Design and Manufacturing solutions through Digital Prototyping and Interoperability

Tag Archives: Assemblies

Inventor | Driving Constraints From Workplanes

Rotary TableI didn’t realise until today that you can’t flip a work plane’s normal in an Inventor Assembly. So using a single parameter to drive a mate constraint simultaneously, on multiple parts can prove problematic. We’ve recently been designing a rotary dining table, by turning the whole table the table sections slide out opening up a gap between them to insert another leaf. We wanted to animate that movement so we could check it worked and behaved desirably prior to commencing production. Continue Reading

Inventor | Demote and Promote Assemblies

This is one of my favorite tools, because it is so simple and effective.


Demote allow users to select components within a parent assembly, to be replaced with a sub-assembly comprised of the selected items.

In the example below, I need to clean up this assembly by taking a hand full of purchased items pertaining to this damper, and shoot them off to a sub-assembly of their own. I still need the components in the correct location, and Demote takes care of that with no additional user interaction.

Autodesk Inventor 2013 Assembly Demote

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Inventor | Adaptivity and Patterning Fun

imageI was mocking up a power supply and servo controller I built for my mill, and decided to present you with a workflow that might help you in the future. Autodesk Inventor automates many of the things that are required during component assembly, you just need to remember a few tid-bits.

The problem

I need to pattern in some connectors, including fasteners, into the rear of the box. The problem is that I don’t know the connector dimensions, fastener spread, nada. Actually, this is the least of my problems.

The workflow goes something like this:

  • Create adaptive cutout
  • Constrain the Plug and Add the Bolted Connections
  • Create a Feature Pattern
  • Attach the Components to the Pattern Continue Reading

Inventor | Navigating the Library Assembly Minefield

Have you ever tried using Assemblies in a library within Vault, then either gave up or put up with the annoying persistent saves thrown up by Inventor?

I have and prior to implementing Vault, the persistent saves were always something that annoyed me, but could never work out where they came from. You know how it is, you finish working on an assembly and hit save, but when you close the document it asks if you want to save. What usually follows are mumbling profanities about how stupid Inventor is.

Autodesk Inventor Vault Browser
Components marked with an asterisk have pending saves

Well along came Vault. So I set about updating all of our Libraries, standardized all the components, loaded them into Vault and released them. It was around this time I discovered we couldn’t check in any drawing or assembly that used an Assembly residing in a Vault Library. The Vault add-in requires that every referenced document is fully saved before it will check anything in, any files with changes pending are highlighted with an asterisk next to it in the Vault Browser. But you can’t save a Read-Only Library file, especially if it’s in a released and locked Vault Lifecycle State….

To find out more about this problem and the solution check out the Inventor Manufacturing section of the upcoming November 2011 edition of AUGI World magazine.

Edit: The full article can now be read here.

Edit: The videos to go with the article can all be found here.

Inventor | The dreaded ‘Use Color Override from source component’ annoyance.

If you ever thought that the Autodesk support and development team doesn’t listen, then I’m here to say its just not true. With the release of Inventor 2012 we noticed what we believed to be a feature regression. It turns out the behavior we had become accustomed to and preferred was as a result of a bug. Naturally, the dev guys at Autodesk prefer to fix bugs than not, so from Inventor 2011 SP1 onwards the behavior we preferred disappeared. Now I’m not sure how we didn’t notice it until the release of 2012 but I will give them the benefit of the doubt, since they do listen to our woes after all.

Using the appropriate channels to voice our inconvenience, I managed to get Autodesk to see the problem with the way they had ‘fixed’ the software. Once we had justified the cost of its affect they set about coming up with a solution for us. All they could do initially was provide some VBA code to fix the affected part files over an over again, at least until the next major release of the software came out (SP1). The fellas over at Being Inventive created a post within days of SP1’s release, they kindly posted a registry file with an explanation of its behavior and how to use it.

Today I noticed Paul Munford from “The CAD Setter Out” blog had posted on Twitter last week, asking about how to fix this problem. So I told him about the Registry mod and the VBA code that I was provided by Autodesk. I realised the code hadn’t been shared by the Autodesk team and since its required so you don’t loose your sanity fixing up old files, I thought I should share it on my new found information outlet (Cheers John). So, courtesy of the Autodesk support guys in Singapore, here it is:

We ended up using a different version of this code because we wanted to point to a folder and fix all the files contained within. However, this one works on a currently open and active assembly. So go ahead, load this beauty up into your VB project, open the main assembly containing all your ‘tainted’ part files and watch all the color styles get reset to what they should be.

Labs | Subassembly Composer Tech Preview


Autodesk Labs just released the Technology Preview for the Civil 3D Corridor Sub-Assembly Composer that should prove to make life substantially less aggravating for those of us that need some customized structures in our models. For me, the most notable issue has been has been retaining walls, but some customization of basic structures has caused no shortage of discomfort either.


The interface provides point definition, link information and sequencing. Once complete, just write out the .pkt file, and import the Sub-Assembly into Civil 3D.

Here’s a pic where the Corridor was rebuild after the new curb was completed.


Conditions can be evaluated in two forms: Cut/Fill, and General Statements. The image below represents one of the Autodesk Labs examples where both a Cut/Fill condition and a Basin True False (General) condition are evaluated.


A very simple flow chart interface is employed to make sense of the operation.  This is a nice addition, that will slide in very nicely to 2012 (I hope).

Civil 3D Corridor Subassembly Composer on Autodesk Labs

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