MCAD Tech News (#305)

14 Apr, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

No, You Can't Do That: Enforce Standards with iLogic

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Use this Autodesk Inventor functionality to ensure that all your designs are compliant.

By Paul Harrison

Are you having a hard time enforcing your design group's modeling standards? In this tutorial, I'll show you how to use Autodesk Inventor's iLogic functionality to make sure your designs are compliant — every time.

Why Templates?

If your design group is creating parts that are similar to one another, you can save a great deal of time by creating a "head-start" template. If every part you make starts with a rectangular extrusion, why not create a template containing the extrusion and save yourself a few minutes every day? It's easy to do this in Inventor — just model up the template you'd like to work with and navigate to Inventor's Save As menu. There, you'll find the Save Copy As Template command. This will allow you to save off your template in the appropriate location.

Building Smart Templates

Now that you've cut down on some repetitive modeling, let's take things to the next level: standards compliance. Because we're working with a common template, it's easy to embed rules in our parts that enforce our design group's standards. With a few simple clicks, we can use Inventor's iLogic technology to build "smart" templates that will alert the user to any non-compliant geometry.

Preparing the part. The first thing we'll need to do is add parameters to our parts in an intelligent way. We'll be writing rules to monitor these parameters; for instance, if a part always needs to be less than five inches in length, we'll create a rule that keeps an eye on our Length parameter. Sometimes we'll need to monitor dimensions that aren't necessarily model parameters. In this case, we'll need to create driven dimensions and monitor the associated reference parameters. Read more »

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Paul Harrison is a solutions consultant with IMAGINiT Technologies.


From the Trenches:
Create Custom AutoCAD Commands and Toolbars

Looking for an easier way to access your custom LISP routines? This user-written tutorial will walk you through the toolbar creation process.

By Emilio Valentin

Have you ever needed to create your own toolbar or command in AutoCAD? Maybe you have some custom LISP routines you been using for years, and you need to add them to your current version of AutoCAD. Sometimes a toolbar may be an easier way to get to those custom routines — and creating one is a simple process. (Note: This tutorial was created with AutoCAD 2009, but the process is virtually identical through more recent releases.)

Almost all commands will now allow linking an icon. So to start, we need the icons, and a folder to store them in. The icons must be in BMP format, and 64 x 64 pixels will work fine. You can use Microsoft Paint to create them. As for the folder, check out Tools > Options > Files to see where AutoCAD looks for the icons.

Next is the folder where your LISP files or scripts are located. These need to be in the support path, and can be on a local drive or network location if you want to share them (the same goes for the icons). Keeping them separate from the program files/AutoCAD directory makes it easier to upgrade or do a repair, because you don't have to worry about them being deleted during an uninstall. Read more »

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Emilio Valentin has been a technical associate in CAD and drafting operations on civil and structural projects since 1997.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Autodesk 2012 Product Launch Virtual Event
April 20, 2011
8 a.m.–2 p.m. PT
During this online event, Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen will explain the new capabilities of AutoCAD 2012 software. Lynn will demonstrate her favorite new tools in AutoCAD, including model documentation, reality capture, and 3D conceptual design, and she'll share an overview of AutoCAD for Mac. Read more »

Aras Community Event 2011 International
April 26–28, 2011
Dearborn, Michigan
At this event from product lifecycle management (PLM) software solution provider Aras, business and IT professionals from around the world will network and collaborate with other members of the Aras Community and gain insight about their enterprise open source PLM initiatives. Read more »

Siemens PLM Connection Americas User Conference 2011
May 2–5, 2011
Las Vegas, Nevada
This annual event, organized by PLM World with support from Siemens, is designed to help attendees prepare their PLM (product lifecycle management) investment for the future, learn from Siemens PLM Software's developers in hands-on training sessions, and network with other PLM users. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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