Green.......We all need to take part!

To take special note of EARTH DAY being this week, I have found a very cool tool to add to Inventor. The great people at Autodesk Labs have created an add in report tool.

After a quick download and install you can edit materials to make note of them being recycleable or even toxic.

We all need to do our part to help reduce waste and to help reduce cost, and this tool will help you quickly identify parts of your designs that can be GREEN.

Check out my video here:

Download it here:

Enjoy, and Happy EARTH DAY!
Jim...Another INCAT CAD Geek!

FEA - Reverse Engineered

One of the easliy overlooked features of the FEA module in Inventor Pro's FEA is the ability to reverse engineer the loading scenarios by specifying a known deflection instead of a load. This allows you to determine if a part will be structurally sound at a known deflection, and also allows us to determine the reaction forces at a known deflection.
Take a look at this video for an example of this hidden gem:
Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

FEA (Found Extra Additional stuff)

While working with the FEA portion of Inventor Professional recently, I found some additional workflows that may be a time saver for those performing calculations and edits.
1) Edit geometry while in the context of the FEA application.
My old workflow was to switch back to the part environment to make edits to my model. You can access your features by expanding the browser, right clicking on faces to create new sketches, heck, you can even double click and use 3D grips!
2) Export results of FEA.
Yes I know there is the "Report" button that exports all the results in an html format, but what if I want some of that data connected to my drawings or accessable in my models? After running the simulation, click on the paramaters button. Here you can choose some results such as min. and max Safety Factor and the numbers you used and output them to the part iProperties.

Check It Out Here

Spell Check with Autodesk Inventor

Yesterdays post discussed some of the add-ins that ship with Inventor.

Well another one that is super cool! is good ole spell check.

Here is the location within the SDK folder to install, and you can watch the video to see it in action.
folder: C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Inventor 2009\SDK\UserTools\GeneralTools

Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

If you like the idea of substitutes, what better than automatic substitutes with Inventor 2009

Digging a little deeper into those folders I traditional over look that come with your Inventor media. I was surprised with a ton of great functionality. The one near and dear to my heart is Assembly Tools that contains many great enhancements but my favorite is the ability to automatically create substitutions inside of assembly files. If you do a standard load you will be able to find this information at the following path. Please poke around at the other great features included for all areas of Inventor. It would be great to hear back on what you like and don’t like also. C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Inventor 2009\SDK\UserTools.

Check out my video of how to do this.

Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Is that Mold on your screen?

Well now that I have your attention....I was at one of my customers this week and they are heavy into making molds. Not for Blue Cheese either, the kind for making injection molded parts.

They get files from all sorts of CAD software and want to simplify how they make mold parts for the cavities.

Here is a simple way to start doing this in Inventor today. We started with a derived component, and the sculpt command.


Jim.....Another INCAT CAD Geek!

How are you sharing designs? With the free Autodesk Design Review?

One of the free products offered by Autodesk that I find customers are still unaware of is Autodesk Design Review. This is essentially a DWF viewing software on steriods that works with published files from any Autodesk software, as well as any other files that have been "printed" to dwf.

Autodesk Design review is available free at this site:

The dwf writer is available free here:

Take a look at this video for an example of Design Review and a look at the interface:

Watch Video
Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Crop view with Inventor 2009

Quickly crop views in the drawing when you need to show one side of a symmetrical part or where you only need to show a small part of a larger part or assembly. The new Crop View tool supports rectangular, circular and polygonal crop windows and avoids the need to use the breakout tools you may have traditional done in the past. The crop sketch supports sketch constraints so you can define the position of the crop window in relation to geometry in the view; you are limited to one crop for supported views.

Check out my video of how to do this.

Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

360 Degrees of Freedom...In Sketches

By now I'm sure you have all gotten used to using derees of freedom in 3D solids. The great people at Autodesk have now broadened the use of this great tool from assemblies to now helping to understand how sketch features are constrained or unconstrained in Inventor 2009.

And can I just say....I love this feature.

You can quickly analize a sketch and see how it will react to changes based on how tightly it is constrained.

Give this new feature a try on your next model.


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

Positional Representation animations in Inventor Studio 2009

Inventor 2009 now allows any positional representations to be communicated to Inventor's Studio environment. This allows you to create an animation of a design transitioning from one assembly position to another.

Watch the Video

Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

iProperties Custom Editor with Inventor 2009 part 2

This is the second part of iProperty enhancements in Inventor 2009. Last week we looked at how we could now edit expressions that we used in an iProperty field. This week we will look at how we can further customize what actually get's output to the iProperty field. Previously you didn't have full control of what format was output to the Custom iProperties tab. Inventor 2009 allows you to control things like units, format and decimal places. You can even select a button that will apply the settings to all like properties!

Watch Video Here

Hope that helps you further take advantage of some nice tools inside of Inventor 2009.

John with the INCAT CAD Geeks

New Publishing File Formats with Inventor 2009

Everytime I am with a new customer I am asked can we save to a PDF? I use to always say why would you want to with the power a dwf posseses and still do. I think it just comes down to the old saying you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Two new file formats have been added to Autodesk Inventor: PDF: A Portable Document Format (PDF) creates formatted documents which appear on the monitor or printer as intended. To view a file in PDF format, you need Adobe Reader, a free application distributed by Adobe Systems.

DWFx: A 3D file. The published 2D data can be viewed in IE7 or the Microsoft XPS Viewer. To view the published 3D data, install the free viewer, Autodesk design Review, available from

Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Sheet Metal Corners in Inventor 2009......Now you have a choice!

In past versions of the sheet metal tools in Inventor the corner choices were somewhat limited.
The new 2009 release of Inventor has added some very nice functionality to the sheet metal tools.

Now we can edit each corner as it's own. No longer are you restricted to a single corner condition created at one time.

Check out this video where I edit the corners of a contour flange part to have several different typs of conditions.

Watch my video here:

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

Camera Path Animations in Inventor 2009

Inventor 2009 now includes the ability to use 2D or 3D paths to define camera animations. This allows camera animations such as walk throughs or complex walk arounds.

The video below is an example of the new Camera Path Animation available in Inventor 2009's Studio environment.

Watch Video Here

Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Edit iProperties Expressions

A nifty added feature in Inventor 2008 allowed you to combine parameter expressions in your iProperties fields. This would allow you to easily create a "stock size" of your parts to be used in your Bill of Materials while maintaining associatvity to the model dimensions. Inventor 2009 offers 2 more ways to better use this new added functionality. This week we will look at one of the new updates....being able to change the expression once it is added to the iPropoerties. In the previous release you had have to completely redo the expression. See how easy it is....

Watch Video Here

Next week we'll look at how we can further customize what we want to go into the iPropoerties with the new formatting tool.

John with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Making Assembly Life more Manageable in Inventor 2009......Derived Assemblies and Substitute LOD's

A new type of Level of Detail (LOD) has been added: Substitute. A Substitute is a part file representing the assembly and is created in the owning or source assembly as a new type of Level of Detail.

The substitute part can be a derived part created from the source assembly. If the substitute part is created in the source assembly by using the context menu selection "Derive Assembly," the part is automatically tagged as a Substitute during the derive process.

When a Substitute Level of Detail is active, all other components are suppressed and hidden in the browser. Significant memory savings can be realized by inserting an assembly with a Substitute Level of Detail active into an upper-level “consuming” assembly. In the video pay attention to the capacity meter watch what using derived assemblies and substitute LOD can do for you.

Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Remember MDT.....Grip Snap Move and Rotate with Ivnentor 2009

Working with a new user of Inventor last week he was complaining of functionality he had in MDT that did not exist in 2008 Inventor, having the ability to move parts inside assemblies from point to point without using constraints. Autodesk Inventor 2009 to the rescue once again, this seems to becoming a very common theme.

A Grip Snap tool for precise moves and rotations has been added to the existing tools to move and rotate one or more components, subassemblies, and work geometry in Assemblies.

The icons automatically shown in a ribbon represent the translational and rotational options available for an entity you select. Tooltips describe the behaviors they represent.

The Heads Up Display provides visual cues for the next action, a place to enter precise values, and can provide feedback about the translational and rotational degrees of freedom for the entity you select.

On the Context menu which is a right click away you can click Done to accept the actions previewed, or Commit and Ground to accept and ground the entities you manipulate with the Grip Snap tool. This tool has a lot of possibilities be sure to check them all out.

Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

More color options than your local tattoo parlor!

Have you ever needed a part to look closer to the real thing and couldn't find an option in the color choices list.

Well here is a very quick and easy way to start adding a splash of realisim to your designs.

The Style and Standards Editor gives you the ability to add Color and Texture to a model and not have to be in Inventor Studio.

I hope this easy functionality brightens up your designs and gives them a touch of realisim at the same time.


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

F-Stop in Inventor?

One of the new options in Inventor2009 is the addition of depth of field settings in the Studio environment.

From the Inventor New Features Workshop:

Camera depth of field has been added. It helps when compositing images and photos. It also adds more of a photographic element to the realistic renders you generate. With the depth of field controls you can:

  • Use focus limits and specify the near and far positions of focus planes.
  • Use the f-Stop option and specify the stop value and focus plane position.
  • Link the focus plane to the camera target.
  • Use the linked focus plane option in conjunction with an animated camera target to get a moving focus effect.

Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks