This morning a co-worker happened to walk into my cubicle just as I was performing a procedure in Autodesk ® Inventor Tube & Pipe, one that I do so often that I take it for granted. He asked me to repeat the procedure because he was intrigued by what I was doing. I didn't think it was anything spectacular, but he thought I should write about it.... so here goes.
From time to time, in Tube & Pipe, I run into a situation that cannot be resolved with a simple route change. I generally (but not always) see this when I am dealing with a lot of "fitting to fitting" connections. That is, connections where there is no pipe spool between a grouping of fittings. Sometimes when a change becomes necessary and you need to move some of these fittings around, the only way to do it is to break all of the connections on the grouping, and then re-connect them as the situation calls for. (Is that a run on sentence?) The problem with this, is that when a route is connected to this grouping of fittings, the route ends up hanging out in the breeze once the fittings have been reassembled. In this example, the valve and flange were moved up to the elbow causing a gap in the route.
|Gap In Pipe Route|
The original layout, shown in the next picture, used a standard socket weld flange. The engineer marked up a .dwf of the model and asked me to change that to a spigot flange and move it up to the elbow along with the valve.
The first thing I did was to bring in the spigot flange from the Content Center. I used the "Insert" piping option and placed it into the elbow at the top of the image. With that in place, I could safely remove the pipe segment directly below, without sacrificing the elbow as well. So the next step was to edit that pipe route, and delete the segment below the elbow and new spigot flange. With the pipe section gone, I next disconnected the gasket and valve. To do this I right clicked on each one and selected "Edit Fitting Connections".
|Edit Fitting Connections|
To disconnect the fittings, simply pick the listed connections (one at a time), and press the "X" in the upper left. Once the fittings had been disconnected, I used the "Connect Fittings" command on the toolbar, and re-connected them in their new location. So with the new spigot flange, and the gasket and valve moved.... I had a gap in the piping as you saw in the first image above.
Correcting that would be so easy, if only Tube & Pipe had an "Extend" feature... but alas, it does not. So... what I like to do is this: Edit the route. Select the "Route" command from the toolbar and pick the bottom of the valve as a starting point; route a short section ending in space above the endpoint of the lower route segment. I do not connect this new route segment to the existing one, as this would cause an "Auto-Route" to be created. I try to avoid Auto-Routes as much as humanly possible, since they do not tend to update well when things inevitably move or change in your design later.
Delete the dimensions from both the new short segment, and the existing segment, so neither one is dimensioned or fully constrained. Add a coincident constraint between the two endpoints, joining them. Then, window around the joined intersection point of the two segments, and delete the point. The two segments will become one, and a driven dimension will appear on the line like magic.
When you finish the route, the new segment should populate (assuming the route you are working on has already been populated). And you can quickly jump up a level and save before something horrible happens.
|Finished Pipe Segment|
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