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Friday, October 10, 2014

Copy and Rotate in Inventor Pro 2015

Hello again!

This is a fairly simple tip, but one that some people might overlook.  Here's the scenario:  You're working on an Inventor part model.  You have a feature or a group of features that you need to duplicate, but in a different orientation than the original.  My example is this flanged tube, which is a simplified model of the body of a shell and tube heat exchanger.  For our design all we need is the basic body, with the connection flanges located in the correct spot.


I modeled the flange in the upper left first after revolving the tube itself.  This flange consists of (4) features.  The flange itself is a revolution.  The stem is extruded from the back of the flange "to next" to wrap it properly to the tube diameter.  A cut extrusion next punches out the tube surface to the ID of the flange.  Finally, a hole pattern creates the bolt holes on the flange face.

I wanted to duplicate these features, as shown, on the opposite end of the tube, rotated 180° from the original.  Normal patterning tools in the part environment are not going to get this done without some extra steps.  I could use a combination of rectangular and circular patterns, but I would end up with extra occurrences, which would then have to be suppressed.  Mirror would have to be used twice, and would again leave me with an extra set of features.  So, how do I copy and rotate this flange in one smooth motion, with no extra features being created.  It's actually so easy that I'm sure you already know this one.... but here goes.

Select the feature or features you want to duplicate, either from the model itself or from your browser.  Right click and select "Copy".  Right click again and select "Paste".  Yes, that simple.  You will need to select a plane for the sketch of the primary feature.  This (in my case) was the revolution of the flange disk.  All of the other features were built from this one, so it's sketch plane is the only one needed.  Once you select the plane, which should be the same plane the original feature was built on, you can select a rotation for the sketch.  I selected 180°.  Next you need to select the actual surface to attach the features to.  In my case the outer shell of the tube.  Select "Finish" from the dialog box, and you're done.  Some features may need to be repaired if they lost references, but essentially you're there.


Video removed because of poor quality... gonna have to work on that.

Enjoy!



Monday, September 29, 2014

From Russia - With Love

No, this is not a James Bond novel, though credit for the title does belong to Ian Fleming and/or Albert Broccoli.  This is merely a chronicle of my adventures travelling to Moscow for Autodesk University Russia 2014.  I will attempt to keep this blog up as much as I can but internet may not be reliable.  In that case, I will document my trip anyway, and post when I get back at the end of the week.  Keep checking in for new content.

The start of my adventure was almost the end of the adventure.  All packed, Visa in hand, boarding passes printed.... all set to leave for the airport, I took one last look at my flights.  Only to find that the flight from Paris to Moscow had been cancelled!  I had fallen victim to the Air France pilot's strike.  Panic mode set it.  Attempts to call Moscow to let the people at Autodesk who had organized my trip know were a disaster.  I found out that my phone was in fact NOT set up for international calling as I had thought.  Calls to Air France took me through a maze of automated call centers.  I decided to head to the airport and talk to the Delta ticketing agents in person.  Ours is a small regional airport and I knew the lines would be short if there even were any lines.

So we headed out.  My wife drove while I got on the phone with Verizon customer service to enable the international features, I might need them for emergencies... not good to be half a world away with no phone!  That call wrapped up just as we were pulling into the parking lot at the airport... perfect timing.  One problem solved!  As expected there were no lines at the ticket counter, so I headed up and pleaded my case.  Unfortunately, Delta ticket agents don't really have access to changing Air France reservations, and they didn't see any open flights anyway.  I decided to take a gamble, and head to Detroit.  I figured that was still only a few hours away, but once there I could talk to the Air France gate agent.  Meanwhile, some research turned up a KLM flight leaving from Paris, but a few hours later than the flight I was originally scheduled on.  The agent checked, and there were seats.  He booked me on the flight and told me to check in as soon as I got to Paris.  Problem solved?  Almost.

The flight to Paris was relatively smooth, but that's a long time on a plane.  I did manage to sleep a few hours, but my body is already confused by the time differences.  Once in Paris I got in a very long line at customer service to confirm my flight to Moscow.  The clerk there told me that the gate agent had not changed the ticket information, so I did not actually have a seat on this new flight.  But before I was even able to groan, she reassured me that there were still 6 seats available, and she was going to be able to get me on the flight.  Deep sigh of relief.  10 minutes later, boarding pass in hand, I headed up to the gate... bought a croissant and a Coke.... and here I sit catching you all up on the fun.  By 9:00 Moscow time, I should be on the ground and heading to my hotel.... can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!  Stay tuned....

Day One:

Good morning  Moscow!

I got into my hotel room around 11:00 pm local time last night.  I'm not sure what time my brain thinks it is.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  The flight from Paris to Moscow was nice.  Air France served us dinner... on plates.  With silverware and cloth napkins.  They seemed to think it was weird that I did not want champagne or wine (or both) with my dinner.. So much for the bag of peanuts you get on U.S, flights... I may never be able to eat those again.  Anyway, after landing at Sheremetyevo Airport and enduring one of the most frightening cab rides of my life, I finally got here and checked in.  Now, I know I am in a different country, and there is no doubt that I am the foreigner here.  It took me a few minutes to figure out that I had to use my room key to turn on the lights in the room.  The temperature on the faucets is opposite those in the U.S.  Little things that are new and different, and part of the adventure.  I am thankful that I though ahead and bought some wall plug adapters so I could charge all of my gear.  After plugging everything in.... I was done.  I think it maybe took me ten minutes to fall asleep.  This morning looks grey and rainy and windy.  Still too dark to post any pictures, and I really haven't had the time to take any yet anyway, sorry.  Later!  Let's see what the day brings.  Stay tuned....

Day One Recap:

Day one did not end up going as smoothly as hoped.  After spending most of the morning waiting around the hotel in a city where I do not speak the language and hold no local currency... expecting at any moment to be contacted by someone at Autodesk regarding our plans for the day, I was told by a fellow speaker via email, that there was no plan for the day.  We were on our own.  This was very disappointing as we had hoped to be able to see some of the sights of Moscow.  I did not travel halfway around toe world just to deliver a PowerPoint presentation.  So, we ventured out on our own, this other gentleman and I.  Lunch at a small local diner, a drink back at the hotel, and then we decided to check out the local Sokolniki Park.  This is a very large and beautiful park nearby, with plenty of room for bikers, skaters and walkers to get out and enjoy themselves away from the traffic of this very large and busy city.  Fountains and gardens are interspersed with food kiosks, vending booths, picnic areas and even a chess and checkers club.  Under construction now are several future areas that appear to include stages for performances.  The color in the trees added to the charm, making me imagine what it must look like on a warm summer afternoon.




After returning from the park we had made arrangements to finally meet with our Autodesk contacts at 6:00 to go over to the conference venue and make sure our presentations were all properly set up.  We were joined by several other new friends from around the world, and took our behind the scenes tour of AU Russia.  Later, still fighting off the lunch from the diner (turned out to be a big mistake), I retreated back to the hotel, leaving the younger and healthier people to go out and hopefully have some fun.  Not the exciting first day I had hoped for, but now there is a new day to look forward to.  Let the fun begin.  Stay tuned....

Day Two: 

Well,.. day two was full of action and fun.  Started with a quick bite of some bready breakfast items and a coffee, still trying to calm my stomach down after the ill advised lasagna.  Then a bus ride through crazy morning Moscow traffic to the show venue, where my self and some of my new friends got ourselves registered for the conference.


I added my own AUGI bling, and got the ribbon at the Autodesk Community booth, where I met even more new friends.  That's one of the things I love the most about being a part of the Autodesk Community is all of the new friends I make.  So, after registering we had a look around the venue, which was filled with approximately 1500 attendees and assorted Autodesk employees and even staff.  A very good crowd for this conference which is still growing.  Some more coffee and a few small danishes, and we headed in to the main hall for the keynote address, presented this year by Autodesk Vice President Roland Zelles.  His exact territory is unclear to me, but I know it involves a good portion of Europe.


Roland's address was in English, and dealt with the challenges facing all of us in the future as we adjust to the way things are made in the world of new technologies, and the disruptions they cause.  Of course, it highlighted all of the ways that Autodesk can keep us ahead of these changes with forward looking products.  Once he was finished speaking and the speakers changed to Russian, we made a speedy escape and went looking for our first presentations of the day.  Along the way we made a stop at the Autodesk Community pavilion, where my fellow Expert Elites were hanging out.  They had put together a CAD workstation from roughly 1992.  An IBM 486, with 16 color VGA monitor, running AutoCad R12 for DOS.... complete with (non working) digitizer tablet.  This really took me back to the beginnings of my CAD career.... I think I had that exact computer at one point.



They had a challenge going throughout the day, to draw your company logo on the CAD system, for a chance to win some sort of prize,,, exactly what got lost in translation. There is a lot of that going on here, but what can I expect... I'm the one who doesn't speak the language.

So, we sat through some of the English sessions in the morning, and then found our way across the parking lot to the next building, where meals are being served.  I was still frightened to eat anything, but felt I had to, or faint when it was my turn to get up and speak.  As much as I love to type out my experiences in here.... I am deathly afraid of getting in front of people and speaking.  Especially people who probably won't understand I word I say.  In the afternoon, we did some wandering through the exhibition hall and talking with some of the other international visitors.  Eventually it came time to get into the room where my class was to be held, and get myself in a frame of mind to do it.  4:00 rolled around and it was my turn to get up and speak.  I loaded my English presentation onto my laptop, the Russian version was on the screen above me... and I opened my mouth and words just started flowing out.  I was amazed at how relatively easy it seemed... I know the material so I just explained it in my own words, and let the chips fall where they may.  A few technical glitches, but nothing show stopping... and 50 or so minutes later... I was telling them thank you for coming.  And they applauded!  Now, whether they were able to understand anything at all, I may never know.  But I felt good for having done it, regardless.  I faced a big fear of mine and I believe I conquered it.  I feel more ready now for Las Vegas this fall.

A huge relief flowing in me now, I waited for my friend to finish his presentation in another hall, and with some of our Russian guides, we headed over to the meal hall for some free beer.  What's AU without free beer after all.  A brass band was performing in the hall, and they were really quite talented.


Now, we have returned to our hotel, and the guides are organizing a trip to for dinner in just a few minutes.  Sight seeing in Moscow got put on hold this evening due to weather concerns.  We will have to figure something out for tomorrow.  I WILL see the sights.  Somehow.  And I'll post pictures when I can.  So... off to dinner!  Stay tuned...

Day Two Recap... finally.

Ignore the fact that I'm home now, finishing this up.  They kept us pretty busy in a good way, and I just didn't have time to sit at the laptop and give this any justice.

When I left off we were heading out to dinner.  A group of about 8 or 9 of us, led by our intrepid host Olga, got on a bus that took us deep into the city center to an Italian restaurant called Primitivo.  Why an Italian restaurant in Russia?  Good question.  But as we had an Italian in the group... maybe it was a perfect choice.  Davide sure seemed pleased, especially when he saw the wine list and recognized a vintage from very near his home.  The food was delicious, the wine went down easy, and the company was fantastic.



After dinner we walked several miles around the city center.  We walked across a bridge where we took a group photo...(still waiting for a copy of this one), and ended up in the courtyard outside of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.  Nearby was a building that I remember seeing last on CNN as the Soviet Union was in the process of crumbling.  It's proper name I don't know, I always heard it called the Russian White House.  The last time I had seen this building, Boris Yeltsin was making a speech in front of it.
Cathedral of Christ The Savior

The Russian White House


Random Sign near the Restaurant
Several blocks later we finally ended up in front of the Kremlin.  Waiting to cross the street (I missed this!!) a procession of police vehicles with flashing lights, followed by several black SUV's emerged from the Kremlin gates and sped away down the road.  Was Putin late for dinner somewhere?  We did finally make our way into Red Square to see some of the sights.  It was already around 11:00 pm so there were no crowds.  In fact, the place was nearly deserted except for a few small groups like ours, and several armed military guards.

Wouldn't you know, that it was then that my phone's battery decided to go completely dead, leaving me with no camera.  I couldn't believe it.  When am I ever going to be standing in Red Square, Moscow again.  As an American raised during the Cold War, I never thought I would ever get to see this place, let alone be standing there surrounded by new friends   Luckily one of these new friends, Andy Brahney, from the UK... had a working camera.  he took plenty of pictures, and promised to share them after the trip via Dropbox.  Andy and I spent a lot of time hanging out during this week, I'm glad to have met him.  I feel that I made a true friend, and I look forward to sharing a drink with him in Las Vegas at AU.

The  architecture of Moscow's city center is a fascinating mixture of the Imperial and the Soviet.  The towers of the Kremlin topped with large red stars that one can only imagine were not an original part of the design.  St. Basil's Cathedral stands at the back of the square, contrasting the stark red brick of the official buildings with it's trademark colorful domes.  Opposite the Kremlin wall, a building that had once undoubtedly been an official government building, is now lit up with tiny lights like Christmas lights, and is filled with shops and restaurants.  Surrounding Red Square, other government buildings, belonging to various departments or ministries, still carry the hammer and sickle of the Soviet government.  After leaving Red Square we took taxis back to the hotel and finally called it a night.  I'm not sure how this day could have been any better... but there is still one more day to go! Stay tuned.....

Day Three:

So, Wednesday morning came awfully quick, but I figured I'll have plent of time to sleep when i"m dead.  Coffee... that's the key.  Andy was staying at the hotel to finish some last minute changes to his presentation, so I basically wandered around the conference on my own.  Sat in several classes where the speakers were English speaking.  I spent some time sitting in the Autodesk Community area with my new Expert Elite friends.  By the way, my phone recovered, after I pulled the battery out and put it back in.  It must have overheated.  At noon, we sat for a group photo to send back to our EE coordinator in the US.

Expert Elite Group Photo
Here are some other random pictures from the conference that I took that morning as I just enjoyed wandering around the venue.



Breakfast Cookies

Segway Fun!
Hallway with Presentation Rooms

Room 10, where I gave my Presentation
Room 10 Inside, that was me Tuesday Afternoon


After finding some lunch I headed back to the Community area to get some power for my phone.  Andy finally arrived ready for his presentation that afternoon.  After charging up we headed out to his class room.  I volunteered to assist him in his presentation by placing his laptop, with the English version of the PowerPoint on it, where he could see it... and advancing the slides as needed.  He did a very good presentation despite some technical hiccups with some of his videos.  The hard work was over, and now it was time to relax!  Food, beer and wine were being served in the dining hall, so we headed over there.  We ran into one of our new friends from the previous night and enjoyed some good conversation.  Olga had organized a boat cruise on the Moscow River for that evening with the same group from dinner the previous night and some new friends as well.  At 9:00 we boarded the boat, only to find that the Expert Elites and their US coordinator, Olivier Le Pord, had chosen this cruise as well.  Drinks and dinner on the boat as we cruised the river, and even got a chance to take some more pictures... so here we go:




















Whew,... this has gotten to be a lot longer than I thought it would, anyone who is still following... thank you!  I promise to wind it up here.  After the boat ride, we headed back in taxis to the hotel, where I was basically already packed for the trip home.  My flight was early Friday morning, and my taxi would be out front in just about 4 1/2 hours.  All attempts to sleep failed, so I finally got up and went down to the lobby.  Loooooooong 26 hours later I finally walked out of the airport in Saginaw and got in the car to head home.

This was an incredible experience, there is no other way to put it.  A sincere thank you to Autodesk for inviting me, to Olga Prokhorova for being a spectacular hostess, and to everyone else who worked so hard to make not only the conference itself a success, but who made sure that us international visitors felt welcomed and taken care of.  I hope to be able to return some day when I can spend some more time enjoying your beautiful city.  Thank you also to all of my new friends from so many varied places in the world.  This is a trip, and you are people that will not soon be forgotten.

All I can say now, I guess, is... Bring on Autodesk University in Las Vegas!

Enjoy!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Autodesk University 2014 Russia

Hello friends!

As most of you know, I will be heading to Moscow next week to present a version of my Autodesk University 2014 class at Autodesk University 2014 Russia.  This is going to be quite an adventure for me, as I have never before been out of the western hemisphere.  I've also never presented in front of large groups before.  I usually hide behind this blog oR the Autodesk forums!  But I will power through and be stronger for it.

I'm not sure what the internet or WiFi situation will be while I am there, but if at all possible I plan to live blog the experience for anyone who is interested.  I'll include pictures, of course.  Hoping to be able to see some of the sights of Moscow.  I've recently discovered that I really enjoy viewing architecture, so I hope to get some nice building pictures showcasing the different and very eclectic styles of the city.  From the Czarist cathedrals to the Soviet era block buildings to today's modern high rises, there are a lot of overlapping styles in the city.... I can't wait to see it.

So.... anyway, tune in next week.  I'll post whenever I am able.  Worst case though, I will post one big write up after I get back.  So stay tuned!  And I'll see as many of you as possible this December in Las Vegas at AU 2014!

Enjoy!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

To Auto Route or Not... I Share With CAD Notes.

Hello!

This week I made good on a promise to share one of my CAD tips with a good friend online.  Edwin Prakoso runs the CAD Notes web site filled with a treasure trove of CAD tips for all kinds of users.  Edwin had invited me to write an article for him months ago, and I have been so buried in work that I just finally got around to it.  (Sorry Edwin!)

Anyway, here is a link to the Article, called Using Constraints & Work Features in Inventor® Tube & Pipe. 

Enjoy!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Returning Soon

Hey out there. I've been away from the keyboard for a while. Actual work got in the way, followed by a fantastic family vacation through northern Michigan. I've lived here almost my entire life, and never spent any time in the Upper Peninsula! What a shame! If you ever get a chance, Michigan really is a beautiful state. Tomorrow I will append this post with a sampling of some of the pictures I took.

EDIT:  Added some pictures.

Lake Superior form Hotel Balcony, Munising MI

Grand Island, MI


Indian Head Rock, Pictured Rocks, Munising MI

Waterfall near Munising, MI

Pictured Rocks, Munising MI

Pictured Rocks, Munising MI

Tahquamenon Falls, MI

Tahquamenon Falls, MI

The vacation culminated with a family reunion of my mother's family. It was nice to see my remaining aunts and uncles, though it felt weird without Mom there. A lot of cousins showed up with their kids and grandkids, so we had a great time.

Tomorrow.... Back to the grind, and I promise soon to have a new cad tip of some sort. I also owe a good friend a few pages soon. So until then....

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

AU 2014 - What?!

Well, this is becoming something of a whirlwind.

First, I get talked into submitting a proposal for a class at Autodesk ® University in Las Vegas this year, something I never thought I would do, as I am generally terrified of speaking in front of people.  Hiding back here behind these blog pages is more my speed.  But I thought... what's the worst that can happen, right?

So, then that class gets accepted, and now I'm heading off to Las Vegas in December for my fifth AU, and first as a speaker.  I'm getting used to the thought, and have gotten a fairly good start on making outlines for my class.  Then it just gets weird.

Last week I get an email from someone at Autodesk ®, telling me that I have been invited to present my class at Autodesk ® University.... in Moscow.  MOSCOW!  RUSSIA!  I've never been out of the western hemisphere!  But I can't really turn down a chance like this can I?  So... I bring it up to the boss here at work, and he's pretty excited at the invitation.  He goes to the big boss, the owner of the company, and... I'm goin' to Moscow!

That's right.  Yours truly will be attending Autodesk ® University Russia in October this year.  I'm pretty excited about going, and slight nervous as well.  So, if any of my readers happen to be from Russia, come on out the AU and introduce yourselves.  I warn you though, I don't speak any Russian other than a few words I have been trying to pick up just in case the trip got approved.

Wish me luck and...
Наслаждайтесь!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

DWF creation on Vault check in, how to set your preferences.

I saw this post last week linked on Twitter.  Kudos to David Gates at Cadline Community.  This went right along with a problem I was experiencing with Vault® 2015, that I had not seen in Vault 2013.

In Vault 2013 I set my visualization file preferences so that my drawing visualizations would be created 11" x 17" (ANSI "B" size), plotted to extents from paper space layouts from AutoCad® and full sheets from Inventor® drawing sets, black and white... no colors.  I have Vault set up to create my visualizations on check in, with no Job Processor in the mix.  When I upgraded to Vault 2015 I checked my settings, and they had migrated perfectly... as expected.

Vault Visualization Settings - 2015

My Inventor visualizations continued to be created as they had been, but suddenly my AutoCad visualizations were giving me full color, model space.  So what had changed?
I logged a case with Tech Support at Autodesk®, and described the problem.  The tech who took the case was trying to talk me through some changes in the DWG TrueView® drawing called TrueViewSetup.dwg.  He was walking me through changes in the publish command, the export command... none of it was making any difference.

Then I saw the Cadline post on Twitter, and had a bit of an epiphany.  The steps outlined in this post, applied to this TrueViewSetup.dwg might just make the difference.  The problem was, there are 5 of them spread throughout the installation of Product Design Suite.  Which one do I edit?

I settled on one in this path (may be slightly different on your systems): C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Vault Professional 2015\Explorer  But, when I edited the page view setup in this drawing using DWG True View, as outlined in the Cadline post, I found I could not save the file.  Well, I had been told to make these changes using DWG True View.  Obviously this was not going to work.  So I opened the file using regular Autocad, edited the page view setup, and saved the file.  Voila, since that my Vault visualizations have (so far) been working exactly as expected.  So simple, but I had to combine ideas from tech support and a blog post to make it all come together.  Thanks again to David Gates at Cadline for pointing me in the right direction.

Enjoy!

“Autodesk ® screen shots reprinted with the permission of Autodesk, Inc.  Autodesk ® , AutoCAD ® , DWG, the DWG logo, Vault ®, Autocad Electrical ® and Inventor ® are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and other countries.”  Programs and programmers' information used with permission.  Thanks guys!