By Jennifer MacMillan
I can’t believe that another Autodesk University conference is once again behind us! This year I was excited to have been asked to teach two classes: Unleashing Free-form Modeling and Life Made Simple with Model Simplification. Along with three other colleagues, ASCENT had 5 classes on the schedule. Very Exciting!
If you happened to miss my classes (or others) and would like to learn more, Autodesk has all instructors post a copy of the Handouts and the PowerPoint presentations we use. You can download them from the Autodesk University site. You will need to log in to an existing AU account - or create a new one - to access the downloadable materials. If you don’t have an account, it is well worth the effort! Below is a little extra info on my classes and some Q/A that didn’t get handled in my short 60 min classes.
Unleashing Freeform Modeling
The Freeform Modeling tool is new to the Autodesk Inventor 2015 software, and it was really nice to see people excited about how they could incorporate this tool into their parametric modeling workflow. The course was geared towards new users and explained how to create and edit the five base shapes. In 60 minutes I was able to cover all of the tools, but certainly left some things unsaid. Thought that I would share a few of these extra tips:
- Firstly, Extrude: Yes, this is a command in the Freeform environment! Who knew? Unfortunately, this is not on the Ribbon or else you would all know about it! So how can it help and where do you find it? The following image should explain. As you can see, when the Extrude option is disabled (on the left), the face is translated upwards and adjacent faces update as needed. When the Extrude option is enabled (on the right), the selected face is extruded and new faces are generated. To enable or disable this command, when you are in the Edit Form command, right-click in the graphics window to access the toggle option for this command. What’s important to note is that the Extrude command remains enabled (or disabled) once set. Therefore, once you start using Extrude, be sure that you verify its setting before you edit a face to be sure you are getting what you want.
- Crease Edge: This is another very useful tool that can also be hard to find. As you can see in the following image, when you select edges, you can right-click and gain access to the Crease Edge command. This is a great tool that enables you to flatten an edge. Note that if you run the Crease Edge command on an edge that is adjacent to edges that are not tangent, the command will result in the crease radiating in other directions. This occurs when the edge you select is within 2 edges of a non-tangent point. Certainly a very cool tool, but using it may require some trial and error. It is great for flattening the bottom of a cylinder, as I have done below.
Life Made Simple with Model Simplification
I hope that I made life a little simpler for those using (or those that should be using!) the Inventor model simplification tools. I loved hearing from one student that he was going to pass along my handout to his vendor who was refusing to send him fully featured models. Good luck my friend! I hope that the tools get you what you need. There were a few questions that were asked that I didn’t have time to test in the class. I hope that the following helps:
Q: How does Vault handle simplified models?
A: Vault handles simplified models and their parents differently based on whether there is a link between the simplified model or not. If a link exists (as can be done in a Shrinkwrap or a Derived Part file), the associated assembly and all part files will be handled by vault. If no associative link is maintained during creation (as can be done when creating a Shrinkwrap or Derived Part, or as is always the case for a simplified part), the simplified model is standalone and Vault ignores the parents used to create it.
Q: With Shrinkwrap, I thought that you could edit the file after it was created?
A: Yes, you can edit Shrinkwrap files once created. The only caveat here is that you aren’t actually using the Shrinkwrap dialog box. Shrinkwrap was created to be used as a quick way to simplify the model to show the external surfaces. Although you can’t gain access to the original Shrinkwrap dialog box, you can right-click and use the Edit Derived Assembly command to access the Derived Assembly dialog box and redefine as necessary. Keep in mind that if the Shrinkwrap was created such that the link was broken, you won’t be able to edit the file.
Over the last few months I also taught similar webcasts for ASCENT on these two topics. If you wanted to watch these classes (approx 45 min each) here are the links.
Thanks to everyone that attended my classes! Hope that this post gives you some more to think about.