June 10, 2016

Inventor 2017 New Features

First in a series of “My Favorite New Features”

Under the category of Part Creation, a new Feature Relationship tool is available by right-clicking on the part in the Model Tree and then selecting Relationships. 

A bit of orientation on the model shown.  Focus should be primarily on the features Fillet1, Emboss 1 and the Gold Revel.  Also note, the Hole1 and Violet Revel for reference.


 Right-clicking on the Fillet1 gives me the menu option to select Relationships…
The Relationships Manager dialog shows that the Fillet1 has as parents (top section of dialog) the Trunk and the Cap.  Children (shown in the lower section of the dialog) are listed, and the two of importance are the Emboss1 and Gold Revel.  Notice too, that neither the Violet Revel nor the Hole1 are listed.  What we learn is that there is a parental relationship by the Fillet1 (actually the lower edge) and the placement of the children Emboss1 and Gold Revel.

The relationship, as designed by the one who modeled the part, drives the placement of the Gold Revel and Emboss1.  If the Fillet1 radius changes, the two child features will reposition accordingly.  And, because the features Hole1 and the Violet Revel are not dependent on the value of the fillet radius, any change to the fillet radius will not affect these features.
In the following example, by changing the radius of Fillet1 radius from 1-inch to 2-inches, the distance from the bottom of the fillet edge remains the same to the Gold Revel and Emboss 1, while the distance between the Emboss1 and the Violet Revel is shortened.

Next, the fillet radius is changed to ½-inch.  Once again the distance between the parent Fillet1 and the children Emboss1 and Gold Revel remains the same.  And the distance now between the Emboss1 and Violet Revel is more pronounced.

In the past, to determine the designer’s logic on feature modeling would involve studying the modeling process via moving the End of Part in the Model Tree.  Now with the Feature Relationships Manager, understanding how a model flexes becomes easier to understand, particularly as the part becomes more complex.

Next in this series, we will explore the new capabilities involving the features for Pattern.

August 4, 2015

Mark your calendars!

Mark your calendars!  Applied Software is hosting a webcast on Aug 20 that is entitled “Do you need more Plant 3D piping supports?”  In this webcast, I will be showing some of the additional supports we have created via Python Scripting for various clients and why you need to stop stick-building auxiliary steel supports and using non-intelligent and non-parametric 3D blocks of hangers and guides just like they did.  This is not a session on how to create Python Scripts on your own but more of what all goes into the work that Applied Software can do FOR you!  Feel free to register at

April 16, 2015

Inventor 2016 Improvements!

I have been looking for the new items in Inventor Professional 2016 and found some really great enhancements!  These come from the "What's New in 2016" but if you don't have it loaded yet, you may not have seen these.  This is not all of the enhancements either, but these are the ones that made me want to check it out further.
Copy Parameters to User Parameters
While working with Parameters, you can now copy an existing parameter, including all its settings and multivalues, as a User Parameter. Previously, recreation and manual entry was required for each value.

Import and Export External Rules Configuration for iLogic (not available in Inventor LT)

You can now import/export iLogic configuration settings (as an XML file) to be shared between different users and machines. Once configured, externally mapped folders appear beneath a Standards Directory tree that will update/refresh immediately when content changes (sub folders and rules). In the past, external paths had to be manually added.
External rules configuration settings can also be leveraged and mapped during creation of deployments.
Global forms can now be refreshed through a right-click context option to reflect the most up-to-date form.

Redesigned Format Text Dialog Box

The Format Text dialog box is simplified and refined to be clear and easy to use. Size of the dialog box is reduced to provide more space for editing in the graphic window.

Text Preview in the Graphic Window

Text in a drawing file is dynamically previewed in the graphic window when you create or edit it. You can refine the appearance of text before you close the Format Text dialog box.

In-Canvas Text Rotation

Select a text object, and drag the blue rotation grip point to rotate text to the desired position.
Sheet Metal Multi-body
The multi-body part environment is extended to include sheet metal parts. You can now use a top-down workflow to create multi-body sheet metal parts. Use the Make Components or Make Part command and then open the derived components to create flat patterns for each part in a multi-body part file.

Thickness Detection  (yes!)

When you convert a part to sheet metal, you are now prompted to select a base face. This pick allows Inventor to measure the material thickness for you. After you select a face, the Sheet Metal Defaults dialog box appears. The measured thickness is displayed in the Thickness value box. Click OK to accept the measured thickness value.

Convert to Freeform

Use the Convert command to copy solid body or surface faces to the freeform environment. Use the freeform edit tools to manipulate the shape.

Create Tangent Dimensions Between Circular or Arc Geometry Within a 2D Sketch

You can now create tangent dimensions between circular or arc geometry within a 2D sketch. This workflow will allow you to fully constrain a circle using tangent dimensions instead of a traditional diameter dimension, or the use of the center point of the circle.

The Show/Hide All Constraints Display Setting Persists (yes!)

The selected Show All or Hide All Constraints display setting remains active as you sketch and throughout your editing session. Previously the show or hide setting did not persist when you created new geometry or when you started a new sketch.
Large Assembly Performance
The Disable Automatic Refinement option is added to the Application Options, Display tab. Disabling automatic refinement provides a coarser model display and improves graphics performance in large assemblies such as when changing a level of detail. Coarse faceting is used until you select the Refine Appearance command in the View tab.
Assembly Pattern (yes!)
The Midplane option is added to the assembly Pattern command. Select the Midplane option to create a pattern distributed on both sides of the original component.

Fast Drawing Creation

A new Create Drawing View command merges several steps to one, so you can quickly create drawing views from a model file. In the model file, arrange the model as desired. Then right-click the root component in the browser, and click Create Drawing View.
The following model properties are automatically propagated from the model to the drawing:
·         All active representations (design view, position, and level of detail representation)
·         Current camera including Orthogonal/Perspective setting
·         Active iPart/iAssembly member

Centralized External Sketch Symbol Library Features

You can now easily access and share your collection of sketch symbols through a new external Sketch Symbol Library. This library is an Inventor drawing file that, by default, is located in a subfolder of the Design Data location of your project.

Work Features Can Now Be Projected Into a View Sketch (this is in the DWG)

You can now create a view sketch on a model with included work features and select those work features with the Project Geometry command. This capability in a drawing view sketch allows you to reference, constrain, or annotate other sketch geometry to projected work features that were included in the view.

Hidden Line Views for Standard Fasteners

A new option is available to exclude all standard fasteners from hidden line views.

Model Orientation in Base Views (this is good!)

When you create a base view, View Cube is displayed next to the upper right corner of the base view. Click a View Cube face, edge, or corner, or click the rotation manipulators to set the desired orientation of the model.

Revised Drawing View Dialog Box (this is much better!)

The Drawing View dialog box is streamlined to support new workflows with direct interaction in the graphic window.

Projected Views

Use the direct interaction tools to create multiple projected views with the Base View command, and to place projected views in the drawing.
To create an orthographic or isometric projected view, click a triangular icon on the base view border. The projected view is placed in a default location.

Align To Edge Option

A new To Edge option is available to align balloons. You can select any linear edge on the drawing sheet to specify direction of the aligned balloons.

Increased Performance When Opening Files from Other CAD Systems

Multithread support is enabled. Multithreading allows Inventor to use multiple processors if the hardware you are using contains a multi-core processor. As a result, performance is increased when working on files from other CAD systems.

October 17, 2014

Plant 3D and Autodesk ReCap

If you are not using ReCap to register, index and manipulate your point clouds and then dropping them in AutoCAD Plant 3D to do as-built designs, you are missing out!

Come to Autodesk University in Las Vegas this year and attend my class on this very subject.
PD6092 - Simplify As-Built Modifications in Plant 3D: Autodesk ReCap and AutoCAD Plant 3D - 12/3/14 (Wednesday) 4:30 PM
Scott Hallmark

October 16, 2014

Odds and Ends – A variety of things I have found for 2015

While I have had good experiences over all with the Autodesk 2015 products, as with any software there were fixes along the way.  Here are my discoveries of some of those obscure and maybe not so obscure.

    1)  AutoCAD 2015 Cursor trails:  Moving your cursor along would leave pixels everywhere.  Turning off Hardware Acceleration would clear up the problem.  Install the Service Pack and you can turn Hardware Acceleration back on.

2)      Plant 3D 2015 Extension 1: The Plant developers are not waiting on new releases to give more functions in P3D.  However, the Extension 1 was not compatible with AutoCAD Service Pack 2.  You cannot even install the SP2 for a particular vertical, such as AutoCAD MEP, without it affecting P3D.  But, there is a fix that fixes the fix that broke the Extension 1.  After installing any AutoCAD 2015 SP2, run the .BAT file.

      3)      AutoCAD Electrical 2015: The error could come with several messages.  The main one I have seen is:  Unhandled Exception C06D007E(Delayload “acewstr.dll” Module Not Found) at address FCFA940Dh.  Just running a Repair or Reinstall will not help.  The fix is to uninstall the Microsoft Access database engine 2010 and reinstall from the install path, and may be a variation depending on install method:

…\...\Autodesk AutoCAD Electrical 2015\3rdParty\AceDataEngine\x64\AceRedist.msi.

4)      Recap 2015: Will not open a .FLS file format:  While the File of Type shows it, an error will keep coming up that says it isn’t a supported file type or is corrupted.  You will need to install the Faro Scene 5.3 SDKs and register new DLLs.  This is done all manually, in that there is no MSI to run to fix it up.

    5)      Multiple Suites Install:  Most of you probably will not run into this, but in my world it is standard business to need to install multiple suites.  If Factory Design Suite is one of yours, install it first.  When you install it, the Application Manager will want to update a lot of the applications.  Don’t do it until you are finished with the other suites.  I have found that, for example, reinstalling a suite or the subsequent suite install will want to install the BIM360.  But if it is already upgraded, the install will message that a newer version is already installed and then close out, without installing the applications needed.  The fix if this happens, is to go back and uninstall all the BIM360s.


April 17, 2014

What's New in Autodesk® AutoCAD® Civil 3D® 2015?! Here's the scoop!

Wondering what the new features are in the recently released Autodesk® AutoCAD® Civil 3D®  2015?
Read on for a comprehensive review brought to you by Autodesk! As a Autodesk Platinum Partner, we want to share this great piece of information with you and please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Corridor modeling enhancements
Experience greater flexibility when designing and displaying corridor models.
  • Corridor frequency (target and baseline)
  • Corridor sampling improvements
  • Retain corridor targets when substituting a sub-assembly

Profile layout enhancements
Experience greater efficiency when creating profiles.
  • Extend curves and tangents to profile extents
  • Create Free curve using Pass Through point
  • Change Parameter Constraint (selected curve)
  • New “Profile Locking” controls and display notifications for impacted Vertical Alignment entities if Horizontal Alignment changes

Production drafting enhancements
Create production deliverables more efficiently.
  • Re-associate various Surface and Alignment labels to different Civil 3D source objects
  • Stagger “Corridor Point” section labels

User Interface
Work more efficiently on daily tasks.
  • Improved consistency between the AutoCAD Civil 3D and AutoCAD ribbon / command set.
  • Improved graphics, enhanced visual feedback and object selection.

Subassembly Composer
Build custom subassemblies more easily. Improvements includsupport for “Voids” in shapes, Axis of Rotation, and Rail Cant.

Geographic Location (Online Map Data)             
Geographic Location functionality is significantly streamlined and enhanced including a new capability to capture and embed Online Map Data (e.g., aerial map information) for offline viewing and plotting.

Reality Capture
Improved performance and more flexibility when working with point cloud files.

Interoperability and Data Exchange
Help improve collaboration with new and enhanced functionality.
  • Enhanced export capabilities for DWG and DGN
  • Export Civil 3D model elements (corridor models, surfaces, alignments/profiles, and gravity and pressure pipes) and 3D solid AutoCAD modeling objects to Keyhole Markup Language (KML).
  • Open and edit AutoCAD Civil 3D 2015 drawings in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2014 and 2013 software.

About Autodesk® AutoCAD® Civil 3D® 
A civil engineering design and documentation solution that supports Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflows. Using AutoCAD Civil 3D, infrastructure professionals can better understand project performance and intent, improve and maintain more consistent data and processes, and respond faster to design changes, all within a familiar AutoCAD® environment.

Visit our online learning website: LiveLab Learning for more training information!

February 24, 2014

Plant 3D 2014 and Ortho folder setup

I have had many calls about this issue with Plant 3D 2014, so I thought I would go ahead and let everyone know the issue with creation of the Orthos folder when a Project Template is used.  This issue seems to only show up after installing the Extensions (Extension 1 & Extension 2 are available via your Subscription website).  The background: When creating a new Plant Project without a Project Template, all goes well.  But, as soon as you point to a Project Template, you discover that Ortho creation doesn't work.  Furthermore, in some cases, you get an endless loop of new drawings being created, affectionately referred to as being "spammed with new drawings".
So what happened and what should have happened?

To the left shows what will happen with the folder structure for Orthos, if the Project Template option is used and the standard setting for Orthos/DWGs is selected.  The results of this folder structure will cause the Ortho creation to fail.
Note the Orthos/DWGs folder contains a duplicate of DWGs and then the Orthocube Library and Styles folders.

To the left shows the proper folder structure for Orthos, and requires a change to the settings adopted from a Project Template during creation of new project, and then a change post-creation of a new project.
Note that the DWGs, Orthocube Library and Styles folders are listed under Orthos/ 

Steps to insure proper new project creation for the Orthos folder structure when using a Project Template. 


Within the Project Setup Wizard, Page 4 of 6, the standard setting for the Orthographic output directory: is ...\Orthos\DWGs as shown in the pic to the left.

Backspace out the DWGs folder so that the Orthographic output directory points to Orthos\ folder as shown in the pic to the left.


Continue on through the Project Setup Wizard, accepting the default settings, but do not check the box on Page 6 of 6 to “Edit additional project settings after creating project”.  I have found that if I do check this box and make the needed change, it still messes up.


Leave the check box blank and allow the new project to be created.

Once the new project has been created, it is now safe to make one last edit to the Project Properties need to insure that Orthos will be generated properly.

Note that now, as was set in the Setup Wizard, the Ortho drawing output folder is set to the …\Orthos\ folder.  The setting will need to have the DWGs folder added.


Note the setting now for the Ortho output folder ends with the DWGs folder.