Using Joints in Autodesk Inventor 2014

29 Sep, 2013 By: R. Eric France

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Don't get bent out of joint about the new tool on the Assemble tab — learn how to use it to your advantage.

Applying Joints

We now know what joints are and what they do, but how do we apply them? Joints are applied a little differently than we would apply constraints. Using the Connect selection buttons on the Joints dialog (below, left) or the Joints mini-toolbar (below, right), we are able to select points along faces or edges to establish the relationship between the components.

When you select a face, you can choose from any of the corners, the midpoints of any of the edges, and even the center of the face to position the component. When you select a linear edge you can pick from its endpoints and midpoint. When you select a circular edge or spherical geometry, you can pick the center of the edge or geometry.

Spherical geometry can also be selected where other geometry intersects the sphere. As you would expect, you can also Flip the direction of the selection and you can use the Align tools to adjust the orientation of the components you are applying the joint to.

Some additional options for controlling joints are gaps and limits. Similar to Offset for constraints, Gap allows us to keep components a specified distance away from each other. Also like constraints, we can apply limits to the angular and/or linear elements of a joint to specify a range of motion for that joint.

Completing the Joint

After applying the joints we need to control the position or motion of our components, there are several other options available on the right-click cursor menu of a joint. If we want to maintain the current position of a component, but not restrict the DOF, we can lock the joint. We can use Protect to monitor a joint and prompt us when additional joints being applied violate the DOF of the monitored joint.

Additionally, while joints go a long way toward establishing the relationships between our components in the assembly, constraints are always available to finish the job. Feel free to use them as you have in the past.

Looking at Relationships

Once you have established the relationships, it is sometimes necessary to see and understand how they apply to other components. By using Show Relationships and selecting the components we want a better understanding of, we get the glyphs shown here.

Selecting a glyph provides specific information regarding that relationship and the components involved. The Show Sick command is used to identify relationships that have been broken or are over-constraining components.

To review, we defined two new enhancements in Autodesk Inventor 2014. First, we looked at where the relationship tools are located. Then, we focused on what joints do and how to apply them. Next, we looked at the other options used with joints. Finally, we discussed how we can view, understand, and monitor the joints in our assembly. Now you know how useful joints can be, and you can leverage them in your daily use of Inventor. Time to leave this joint!

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About the Author: R. Eric France

R. Eric France

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