Design and Manufacturing solutions through Digital Prototyping and Interoperability

Tag Archives: 2010

Inventor of the Year–Vote for RND Automation

imageimageEach month Autodesk selects one of the cutting edge companies using Inventor Software, to be recognized as “Inventor of the Month”. After the year is over, the community is encouraged to vote for their favorite, who will be designated as “Inventor of the Year”.

This year you have the opportunity to make sure that RND Automation and Engineering, Sean Dotson’s Tampa based company, is selected as the winner. Sean has been an integral part of the Inventor community, providing not only information and research, but also forums for the community to discuss Inventor design solutions from the common problems to the most obscure.  The MCadForums are but one example.

March 2010: RND Automation and Engineering

Not only has Sean Dotson spent a lot of time helping people, his company’s machine designs are fabulous. In an Autodesk press release issued last year, Buzz Kross, the Autodesk Manufacturing Industry Group’s Vice-President said “…RND is competing and winning against competitors with its custom automation machine designs.”

Check out RND’s March 2010 award page at the Autodesk Manufacturing Community site, and the head straight to the voting location:

RND has a good, well deserved lead, and we need to make sure it sticks.

AU 2010 | Speaker Awards


Autodesk University awards the best rated speakers with a return trip to the following event on the house, a $200 Amazon Gift card, and not to mention good odds on their next classes being selected. This year’s speaker awards are out, and if I’m not mistaken, they are not really a surprise.

imagedave espinosa-aguilar took the Lab award for  Fundamentals of Lisp and the Lecture award for Becoming an AutoCAD Power User.

dave has attended all 18 AU events, and is well known as one of the few speakers that truly and consistently absorb their audience. Thanks for raising the bar a little bit higher.

The Newbie award goes to Gayle Rose for The Need for Transient Cooling.

Unfortunately, attendees’ survey input was quite low, and as a result there are no AU Virtual Speaker awards. This is pretty bad considering I know one of the better speakers laid out more than one virtual class. I hope that next year will be better.

dave’s profile pic was taken from his AU profile, Gayle’s was unavailable.

InventorCAM | 2010 First Impressions

imageInventorCAM 2010 is the easiest CAM application I had ever used. It is a full featured CAM toolset for milling applications up to 5 axis, and is capable of calculating just about any contour and model feature. It runs completely inside of Autodesk Inventor 2011, using the Inventor interface instead of a shell. It is so well integrated that CAD and CAM workflows can be completed in the same session.

I took a break from CAM and CNC for a while, but connecting with the company at Autodesk University 2009 compelled me to do some research during this past year, and joined the organization as an Alliance Partner. I reunited with the guys at Autodesk University 2010, and started missing my CNC time, so I decided to get the show on the road.

Let me start by saying that the folks at InventorCAM are quick to respond and are really helpful. They’ve checked in with me and asked if I need help a few times, but the darn thing is so easy to use, I can’t come up with anything that the application didn’t already prepare for me, at least not yet.

I had decided to start small, with a basic shaped component that had at least two operations, but was fairly simple with no contouring so I can check performance and setup easily. My wife had been eying me suspiciously from across the room. “What NEW software?” My messing around my workstation with a SolidCAM USB key in hand and evil grin and laugh, evoking the cold stare from she who calls Autodesk Design Solutions, “the Mistress”. hmmm… “but look, I’m making this for you…it’s a heart”. I received me a blank look and rolled eyes… at least Inventor still loves me.

So I went with the heart because it will get faced and profiled, and has a tight radius that I can use to check simple toolpaths.

Inventor Integration

There are two reasons I went with InventorCAM: Inventor integration and Setup.

As for integration, I’m not talking about “here is a toolbar to start it from Inventor, and it might even bring the part geometry over to the CAM program”, like some companies that claim to be integrated. You know who you are. I call BS.

No, InventorCAM 2010 is operated inside Inventor 2011, and you use Inventor tools that you are comfortable with to maneuver the component environment. The tool installs right into the Inventor Ribbon and communicates with Inventor directly to create native files as needed.


When a new InventorCAM project is started from within a part file, a new CAM Project folder is created within the Inventor Project file (or other customizable locations). The part file is seamlessly placed in an Inventor Assembly, which provides an easy method for InventorCAM to include models of  stocks and fixtures if desired.  Yes fixtures – I’m loving it.

Using Inventor while the tool is active is no problem as the context menu is still populated with Inventor tools and the Inventor Browsers are all accessible. Continue Reading

AU2010–Sunday Early Arrivals and Preparation

IMAG0203Autodesk University 2010 is falling upon Las Vegas as the die hard AU speakers and attendees begin to roll in. Speakers like Mark Flayler and myself were already here wanting to get an early move on things. Speakers Kate Morrical, Matt Anderson, and Donnie Gladfelter have already arrived this morning, while others such as Noah Cole, Dana Probert, Melanie Perry, Rob Cohee, Kevin Schneider, and Bryan Tanner are on their way. James Wedding is anyone’s guess, as he’s gone stealth, flying below radar. He’s Batman.

Autodesk University Resources

The following are a few things I picked up off of twitter:

You can follow all the action by watching the hashtag #AU2010 and #ADSKUNV on Twitter.  Follow @AutodeskU and @mrcadman for continuous info on what’s happening convention wide.

You can upload your AU2010 videos to AU Virtual. Simply email from your mobile device or computer to

You can check the Autodesk University Event Schedule to see what will be happening like lunches and keynotes.

Event Kaddy

imageEvent kaddy is distributing all kinds of convention goodness through phone and web interfaces. While BlackBerry, Android, and WM apps were intended, apparently they will be unavailable. The iPhone and web apps are up. I gotta say, the web interface on my WM phone works better than I had hoped. Give them a shot.

Event Kaddy for Autodesk University Download Page

Event Kaddy for Autodesk University Mobile Web link

Good luck to everyone

imageSpeakers are putting their stuff together and getting ready for their presentations and meetings. I for one am getting a jump on my reporting, getting some things ironed out for my attendees, and trying to get my Outlook Scheduler to stop shouting “SCHEDULE CONFLICT !!!!”.

One last note, Registration desk is reported to be open today, Sunday the 28th, from 16:00 (4:00 p.m.) – 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)

Monday it will be open from 06:30 (6:30 a.m.) – 22:00 (10:00 p.m.).

(for all the new people, just ask which way to Mandalay Convention Center. It’s easier than stumbling about) KEEEEEEP Walking and eventually the registration center will be dead ahead. The signs should be all over the place in that area.  If you get to the Up escalators at Mandalay Place (or any up escalator), you are going the wrong way.

Civil 3D – Parcel Segment Editing Tip

The implementation of the Ribbon in Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010 brought with it significant improvements in workflow for numerous object including Parcels. If you have been using the Parcel Layout Tools for most of your editing, you may want to look at that Ribbon again.


Edit Geometry through the Modify Tab

The Modify Tab contains various tools for object editing like various entities like Polylines, but includes Civil 3D objects as well such as Feature Lines and Parcel Segments as well.


These make short work of trimming and joining Parcel Segments, and some tools do great work on polyline segments too. Dig in and see what they can do for you. The key here is the nature of the workflow. Intuitive design allows you to perform applicable edits on anything you are working with. Polylines, Feature Lines, Parcels, no matter. Just head to the modify tab of the ribbon.

*TIP – When adding joining AutoCAD entities into Parcel Segments, make sure you convert lines into Polylines before using the tool. Continue Reading

Civil 3D – Using Volume Surfaces to Inspect Changes

Autodesk Civil 3D Surface Comparison Hydro colorationWe often have to verify the condition of Stormwater basins for our clients. In the example today, I was requested to evaluate the volumes of a past as-built, and compare it to a recent version.


While there were difference in volume, the problems lied in the inability to visually evaluate where those differences had occurred. EG Contours are shaped similarly, and spot grades are located differently. Also, I was given half an hour to delineate the differences.


I have the 2 Grid volume surfaces that establish storage volume to the outfall elevation. What I need now is a Volume surface that compares the EG surfaces of the two pond bottoms.  

Continue Reading

Civil 3D – Remember Command Changes Tip

I think I picked this one up while reading  Dana Probert and James Wedding’s excellent book, Mastering Civil 3D 2008. Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D uses command defaults to populate all the dialogs that appear when working through your design. It then refers back to these after a command has ended, no matter what changes you… Continue Reading

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