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Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Service Pack 1 for Autodesk Inventor Tooling 2010

Sorry readers, this one slipped through the blog article writing machine (me!) but here you go better late than never.....

Earlier this week Autodesk announced service pack 1 for Autodesk Inventor Tooling 2010 which addresses a number of user identified issues.

Before you install this service pack make sure that you have downloaded and installed service pack 1 for Autodesk Inventor 2010 and updated your operating system, especially KB952696 for Windows Vista. Reboot your system after the updates are installed.

Download the required version of the service pack, 32-bit or 64-bit and then double click on the .msp file to begin the update.

To download service pack 1 for Autodesk Inventor Tooling 2010:


To download service pack 1 for Autodesk Inventor 2010:


Please make sure that you download and read the installation instructions in full (in the readme file) before you proceed with the update.

Working with Catia data in Autodesk Inventor

With the release of Inventor 2010 earlier this year we were given the ability to open 3D model data that was created using Catia V5 and also save 3D Inventor parts and assemblies in Catia V5 format. This gives Inventor users the ability to collaborate with clients, suppliers and colleagues who use Catia during their design process.

Within Inventor 2010, the Open dialogue box has an extensive list of file types that can be opened which includes (amongst many others) JT, UGS NX, SolidWorks, DWG, Pro/Engineer and of course Catia V5. By selecting ‘Catia V5 Files’ from the list you can select any of the .CATProduct or .CATPart files that have been created using Catia V5.
.CATProduct files are similar to Inventors .IAM assembly files and contain references to .CATPart files which are similar to Inventors .IPT part files. If you choose to open a .CATProduct file that has references to .CATPart files, all of the related data will be opened into Inventor 2010. If you choose to open a .CATPart file, the part will be opened so you can quickly re-use it and save it as an Inventor .IPT file.
When you select a Catia V5 .CATProduct or .CATPart file to open into Inventor 2010, you can change the open options that will allow you to configure what you want to import and how you want to import it. The options dialogue gives you the ability to choose whether you want to import Solids, Surfaces, Wires etc and how you want the imported data to behave e.g. do you want the assembly to be an assembly, single part, multi-body solid and do you want to import surfaces as single surfaces, composites or as a group. There are also options to Check Parts during Load and Enable Advanced Healing; both of these options are post process options that check the quality of the data and allow stitching.
Setting the options when you are opening data that originated in other software will help you when re-using it within Inventor 2010 making sure you have access to the 3D geometry quickly and easily.

When you want to share your 3D Inventor data with a Catia V5 user, just use the Export > CAD Format... option and select Catia V5 from the files of type. Once again you can set the Options which allows you to include Sketch geometry (or not) and also set the version of Catia V5 that will be using the data (R18, R17, R16 etc).

Monday, 21 September 2009

Autodesk Inventor via your web browser!

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a method of delivering software usage to the user via the web, this usually means using the application, (which is hosted & managed by the vendor at their data centre) within a web browser. It’s something that has been talked about for many years and many software vendors have tried delivering their software in this way at some point.

Autodesk started delivering software via SaaS a couple of years ago and have introduced tools such as Project Showroom, Project Dragonfly and Project Draw which all give users the ability to create designs via a web browser. These are available for use from the Autodesk Labs website - http://labs.autodesk.com

Last week Autodesk announced that they were extending the SaaS offering via Project Twitch, a new on-line Labs project that will allow users to trial their favourite Autodesk software via a web browser! The amazing part about all this is the tools that you can trial - AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor and Maya - four of Autodesk flagship solutions can all be trialled via a web browser.

There are some restrictions\guides though.....
  • No ability to upload, download, or save files. To make it easier to try out the application, we have loaded a number of sample files that will allow you to interact with complex drawings.
  • No ability to load or keep any customisations that you create .
  • Access is limited to users that have hardware and network connections capable of supporting the service
  • 32-bit Windows Vista or Windows XP
  • IE 7 or higher
  • Firefox 3.x
  • 5Mbps+ bandwidth
The real limitation at the moment though is geography, users wanting to trial any of these applications via their web browser need to be within 1000 miles of the data centre which is in San Francisco. Although this is not good for us in Europe at the moment, Project Twitch shows us that the SaaS model is not just limited to 2D drawing, word processing and spread sheets and that possibly one day, the whole globe will have access to our favourite 3D Autodesk tools via our web browser.

For more information about Project Twitch, head on over to the Project Twitch pages on Autodesk Labs - http://labs.autodesk.com/technologies/trials/

Friday, 18 September 2009

Product Design & Engineering on the move

As most Product Designers or Design Engineers have experienced, you instantly start thinking of how to resolve a problem as soon as you hear about it. Whether it be a problem that needs fixing or a customer\internal requirement you try and visualise the solution your head. It's just like a maths teacher or accountant trying to work out a numbers problem in their head whilst talking to someone.

If you saw Eminem in the film 8 Mile you'll know what I'm talking about as he did exactly the same thing when thinking of the lyrics for his raps. He had a tatty old pad that he used to write down all the ideas he had (whilst riding the bus) so he could come back to them at a later time.

For me, this can lead to frustration at times because the ideas that I have in my head I want to get out of my head so that I can refer back to them to refine and develop. Unless I'm sat in front of my laptop I would generally use traditional pen & paper meaning I have hundreds of doodles & sketches in books as well as stacks of individual pieces of paper in drawers and on my desk. But depending where I am and what I'm doing I don't always have a piece of paper to hand. The ones that I end up developing I then use the piece of paper as the basis and then re-create the design using Autodesk Inventor.

If like me, you end up with a small mountain of paper there is a solution to hand.....

Autodesk have just announced the availability of SketchBook Mobile - a version of SketchBook Pro that runs on your Apple iPhone or iTouch but has all the great features that you usually have on your PC! It means that any design ideas that you do have you don't need a pen & paper to hand, you can sketch away using SketchBook Mobile on your iPhone\iTouch and use these when you get back to the office.

You can get more information about SketchBook Mobile from the Autodesk website:


Or to purchase SketchBook Mobile for just $2.99 you can go straight to the AppStore:


Not only will SketchBook Mobile help you develop your designs whilst you are on the move, it will also help save some trees by using less paper!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Autodesk University 2009

I've not had an opportunity to attend Autodesk University yet so was pretty excited when the call came through that this year I'll be going. You can imagine the look I got from my wife when I told her I was off to Las Vegas for a week in early December!!

Once I’d got over the “I’ll be working, it’s not all beer and casinos” conversation I started looking at the AU website to register and start planning my schedule for the three day event. There’s over 600 multi-level classes and hands-on labs for pretty much every Autodesk product relating to a whole host of relevant industries including Manufacturing, Architecture & Building Design, Civil Engineering, Visualisation, Geospatial etc. There is most definitely something for everyone. Luckily though, the automatic on-line scheduling gizmo took all of the classes and sessions I said I was interested in and fitted them nicely into a calendar so I could quickly see which class I will be attending, when and where without having to try and schedule it all myself. Any classes that overlap were highlighted and I could choose which one I wanted to attend, and which one I wanted to re-schedule. It’s a really neat tool.

What I also noticed whilst browsing through the schedules was that the classes are not presented just by Autodesk or reseller partners, there a lot of classes that are presented by end users who want to share their own experiences and best practices of implementing and using Autodesk technology within their business. If you’re new to Autodesk technology or thinking of investing in Autodesk technology then who best to hear about it from than other users that have been successful?

As I specialise in the Autodesk Manufacturing products, the easy choice for me would have been to select all of the classes for Inventor, AutoCAD Mechanical etc but I decided that I wanted to learn more about the other Autodesk products that collaborate with the Manufacturing tools. I’m finding that more and more companies are wanting to collaborate, and re-using data rather than re-creating it is a huge benefit when taking a fabricated product designed using Inventor into an Architectural design using Revit. Or taking land surface data from Civil3D into Inventor to help design concrete bore holes. So most of my classes for my first visit to AU will be taking me out of my usual comfort zone so I can come back oozing with information.

All I need now is to complete the 18 hour, three airports and two flight journey to get to Las Vegas............but I cannot wait!

Autodesk University takes place at The Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas from 1st December 2009 to 3rd December 2009. For more information you can visit the AU website – http://au.autodesk.com

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Autodesk at Offshore Europe 2009 - Update!

Apologies I've not blogged anything for a while but there's been a good reason.Early on Monday morning I flew up to Aberdeen, Scotland for the Offshore Europe 2009 exhibition and conference - what a busy few days it has been!!

You can't fail to miss the 7 meter high Autodesk 'Jupiter Wall' at the entrance to the show which has eighteen 42" plasma screens displaying how Autodesk technology can help those in the offshore oil & gas industry. This will be seen by over 40,000 attendees and 1,500 exhibitors over the course of the 4 day event!

The actual show opened yesterday (Tuesday) and we have been exceptionally busy on the Autodesk stand, especially showing the new AutoCAD Plant3D product that was released on 1st September. We have also been giving live main stage demonstrations of how Autodesk Inventor can help with equipment design and then sharing the 3D engineering data for plant design in AutoCAD Plant3D.
One of the stars of the show has to be the 2m wide 'Apollo Wall' that we have on the Autodesk stand, it is certainly attracting attention of those walking past due to the 3D stereo image that is on screen. We are using Autodesk Showcase to show how manufacturing companies can take the equipment that has been designed using Autodesk Inventor and visualise it in photo-realistic real-time, in a 3D stereo environment. Just put on the (funny looking) glasses and you instantly experience the full immersive 3D environment created by Showcase.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Seperator Unit Dataset for Offshore Europe

In preparation for this week’s Offshore Europe event in Aberdeen, Demir Ali from UK Autodesk distributor Man & Machine has put together a product demonstration based around this separator unit.

The live product demonstrations will take place each hour and will be split into three key areas:
  • Equipment Design
  • Plant Design
  • Visualisation
Autodesk has tools that will allow those working within the offshore Oil & Gas industry to collaborate across many disciplines using tools like Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD P&ID, AutoCAD Plant3D, Navisworks and Autodesk Showcase.

All of the above products will be shown on the huge Apollo Wall provided by HoloVis International and will allow visitors to the stand to experience the separator in an immersive 3D environment. You have to experience it to believe it!!

If you're in Aberdeen for the Offshore Europe show, pop along to stand F10 to say 'Hi' and experience the immersive 3D environment.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Autodesk Inventor 2010 Service Pack 1

If you haven’t already seen, Service Pack 1 is now available for the Autodesk Inventor 2010 product line. This service pack applies to:
  • AutoCAD® Inventor® Professional Suite 2010
  • AutoCAD® Inventor® Routed Systems Suite 2010
  • AutoCAD® Inventor® Simulation Suite 2010
  • AutoCAD® Inventor® Suite 2010
And the 32-bit and 64-bit versions can be downloaded from the following web page:


If you were hot of the blocks to download and install Service Pack 1 before 26th August, you might experience an issue with borrowing network licenses and\or with Communication Centre not recognising you have Service Pack 1 installed.

If you do have these issues and you did install Service Pack 1 before 26th August, please download and install the following hot fix:


You don't need to uninstall Service Pack 1, just install the hot fix.