FEA for slender material structures

One of the typical pain points in doing an FEA on long and thin models is that most automatic meshers will not create a mesh that will yield accurate results. A good example of this might be with trusses or similar structures.

Autodesk Algor includes a couple types of elements that can help us solve these situations. One is truss elements and the other is beam elements. These element types let us define the properties of the structural members in the design while only using line geometry to define the form.

Contributed by Ben of the Tata Technologies CAD Geeks.

CAD Geeks on the Road at AU 2009 - Part 1

This week a number of the CAD geeks will be in Las Vegas for AU 2009.
Please stop by the Tata Technologies booth #348 and say hello.

Below are just a few reasons to stop by our booth......for even more info and updates from AU consider becoming a Fan on Facebook

Tomorrow we will release more details of the Inventor CAD Geek Challenge you can do from your desk at work!

Electrical - In's and Out's of Surfer

The easiest way to move from reference to reference inside of electrical is taking advantage of the surfer command. This command has a lot more potential than you may use it for. Take a look at the video I put together of how surfer can be used.


The definition - Moves from reference to reference across the project drawing set. You can surf on a component tag, catalog number, wire number, item number, or a report table cell containing any of these types of values.

Let's take a look!!!
Created by Dave one of the Cad Geeks

All my favorite videos (Autodesk Manufacturing related)

If you have been following the CAD Geeks blog, there are probably some videos on YouTube that might interest you as well.

Autodesk has its own channel with many different playlists available. A few playlists that I have learned from are listed below.

Just make sure you switch to the "Player View" in the upper right after using one of these links.

Two minute tips in Inventor: http://www.youtube.com/user/autodesk#grid/user/5F0BF9F1949DCC2A
My favorite is the Direct parameter name editing two minute tip.

Lifecycles in Vault Workgroup: http://www.youtube.com/user/autodesk#grid/user/E90F2AD408C2ED29
This gives you a good idea of the lifecycle based security in Vault Workgroup and Collaboration.

Autodesk Inventor 2010 Demos: http://www.youtube.com/user/autodesk#grid/user/FB61F87E7D0D2DB4
Assorted vignettes of Inventor in action.

Inventor Ribbon Interface: http://www.youtube.com/user/autodesk#grid/user/B2E9B7E0943ABE53
How to get your hands around the new Ribbon interface.

Inventor Fusion Technology: http://www.youtube.com/user/autodesk#g/c/FBDEE001B06DC76C
Some technology I am looking forward to.

Contributed by Ben of the CAD Geeks

Panel Components - Mount and Group Codes

If you are a user of AutoCAD Electrical I am sure you are well aware of installation and location codes. If not a brief example is the ability to apply extra information to a schematic component to be used as a filter when generating reports, this is the most common example.

When we think about our Panel components we have two extra options available and that is the ability to add mount and group codes to our footprint data when working with panel layouts. They do not allow us to use them as a filter when generating reports for our panels but they do allow us to be use them as fields of information to be reported on when running a panel report for components inside of AutoCAD Electrical.

My example descriptions for each:

Mount - maybe a more defined location of a specific component like Back Plate, Left Side, Upper or Lower inside of a panel or control box.

Group - I think of this like being part of an assembly or kit inside of a design. Could be part of sequence of installation.

Again these are just my ideas please use as you will. Take a look at the short video below.

Let's take a look!!!


Created by Dave one of the Cad Geeks

Security Model example in Vault Collaboration

I have recently posted a bit about folder level security in Vault and how that can restrict people from changing data in locations they shouldn't have access to. Potentially more important is the ability to use the folder security in conjunction with Lifecycle based security.

Take a look at the two vault interfaces in figures 1 and 2 below.

This first is a look at what an engineer or designer might see when logging into Vault:

This second image shows how a shop floor user or other viewer might see using the Vault Collaboration light weight web client:

Notice that the viewer has been configured to only display data that is a "Released" or equivalent state. This ensures that they are viewing only the correct data and at the right time in the files process lifecycle.

Contributed by Ben of the Tata Technologies CAD Geeks

Are you a CAD Geek Ninja ? .........stay tuned for more info

Backups? Vault Backups?

Autodesk Vault backups are an important part of a successful Vault implementation. Take a look at this short video walking you through creating and scheduling a Vault backup event for your local workstation or company server.

Click Here for the new Advanced Config Guide!

This tip is managed by the Tata Technologies Cad Geek Vault

Navisworks - Automatic Animations Part 1

One of the great strengths of the Navisworks product of course is visualization. This not only helps in coordinating activity and showing potential problems that may occur, it can also be used to help sell an idea or give a real life look at movement inside a factory, building or even a robotic work cell. In the short video I have provided I take a look at how to set-up the first step in a animation. The creation of the scene, selection of geometry and capturing of the start and end point of a moving object. Next week I will take it a step further by adding in the automated part to activate the animation while doing a walk thru. Again, if you have any questions about this blog or any other blog posted to this site please feel free to contact us or submit ideas for future blogs by selecting the cadgeek on this site.
Let's take a look!!!


Created by Dave one of the Cad Geeks

What hardware will run Alias effectively?

I get asked all the time what hardware I recommend for running Alias. Personally I have had a lot of luck with the Dell Precision line of workstations. I have also used HP and Dell workstations at the various companies I've worked for with decent results.

What I have observed over the years is that Graphics Cards play a BIG part in how Alias runs on a machine. Don't cheap out on your graphics!!! Spend the money and get a good workstation class card. The key word being "workstation". Workstation class graphics cards are designed specifically for CAD applications. While a high end gaming card may work sometimes, they are not supported.

Below is a link to the Autodesk Hardware Qualification Chart for computers and graphics cards. This chart lists all the currently tested configurations. Use this as a guide when you are getting ready to upgrade or buy a new system.

Hardware Qualification Chart

Created by Aaron... Your Alias CAD Geek!

Hey, where is my command in the Inventor 2010 Ribbon Interface?

The first Autodesk Inventor 2010 service pack has been released and you have finally convinced the Engineering department to move to the new version. The installation goes well and the only question on Monday morning is “Where did my command move to with the new Ribbon?” Take a look at this quick video tip that explains how to use the built in command locator from the Inventor Help resource.

This tip brought to you by another Cad Geek!

Determining Change Impact with Vault

One of the reasons I hear that people initially want to use Autodesk Vault as part of their Inventor work flow is for the Copy Design tool included in all the Vault editions... But organizationally, the gem of Vault might just be the "Where Used" function. This lets an engineer or designer determine if a component is used in any other designs before making a change. This automatically takes advantage of the Inventor file relationships of files as they are checked in without having to tell the system any file relationship information.

Here is an example of a sub-assembly that is used in multiple assemblies. Any change to the 20-011.iam file would impact all of the designs and drawings listed beneath it:

Here is a short video of it in action:

Watch Video Here

Contributed by Ben of the CAD Geeks

Where are all the Alias Tutorials???

If you are reading this you have probably scoured the internet looking for tutorials and demos for Alias. Not to easy to find them is it? While the CAD Geeks are trying to do our part to provide useful content to the Alias community, not many others are. Fortunately the folks at Autodesk have started to actively populate the AliasDesign web site with new and cool tutorials. They have assembled a nice selection of tutorials from basic to advanced technical surfacing. So after you have filled up on cool CAD Geek content surf on over to AliasDesign and check them out!

You can check it out here...


Navisworks - Bringing it all Together

One of the major challenges today is working on a single project that is developed from multiple data sources. Many companies who have to coordinate this type of activity own several different cad systems to accomplish this task. With owning the different cad packages comes the cost of not only purchasing them but also the maintenance that comes with it year after year. Navisworks allows you to perform these same activities with the investment in a single cad package.

Navisworks is compatible with all major native design & laser scan file formats so data from various sources can be combined together to create a single digital model for review, regardless of size.


Let's take a look!!!


Created by Dave one of the Cad Geeks

Who renamed my assembly components?

After performing a copy design with Vault, the part names within the Inventor model browser do not match the new renamed components. Watch this quick video to find out how to find and fix the browser names within an Inventor assembly.

Contributed by a Random CAD Geek

Breaking Down the "L" in PLM

I have seen and heard all kinds of different descriptions of what PLM (Process Lifecycle Management) is. They usually end up way too complex with lifecycle being the primary hangup. Lets make it simple:

Process - A series of steps that need to occur

Lifecycle - A time based measure of the process (What steps can occur when)

Management - A way to control something

So by my way of thinking, Lifecycles are nothing more than a way to define what should happen at a specific point in time in a process.

Autodesk's Vault Workgroup and Collaboration fit into this category of engineering tools, and the Lifecycle part is a key to the latest Autodesk data management offerings. The Vault solutions allow you to configure as many lifecycle schemes as necessary for your different processes. Each lifecycle scheme can then have as many lifecycle states as you need to define a process. The great thing about a lifecycle state is that it controls exactly who can access a document and what they can do with it.

I have also heard it described as "allowing the right people to access the right documents at the right time" in reference to the latest Vault products.

Contributed by Ben of the CAD Geeks