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Getting Sketch-y with Autodesk Inventor 2015

Engineering drafting room 1962

Bicka bow bow bump bump
What, what, what, what
Hah hah hah hah Unh,
On your mark ready set let’s go
3D Modeling pro I know you know
I go psycho when my Inventor hit
Just can’t sit
Gotta get sketchy wit it

Or Will Smith sang something like that.

There are a lot of new and improved tools in Inventor 2015, something for everyone. With all the glitz and glamour, the changes to the sketch environment could go unnoticed, especially since it isn’t as sexy as the new Direct Editing and Free Form surfacing capability. But make no mistake, there are some significant changes here, so much so we thought it should be the first of our deep dive posts covering Inventor’s key new features.

Sketch is always visible

First change you’ll probably notice is that the Sketch tab is always visible. If you pick a sketch tool without having a sketch active, Inventor will start the new sketch process and once you pick the sketch plane the command you selected becomes active.

Autodesk Inventor 2015 Sketch Tab is Always VisibleMaybe my favorite enhancement.… drum roll please…. While creating sketch geometry, endpoints are created on the mouse down instead of mouse up/release! halleluiah! I can’t believe after all these years I don’t have to slow myself down while sketching to not miss points and get the accidental gaps. 

Consolidated and New Sketch Options

All 2D sketch constraint related options are consolidated into one new Constraint Settings dialog. Autodesk has also introduced two new options: Show constraints for selected objects and Display constraints on display.

Inventor 2015 Constraint SettingsWith Display constraints on creation enabled the last constraint created by the sketching operation will appear, slightly ghosted, on the screen.

Inventor 2015 Display constraints on displayEnabling Show constraints for selected objects means that by selecting objects in the graphics window the constraints applied to those objects will appear. By right-clicking on one of these constraint icons you can delete the constraint. No more Show all Constraints to delete just one or a couple constraints.

Inventor 2015 Show constraints for selected objectsNew Constraint Scope option [Found in the expanded portion of the Constrain Panel] is used to set the which objects Inventor will automatically infer constraints from.

  • The new option Geometry in current command will only infer to the objects created during the current operation, unless you hover over the object.
  • If you have a lot of sketch geometry the Select option is a nice addition in that you can set the focus in which Inventor will infer constraints, meaning no more parallels or perpendiculars to sketch geometry off the screen.

Inventor 2015 Constraint Inference Scope
When applying Horizontal and Vertical constraints as you hover over the object a dashed line indicator will appear to show the direction the object will be rotated. This takes the guess work out of which direction you are looking at is the horizontal

Inventor 2015 Horizontal Constraint PreviewLook at me

Look at Sketch behaviour has been expanded with two new settings, found in the Application Options – Display tab

  • Perform Minimum Rotation – Rotates the sketch at a minimum angle, reducing that amount of eye strain following your sketch rotate in space. The X axis of the sketch will become horizontal or vertical, depending on what’s closest.
  • Align with Local Coordinate System – Orients the X axis of the sketch horizontally and goint to the right so that the Y axis points up (positive). This is the legacy behaviour.

Relax Mode

You can use the new Relax Mode chill, hang out, kick it back… uhhh, kind of. While in Relax mode you can modify constrain geometry by applying new constraints and dimensions. The existing constraints are removed and replaced with the new ones.  With Relax Mode turned ON, you can also drag the constrained sketch geometry to make adjustments.

Inventor 2015 RelaxMode DraggingWhich constraints are replaceable is controlled in the Constraint Options

What Else?

  • Delete Constraints – new right-click option removes all constraints, except for the Coincident constraints
  • Delete Coincident Constraint – new right-click option removes all Coincident constraints
  • Inventor 2015 Delete ConstraintsSketch Offset improvements – zero length offset segments are automatically removed, meaning no flipped objects and the ability to create offset geometry not possible pre-2015
  • Integrated Text Styles for sketch text, something to add to your templates
  • Create point at virtual intersection of two sketch elements… I know, I know something AutoCAD has done since the 80′s, but Inventor creates constraints.

Image Credit: Seattle Municipal Archives


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




Morgan Motor Company Ad Competition Public Voting

Recently we announced the close of the Morgan Motor Company Ad Contest. While the Judges are making their decision, the public community voting is already underway. Here is your chance to help one of these skilled individuals win a great HP Workstation.

There are about 50 great entries, but one caught my eye and I kept coming back to it

John’s choice for the win

One to drive, one to admire” by David Morgan Stark is my favorite.

I’d do the very same thing. If I had something as gorgeous as that, I’d want to admire it when I couldn’t drive it. The color scheme on the vehicle and in the setting are great and the quality of the rendering is superb. The artist knows his color and lighting, not to mention the setting and concept are sweet. The slogan and byline bring it all together and make this ad a winner in my opinion. Not to mention, I really enjoy looking at the image. It’s beautiful, and I would love to get a breakdown on the software, workflows, and lighting setup used.

David Morgan Stark Morgan Motor Company Ad entry

What are your thoughts on this entry? Does it deserve to win? Does this artist give classes?

Honorable Mention

I did want to make a mention about Tariq Ahmed’s entry: “Leave Everything Else Behind”.

Tariq Ahmed Morgan Motor Company Ad entry

I thought that slogan really set the tone for ‘just jump in and ride’. While I don’t feel that the overall ad should be the big winner, I think the slogan embodied the spirit of the Morgan Motor Company 3-wheeler more than the others.


Mike picks

Technology with history” By Germano Vieira” 

Germano Vieira Morgan motor Company Ad Entry

The legacy in the background (subtlety) and the new in the foreground. The use of the grey to make the car pop is a a nice touch…. clean, elegant, classy. This is my current pick for the win

Uno para manejar, uno para admirar” By David Morgan Stark” 

David Morgan Stark Morgan Motor Company Ad entry

I like this one for how off the wall and different it is, putting a car in a bathroom, brilliant! Would be the perfect magazine cover for something, even if I’m not sure what [ed. perhaps a car?]. The use of red and green wouldn’t be my first choice, too Christmas, but the lighting coming from the window puts the focus on the car.


Scott’s Favorites

Morgan 3 Wheeler. Timeless design, unforgettable experience” By Gus Petrikas

Gus Patrikas Morgan Motor Company Ad Entry
I love the simplicity of this entry and I just can’t help but wonder what is under that cover!?! Such a tease, is it the next Morgan 3 Wheeler?

[ed. I know we're a bit biased with Gus, but it's hard not to love his work; beautiful materials and great lighting]
Technology with history” By Germano Vieira” 

Germano Vieira Morgan motor Company Ad Entry

I think this is a really clever use of the rendered car, its composition within the background and the worn folded look. This flyer has been in a school boys trouser pocket for months, I can just imagine him pulling it out everyday on his walk to & from school. It’s the stuff great cars are made of.


Which of these entries will win it? Vote and tell us what you think. We’d really enjoy hearing everyone else’s thoughts and picks.

Here is the link to the Morgan motor Company Ad Competition submissions and voting. Voting ends April 10th, 2014.

It’s Autodesk’s turn to get acquired – by Facebook!

04/01/14 – LAS VEGAS–(TechDayDaily)–AFJ Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FBK) has announced its total acquisition of technical software juggernaut Autodesk Inc. for $28 billion in cash and stock. Through this acquisition, Facebook intends to diversify its interests by entering the technical software field. The deal is a big bet for Facebook, which has—until recently—not been able to convince investors of its strategy for moving into the world of design technology.

Uncle Carl and ZuckFacebook Acquires Autodesk – Carl Bass and Mark Zuckerberg shake on the deal.

During its conference call to announce the acquisition, Facebook said it would keep Autodesk as a separate entity—just as it did with Instagram, which it bought for about $1 billion in 2012. The announcement of this acquisition came less than a week after the announcement of the takeover of Oculus Rift, a 3D Virtual Reality goggle manufacturer. In late 2013, Facebook also attempted to acquire the photo sharing app Snapchat for $3 billion. Though Snapchat rejected the offer, the proposal highlighted Facebook’s determination to build momentum in areas outside its traditional core focus.

The transaction for the Facebook acquisition of Autodesk will consist of $12 billion in cash plus Facebook shares worth approximately $14 billion. Also, Facebook will grant 46 million RSUs worth approximately $2 billion to Autodesk employees which will vest over four years subsequent to closing. The stock and RSUs to be issued will represent 7.9% of Facebook’s shares based on the current share value and RSUs outstanding. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, and Facebook expects the deal to close later in 2014. It’s worth noting that, if the deal doesn’t go through, Facebook will still be required to pay $2 billion to Autodesk under a termination clause.

Rumours from sources close to Facebook execs suggest that another potential offer was made by Yahoo Inc, but it fell well short of the offer made by the social media behemoth. It is speculated that Yahoo will now go after WonkyCAD Inc, a small tech startup in Southern Idaho which is developing a new CAD platform that uses a digitized version of a traditional drawing board as input.

Carl and Zuck LaughCarl and Zuck share a lighthearted moment (click image for full interview.)


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.