Posts Tagged ‘Inventor’

Placing 2D Surface iParts into Assemblies

October 14, 2014

When you try placing a 2D surface iPart into an assembly, nothing is displayed. However, the Model Browser displays the component instances. No error messages show up. Figure 1 and 2 shown below displays the before and after of the placement.


Figure 1 Before placement

Figure 2

Figure 2 After placement

As you can see, five instances of the iPart are placed but none of them are visible.


Update: Before placing the iPart into the assembly, assign an iMate to the surface iPart. It will show up once it is placed into the assembly. Thanks for the tip, Charles Parnell!


There are a two workarounds for this problem.

  1. Give the 2D iParts a thickness (shown in Figure 3)
  2. Place the 2D surfaces as individual Parts (shown in Figure 4)

Once you give the iParts a thickness, the component instances will appear in the Model Space.


Figure 3 After adding thickness


Figure 4 Placing 2D surfaces as individual parts

More with Vault

April 22, 2014


Get Previous Version/Revision of Parts and Assemblies…

We do not get many calls on this subject, but I think it may be because users are not aware of this ability within a vault application.

Many clients need to get back to a previous variation of a design, either due to overlooking a particular item in the design, or a change in the direction of the design. With Vault and Inventor, clients can get a previous version, however the command is not widely visible from a vault menu or tool bar. Without knowledge of this function, vault users can waste time attempting to get back to a version reflecting the state of the design they actually need.

Let’s take a look at the steps needed to accomplish “Get Previous Version”

Below is a Figure of the design in its current configuration.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1


The following Drawing also reflects the above assembly.



The problem is: I need to get the previous version of the file before the top most beams were added to the design; and how does a user accomplish this task, with “Get Previous Version”. Accessing that tool is done this way.

1. From the preview pane highlight the version needed.


Fig. 3

2. Then right click and select “Get/Checkout”

3. Once “Get/Checkout” dialog box appears, expand it to a full dialog…


Fig. 4

Note the number of files to be downloaded to my workspace (12).

4. Download the required file(s), only 12 to be exact, but DO NOT CHECKOUT, then select “OK”

5. The Vault Browser will reflect some out of date files and/or documents


Fig. 5

6. Next is to inform Vault this version needs to be checked out, but not over-write the version you just downloaded.

7. Select the latest version from the main pane in Vault.


Fig. 6

8. Right click and select “Get/Checkout” and expand the dialog box.

9. Pick checkout ball with blue check, and note the checkout download indicators.


Fig. 7

10. Now Select the button identifying the “Working Folders”


Fig. 8

11. Set the download location/Type to “None”. Note the Download indicator


Fig. 9

12. Pick “OK”

13. Open file from within the Inventor application NOT from Vault.


Fig. 10

14. Change Model browser from “Model” to “Vault”, you will see the following.


Fig. 11

15. This is the normal condition, Vault is warning you that the file(s) are checked out to you, and they need to be refreshed from the Vault. This is because Vault thinks you have the wrong version, but you know better…!

16. From the Vault browser within Inventor, highlight the assembly file and check in.


Fig. 12

17. The Check in dialog box will be presented to you, select your favorite option and continue.


Fig. 13

  18. Your results should look like your previous version selected back in Step (1), Fig. 14 & 15.


Fig. 14


Fig. 15

Vault and Moving Files

December 19, 2013

Moving files, The Nightmare!

Recently I have come across several accounts that are having serious issues with getting a drawing or model file in the correct windows location. It is becoming a nightmare for those clients and their file management. The situation is this; clients are moving the files with Windows commands and tools, and NOT using the Vault file management tools.

A few items to keep in mind when working with document management tools such as Vault.

  1. All files managed by or planned to be managed by Vault must NOT be manipulated by Windows commands.
  2. Opening a file from any folder and executing a “Save As” will NOT correctly manage the links to that file, Example: Opening an Assembly, A1 containing parts P1, P2,and P3, and running a Save As on A1, renaming it to A11 will NOT change the references to P1, P2 and P3. This simple operation can destroy the validity of the A1 and A11 Assemblies if the A11 assembly needs to reflect a different design iteration. If a user was to change P1, it will change in both Assemblies A1 and A11 thus the “Save As” does not differentiate either Assembly (A1 or A11), they are identical even though the A11 has been moved to a new folder.
  3. Instead using the Move files within the Vault client will correctly path the moved files to all others that they may have an effect on. In the example noted above in (2) moving the A1 assembly to a completely different folder will cause Vault to correct the links to parts P1,P2 and P3. Changing any Part. P1, P2 or P3 will then update Assembly A1. If a new complete design is needed to reflect a change that DOES NOT need to affect the assembly A1 and its part relationships, then the tool known as “COPY DESIGN” should be used.
  4. COPY DESIGN allows several things to happen, move to a different folder structure with in the vault, rename each and every effected file, heal all the relationships to the moved and renamed file and folder locations. I.E. A1 is moved to a new folder and renamed to A11, parts P1, P2 and P3 can be reused and still point to the A11 in the new folder location, or parts P1, P2 and P3 can be renamed so that they are unique to the A11 Assembly. Example P1 to P11 and P2 to P22 etc. This operation will again heal the links in each and every effected file as a result of using the “COPY DESIGN” tools.

In short, with Inventor and the Vault Document system the only way to properly move, rename and copy designs is to use the tools within the vault client or the applications vault add-in tools.

Hope this clears up any questions about file management using Vault and NOT windows tools and commands….

Happy File management….

Mike B.

A Challenge to Inventor users

May 1, 2013

Hello all,

It has been a while since my last posting to the Blog, and hopefully it will not be this long again.

Total CAD recently had an Industrial Machinery workshop where we reviewed tools for Routed systems, Electrical schematic communication with Inventor, and a review of the Autodesk 360 tools. All in all it was a very good day for everyone.

This brings me to my main item. Lately it seems, we have been receiving support calls about tools that seem to be missing from Inventor. I would like to review and address a few of those here – and they do exist…<grin>

In our event some users saw tools they have never seen before, and these “missing” tools are good tools to know about.

1. While in routed systems and having created a run/route,  highlight the route, right-click to see the menu and a couple handy commands, Convert to 3D sketch, and the Alternate Route options appear. Very handy.

2. Design Accelerators: Many users overlook these tools. Which appear in the Assembly ribbon tool bar… check it out. I recently had a client ask about chain design tools. Which is part of  the  Design Accelerator tools. Again very handy. While in an assembly select the “Design” tab of the ribbon. By the way, frame generator tools are here as well.

3. Learn to use the filter tools for content when searching for placement in an assembly  – we see so many users struggling to look through 1000’s of parts because they don’t turn on ANSI, DIN, or other filters. With the Content Center open look for the little Funnel Filter button. Try it out, it will help. Also users can add commonly used parts to their favorites bar in Content Center.

4. Remember to expand folders in the part and/or assembly browser. If it has a “+” sign to the left, then other items are under that part or assembly.

As you experiment I’m sure you will find efficient ways to use some of these tools.

Now My CHALLENGE to you! Once a day pick a new button or command to investigate or use. Learn how it works and how it can be applied to your current design projects.

One Button a Day Makes Inventor Go a Long Way…

Have a good day,


I-part Table Edit with Excel in Win 7

July 27, 2011

For those of you who build and use iParts you may have noticed a problem using Win Excel on a Windows 7 platform.

The problem only appears if you attempt to edit the iPart table with Excel; it does nothing at all, and finally returns control to Inventor. This fix will allow you to edit the table with the spreadsheet or “Edit via Spreadsheet”


Autodesk has placed a support document on the Support > Knowledge Base that guides you through the process to repair this editing problem.

  • In my case it only appeared after the installation of Product Design Suite Ultimate 2012 and Office 2010. I have made the registry adjustment to correct the issue and it is now working correctly.


NOTE you MUST be very careful in making this fix; anytime you edit the system registry you can create errors in your operating system that can force you to completely rebuild your system from the ground up. Please read all the information attached to this document; DO NOT SKIP any step outlined in the Autodesk knowledge base article.

The article ID number is “TS14079866” and should look like the snapshot below. The article also includes a video file that you should review; it is NOT attached here…

Link to Autodesk Article:

The link above will take you directly to the fix. I direct you to this site for the Autodesk method to accomplish the correction. Total Cad will not repair or rebuild or take any responsibility for your system in the event this operation fails. This article is to be used at your own risk. Following the procedures in the Knowledge Base article should be conducted by someone very knowledgeable with editing the system registry, and who has administrative rights on the system to be fixed. It is recommended/required that a backup of the system and the registry be completed before going forward with this operation.

The Article includes this disclaimer, and I reference here, please read the article before proceeding with any operations

Included in the article is an additional link to the Microsoft®  Registry Editor, “TS66513”, (noted above) this should also be reviewed.

If the operation is properly completed the Edit via Spreadsheet will work correctly on the repaired system. I did on mine and it should on yours…

Good Luck,