iLogic Tools for the Rest of Us31 Dec, 2013 By: Walt Jaquith
IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Autodesk Inventor’s premier automation tool offers value for nonprogrammers too.
Editor's note: This tutorial courtesy of IMAGINiT Technologies.
iLogic is poised to revolutionize the way we work with Autodesk Inventor. Since many of the tools that accompany the package have uses aside from their application in design automation, this is true even for those users who have no knowledge of programming techniques. In this tutorial, I will present three hidden gems which were introduced to support iLogic, yet can be used independently, and require no code at all.
Create a Configured Copy Using Place iLogic Component
The Place iLogic Component command is used to add a configured copy of an iLogic component into an assembly. However, it also has a lot to offer when there are no iLogic rules in sight.
Inserting an assembly component using the iLogic option. Click image to enlarge.
Inserting a component using this option exposes the component’s parameters, allowing the user to make changes before the copy is placed. If Key parameters are checked, they are the only ones displayed for change. Component parameters can be mapped to assembly parameters, allowing the assembly to drive the configuration of the inserted component.
In this example, a unique bracket is created with its diameter mapped to the diameter of the tapered pole at elevation B1. Click image to enlarge.
An “-01” is added to the name of the new file(s), which are created in the parent assembly’s directory. If the inserted component is an assembly, any library or Content Center files are reused; otherwise, all components are copied.
The Insert iLogic Component functionality rounds out Inventor’s toolbox very nicely, fitting somewhere between the Save and Replace Component command and iPart functionality. The inserted version is an independent copy, rather than a linked family member. Given all this, the tool’s ability to handle iLogic rules could be considered icing on the cake.
Control Component Parameters Using Sliders in Forms
The ability to control assembly constraints in real time using a slider has long been a wish list item. We now have that and more, courtesy of iLogic’s form tools. Once again, no code is required to use this tool, making it available to any Inventor user. Additionally, the form object can control dimensional parameters as well as constraints. Finally, they’re exceptionally easy to create and use.
Once a new form is created (right-click in the Form tab of the iLogic browser), the Edit Form dialog box is displayed. There’s a lot to do here, but I’ll focus on creating a slider to control a part’s parameter. The parameters are listed in the section on the upper left. Drag the parameter into the Design Tree on the right. Single-value parameters come in as text boxes by default. Multi-value parameters come in as drop-down boxes, and cannot be changed to sliders. Selecting the text box in the Design Tree activates its properties in the area below. In the Behavior section, change the “Edit Control Type” setting to “Slider.”
Configuring the Edit Form dialog box to add a slider to the form. This slider will control the “M_Dia” parameter. Click image to enlarge.
Now you have a slider control for your parameter, and the only thing left is to set the limits and step size. Make those changes in the Slider Properties section, then close the Form Editor. That’s all there is to it.
When you pull up the form and manipulate the slider, your parameter will change, updating the component. You can assign multiple parameters to different sliders to add more control. Whether associated with iLogic configurations or simply as an easy way to adjust your parameters, form tool sliders are quick, convenient, and fun to use.
Copy an Entire Project Using iLogic Design Copy
iLogic has given us yet another copy tool, bringing the total between Inventor and Vault to five. This latest addition can handle projects with iLogic rules, but works nicely with any Inventor dataset. Each of the different methods has its own strengths and weaknesses, and this one is no exception.
iLogic Design Copy is accessed from a session of Inventor with no files open. The tool is available from the iLogic panel on the Tools tab. The interface is very clean; choosing a top-level file such as a main assembly drawing will search for related files, selecting them automatically. There is no “where used” search capability currently, but additional files can be checked manually. Entire folders can also be selected.
The next step is to choose the desired options.
The iLogic Design Copy Settings dialog. Click image to enlarge.
You can specify a folder in which to place the files, but unlike Pack-N-Go, you cannot opt to flatten the folder structure. A prefix or suffix can be added to the copied files, but they cannot be completely renamed, as with Design Assistant. Still, if your needs don’t require such things, this is a very fast and convenient tool.
iLogic is here to stay, and that’s good news for all Inventor users whether they write code or not. Just this early generation of supporting functionality has given a boost to the capability of the entire package. I like where these new tools are taking us, and look forward to seeing how they develop in coming releases.
Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a different AutoCAD feature in every edition of her popular "Circles and Lines" tutorial series. For even more AutoCAD how-to, check out Lynn's quick tips in the Cadalyst Video Gallery. Subscribe to Cadalyst's free Tips & Tools Weekly e-newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!