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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


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.


How do I deal with style differences in Autodesk Inventor?

How do I deal with style differences in Autodesk Inventor?

Today during my day job, I crafted a blog post showing Inventor users how they create a situation where Autodesk Inventor informs them there is a style conflict each time they create a new file. This can happen with Inventor parts (.ipt), assemblies (.iam) & drawings (.idw or .dwg), but in the following video I show the issue specifically with an Inventor Appearance Asset. I’ve written a few posts on Design & Motion in the past about Autodesk Inventor’s new Materials & Appearance libraries, so I thought I should share this with our readers here as well.

So when you get a message stating:

“The following style definitions in template … differ from the definitions in the style library; the style library definitions will be used. …

Style Name

If the style definitions in the style library are intended for the new document, update the template with the new style definitions. If the style definitions in the template are intended for the new document, remove these styles from your style library using the Style Library Manager.”

This is why it happens & subsequently how you deal with it:

The previous Design & Motion posts covering Inventor Materials & Appearances were:

Inventor | Materials Editor Navigation

Inventor | Creating Custom Materials & Libraries in 2014


Simulation Mechanical | Contact Layer Tip

Autodesk Simulation Mechanical Layer ControlDid you want to see exactly how Autodesk Simulation Mechanical is interpreting your contact pairs? This is how!

Layer Control

Head over to the Draw tab on the Ribbon. In the Design Panel you should see Layer Control. Picking this will start a small dialog that controls the visibility of the layers in the current model.

Autodesk Simulation Mechanical Layer 15 contact surface

Uncheck all but Layer 15. This contains the contact pair mesh. In the image above a large surface from each mating component was selected to define the contact. The result on Layer 15 shows how Simulation Mechanical interpreted that contact.


Civil 3D | Remove Specific Station Labels

Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D End Station LabelIf you’ve been fighting the beginning or end station labels on Autodesk Civil 3D Alignments, here’s the fix. Sadly, the answer has been around for a long time.

Civil 3D End Station Label

We often manually add our end station label, customized how we like, and in the case of some plans, the end station is denoted in a separate table. In all cases, the end station is automatically generated on the Civil 3D alignment.

  • It is usually useless, and is traded out for a more useful end station geometry label
  • It is ALWAYS in conflict with something

Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D End Station Label

You can select the label, but it is a function of the entire label set, and highlights the whole set accordingly. If you delete it, you will delete the entire set.

There is a fix that is so easy, you will laugh until you cry from the frustration of it all


That’s right. Hold the CTRL key and pick all the specific labels your hear desires. Release the CTRL key, and push the DELETE key. It is that simple. The labels will be gone.

Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D End Station Label

Use the Station Label Control Dialog

AUGI member Anthony Rhodes answered such a question in January of 2009. He noted the how the Station Label control dialog is supposed to be used, and the fact that it does work. Edit the alignment labels. Enter in the desire stations to start and end the labels.

Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D Station Label Dialog

In this example, any stations after 10+00 will be removed.

While I don’t have a copy of the awesome book “Mastering Civil 3D” handy, I’ll bet money that this information is in there.


The answer for this has been around for a long time. So long that I wanted to credit those who pointed it out.

Autodesk Expert Elite – user wfberry – June, 2012:

CadTutor user CyberAngel – Nov, 2011:

James Wedding and Dana Probert – 2008-2009: Introducing AutoCAD Civil 3D books; Mastering AutoCAD Civil 3D books

Autodesk Expert Elite – Christopher Fuggit – July, 2009: Article on not only how to delete, but programmatically hide the labels.


Sculpting a solid with Work Planes using Autodesk Inventor

Sculpting a solid using work planes in Autodesk Inventor

Not so long ago I discovered Autodesk Inventor’s ability to sculpt a solid body using solely Work Planes. The command also nicely allows the user to select fill & drain directions for the resulting solid. The power of this approach comes with the knowledge that planes have infinite boundaries, whereas a rectangular surface boundary is not. As a result it’s a valid tool for use within parametric modelling techniques, which would ultimately improve the stability of your model.

Anyway, a video is by far the easiest way to show this, so check it out below: