Working With Large Files in Autodesk Inventor1 May, 2015 By: James “Jim” O’Flaherty
IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Don't get stuck waiting for your files — update your settings and save time now.
Editor's note: This tutorial courtesy of IMAGINiT Technologies.
Do you often find yourself waiting on your files to upload because they are very large or complex? Ever wish you could speed up that load time? Or do you prefer to open a large file, get a coffee, go for a walk, discuss Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning, bother the guys out in the shop, and then wander back to your desk only to find the file is still loading? The days of activating a file on an Insta-View workstation and waiting eight hours for it to regenerate graphics are a bad memory, today you can choose a few settings and incorporate some basic best practices and these files will open faster than it'll take you to get that coffee. Besides, Tom Brady is far better than Peyton Manning anyways, so why argue?
Users that work with large, complicated part or assembly files waste vast amounts of time waiting for these files to generate and build upon activation. The causes for this can be anything from subpar hardware, to default application settings that don't support your needs, to poor file maintenance practice. Making a few changes in the software settings and workflow practices can greatly reduce this wasted time and make the user more productive.
First off let us take a moment and touch on the details of hardware for this discussion. The hardware you get or have to work with is the foundation for what we are about to accomplish here. The settings and practices we will discuss can only go so far with the hardware you have. To start, get the best hardware setup you can afford.
RAM. The key word is RAM, RAM, RAM — get as much RAM as you can afford. The idea is to have Inventor work in RAM as much as possible, exceeding RAM and forcing Inventor to use Windows Virtual memory will slow down your workstation dramatically.
Graphics cards are another place where you want as much on-board memory as possible. Inventor now uses Direct3D as opposed to OpenGL like it did prior to the release of Inventor 2012. This opens up the market for your selections to gaming cards instead of only CAD rated cards. Buy the best card you can afford, do your research, a gaming card may very well give you the best bang for the buck.
Processors. Inventor is still a single-thread application as of the 2015 release, so it does not take advantage of multiple cores for the most part. There are however, a few processes within Inventor that will utilize multiple cores, such as Task Scheduler, Ray Tracing, and Stress Analysis.
OK, so with the hardware discussion out of the way, let's get down to brass tacks, throw some switches in the settings to get these files up and running, shall we?
***Keep in mind, Application Settings apply to the entire Inventor application, whereas Document Settings apply to the individual active document.***
Even if you don't have a workstation that would make Dr. Sheldon Cooper jealous, you can use these settings to activate your files faster than he can say "Bazinga!" whether you work in large files or not. Selecting these options and incorporating the practices we'll list here will make you more efficient in your everyday CAD work.
While in Inventor, go to Tools | Applications Options, and select the General tab (figure 1).
Figure 1. Set your drawings to Parts Only in the General tab.
Physical Properties. This setting saves/updates physical properties of the file each time you save the file. Setting this to Parts Only confirms that all your parts are up-to-date without forcing you to wait while a large assembly has its properties updated.
About the Author: James “Jim” O’Flaherty
In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!