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Working around varying hard drive letters for Autodesk Inventor

William Warby - Hard Drive

In my new job working for an Autodesk Reseller, it’s quickly become apparent what a pain in the backside enforcing single project files is in larger design offices. Single Project files, in most cases are a must when you have Autodesk Vault deployed within the company, but there is also a decent argument for employing the same approach with Autodesk Inventor. The main problem with enforcing this policy within these larger design offices, is the range in specification of the workstations, specifically varying hard drive letters.

Everyone has had a hand me down PC at some point in their career, it was probably at least 3 years old by the time you had it, right? Well as time marches on, those PC’s inevitably require some form of upgrade, RAM, GPU or Hard Drive. It seems there are a number of PC’s out there which have needed larger secondary hard drives installed, I’m not entirely sure why they are necessary when you have network storage, nevertheless this is the reality. The trouble comes in those scenarios because the CAD data is often stored on these secondary hard drives…. which means the drive letter the CAD data is store on varies from PC to PC within the office. Pre-Inventor 2013 you could rely on the relative paths in the Inventor Project File sorting themselves out as you moved it between hard drives, the drive letter just didn’t matter. It has always mattered with Vault when it comes to enforcing the Working Folder, which from a CAD Management perspective is highly desirable. Along comes Inventor 2013 with it’s shiny new Materials and Appearance libraries… If you need to modify any of the stock Materials or Appearances, then Autodesk recommends you create a custom library, rather than editing the default Inventor one. The trouble is, these Material and Appearance library files don’t follow the same relative path rule, they are full paths…. which means their path includes the drive letter. Arghh!

There is a fairly easy workaround though, hopefully Autodesk tidy this problem up someday. In the meantime check out my video below to see how combining a local share and mapping a network drive will save your bacon.

Image Credit: William Warby


Got a varies stuck in your Inventor BOM?

Autodesk Inventor 2015 Yellow cell of hellJust a quick post today. I don’t know about you guys, but in the past I’ve spent an awful long time trying to track down the offending components causing the yellow cell of hell in the Inventor Bill Of Materials. You know the one, the one with the word varies in it. Yup, that one. Argghh. It’s only taken me a decade of Autodesk Inventor use to figure out how to pinpoint how to fix it in a few quick steps.

The Cause

By default Inventor wraps up BOM rows for the benefit of calculating quantity if the value in the part number property matches another row. If 3 rows have the same part number, then you get a quantity of 3. The setting responsible for this can be found within the BOM itself and its setting is saved with the file. So if you want to turn it off or on permanently then you need to do so in your assembly (.iam) template file.

Autodesk Inventor 2015 BOM Row MergeSo when you get two different files, and accidentally they share the same value in the part number property, it’s quite likely another property in the BOM will vary. Material or description are common ones, or in a lot of companies it will be one of the dimensional properties for the parts list.

Ok so that enough background, this is a short post remember.

The Solution

Right so how do you figure out which files share the same part number value?

Have a look at where in the BOM structure the problem is occurring. In the image below, I can see the offending BOM row has been promoted (notice the horizontal bar icon with the blue up arrow next to it). This tells me the issue likely resides in a sub assembly.

Autodesk Inventor 2015 BOM Row varies solutionSo with that in mind you can expand that sub assembly in the browser tree. In this example you will immediately see 4 components have been highlighted and my BOM row confirms there are only 4. Now I have dramatically narrowed down my search for the offending component and am able to correct the stray part number.

Some cases are more complex than this, for instance you may only see the yellow cell of hell in the Parts Only BOM. Which means the components could live in multiple sub assemblies simultaneously within the BOM. Fortunately the BOM dialogue is modeless, so with it active you are able to rummage through the Browser expanding and collapsing as required. It’s also worth noting that the components themselves are also highlighted in the graphics window. It’s possible that the offending component appears dramatically different to it part number sharing cousin.

Autodesk Inventor 2015 BOM Row varies solution

Thanks for stopping by.


Autodesk 2015 Products Download Links – Including Suites

Autodesk 2015 Suites Available for download

Are you getting impatient waiting for your Autodesk Suite download to appear in your subscription center? Well fret no longer, I’ve just stumbled across all the download links for the Autodesk 2015 standalone products AND the Suites. This includes ALL of the 2015 suite downloads! I haven’t had the opportunity to test the resulting downloads yet, but I have started the download and the URLs are legitimate & the file naming matches Autodesk convention. So without further ado, ladies & gentlemen, here are your links (The Suites are down the end):


Sorry, it appears the suites links have upset a few people. They were available elsewhere online, so we shared them here as well. I apologize for the confusion and inconvenience. You will have to wait a bit longer to get access to your suite downloads. My warning below still stands.


Building Design Suite Premium 2015 is now available on the subscription site. Ultimate is still to come.

A number of the Simulation products are now available to download via Subscription Center.

Autodesk Showcase 2015 is now available in Subscription Center


Please be aware some of these links may not be live yet on the Autodesk site. So you should only be using them in trial mode for testing purposes. Once your downloads become available in you Subscription Center you will have access to your serial numbers and the full downloads, you will then be able to compare build numbers. Use these at your own risk.

AutoCAD 2015


AutoCADLT 2015


AutoCAD Architecture 2015


AutoCAD MEP 2015


AutoCAD Electrical 2015


AutoCAD Mechanical 2015


Autodesk AutoCAD Utility Design 2015


Autodesk Alias AutoStudio 2015


Autodesk Alias Automotive 2015


Autodesk Alias Design 2015


Autodesk Alias Surface 2015


Autodesk 3ds Max 2015


Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2015


Autodesk Maya 2015


Autodesk Maya LT 2015


Autodesk Softimage 2015


Autodesk Mudbox 2015


Autodesk MotionBuilder 2015


AutoCAD Plant 3D 2015


AutoCAD PNID 2015


Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D 2015


Autodesk AutoCAD Map 3D 2015


AutoCAD Raster Design 2015


Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Pro 2015


AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2015


Autodesk Revit 2015


Autodesk Revit Architecture 2015


Autodesk Revit Structure 2015


Autodesk Revit MEP 2015


Autodesk Revit LT 2015


Autodesk Inventor 2015


Autodesk Inventor LT 2015


AutoCAD Inventor LT Suite 2015


Navisworks Manage 2015


Navisworks Simulate 2015


Autodesk SketchBook Pro for Enterprise 2015


Autodesk VRED 2015


Autodesk VRED Presenter 2015


Autodesk VRED Professional 2015


Autodesk VRED Design 2015


Autodesk VRED Server 2015




Autodesk Vault 2015 LicensingError [319] (20)

Autodesk Vault 2015 Failed to Acquite License

UPDATE: This change applies to all 2015 Autodesk product licensing.

Upon installing the RTM version of Autodesk Vault Professional 2015, I naturally set about testing it alongside the latest build of Inventor 2015 I have (RTM isn’t available for download yet). Unsurprisingly I was greeted with the message “Failed to acquire a license”. I dug about all over the place trying to figure out what was causing the problem. I tried all of the usual solutions, with no joy. 5 hours of wrestling this beast got me pretty close to the edge of my tolerance, I was ready to break stuff.

I could get the license to work if the license server was installed on the same server as the ADMS console, but not if they were on separate machines. The only error code I could find was in the ADMS console File Store logs, Autodesk Vault LicensingError [319] (20). Searching the internet for that didn’t return any conclusive explanation for what it meant. The best resources I found on my travels were:

But none of the solutions there at the time helped.

It wasn’t until the build numbers in the ‘About’ dialogue caught my eye that I realized something was a miss. I had Version v11.10.0.0 build 95001 installed, which works perfectly for the 2014 licenses, but apparently wasn’t working for the 2015 network licenses anymore.

LMTOOLS Build 95001The version I had installed on the same server as the ADMS console was Version v11.12.0.0 build 136775.

LMTOOLS Build 136775You can download the latest build of the Autodesk IPv4 Network License Manager for Windows from here. These were the steps I followed:

  1. Uninstalled the old license manager
  2. Restarted the server
  3. Made a copy of the debug.log & license file
  4. Deleted the old network license manager install folders
  5. Installed the latest version
  6. Copied the debug.log & license file back into the new install folder.

One other thing to note is this new version seems to install into a new location “C:\Program Files\Autodesk Network License Manager” whereas it used to be in the Autodesk folder: “C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Autodesk Network License Manager”.

Autodesk Network License Manager Config V11.12Finally, make sure you have ticked ‘Start Server at Power Up’ & ‘Use Services’ in the Config Services tab of the LMTOOLS dialogue box.

Assuming all the other known solutions are in place, you should now have a fully functioning Autodesk Vault 2015 network license. A good question for Autodesk would be, “Why wasn’t this LMTOOLS version requirement communicated in the Vault 2015 Readme file?”. Now go play with all those shiny new Item & BOM tools Autodesk have furnished us with in this new Vault Professional release.


Autodesk Vault 2015 – What’s New? Revit gets loads of love

Autodesk Vault Professional 2015 What's NewAutodesk Vault 2015 focuses on transforming the Item/BOM experience, making it easier for you to manage your design process. In addition, this release rolls up all of the Subscription Advantage bonus tools from the 2014 product and broadens the feature offerings in the Autodesk Revit Vault Add-in. Additional functionality and enhancements have been made to Project Sync, the ADMS Console, and the Installation process.

Editing Workflow Enhancements

You can now resolve files which have been edited out of turn in Inventor or all editions of the Vault Client.

In previous Vault releases, the Inventor application could modify the memory status of certain files, thus “dirtying” the file. Some of these modifications were system-forced changes and some were due to user responses to a system prompt.

With the Edited Out of Turn enhancement, users can now see which files have been edited out of turn and can save over them, making it easier to continue working without interruption.

Impact to Common Workflows

  • Download File—If a user attempts to download a file from vault when the local file has been modified, the file is not downloaded. Users can select Force Overwrite in the Vault Client’s Get/Check out dialog to force the download.
  • Revert to Latest—Users can continue using the Revert to Latest command in Inventor to check out files if the they do not have the latest revision on disk (regardless of the local disk modification).

New Vault Status Modifier

Autodesk Vault 2015 Status ModifierIn previous Vault releases, the information icon Autodesk Vault Information Icon would be displayed along with a tool-tip noting that the file was edited out of turn.

Now when a file is edited out of turn, Vault shows the last downloaded state for the file and applies a modifier icon Autodesk Vault Modifier Icon to indicate that the local copy has saved changes that are not recorded in the vault.

The modifier icon is displayed by default in the Vault browser in Inventor and Vault Explorer.


New Filter in Inventor

The Vault Filter in the Inventor Vault Add-in has been updates with new filter options for local files, including files that are without edits, with saved edits, and with unsaved edits.

Autodesk Vault 2015 Inventor Add-in Browser FilterItems and BOMs Enhancements (Vault Professional)

Not only has this release enhanced existing functionality, but it focuses on improving usability, providing long lead item support, and integrating the item feature with AutoCAD Mechanical and Inventor.

Long Lead Item Support

In previous releases, users had to assign items to the entire structure using an Item Wizard. Autodesk Vault 2015 introduces greater flexibility in item assignment, allowing you to assign items as needed without the use of a wizard.

  • Assign Items to parent files only
  • Assign Items to an entire file structure
  • Turn BOM rows on and off at will.

New Item CAD Integrations

AutoCAD Mechanical and Inventor both support item awareness.

  • Search for and attach items as primary files or part references in AutoCAD Mechanical.
  • Search for and place items as primary files or virtual components in Inventor.

Improved Usability

Several areas of the Item Workflow have been overhauled or improved to make it easier for you to manage your items and BOMs.

  • New Modeless Item Interface

    The Item Wizard has been eliminated and a new modeless interface introduced for item management. Now you can manage item records and work with the main Vault client at the same time. In addition, you can drag and drop or copy/paste files onto items, components onto items, or items onto items.

  • Save Item as Needed

    In previous releases, you had to save and close an item to record changes, and then reopen it to continue modifying it. Now you can save as you edit without having to close the record.

  • Save a Copy of an Item as a New Item

    Save a current item as a new item so that all of the properties, BOM rows, and item details are copied into the new item.

    Note: Item links are not copied to the new item.
  • Open Item from File

    Not only can you go to an item from a selected file but you can open the item directly from the file.

  • Assign Items to Components

    Assign items to virtual components, allowing you to keep track of placeholders in your BOMs.

  • Change Item State from the Right-Click Menu

    Not only can you change item states from the item record, you can also right-click on an item and select change state without ever opening the item record.

  • Easy File Link Management
    Restrictions on file links have been eased. In addition, an associated link type column has been added to the Associated Items dialog so you can see at a glance whether a link is primary or not.

    Note: Administrators have the option of suppressing the Associated Items dialog.

    When viewing the Associated Files section of an item, non-primary links are hidden by default, making it easier to locate the associated file that you need. Users have the option of revealing the other links with the click of a button.

  • Auto-select Duplicate Item

    Right now, Vault will automatically select one item for assignment when it finds two of the same items. Administrators can opt out of auto-selection by modifying preferences on the Configure Assign Item dialog. Administrators can also decide whether or not to allow a user to override auto-assignment.

  • Flexible BOM Management

    Now, instead of having to remove BOM rows, you can turn rows off to keep them listed in the BOM but exclude them from the BOM-related processes.

    In previous releases, you could only modify the parent item in a BOM. Now you can make nested edits to items listed in the BOM, as well as add and remove nested items.

    Autodesk Vault 2015 Item DialogueAutomatically add rows to a BOM by creating new items. Administrators can also specify on the Configure BOM Row Settings dialog whether Vault automatically creates items for children files in the BOM or turns BOM rows on for them.

    Additionally, you can easily reorder rows in the BOM by dragging and dropping them (Bill of Materials – Reordering) as well as configure item position numbers (Bill of Materials – Change the Position of an Item in a BOM.

    Export BOM has been renamed to Save BOM view and now has a simplified workflow.

  • Enhancements to Item Number Workflow

    When an item is created, the default numbering scheme is used to generate the item number. If the scheme requires user input, users are immediately prompted to fill in the required values so there is no need to go back and edit the item record later.

    A Replace button is provided to help you search the Vault for properties that you want to map to fields requiring user input. A Precheck button is provided to verify the mapped values.

    In addition, you can quickly access the Change Number dialog by right-clicking on an item.

  • New status icons and improved User Interface

    New status icons and an improved user interface help you manage your items and BOMs with quicker, more convenient workflows.

Revit Vault Add-in Enhancements

Autodesk Vault 2015 focuses heavily on the Revit Vault add-in experience by introducing several new features and enhancing existing features.

New Import from Vault Feature

The new Import from Vault feature lets you import CAD files stored in the Vault into the current Revit project. However, unlike Link from Vault, when the project is saved to Vault, only the project is updated.

Autodesk Vault 2015 Import from Vault Revit DialogueThe Import from Vault feature supports DWG, DXF, DGN, SKP, and SAT file types.

New Load Group from Vault Feature

Vault now supports loading Model groups, Detail groups, and Attached Detail groups from the Vault into the current project. In addition, Vault allows users to choose whether they want to load all groups or just specific groups, making it easy to incorporate only the groups that they need in a single workflow.

A new Load Group icon has been added to the Revit Vault ribbon to streamline the load group experience.

Autodesk Vault 2015 Load Group from Vault Revit DialogueImproved Load Family from Vault Workflow

Users can now load all of the family types in a selected family in one click, making it faster to retrieve all of the family types needed for a project. In addition, users can also select Load and Place to load the family type and leave the workflow in Place mode so that the user need only click on the appropriate element in the active model to place the family type that was just loaded.

Autodesk Vault 2015 Family from Vault Revit DialogueAdditionally, the Load Family from Vault dialog makes it easier for you to find the family types you use most often by defaulting to the last folder location from which a family type was loaded.

Administrators can also specify which categories and parameters are displayed when loading family types. These preferences can be configured on the Searching tab of the Vault Options dialog.

Autodesk Vault 2015 Revit Options

Link More File Types

You can now link .dgn, .sat, and .skp files from the Vault. Additionally, you can import image links of type .bmp, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, and .tif.

Maintain Link to DWF

Previously when linking to a DWF or DWFx file, the link was read-only and users would have to manually check out DWF markups to modify them. Now if a user checks out a file with a DWF link, the DWF file is automatically checked out as well. When the file is closed, the DWF link is automatically checked back into the vault.

New Login Interface and Connection Status

The Log in and Log out buttons on the Revit Vault ribbon have been combined to create a single toggle button. Users can view their connection status by hovering their mouse over the button.

Shared Parameters Support

Users can now point to a shared parameters file stored in the Vault, making it easier to activate shared parameters.

Autodesk Vault 2015 Shared Parameters

A Select Shared Parameters button has been added to the Revit Vault ribbon to simplify the workflow.

New Lifecycles, Revisions, and Categories Support

The Revit Vault Add-in now supports change state, revise file, and change category workflows, making it easier for you to manage your design files.

New Mapping User Interface on the Vault Options Dialog

The Mapping tab on the Vault Options dialog has been enhanced to streamline common workflows.

Autodesk Vault 2015 Revit Options2Additionally, a mapping wizard is introduced to help users map local folders, folders on a shared drive, or folders on the Revit Server to a folder in the vault.

Import Revit Project Properties

Properties for Revit Projects are now extracted from the Revit model into and stored in the Vault. Once the properties are mapped, users can search them and modify them. Most properties can be written back to the Revit project.

New and Improved Vault Thin Client (Vault Workgroup and Vault Professional)

The thin client has been completely redesigned to provide a superior experience when accessing a vault through a web browser. The redesign includes a new interface, better workflows, additional views, and improved customization.

Note: Vault Workgroup provides read-only access with the Vault thin client. You must have a Vault Office license to perform file management tasks.

In addition, the Vault Thin Client supports DWF viewing across all browsers with the Autodesk Design Review (ADR) plug-in. If the browser does not have the ADR plug-in installed, the DWF is downloaded instead.

Inventor Vault Add-in Updates

The Inventor Vault Add-in has been updated to include a Fast Open from Vault option. This means that you can open a drawing without finding or resolving any of the referenced files.

Project Sync Updates

Project Sync now provides multiple mapping support. In previous releases, users had to map a folder that contained all of the files that they wanted to synchronize with Vault. This meant that the folder had to be high enough in the folder hierarchy to contain all of the necessary files. However, as a result, many files and folders inside the hierarchy did not need to be synchronized.

Autodesk Vault 2015 introduces a way to specify multiple mappings between Vault folders and Buzzsaw sites/folders within one Vault. Now users can select the exact Vault folders that they want to synchronize.

A few dialogs had to be overhauled to support the new mapping functionality.

  • The Project Sync Settings dialog now offers a way to specify folders for mapping and site management.
    Autodesk Vault 2015 Project Sync Settings
  • In addition, the Add from Buzzsaw workflow has been updated to include a new dialog that asks users to choose the mapping from which they want to add files.

ADMS Console Updates

Vault templates have been introduced to the ADMS Console for easy vault creation based on your industry. Now when you first log in after installation, you are prompted to create a vault. You must select an industry template or choose the default template before the vault is created.

In addition, the Civil 3D template is now included with all three industry templates.

In addition, the enable SSL compatibility option has been relocated to the Administration dialog.

New Consolidated Installation Process

The installation process has been entirely overhauled to consolidate separate installation packages. In previous releases, components like the Autodesk File Server or Autodesk Vault Office would have to be installed separately. Now, all of the components you need for a successful data management ecosystem are available from the Vault Server or Vault Client Installation package.

Vault Server Installation

The Vault Server Installation package includes the option of installing these components now:

  • Revit Vault Server Integration
  • Autodesk Vault Office 2015 (Server)
  • Autodesk Vault Thin Client 2015
  • Autodesk Vault File Server 2015
  • Content Center Libraries for Inventor 2015
  • Network License Manager

Vault Client Installation

The Vault Client installation package not only combines additional components for installation, but also includes the option of creating a custom deployment.

  • Autodesk Vault Office 2015 (Client)
  • Autodesk Vault Professional Project Sync
  • Autodesk Design Review 2013

In addition, administrators can now specify whether they want to use the default SQL credentials or configure new ones.


While it’s clear that I have largely nabbed the What’s New document here, I have where appropriate edited this material & referred back to the 2014 Subscription Release 1 post Mike wrote a few months back. This is a solid release of Vault, sure most of the new features were already available with 2014, but how many people actually installed them? What it did do though, is expand those features out to a wider audience in a production environment, which otherwise wouldn’t have been achievable within the beta. The result is a more stable release of Vault right out of the box.

The new Item Master features are gratefully received. They go some way towards dealing with frustrating experiences lots of people come up against every day of their Vault lives. Having the new Thin Client bundled up in the final release having had 6 months of real world abuse is also a big plus. Which reminds me, I need to update Hyperlink Maestro so it will generate links for the new client.

I am gutted however, that last years push to drive a more modern & consistent user interface within Vault has stalled spectacularly. We are now left with a unique Get/Checkout dialogue in the Vault client, which just serves to confuse new users on a daily basis as they grapple with Vault’s UI.

It appears at this stage there is no support for Office 2013… but if you look through your subscription center downloads, you will see Autodesk recently released the 2013 add-ins for Vault 2014. So I would imagine the Office 2013 add ins will appear for Vault 2015 fairly soon.

In closing, all those shiny new Revit additions are making me itchy. I have never used Revit before, but I think I’m going to have to set up something to test this lot out. If I do, I will report back on my experiences. Anyhow, it’s flipping late here in New Zealand now, I’m all tuckered out after a crazy, non stop Autodesk Launch week.

Oh & Vault 2015 is already in the subscription center waiting to be downloaded. Mine is already installed :-).


Upon installing Vault 2015, I couldn’t obtain any licenses to put all these shiny new features to use. The ADMS logs were returning this error: Autodesk Vault LicensingError [319] (20). I eventually figured out the problem was related to the Flexlm LMTOOLS application itself.


Autodesk Product & Factory Design Suite 2015 Released

Autodesk 2015 Product & Factory Design Suites Marketing WheelWe had a bit of fun last month with Mike’s post ‘Which Products will be in Autodesk’s 2015 Suites’, which stirred up some discussion, but the buck stops with today. Autodesk have announced new for 2015, Digital Prototyping software releases for the Manufacturing, Architecture, Engineering & Construction industry segments. Once again Suites and their makeup are a strong point of focus with respect to how they are enabling customers to get to market faster, cheaper, more reliably & generally just knocking out better stuff. The manufacturing design suites aren’t just about Product & Factory Design Suites, but also the related data management and simulation offerings Autodesk have. The 2015 product line brings those bang up to date with some dramatic changes across the board.

“Our suites provide designers and engineers with a complete set of tools and cloud services that allow them to simplify design, visualization and simulation workflows from product development through delivery,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president, Design, Lifecycle and Simulation at Autodesk.  “By offering solutions that are scalable, cost effective and open, our customers have the opportunity to design, manufacture and sell great products.”

Autodesk haven’t mentioned anything about which products will be in the Suites yet, other than an interesting change for the Product Design Suite. So in that regard I suppose they are just going to surprise their customers when they get access to their downloads. Worryingly, this screams there is controversy ahead to me. I’m tempted to speculate, but I might get in trouble, so I can’t. Anyway I digress….

Design and Motion will be bringing you a series of posts covering the new features in the core products within the suites over the next few days and coming weeks. Here are a few right off the bat:

AutoCAD 2015 Announced – Whats New?

Scotty, MText Me Up!

Autodesk Inventor 2015 Released – Whats New? T-Splines?

What’s new in Autodesk Simulation 2015 products?

Autodesk Vault 2015

Vault Professional 2015′s Item Master is ‘da BOM’!

Still to come….

More AutoCAD goodness from Mike.

Suite news as it becomes apparent.

Product Design Suite

“We understand that customers today don’t have a single homogeneous environment. Inventor is one of the best tools on the market today, when it comes to interoperability with other 3d tools and solutions, and being able to make changes to that geometry. You can actually do full manipulation of imported geometry with Direct Edit tool within Product Design Suite 2015.” – Jeff Wymer, Senior Industry Manager, Manufacturing

The big change here is Autodesk Product Design Suite Standard has been discontinued! All those PrDS Standard customers are being upgraded to Product Design Suite Premium. Which means those who elected to upgrade from AutoCAD 2 years ago, scored basic Inventor last year & look to be gaining Inventor Professional this year. So one would assume then, PrDS Premium seats will now be upgraded to PrDS Ultimate.

I wonder if there will be any casualties here? Will Mudbox finally be removed from the Suite? How about Alias in the Ultimate Suite? Will those Ultimate seats get any compensation for having their asset value watered down by the upgrade of Premium seats to Ultimate? Maybe Autodesk will lower the Ultimate subs rate to match the Premium subs rate of yesteryear? Time will tell.

Anyway, there is some very solid stuff appearing in this years PrDS, a lot of what I can bring up here is covered in Gavin’s Inventor What’s New post. So I will just share some pretty pictures highlighting an overview of the new goodies:


Autodesk Inventor 2015 Freeform T-Spine Seat

Autodesk Product Design Suite 2015 Freeform TrailerFreeform tools provide an alternate modeling approach to explore and create freeform shaped models.

Direct/History free modelling

Autodesk Product Design Suite 2015 Direct Edit FlangeThe new Direct Editing tool lets users easily manipulate native or imported geometry and parametrically move, size, rotate, and delete imported solid models or native Inventor files.

Improved Start Up & Learning Experience

Autodesk Inventor 2015 Home Tab

Autodesk PrDS 2015 Learning ExperienceWhile I’m far from impressed with the first version of the Home Tab shown above, I do REALLY like the learning paths including the continuation and expansion of the interactive tutorials. These really are a nice & modern touch for first time users. Hopefully this is a solid indication of where Autodesk are going with this new Home tab experience.

Factory Design Suite

Autodesk Factory Design Suite 2015 Themes

Autodesk Factory Design Suite 2015 Point CloudsAccess point cloud tools more easily with Autodesk ReCap.

Autodesk Factory Design Suite 2015 FDS BOMThe new Bill of Materials command on the Factory ribbon in Inventor software allows users to quickly create, edit and process a list of equipment used in factory layout.

Autodesk Factory Design Suite 2015 Process Analysis 360This is an interesting addition to the Factory Design Suite in my opinion. I’m really looking forward to taking it for a spin, but I hope it’s indicative of a future direction for the Autodesk Suites…. Core software is Desktop based, with Cloud based power tools which take advantage of server farms & collaboration where appropriate. That would mean only snippets of IP would be exposed to the Cloud, while maintaining ultimate control inside your firewall or within your private Cloud.


Other than the doubt about which products will actually be in the Suites (due to no announcement at this point) and the heavy focus on Inventor’s new features being pivotal to the Suite story this year, it does look rather promising. There are some great new features in Inventor & AutoCAD for that matter, but once again Factory Design Suite is the stand out, it’s workflows are maturing nicely and it’s increasingly becoming an excellent product to work with…. we just need some AutoCAD Electrical love in there please Autodesk.

I’ve been using Inventor 2015 for a while now as a Beta product, and I miss it whenever I step back to 2014. There are some stunning new tools in the sketch environment, which translate to huge productivity gains & if you do have to perform any rework, the new tools really help you out. I just can’t wait to get my hands dirty and start tying everything together across the products. FDS, iLogic, Vault Data Standard, PLM, 360 & even Microsoft Office 365. It’s a Geeky exciting world out there & 2014 is shaping up brilliantly.

You will start to see products appearing for download in Subscription Center from now & over the next week. AutoCAD 2015 is already there & so is Autodesk Vault 2015.

Thanks for reading guys


Based on this image released by InventorTopix there are some big losses in the Product Design Suite:

Showcase removed from Product Design Suite 2015So that means the following applications have been removed from the Product Design Suite:

  • Alias Design is gone from Product Design Suite Ultimate
  • Autodesk Showcase has been removed from all the suites
  • Autodesk Sketchbook Designer has been removed from all the suites
  • Autodesk Mudbox (as predicted) has been removed from all the suites.

To compensate for that, the buy price of each suite has been reduced & so has the price of the standalone products (which may mean the subscription costs will go down as well). I wonder if there will be similarly dramatic changes with the Factory Design Suite?

Also I would put good money on Showcase 360 making an appearance sometime soon, with access via Cloud Credits, which if you are on Subscription you will have a chunk of included with your Suite. Soooo it may end up working out. Again, time will tell.

I can also confirm that Autodesk Showcase 2014 WILL NOT import Inventor 2015 parts & assemblies.Inventor 2015 to Showcase 2014 import failureMake sure you politely express any frustrations you have with your Reseller, there may be something they can work out with Autodesk. You never know, power to the people & all that. It’s possible they made this decision based on CIP data, how many opt out of that? User interface changes are based on CIP data, so if you want to make sure your input counts, be sure to opt in for CIP.

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