bending machines.

Huh? Stumped the Chump on that one. But, back at the back CAD Cave, I discovered my friends at Autodesk have me covered again.

Like I always say...your a right click away from finding what you need in Inventor!
Yes I modeled my house in helps for future planning and helps sell the "boss" on improvements. More to come on that topic.

John with the INCAT CAD Geeks.

Create your own Inventor Digital Prototyping task list....

Create your own Digital Prototyping task list .... every spring Inventor adds more and more great new features. However each spring that means you have more to learn. Myself and the rest of the INCAT CAD Geeks are constantly looking for way to help you and our customers take their 3D designs further by learning all the new features. So sometime you have to create a targeted list of things to go and learn, so that is what todays post is all about getting started, but not just for whats new!

Like myself when I first used parametric modeling in the later 90's I was blown away by being able to change my models and it magically updated my drawings. I also loved the fact that drawing creation was a breeze. But over the last few years the tool set has really expanded to add tremendous power right at the fingertips of the designer that really focus on Function more than Form and Fit. So with this post I wanted to START a short list of commands that myself and the INCAT CAD Geek team will highlight in the coming weeks that I feel can empower you to start you own personal "Digital Prototyping Task List" so you can ensure you really taking advantage of your tool set.

Feel free to add more to the list using comments.

Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

  1. Drive Constraints
  2. Contact sets and solver
  3. Auto Limits
  4. Layout sketches
  5. Design Accelerators (Tons in this bucket)
  6. Dyanmic Simulation
  7. Bolted Connections
  8. FEA
  9. More to come......

Feature Recognition

When working with translated data you may have to perform changes to that data or may have to remodel it since it can’t easily be changed. Autodesk Labs to the rescue!!! Feature Recognition allows you to take translated data and create a basic history tree. The history tree will include a base sketch, fillets, chamfers, extruded and revolved features, shell and sweep features and sculpt features. They say on the website it works with neutral cad formats like step, sat and iges but I found it works with solid works data and have not tested any other formats at this time.

Check out my video of how to do this.

Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Open or Closed?, That is the question......

Every time we design some piece of equipment that has motion to it, we need to show it in multiple positions. Is it OPEN? is it CLOSED? help me understand what this thing is doing?

These are all questions I am sure we have all heard from someone trying to assemble a design or someone from outside of the engineering department, who might not have the print reading savy of you.

Well let us all breath a bit easier now that we can create Positional Representations in Inventor.

We can use those to create overlay views right on a drawing view. This will help realy that difficult information a lot easier.

Check out my VIDEO here:

Jim.....Another INCAT CAD Geek!

Inside the Contour Flange with some internal bends

One of the great new Sheet Metal features to come along with Inventor 2008 was the improved Contour Flange command. This could be used to create some elaborate box type shapes, but it had limitations with internal type flanges. Autodesk is improving the sheet metal environment once again with Inventor 2009, and one of the improvements now allows many types of internal contours.

Watch Video Here

Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

iAuthor.... I Am

Using the iAuthor command may save you a lot of time when creating configurations. You don't need to mess around with the editing tables or .xls spreadsheets unless you want to go crosseyed. You can use the toolbar to toggle between editing a single member at a time or the entire factory scope. Inventor then "captures" the edits you make and will add the neccessary parameters or changes you make to the table. That way you can make the edits in an environment that you are most familiar with....the modeling space.


It works the same for iAssemblies as it does for iParts making configurations fast and easy.

John with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Set It and Forget It!!!

You may have seen the infomercial or not, it rings a bell for me working those long hours completing task I just did not have time to complete at work, Task Scheduler to the rescue. This functionality gives me the ability to schedule common task when I am away from my machine. Task like: Migrating files, Updating a design, publishing dwf’s, printing, importing and exporting files, check into and out of vault, retrieving latest versions from vault and converting idw’s to dwg’s. Set up a single task or run multiples at once you pick the time and day.

Check out my video of how to do this.

Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Getting connected. So easy a caveman can do it!

Every good assembly needs to have fasteners to hold it all together. So to help speed up the process of putting in holes and fasteners with constraints, Inventor has a great tool. Bolted Connection creator. This tool allows you to build up types of connections and insert them into assemblies. Fasteners, washers, holes, and nuts, all at the same time.


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

Trim & Extend make the Cut in Inventor 2009

A new option for anyone who has used the trim and extend tools in AutoCAD. Inventor 2009 now allows an explicit selection for cutting edges by holding down the CTL key. This allow a quick trim operation in situations where many picks would have been previously required.
Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

CC on the Rocks.....

I mean Content Center Rocks!

Are you using the Content Center in Inventor? You should be. It contains a million industry standard components such as fastners and steel shapes. I often get asked the question " How do I modify the CC so that it matches my current engineering standards. Check out this quick video to get you started.

Create your own library (remember existing CC data is not editable) and copy existing CC data to edit. You can then customize the data to fit your needs. There are many different ways to approach this but this will get you started...
I remember back in the day having to model nuts and bolts to be used in my design.....thank you Autodesk.

John with the INCAT Cadgeeks