Autodesk Inventor Tube and Pipe Standardization

29 Sep, 2015 By: Mark Flayler

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Use templates to save time when routing pipes.

Autodesk Inventor's Routed Systems environment adds design tools for routing rigid pipes, bent tubes, and flexible hoses to designs in the assembly environment. These tools let you automatically populate a given path based on 3D sketched lines and splines using different settings and components. Standardizing how you populate that path is important so that your design team is modeling in a consistent manner.

Figure A

Creating a routed system style is fairly easy, but reproducing it can lead to errors in the overall design process. A style is made of rules that govern how something looks and reacts to other parts around it. For instance, a style can only be one diameter in size. If you need a half-inch and a three-quarter–inch size of the same type of fitting and conduit, you need two different styles. If you already have a half-inch size and then you modify the existing style to three-quarter, it will change all of your half-inch size lines to three-quarter. This is often a common mistake made by those new to tube and pipe or those who don't spend a lot of time in the routed systems module of Inventor.

Figure B

To save time and to make sure users don't change existing styles, you can add styles to a template that Inventor uses for the Master Runs assembly. The Master Runs assembly is the top level node in the tube and pipe hierarchy and is the first file created when a user starts to work in that environment. The template file for this is located in the Design Data directory and is called piping runs.iam.

Figure C

When you open this file, you'll notice that not all of the standard assembly commands are available and you are immediately placed into the Tube and Pipe subenvironment. Any styles that you add here become available to users as they start new designs with the Master Runs assembly source file. Create the most common styles here so they are always available for the users.

If you have users that need a unique style that isn't in the template, you can still import and export from the Tube and Pipe Styles dialog to a shared location for use as needed. Once again, it's important that styles are created correctly and maintained, even those that aren't standard.

Another important aspect of standardization concerns file naming and part numbers of fittings and conduit when automatically populating a route. New to Inventor 2016 is the ability to prompt for fitting names as well as conduit file names. Simply right click on the Master Runs assembly node, in this case it is called Tube and Pipe Runs, and select the option called Tube and Pipe Settings.

Figure D

By default, Inventor assigns a completely random and unique 13 digit number to conduit parts and standard Content Center naming to fittings when you used the Populate Route command. However with the above settings toggled, you can assign more eloquent names to your conduit and fittings. The Part Number is also now more controllable, based on how you want to populate it.

Figure E

Once you understand how style templates work, you can begin to take control of Inventor Routed Systems module for more standardized modeling and documentation of your designs.

About the Author: Mark Flayler

Mark Flayler

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