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Tag Archives: Design Accelerator

Inventor | Synchronous Belt Pulley Width Update Tip

I decided to switch my gearbox for a belt drive to save some cross sectional space, and to simplify the design. The Autodesk Inventor Synchronous Belt Component Generator offers size, component modeling, and static calculations, much like all the other design accelerators that are available. The calculations offer a thorough list of expected results based on input power, speed and other factors, and flags similar issues that Gates points out in it’s design criteria, such as problematic pulley diameters where power and belt width are concerned.

While using the Synchronous Belt Component Generator,I noticed something odd. When I switched belt types or widths, some pulleys would flag an error. Unfortunately the error was not clear, but certain components would highlight in red, indicating that the component was not configured properly. Here’s what got me past the problem:

Autodesk Invnetor 2012 Synchrounous Belt Generator

I went to the problematic pulley, and reselected its type from the pulley type pull-down (near the right of the dialog on each component). The design accelerator reset the component width and type according to the belt type.

Autodesk Invnetor 2012 Synchrounous Pulley Type

It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it’s pretty easy to get past. If you know more about this anomaly, or you have any suggestions about this tool, please comment below. We’d love to hear them.

Autodesk Invnetor 2012 Synchrounous Belt Generator

Inventor | Constraining Design Accelerators

I noticed a problem with the shafts created in the Design Accelerator (DA) section of Autodesk Inventor 2012. Constraints get quite fouled up because reference faces are constantly being shifted and recreated by these awesome tools, and as a result the automated constraints get quite useless and annoying. I’ll discuss the Shaft Generator for most of this article.

Automated Placement

Autodesk Inventor 2012 Shaft Generator PlacementThe Shaft Generator tool has placement tools in the toolset for axial alignment, start reference, and rotational alignment. These are really great for many aspects of workflow.

How Problems Occur

These tools set up assembly constraints with whatever references are used. If, for example you chose the face of a shaft section, and then the section was eliminated or modified using the Shaft Generator, the DA will see the reference change, and either flag a bad Mate constraint, or introduce an offset in the constraint to represent the original position. Continue Reading

Inventor | Some Quick Tips From A New Project

I began a new machine configuration recently, and during the process, picked out a few tidbits that I thought some of you might like. Many of these are from older workflows, and some are new to 2012..

Frame Generator Considerations

If you are new to Frame Generator, you may have run into problems with frame alignment on 2D Sketch Geometry. Picking frame locations to be applied in a single pass causes numerous frames to offset to the wrong side of the profile. Some good, and some bad. To make matters worse, there is no way to individually alter these while applying them as a group. There is a better way – it is all in how you apply the frames.

You cannot set all frame members in one shot.

If all the planets are not in alignment, at least one frame member will be wrong. You need to set them in planned stages.

In the example below, you see how the Inventor’s Frame Generator defaults to the center of the frame. No problem, we just pick the correct alignment. Now we can pick the remaining frame locations IN-LINE, and Inventor will align the remaining frame members accordingly. Then we can move on to the next grouping. Repeat the process of getting the first in a run set how you like it, and Inventor will apply the remainder properly.


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Inventor | Thoughts from the Weekend Frame Design

This weekend I needed a quick wooden frame worked out. Autodesk Inventor’s Frame Generator has always been one of my favorite tools and  I remembered how nicely last year’s frame jobs turned out, and thought I’d crank it up.  When I look at the cut sheet after all is said and done, I remember the things that were useful in getting the job done quickly, and though I’d pass them on for some new guys.

Autodesk Inventor Frame Generator Project

A Good Skeleton

imageA good simplified skeleton really is the key to a successful frame design. I like to use surfaces to create the shapes that I need to frame up around. Using the outside edges is so easy, and no additional sketches are required.

When bracing is needed, some sketches can be added to guide the basic shapes. If you develop the skeleton properly, changes made to parameters will update in the frame members accordingly.

Customizing the Desktop Content Center

The 2010 product line gave us the option to install the Inventor Content Center as a Vault client, or without vault as a desktop solution. If you need the power of Vault, editing is still the same. However, if you do not require a Vault Server, then the 2011 Content Center changes are gonna make you smile. On this laptop I am using the desktop content, and it is so easy to install and maintain. There is no more ADMS, so customizing it is a breeze compared to the Vault version. You can literally add a new read-write library, copy a family, and edit the sizes and materials in less than 10 minutes. Making the Read-Write Library is handled completely through the Project editor dialog.

End Treatments

Frame Generator really saves time in a couple areas. One of these is with end treatments. The Trim – Extend to Face function is the hardest working tool in the package, and I use it for everything. I don’t know of any specific improvements to the notch tool in 2011, but using it went without a hitch.

image image

The treatment features are collected in the browser under each frame component. This make it really easy to delete specific frame member’s treatments without losing them all. As expected, picking the treatment highlights the affected members in the Graphics View Area.


There were a few things that I needed to do in order to get the flexibility in my drawings that I needed. First thing was creating View Representations in the main assembly to help make things less cluttered. In the image to the left, I used this awesome feature to direct what I did and did not want in specific view. Certain frame members were turned off in the ‘NoSides’ representation, and the side panels were turned translucent. Subsequent changes to the View Representation automatically update in the view.


Another nice inclusion was the ‘Include All Surfaces’ that is individually selectable for each object in a drawing view. On the right, I used it to depict the outline of the tanks to give a bit more understanding in the overall view, without a great deal more work.

imageFor those who are new to drawings, it is important to remember that the Parts Lists are generated from the Bill Of Materials. I did not need any structuring of sub-assembly components, and so I choose the Parts Only option from the BOM View selection as the List was being created. This gave me a simple list of the components without any additional formatting.


I had a lot of fun developing this model. It is designed flexible so that I can make adjustments to the tank arrangement, and the cut sheets will update. The Frame Generator is a powerful tool, and even with all the awesome new functionality in Inventor 2011, the Frame Generator is still one of my favorite tools.

In Design | A little Beta, a little Gear Fun

I’ve been playing with some Bevel Gear designs, and spending way too much time fighting the Bevel Gear Design Accelerator in Autodesk Inventor 2011. I couldn’t tell you why, but I have never like the Bevel Gear tool. The other Design Accelerators, including other Gear Options are great.

The Gears I am using here are modified versions of the series on Sean Dotson’s old site. Very nice design and easy to modify. I am thinking about using it as a reference and do a Bevel Gear in a Multi-Body design. Hmm.

One thing I need is a good reference on differing series and tooth geometries. Can anyone suggest a good book or site?


Spending as much time as I can gather in one of the Beta programs. I can’t say more but it’s totally awesome stuff.

Inventor – Incorporating Adaptability in Top Down Design

Inventor Model I was attempting to create some additional flexibility in a Top-Down Design by adding adaptability. Some of the design community was wondering if I’ve become unstable, and after countless hours of troubleshooting, I am now wondering the same thing.

Short Version

Concept – Incorporate child influenced adaptable features into the base skeleton file of a Top Down Design

Assessment – Not gonna happen.

Results – Corruption

Details – The Inventor history based, derived design parts are looking for updates while trying to adapt their information source, creating a conflict, and ultimately resulting is various corruptions.

Solution – Design with adaptability in mind, but farther down the line

Rest of the story

Though the attempt was a failure, I learned some things that I would like to pass on.

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