Part 2 of the conversion of my milling machine from manual to CNC

April 15th, 2014

Converting my mill to CNC – Part 1

March 13th, 2014

I’ve written the 1st part in a 4-part series about performing a CNC conversion of a milling machine.


Autodesk Product Design Suite 2012

April 13th, 2011

So Autodesk say that the 2012 upgrade for subscription customers will be available tomorrow (14 Apr 2011), but guess what….. it’s already available on the subscription centre and has been for the last few hours. I’m currently downloading the 9.5 odd GBs of it. Really looking forward to getting stuck into it after the Cadpro Christchurch Product Launch today at Peppers Clearwater Resort. The Cadpro Systems lads did a great job of showing off the new functionality with some help from a couple of the Autodesk APAC guys.

It seems that there has been a lot of Autodesk focus on trying to get customers to use more than just the 1 or 2 bits of software that they already use day to day. The bundling of multiple design tools into “suites,” as well as a lot of new developments in Vault integration with various Autodesk packages seems to be where a lot of the devlopment horsepower has been used in the last year.

All the little features and improvements aside, I think the direction they are going is a good one. Times are changing and rendered images and “fancy” visuals are becoming more than just a “nice-to-have.” Tools like 3Ds Max and Showcase go so much further than Inventor Studio, and often with a lot less effort. Now as long as they don’t raise the subscription price next year…….. I’m real happy!

Idee Auto Design Database in Development

February 18th, 2011

I wonder what potential flow-on effect this sort of approach to mechanical design may have to other industries.

Inventor BOM – Row Merge Bug

December 23rd, 2010

Had a strange problem that is now fixed thanks to a suggestion from Greg Healey at Cadpro.

For some strange reason, the Inventor bill of materials editor was merging two rows in the BOM that had different part numbers. The row merge is only supposed to merge rows if they have identical part numbers. I tried typing the part number over itself but it didn’t fix it. Greg suggested I try unmerging the rows, changing one of the part numbers to something completely different, and then remerging. This fixed the issue, so I then just changed the part number back to what it was and problem fixed.

If you have similar issues, it appears you need to completely change the data in a cell to get it to refresh properly.

AU Virtual 2010

December 1st, 2010

A little while ago I posted about AU Virtual 2010 looking like it was going to be a fantastic event. After spending some time this morning trying to work my way around it, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s actually going to be as good as I had hoped. Navigation around the virtual conference centre is quite tricky and there doesn’t seem to be much going on in the way of online classes that I’m actually interested in. Reading the twitter posts of some of the users who are there in Vegas, I think they’re definitely getting all the good stuff!

Oh well, time will tell I guess. I’m waiting to see what comes up.

AU Virtual 2010

October 13th, 2010

Just checked out the intro to AU Virtual 2010. Wow! Autodesk have done a fantastic job setting this one up. Will definitely be setting most of Tue Nov 30 and Wed Oct 1 aside to attend as many of the presentations as I can.

Mu user name is “Gavin Bath.” If you see me in any of the product clinics, say hello.

Flexible Assemblies

September 9th, 2010

An Inventor Joke

Flexible Assemblies are super useful if you want to have multiple instances in different configurations within a parent assembly.

Inventor SDK Install from DVD issue.

June 3rd, 2010

Initially when I installed Inventor 2011, I chose not to install the SDK (Software development kit) which includes some tools and samples for writing macros and add-ins. Today I needed to write a macro and decided to install the SDK from the DVDs. When I added the feature, it searched Install Disc 1 and came up with:

“Error 1309. Error reading from file: D:\x64\inventor\Application Data\Autodesk\Inventor 2011\SDK\UserTools.msi. System error 3. Verify that the file exists and that you can access it.”

Usually if the file it is looking for is on another disc, it’ll say something like: “Please insert Autodesk Inventor Disc 5 of 7” or similar, but not for the SDK.
Anyway, I went through the discs until I found the file on Disc 3 and clicked retry, and that solved the problem.

Sheetmetal Bending & k-Factor

May 28th, 2010

Quite often I hear Inventor users saying: “the folded part didn’t come out like it was in the model, I even gave them a flat pattern!” The flat pattern feature in Inventor is near useless if you don’t have the sheetmetal style set correctly to suit material, tooling and processes used to form the part. k-Factor is a useful number that when used along with a correct bend radius can give sheetmetal flat patterns that will fold up very accurately. “So how do I work out this magic k-Factor?” you ask. The easiest and most accurate way to do this is:

  1. Cut out a rectangle of material that you want to fold, say 100mm x 50mm. Measure accurately, and record, length and thickness.
  2. Mark a bendline across the centre of the rectangle and form a 90 degree fold with a press-brake or whatever you are using to do your folding.
  3. Measure, with a vernier caliper, the length of each side and record these (I’ve called them “Leg 1 Length” and “Leg 2 Length”
  4. Measure and record, using a radius gauge, the Inside bend radius.
  5. Plug these numbers into the calculator I’ve created here, and voilĂ , you have your k-Factor to put into your sheetmetal style in inventor.

To check your result, create a sheetmetal style in inventor that has the measured bend radius, k-Factor (from the calculator), and measured thickness, and create a sheetmetal part using this style. Sketch a rectangle, create a face from it, put another sketch line across it in the center, create a 90 degree bend and using the measure command, compare it with your real sample. They should be pretty close. If not, maybe your bend radius is not quite right as it’s a very difficult thing to measure accurately. You can fine tune the k-Factor if necessary.

Note that you will need to repeat this process any time you change material, thickness, tooling etc.