Autodesk ForceEffect emerged late last year with a burst of interest. Rightfully so; this cool 2D static engineering calculation tool uses the intuitive feature of the iPad, with simple sketch-like interface. It’s free and…it’s results can be imported into Inventor!!
It really is an amazing combination. You apply simple elements with pick and drag motions. As soon as you apply a known force, the elements display resulting calculations. Unknown force elements can be applied and solved. These are all updated in real-time as geometry adjustments are made by pick and drag interface. Reports can be printed out, and as I’ve noted before, the calculations for the results are shown in the report. Very nice.
While I was at Autodesk University I had the opportunity to see more about this tool with the Autodesk Simulation team and in the class room.
Andrew Sears, Software Quality Assurance Engineering Lead at Autodesk thought it would be cool to give us a demo on the fly. As he walked into the class “MA3425 Real World: Real Autodesk Simulation Solutions”, he passed a riggers cherry picker cart, and snapped a picture with his iPad.
Once in the class, he popped it onto the projector and began to sketch out the structure overlay, adding joints to the crossbeams with a dab of his finger. He added the load to the top, and the thing started to spit out results as he made fine adjustments. It was a really slick way to demo the tool…and I really want one!!!
Results Import into Inventor
Later, the Autodesk Simulation team went over the tool with me in some detail. I discussed the need for this to be integrated into other products, like Inventor. They showed me some functionality that I didn’t know about. They demonstrated the bike demo that we have all seen, and then did something I had not seen before:
…brought the final 2D sketch results into Inventor, via DXF export and import. The Inventor part design sketching was constrained to it the imported DXF, and the model updated to accommodate the ForceEffect design calculations.
Autodesk is very dedicated to plugging the power of simulation technology into any aspect where it can be beneficial. While Autodesk won’t comment further on any plans to integrate these features into their existing engineering products, they did emphasize their commitment to integrating this and all of their simulation technologies with the capabilities in Autodesk Cloud.