Did you want direct access to the CAD model parameters in a more powerful simulation and analysis software? Autodesk Simulation Mechanical 2013 allows you to change the Autodesk Inventor Parameters and update the CAD model on the fly without having to start Inventor.
This awesome addition can be found on the Ribbon’s Mesh tab, in the Cad Additions panel.
Starting this will invoke a dialog containing all the Inventor parameters and their relation to Inventor’s modeled features.
The adjustments are developed in real time, from inside Simulation Mechanical/s interface. In the image above I adjusted the thickness parameter slightly to close the gap between contact surfaces. You can easily adjust parameters to add or remove mass in different scenarios.
In this example, I reduced the thickness from 0.040” to 0.010”.
TIP: after adjusting a parameter, pick the Update button. This applies the changes and rebuilds the model. If you don’t use the Update button, the changes are simply stored in the dialog, but the model does not change.
Changes and Caution
It clearly appears as though Simulation Mechanical is returning to the original CAD model and making changes there, before reimporting the model. In the image above you may notice all the suppressed features. These were not present in the initial CAD import as they were suppressed in the Inventor Level Of Detail. After making the thickness adjustment, the model is rebuilt and suddenly all the other components were imported.
I thought the inventor file was being manipulated permanently, however this does not appear to be the case. The image to the upper right shows the Inventor file which was opened directly after the Simulation Mechanical parameter adjustment. The Shell thickness remains the same inside Inventor. (I was a bit worried to tell you the truth )
I took a look at my Thermal Analysis scenario, and unfortunately the model rebuild also affected that scenario as well. I was hoping that the parameters and subsequent adjustments could be maintained differently in each scenario, but that does not appear to be the case either. The image to the right shows how the previously solved Transient Thermal analysis is now arranged. Uggghh. I can always suppress them in the FEA Editor and rerun if necessary.
James Herzing, mastermind at the Autodesk Sim Squad, provided a good video at Simulation TV on using this feature. Here’s the video.
I like the ability to make the adjustments to Inventor Parameters. However, with the benefit comes a cost: Be very aware of your FEA build and results, and be prepared to rerun your analyses after the change.