Recognize and Simplify Features

28 Dec, 2011 By: R. Eric France

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: The Find Features and Simplify tools can improve your productivity in Autodesk Inventor Fusion.

Editor's Note: This tutorial courtesy of IMAGINiT Technologies.

Recently there has been a great proliferation of Inventor Fusion installs, mainly through its inclusion in Autodesk Design Suites. With that, I think it's important to bring your attention to a couple of tools in Fusion that can significantly improve your productivity in some common scenarios. First, we'll look at the Find Features tool, which helps users recognize and edit features in a Base Solid. Second, we'll learn how to use the Simplify tool to remove selected features from a model in preparation for analysis.

Find Features in a Base Solid

I'm sure that like most 3D CAD users, you occasionally work with base solid parts that have been imported from another modeler. In doing so, there are probably times when you need to modify those solids and could benefit from an efficient workflow to make the edits you need quickly.

You want a streamlined workflow? Well, here it is! Open the base solid part in Inventor Fusion, either directly or by using the Edit Form option in Inventor. Next, initiate the Find Features tool (located on the Manage panel), choose the solid in the Browser, and click OK. Just like that, the features are identified and appear in the Browser; from there you can edit the features.

For example, if the solid includes a circular pattern of holes, you can right-click, choose Edit Circular Pattern, and adjust the count to the number of holes now needed. You also have the ability to recognize an extrusion as a revolve, or vice versa. You can dissolve a feature to remove its feature from the browser. Recognized features can also be deleted if they are no longer needed.

But wait — there's more! If you want to control the types of features that are recognized from the beginning, you can adjust the checkboxes to focus on the features you are interested in having the tool find before you select the solid. It's quick and easy.

Simplify Your Analysis

For users performing analysis of components, the Simplify tool can be a huge time-saver. It is used to reduce the complexity of a model by removing fillets, chamfers, and holes of a given size and orientation. Simplify is particularly useful in removing those features that don't impact an FEA (finite-element analysis), but would add to the overall calculation time to solve the model.

For example, let's say you would like to reduce the complexity of the part shown below. There are filleted pockets on all four sides of the arm; chamfers inside and out on all three cylinders; and a retention pinhole to one side of the center cylinder.

Initiating the Simplify command and giving Fusion a few seconds to analyze the model results in this initial selection of features.

We need to keep the concave (inside) fillets, so uncheck the right-hand checkbox for concave fillets. We also need to keep the larger holes on either end, so reduce the upper limit for the smaller hole set to 0.70. (It's located to the right of the lowest red dot in the lower right corner of the figure above.) Doing so removes the end holes from the selection, and we are ready to Simplify the model. There are 14 features listed below the solid in the Browser.

To complete the Simplify command, select OK or click the checkmark in the top right of the dialog. When complete, the Feature tree is reduced to nine features in the Browser, and the simplified part is now ready for analysis.

That was easy — we got a simplified part in a matter of seconds.

To review, we explored two useful tools in Inventor Fusion that can improve your productivity in some common scenarios: the Find Features tool (used to recognize and edit features in a Base Solid), and the Simplify tool (used to remove selected features from a model in preparation for analysis). I'm sure you will leverage these tools as the opportunities present themselves. Happy modeling!

About the Author: R. Eric France

R. Eric France

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