New Batch brewing at INCAT labs......2009 Data Management Batch Plot that is

Last year the crew here at INCAT Labs created our FREE batch plot application for downloading. We have recently released the 2009 based version for use.

Download it here

"The INCAT Autodesk Data Management Batch Plot application was created to provide batch plotting and printing capabilities for vaulted Autodesk CAD files within Autodesk Vault and Productstream."

This version supports the following programs:
Autodesk Vault 2009
Autodesk Productstream 2009
AutoCAD 2009
AutoCAD Electrical 2009
Autodesk Inventor 2009

Automatic DWF publish from Autodesk Vault

One of my favorite features of using Autodesk Vault is the fact that DWF's get created automatically. Basically everytime you check a new version of a design into the Vault a new DWF file gets created. Another recent update is that we can now replicate your exact Vault folder structure to any network folder for viewing needs using this option shown below:

Hopefully you can use this feature to help share DWF's or maybe this will encourage you to consider Vault to help streamline your design sharing needs.
Kevin with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Why are you modeling standard parts?

Nothing was worse when I was a designer having to meet a deadline but did not have the standard parts I needed to complete my design. I had three options spend the time to model the part, which meant finding who had the catalog I needed second option revise something that was similar or hopefully be able to download an iges or step file if it even existed and deal with the black magic of translating. Today from the Inventor interface I have popular manufacture’s catalog data available with native Inventor files. This is not something new but this site has expanded greatly with rich data, again from a large list of manufacturer’s. Check out the Supplier Content Center work inside of your manufacturer's catalog online.Check it out
Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

That blended fillet has to be HOW BIG?

One of the new options in Inventor 2009 is the ability to automatically calculate the minimum required setback distance in muli-radius fillets. This can be used to create the smallest fillet area possible when intersecting multiple radii at one vertex.

Take a look at the example video:

Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Working With PCB's.....Importing IDF Information with Inventor Professional

One of the lesser know file types that you can work with inside of Inventor is PCB translater files. These include files of .brd, .emn, .bdf, and .idb.

It is a very simple process to bring the files in and create either a part file or an assembly file.

You have the ability to edit this information also after bringing it into Inventor as well.

Jim.......Another INCAT CAD Geek!

Square to Round Loft in Sheet Metal with Autodesk Inventor

I have had a lot of customers ask about making a square to round lofted sheet metal part that would actually flatten out. I have created a template part for this operation and tied that part to a spreadsheet to allow for quick configuration of the part to fit your need. The method I used was creating a 40 sided polygon for the circle and placing 1/4 of a 40 sided polygons in all four sides of the square instaed of fillets. Then I mapped all the transistion points.

Take a look and see if this part can work for you.

Follow the link to download the part file and excel spreadsheet that controls it.


Justin, Another one of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Flip the switch to 3 gig with Inventor

How can I improve capacity for large assemblies or drawings?

Please note that Windows allocates Virtual memory to an application. This is the Address Space available to any application. The size of this Address space is a function of the design of the operating system, not the physical memory installed on the system. More physical memory will increase performance, but not address space. Inventor, like any Windows application, is limited by the address space allocated to it by the Windows Operating System. Whatever the limit, Inventor users may run into it. A warning will be issued when you reach 80% of the available address space. It is advisable to save your work as soon as possible. When windows issues a message that a memory request has been denied, Inventor is no longer intact.At the 80% warning, exit Inventor saving your results. Restart Inventor and re-load your work. This removes memory allocations that are no longer needed because that work has been accomplished.

In a 32-bit computer (as Windows XP is) there is 4GB of memory address space.

2GB of this address space is reserved for the system. 2GB is reserved for the applications. When you add the /3GB switch to the boot.ini, it is taking 1GB of available address space reserved for the OS and giving it to the applications.

This can provide better performance for memory intensive programs like Inventor. However, there could be potential side-effects for the system of course. But nothing too much to worry about, or otherwise it would never be recommended. The boot.ini file is how you enable the option for the 3GB switch. It allows the 2GB that is dedicated to the system to give up 1GB and add it to the 2GB that is dedicated to the applications.

See the example boot.ini file below:
[boot loader]

[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional /3GB Switch" /3GB /fastdetect

****Before changing your boot.ini file save a backup****

Follow the video on how to do this remember once you have made the change to your boot file you must restart your system. When your system reboots you will have a choice to select the 3 gig environment. Launch Inventor, go to the Help pull down menu and select about Autodesk Inventor to confirm Inventor has recognized the switch. Information provided from a AUGI Forum.

Check it out

Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

This isn't your daddy's old SHELL TOOL...Check It Out!

A manifold is an abstract mathematical space in which every point has a neighborhood which resembles Euclidean space, but in which the global structure may be more complicated. In discussing manifolds, the idea of dimension is important. For example, lines are one-dimensional, and planes two-dimensional.

Wow! I hope I didn't scare you to death with that one?!? LOL

Let's take a look at how we can quickly create a manifold for machine use by SHELLING out a solid.

This is a comon problem that I have seen in the past with some of my customers.

They have taken some more complex approaches at making manifolds than they will have to from now on.

Inventor 2009 has improved the functionality of the SHELL tool to allow unchained face selections for removal.

This will alllow for multiple input/output points on a manifold.

Jim.......Another INCAT CAD Geek!

Total Material Utilization - Inventor Parts List Roll-Up

One of the more advanced Parts List capabilities in Inventor is the ability to roll-up total quantities of common items in a parts list. This is accomplished through the "Group Settings" button in the Parts List dialog box. An example might be to get a total length of a particular material used in a design. This can be particularly useful when used in conjuction with the new Filter (search the blog for Dave's post) tool in Inventor's parts list.

For an example of parts list roll-up check out this video:

Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Take off those PDF Goggles - Dwf_it....Please

As I visit customers, I see a lot of them take digital pictures of things that they are incorporating their designs into. Back in the day, we took field measurements and maybe took some old school pictures because we didn't have digital. In the digital age we are able to capture those images and quickly analyze them to see a potential impact on the job we quoted.

Autodesk Design Review will let you read in those digital images and make markups to share with the design team before the design takes place. In the video, notice how easy it is to read in a JPEG and alter it to share with the rest of the design team.

Since I didn't have any mechanical engineering images available (I just got a new laptop), I used my lovely daughter Kate (she'll be 3 in July) as my markup suspect.

Take a look at how DWF technology can be incorporated into your company and link all of your engineers in this rapidly moving digital world.

John with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Check 1, Check 2, Mic check......whoops....Model Checking for Autodesk Inventor 2009

The INCAT CAD Geeks team is at again...We have created a model checking tool for Autodesk Inventor called Icheck. This tool will allow to create, enforce, and share your company modeling practices and 3d CAD standards. Down below are a a few examples from the list of 70 different checks.

Read more on our website and check out the demo with this link.

Enjoy and let me know if you have questions by emailing me at

Kevin with the INCAT CAD GEEKS

Sample checks from Icheck for Autodesk Inventor

File Name and iProperties Ensure adherence to file naming conventions and population of Inventor iProperties.

First Sketch Constrained to Origin check - Ensures that you and your co-workers lock down your sketch to the parts origin - an easily forgotten yet important step. Now iCHECK is your double-checker.

Fully Constrained Sketch For many users, remembering to fully constrain your sketches is easy to overlook. Now your are just one button click away to highlighting and finding anything you might have missed in your part file.

Part Feature Order, Part Feature Sizes and Suppressed Features Not Allowed Help make better 3D part modelers out of your designers by using these checks to control and monitor your modeling best practices.

Adaptivity & Visibility Setting In the context of the assembly, use iCHECK's Autocorrect feature to find any parts you might have left invisible or in adapativy mode and quickly switch them back.

Drawing Dimension Override One of the most powerful features Inventor allows is reuse of your model dimensions in your drawing. Using this check ensures no one can override the texts for those powerful model dimensions.

Allowed Dim Styles Setting CAD standards is one thing, enforcing them is another. Use this check to make sure your users use the correct COMPANY Dimensions Styles in your drawings.

Take the Design Work Out of Using O-Rings in Design

When designing I needed to know so much more when working with O-Rings, not just the ring I was going to use but also the proper sizing of the groove it needs to reside in. The Design Accelerator inside of Inventor takes care of all that for me.

The O-Ring Generator inserts an O-Ring in a groove. O-Ring Component Generator creates seals and grooves on cylinders and flat surfaces (axial seals). It is not possible to insert O-Rings on non-circular cylinders or custom groove paths for axial seals.

If you insert seals on cylindrical surfaces, precise diameters are required for the rod and the bore. You must create the cylindrical surfaces prior to using the O-Ring Generator.

O-Rings are available in several materials and cross-sections. Only circular cross-section O-Rings are supported. You cannot add materials to the existing O-Rings in Content Center.

Two types of O-Ring seal geometry are supported. Radial seals are located between two cylindrical surfaces. There is a groove in one of the surfaces to contain the O-Ring, and the other surface has the appropriate diameter so the O-ring is properly compressed. Axial seals are on flat surfaces. The circular O-Ring groove is cut into the housing or the cover plate. The diameter of the groove depends on whether it is exposed to internal or external pressure.

Check it out
Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

1971....Shaft is the name...... Creating Shafts with Autodesk Inventor

In the last few weeks I've run into more than a few people who design equipment that require them to design shafts. I quickly found out that many of them do this the hard way and do it by either extruding a round shape and adding features or by drawing the profile in a sketch and revolving it.

Well I'm here to shed some light on your design techniqes.
Welcome the Shaft Builder - Design Accelerator.

This tool is available to you inside of Inventor today.

Jim....Another INCAT CAD Geek!

Inventor 2009 is "Stacked" - And so is its text now

Inventor 2009 now allows the ability to Auto-Stack text in any of the text editing dialog boxes. Much like AutoCAD, Inventor now prompts us to how we want to display a fraction such as 7/8 or 1 1/2. There are options for horizontal or diagonal fractions, and the position or size of the fraction can also be adjusted.

Take a look at this video for an example of the options that are now available:

Contributed by Ben of the Incat CAD Geeks

Everyone Likes Shortcuts

You can use a little Windows technology and incorporate it into your Inventor workflows.....

I always like when I visit a customer and the manager comes over with his laptop and his entire desktop is covered with icons..."Shortcut to..". There are so many that it would seem confusing and time consuming to find the one you want. I got to thinking that maybe this could be applied to an engineer using Inventor and needing to access a file quickly.

There are a couple of different workflows that you could use to create a shortcut to a specific file that you are working on. Let's take a look at a few. In the video below, I'll show how you can use the Windows shortcut creator to browse and select a file as well as creating a shortcut directly on a specific file. And lastly, if you really want to send the shortcut to your desktop, you can do that as well....You just might want to do it sparingly!

John with the INCAT CAD Geeks

New Options for Importing From Excel into a Sketch

Back in release 2008 of Inventor the ability to import from an excel spreadsheet was added but at that time it was only point data. Now with 2009 you have the ability to import that point data with two new options. You can have Inventor create line geometry between those points or spline geometry. This will work for x,y coordinates from a 2d import or x,y,z coordinates from a 3d import.Check it out

Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Adapt to your situations...with adaptivite models

I was presenting a web cast yesterday when I was asked a question. "I made gear that has no drive hole, and I have a shaft with a special shape to it. How do I get the shaft shape cut into the gear?"

Well that is probably a common thing to happen in designs I thought. So the answer I gave him was to put them into the assembly and then edit the gear in the assembly to create an adaptive link to the shaft.

Thanks to Cecil from Sealy Co. for letting me use his parts to solve his problem.

Jim.....Another INCAT CAD Geek!

Inventor 2009 Sketching Improvements - A new view of freedom

Inventor 2009 has improved in the area of sketch constraints. Here are three that caught my eye:

1) Tangent constraints are automatically inferred when using the arc command. It is no longer required to add an additional tangent constraint after sketching a slot.

2) The display of the coincident sketch constraints has been removed and replaced with a dot at the coincident location instead. This dramatically cleans up the display of sketch constraints, and allows us a simpler view of only relevant constraints.

3) A new degree of freedom display is now available in sketches. It has always been possible to determine which geometry was underconstrained by the color of the geometry, but this was sometimes hard to see if using certain background colors. It is now much easier to determine where additional dimensions and constraints are required without "stretching" the geometry.

Take a look at the new techniques in this short video:
Watch Video Here

Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

More Sheet Metal Inventor 2009 Updates

We have talked about some of the improvements to the Sheet Metal capabilities in Inventor 2009. Two more supported items to add to the list is the ability to accurately unfold large bend radii and the "arc weld" corner option. In this Monday edition of Ask the CAD Geek, we'll take a look.

Short and sweet, just like Mondays should be!

John with the INCAT CAD Geeks.

Vote for the INCAT CAD GEEKS classes at AU 2008

This week the voting opened for Autodesk U 2008, if you have never been to or heard of Autodesk U, there is no better place to fill your brain with Autodesk knowledge.


Below are a few Instructors from the INCAT CAD GEEKS team that would love you votes.

Kevin Robinson - AutoCAD Mechincal, Autodesk Inventor, and CAD Management
Dan Miles - Inventor Related
Dave Fetz - Inventor Realted
Rob Stein - AutoCAD Electrical Classes

Hope to see you in Vegas
Kevin with the INCAT CAD GEEKS

Using Project Geometry to Create Parts Inside of an Assembly

Project edges, vertices, work features, loops, and curves from existing sketches onto the current sketch plane. You can use the projected geometry in the current sketch as a profile or path, or to constrain or dimension sketch curves or points.

In an assembly, project edges of a component cut by an assembly section view, if the uncut part intersects the sketch plane. The projected edges are not associative and does not update when the parent geometry is moved or resized.

The size and position of projected geometry is fixed relative to the originating sketch (reference geometry). You can constrain sketch geometry to the projected geometry. The projected geometry moves or changes when its parent sketch moves or changes. Sketch geometry that is constrained to the projected geometry also moves.

You can automatically project reference geometry onto the sketch plane by selecting options from the Sketch tab in Application Options.

Autoproject edges during curve creation
Automatic reference edges for new sketch

Check out my video of how to do this.
Submitted by Dave of the INCAT CAD Geeks