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Friday, 26 February 2010

Autodesk Inventor Customer Satisfaction Survey

The Autodesk Inventor product team is committed to delivering the best overall product experience and value for you and your company. Your answers to this quick survey will help us understand what matters most and guide our efforts to improve Inventor and its entire ecosystem of support, training, recruiting, etc.

We want Inventor to be the best product possible. Please let us know what matters most to you.

The survey will take about 10 minutes or less to complete.

Click here to begin the survey....
(the survey will open in a new tab/window)

Happy surveying!

Autodesk Inventor Projects - OldVersions

When you create an Autodesk Inventor Project file (.ipj) it not only sets the working folders, template & content locations, style library access, it also sets the number of OldVersions to save of an Inventor file.

The Old Versions to Keep On Save option sets the number of versions to store in the OldVersions\ folder for each file saved. If you've noticed an OldVersions folder popping up in your workspace it's because the first time a file is saved in a project, an OldVersions\ folder for that file is created. When the file is saved, the prior version is moved automatically to its OldVersions\ folder. After the number of old versions reaches the maximum, the oldest version is deleted when a newer version is moved into the folder.

You can edit the number of OldVersion files to save in the folder before they get purged off. For example, you can set the value to 0 to save no Oldversions, or 10 to keep the last 10. You can also set the value to -1 which will save all OldVersions without purging any. All you have to do click the variable, and then change it to the maximum number of file versions to keep in all OldVersions\ folders in the project. You can also right mouse click and select Edit.

Happy Inventing!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Create Lifecycle Definitions with MS Visio

If you are using Vault Workgroup 2010, Vault Collaboration 2010 or Vault Manufacturing 2010 to manage your 2D, 3D and non-CAD data you will no doubt be using document lifecycle definitions.

Lifecycle definitions allow manufacturers to replicate their workflow\approval\release processes electronically so that documents can be managed and tracked as they move through the design engineering process. The security on each state can be configured as well as transition actions and transition security, ensuring that only the correct people are involved in the correct lifecycle processes.

We have heard a lot that many manufacturers already have their workflow documented as a flow diagram within Microsoft Visio, or that they would like to use Visio to document a new workflow. With this in mind, Doug Redmond from our Data Management team in the US has written a great utility that allows users of VW, VC or VM to import a Visio .vsd document to automatically create the lifecycle definitions in Vault!

Have a watch of this video for more details:

To get hold of the utility, and for more data management goodness, have a look on Dougs Blog - It's All Just Ones and Zeros

Happy lifecycle defining!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Autodesk Inventor Publisher

If you’ve not yet had chance to have a look at Autodesk Inventor Publisher, you need to get yourself over to Autodesk Labs to download the Technology Preview!

Autodesk Inventor Publisher allows manufacturers to produce installation guides, service documentation, assembly instructions etc quickly and easily using the native 3D Digital Prototype created by design engineers using Autodesk Inventor. Having the Digital Prototype associative with Autodesk Inventor Publisher means that work can begin on producing all of the required technical documentation before the design is completed. Should an update be made to the Digital Prototype, it will be automatically updated in Inventor Publisher – and the two applications don’t even need to be on the same workstation!

Inventor Publisher takes some of the great user interface tools that Inventor Fusion has to offer to make it really quick and easy to pick up and use. The marking menu that is accessed from the right click menu gives you everything you need right at your fingertips.

But the biggest benefit has to be that once you have created your exploded storyboards you can output them to various formats including MS Word, MS PowerPoint and also as a Flash embedded web page!

Have a watch of Autodesk Inventor Publisher in use:

And if you want to get your hands on this great new tool, download it from labs.autodesk.com

Happy Documenting!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Taking Advantage of Inventors Clean Screen Environment

Autodesk Inventor 2010 introduced the option to work in a clean screen environment, something has been popular with digital artists and desktop publishing for a number of years.

Using the Clean Screen option on the View ribbon, or by pressing CTRL + 0 (zero) on the keyboard, the Autodesk Inventor working environment will be ‘cleaned’ up and go from this:

To this:

You’ll notice that the ribbon bar has been minimised away, although you can still access all of the tools on the ribbon just by clicking on the name of the ribbon you want to access. When you have finished using the tool the ribbon will be minimised.

You can also access a lot of the required functionality via the context sensitive right-click menu to create new sketches, draw, add constraints, add dimensions, project geometry etc. And don’t forget that the right-mouse click menu will update with new commands depending on what you are doing at the time.

As well as using the context sensitive right-mouse click menu and the minimised ribbons, you can also use your keyboard to access a lot of required functionality. There are lots of keyboard shortcuts already set-up within Autodesk Inventor, a lot of which are the same as in AutoCAD. This makes it quick and easy for those who are making the move from AutoCAD to Inventor because you can use your existing knowledge and experience. For example; L = line, C = circle and D = dimension. You can download a list of the common keyboard shortcuts on this document I have put together:

You can also modify the default keyboard shortcuts and create your own by using the Tools > Customise > Keyboard...

When the Use default multi-character Command Aliases option is checked, the default multi-character Command Aliases are used e.g. CH = chamfer etc.

If working space is something what you crave you can set your dialogue boxes to AutoHide so that they don’t get in the way when on screen. To enable AutoHide just right mouse click on the dialogue header bar and select AutoHide.

As you move your mouse away from the dialogue it will automatically roll up. As you move your mouse over the header bar, the dialogue will re-appear. Neat!

Finally, one tool that I use all the time when working in a clean screen mode is 3D Grips. 3D grips allow us to work interactively with our models to push & pull on faces to make size changes. Just right click over a face to select 3D Grips where you will be able to select one of the arrows on a face to push and pull it.

So next time your working in Autodesk Inventor, why not give the Clean Screen mode a try and see how you get on. Even if you don't use the Clean Screen mode, all of the above still work in the normal Inventor environment too.

Happy Inventing!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

How to build the iLogic Web Configurator

I've had a lot of contact from people asking how I built the iLogic web configurator and if they can have the dataset\details. Thanks to everyone who has forwarded the YouTube link and tweeted on Twitter by the way!

Fear not - all will be revealed in the near future. I am in the process of documenting how I did it and how it can be utilised so that it can be shared and used by manufacturers using Autodesk Inventor with iLogic.

If you've not subscribe to the blog as yet, click here to make sure you are notified about future additions and updates.

Happy inventing!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Using Autodesk Inventor iLogic as a web based configurator

A question I get asked about a lot when working with manufacturers and engineers who are looking to make the move from 2D CAD to 3D Digital Prototyping is "how can we automate some of the tedious tasks we have to do?". There are usually a number of reasons why they want the tasks automated but most of the time it boils down to two - reduce the amount of time it takes to complete a design and reduce the number of errors and omissions that sometimes find their way into a design.

With the introduction of iLogic into Autodesk Inventor just over 12 months ago, this gave design engineers the ability to add rules based design automation to their parts, drawings and assemblies directly from within Inventor. Rules could be added quickly and easily so that they can be re-used as and when necessary helping to reduce time, effort and errors. And rules can be built so that design engineers can run them from the rules tree within Inventor or from a custom built dialogue\form that will trigger the rule (more of that to come in the future). Either way, it's quick, easy and very effective!

The next step on from a Design Engineer running the rules from within Autodesk Inventor is to allow access to outside the engineering department so that they can input specification\requirements information into a web page and then let Autodesk Inventor with iLogic rules do most of the work before passing it to an engineer to finish off.

It's all about Paretos Law - getting 80% of the repetitive, standard design work done in a very short space of time, allowing the engineers to then spend time being more innovative and finishing off the design.

Have a look at this quick video that shows an example of a web based part configurator that uses Autodesk Inventor with iLogic. The video shows the 'clients' screen as they input the requirements, let Inventor and iLogic do their thing (on another laptop in this example) and then give them the 2D & 3D DWF right back in the web page:

And don't forget that iLogic is free to Autodesk Inventor subscription customers!

Happy rules based design.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

New Autodesk Inventor Simulation Blog

Wasim Younis the author of the recently released 'Up and Running with Autodesk Simulation 2010' book has just started a new analysis & simulation dedicated blog.

Wasim will be posting tips, tricks, information and tutorials all focussed on the simulation and analysis tools within Autodesk Inventor.

Make sure you head on over to get the latest info - http://vdssolutions.wordpress.com/

If you havn't had a chance to review Wasims book, it's deffinitley worth getting yourself a copy if you want to learn more about the analysis and simulation tools that Autodesk Inventor 2010 has to offer. Have a read of some of the reviews on Amazon of those who have bought it.

UK Based VOX Amps ups design with Inventor & Showcase

VOX Amplification recently used Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Showcase software, developed by Autodesk to help design four newly released guitar amplifiers — the AC30C2 and the AC15C1 Custom Series, as well as the AC15VR and the AC30VR. VOX products have been used by numerous influential bands and musicians, including “The Beatles” and Deep Purple’s Joe Satriani.

“In today’s economic climate, we need to react fast to market trends,” said Dave Clarke, product development manager, VOX R&D. “Creating digital prototypes with Inventor software and using Showcase for 3D visualization reduces costs and cuts development time in half.”

“Digital prototypes help save money by reducing the need for more costly physical prototypes,” explained Clarke. “With Showcase, we’re able to make real-time changes to a design and quickly reach a concept that the whole team is happy with. This significantly reduces time to market.”

VOX Design Goals:

VOX wanted to maintain the quality and iconic look of its AC30 amplifier, while adding modern design features, improving serviceability and lowering the price point. The result is the new AC30C2 Custom Series.

For the more affordable AC15VR and AC30VR amplifiers, it was important to keep manufacturing costs down while maintaining the renowned VOX sound quality. The economical amps also needed a look that distinguished them from the company’s premium Custom Series offering.

Digital Prototyping with Inventor Software:

Inventor software was used to help design and digitally prototype the new amplifiers, reducing the need for multiple costly physical prototypes. VOX also developed cost-effective manufacturing processes using Inventor software, enabling the company to achieve target price points.

“We wanted a more accessible price point for the AC30C2 Custom Series, but there was no way we would sacrifice quality,” said Clarke. “Using Inventor for the mechanical design of the Custom Series, we were able to more quickly prototype construction techniques that achieved the best possible quality and value. We did the same thing with the AC15VR and AC30VR amps.”

3D Visualization with Autodesk Showcase Software:

VOX used Autodesk Showcase software for real-time 3D visualization, creating highly realistic digital imagery of the new products before they were built. 3D visualization helped VOX to more quickly refine and finalize aesthetic decisions, before physical prototypes were built.

“The biggest challenge we faced when launching the new AC30 was adding cool features while remaining true to our roots,” said Clarke. “We used Showcase to help make and finalize cosmetic decisions at the earliest possible stage of the design process. Creating near photo-realistic visualizations also helped eliminate the need for small but costly changes further down the line, which saved a lot of time and money.”

“We also used Showcase from the start of the conceptual design phase for the AC15VR and AC30VR amps,” added Clarke. “The software’s real-time visualization capabilities helped us determine the precise differences between the VR Series and the premium Custom Series.”

VOX also used Inventor and Showcase software to help design the VOX Night Train amp and the Big Bad Wah pedal, which was developed with musician Joe Satriani.