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Tag Archives: Tips

Are your Autodesk Inventor Drawing views moving on your sheet?

Autodesk Inventor Drawing Views moved position Over the years, both myself and most of my colleagues or staff I’ve had working for me, have suffered with Inventor allowing drawing views to ‘float’ across the drawing sheet as if they have a mind of their own. The effect of this phenomenon is misaligned sections and detail views… as well as their respective dimensions and annotations becoming ‘sick’. There is a way to stop this from happening, however, frustratingly there has been a policy at Autodesk to keep legacy settings as the default settings, so as to not upset the established users. This policy even applies when it makes A LOT more sense to use the new setting instead.

Inventor View Justification

The setting under focus in this post, is the View Justification option within the Drawing tab of Application Options.Inventor Drawing View Fixed CenteredIt’s best if you set this before creating any drawings within Inventor. Otherwise each view you place will take on this setting. However, if you haven’t and you have a particularly important drawing in a bit of a state, then there is a workaround which will allow you to rectify the situation. Check out the video below for further details.

 

Autodesk Inventor: Copy Items Between Sheets Easily

It is easy to create another standard view in Inventor drawings, but what about when the view has been detailed or you have a customized Parts List? You can easily copy Views and Parts Lists from sheet to sheet, complete with all the annotations associated.

Copy / Paste

  • Select the items to copy: Select from the Graphics Window or from the Browser.
  • Pick the Sheet header in the browser
  • Paste through the context menu: After picking the header, right-click -> and select Paste.

Autodesk Inventor Copy Paste View

Drag / Drop Between Sheets

Alternately, you can drag to copy the items.

  • Select the items to be copied: The same procedure applies from above
  • Pick / drag the selected items towards the browser
  • Drop into the view tree: This is the odd part. You need to drop the items down into the tree organization. Just pull you cursor down below where the Views are organized; you should notice the darkened line marker alerting you to where the items will be copied. When satisfied, release the mouse button.

Autodesk Inventor Drag Views to copy them between sheets

Autodesk Inventor Pasted views

In the example above notice the Parts List and views that were copied. All annotations were copied over with the views. In this example I’ve edited the parts list and balloons according the the sheet purpose after the copy was complete.

@%#&! Autodesk Vault just overwrote my file

Recover Overwritten Vault CAD FilesIf you’ve used Autodesk Vault at any time, then its highly likely you have downloaded a file you already have checked out and overwrote a chunk of your work. Unfortunately that’s just one of several scenarios, which can result in you losing your work. The real trick to preventing this of course, is to check your work into Vault every couple of hours (similar to continually saving within your CAD application). Nevertheless, there could be a number of reasons why checking in your work continuously isn’t feasible. I often hear the comment “I wish Vault had a recycle bin”, I’ve even murmured those words myself and you know what it’s a reasonable request. Why can’t Vault create an old version of the files it’s overwriting? Although its likely possible, it could get mighty confusing.

Just over a year ago, one of my staff downloaded a skeletal / master model from Vault while trying to work around a problem he had, the problem was he already had it checked out, but worse he hadn’t checked in the file for a couple of days. He had created components, built a main assembly and even produced a drawing. Needless to say overwriting his skeletal model with what was essentially a template file, was highly undesirable. Don’t judge him though, he’s new to this Autodesk Inventor / Vault game, all while dealing with a temperamental VPN connection & a new replicated Vault, so he’s been doing a grand job. All of my staff and myself have all made this mistake once or twice.

Autodesk Vault Inventor Project File Old Versions Setting

In the past the Inventor Old Versions folder has been our first port of call, depending on how your Inventor Project File is setup, these folders can be a gold mine during these arse puckering moments. The project file setting I am referring to is shown in the image above, I like to set Old Versions To Keep On Save to equal 5 on all Vault project files. Of course, this tactic is of no use to AutoCAD users, but it does have some of it’s own backup treasures which may or may not be useful within any given situation.

This time however, I’m glad he made the mistake, because it prompted me to ponder if some of the new Windows Explorer features in Windows 7 on wards would help out here. The particular feature which inspired me to Google for a solution, was the undo tool. In Windows 7 or 8 if you delete a file in a folder, then press Ctrl + Z, it will undo the delete command and restore the file. In this case the file had been overwritten by an application and not as a result of the user interacting directly with the folder. So I took a punt and searched for:

“Recovering an overwritten file”

The first search return took me to this site. Method 3 of 4 was a particular surprise, I couldn’t believe it, I’d seen this tab in the Windows 7 Property menu before but I’d never realized it’s impact. The command worked perfectly, the 2 days of lost work was returned thanks to this hidden gem. You can even open or copy the previous version to a different location if you aren’t confident it’s the right way to go. Be warned though, this isn’t a fail safe, but this is always worth a check in this situation. The best part though? This is handy for all Windows users, not just Vault users.

Windows 7 Restore Previous Version Tab

Then I went and took a look at Windows 8 to make sure this behaviour still existed, it turns out it doesn’t and this article explains why. Thankfully Microsoft just improved it out right, the only catch is you have to enable it and point it to a non system drive. Take a look at this well written article explaining how to do that. Another bit of good news is Windows 10 has maintained the same system as Windows 8, so we are looking good into the future. If you are the owner of your Autodesk software, then you could re-purpose your Autodesk USB installation media, to leverage this native Windows benefit.

These tools for Windows 7 & 8 are cracking little gems, lurking in the background, rarely used but invaluable all the same just waiting for the opportunity to shine and save your butt. The best part is they can be used on any file stored on your hard drive and not just those your use for CAD. Check them out and if you need to, enable it. With respect to the title of this post, I haven’t really shown you how to prevent it happening in the first place, I will do this in an upcoming post covering dialog and prompt suppression within Vault and it’s application add-ins.

And they’re off! – The (Great?) Inventor Constraint Race

Ok so this one is a bit silly,  but it has practical implications.

In Inventor these days, there are so many ways of sticking one bit to another bit. Constraints, Joints, the “Assemble” command, iMates, or even no constraints at all in certain skeletal modelling workflows. So which is the most efficient!? Like anything, there is no cut and dried answer to that question, that would apply to all cases. It’s a matter of horses for courses.

Horses RacingCredit: Paul Kehrer“Full Stretch”

Just for fun, I thought I’d put a few of these methods to the test in a somewhat controlled environment. I decided to eliminate some variables by keeping the test to one type of connection, a simple pin in a hole, multiplied a few times.

The “horses” are:

  • #1 – “New-fangled Assemble”   Place and “assemble” one by one. Thanks to Scott Moyse for entering this horse in the race.
  • #2 – “Drag-Connect”   Place all then drag-connect.
  • #3 – “Trusty Old Constraint”  Place all then manually constrain.
  • #4 – “G’day iMate”   Named iMates for automatic connection on placement. Thanks to Peter Crawley for entering this horse in the race.
  • #5 = “All the iMates”   Right-click and select “Place at all Matching iMates.”  Another entry courtesy of Peter Crawley, but it was disqualified from the race for alleged doping after finishing in only 2 seconds.

I thought I’d introduce them first, one by one…


And now…. without further ado, place your bets, and let’s go racing!

Did you make any money?

Feature image credit: A Day At The RacesGary J. Wood

Back to Basics – 4 Autodesk Inventor Techniques You Should Know

With so much focus given to new features / technologies by CAD bloggers / vendors, it’s easy to forget the little things. I thought I’d start a series of posts that deal with simple, time-saving workflows and tricks that you may have missed along the way while learning to use Inventor.

This first part will demonstrate 4 simple tips / techniques, in a video below:

  1. Two-click Center Workplane
  2. ‘Derive’ Workflow
  3. Convert projected geometry to ‘Construction’
  4. Workplane normal to path for sweep

Two-click Center Workplane

Very often you want to place a workplane exactly halfway between two faces or other planes. By selecting the workplane tool and simply clicking the two faces, you can do just that. In the 2015 release of the product, this workflow was expanded to use any two faces! They no longer have to be parallel, or similar in any way.

‘Derive’ Workflow

I consider this to be one of the most powerful and useful workflows in Inventor. Not only can you use it to maintain adaptive geometry with a source part or assembly, but you can also bring through parameters and work-features, or even use it to mirror or scale a component! Very handy, like these paper towels.

Convert projected geometry to ‘Construction’

I’m sure you’ve all come across that annoying warning: “Cannot constrain or dimension reference or fixed geometry.” This often happens when you think you are clicking on an unconstrained sketch feature, but there’s actually some projected geometry underneath. I find that it helps to project in the geometry you need (within a part only, please don’t use cross-part projection in assemblies!!! Use derive instead) and then turn all of that geometry to construction, before creating your own sketch geometry using the construction features as reference. This will help you to build much more reliable sketches.

Workplane normal to path for sweep

I use this one EVERY time I do a sweep. Often the start of your sweep path is at a point in space with no other reference geometry nearby. This allows you to quickly create a plane on the endpoint that is normal to the path.

Hopefully some of you may find at least one of these tips useful. If you have tips of your own that you’d like to share, please share away in the comments below!

Feature image credit: “Ideal Insurance, Moor Green Lane – 123” by Elliot Brown

Inventor | View Representations – You just clicked “Ok,” didn’t you?

Even for the seasoned Autodesk Inventor users out there, a frustrating little problem in Inventor assemblies occasionally pops up that seems to defy all logic.

Change the visibility of a component or workplane etc. and suddenly EVERYTHING becomes visible or invisible in your assembly? You’ve probably unintentionally broken the associativity of a view rep somewhere, by just clicking “Ok” to a dialog box that you either didn’t read or didn’t understand. #AmIRight

This video aims to provide some clarity as to what that dialog really means, and how to re-associate the view reps.

Design View Representation Associativity in Autodesk Inventor

Searching, Listing and Filters | Autodesk Vault Professional 2015 – Microsoft SharePoint 2013

In the final post of the Microsoft SharePoint and Autodesk Vault integration series, Chris shows you how to leverage the power of shared databases. Read how to configure SharePoint search, including troubleshooting it, create SharePoint Lists and their Filters. All so you can make it easy as possible for SharePoint end users to access your released CAD data.Continue Reading

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