MCAD Tech News (#280)

12 May, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

Autodesk Fortifies Digital Prototyping with Ground-Breaking Inventor Features and New Products for 2011

Direct manipulation, as-you-go visualization, and design automation are new for Inventor, and Inventor Publisher and Alias Design for Inventor join the product line.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

For years Autodesk focused on transitioning its AutoCAD user base to 3D modeling. Today, the company reports, 3D is but a stepping-stone to broader design pursuits. At the Manufacturing Tech Day media event last month, Robert "Buzz" Kross, senior vice-president of the Manufacturing Industry Group, put it bluntly: "3D is not spectacular," he said, explaining that 3D CAD today is "just what you do — it's just a technique."

What Autodesk really wants you to embrace these days is digital prototyping — that is, using 3D design, visualization, and simulation tools to "experience products before they are built." Kross said Autodesk delivers digital prototyping as a complete package for manufacturing environments. "[That] is what it takes to compete today."

Autodesk's 2011 digital prototyping lineup includes some groundbreaking upgrades for Autodesk Inventor, a few new products, and enhancements across the board for product development professionals focused on conceptual design, visualization, engineering, and manufacturing. Software products are increasingly multidisciplinary, often supporting varied functions throughout the product-development process. Indeed, Kross stated at the event, many users today have a blend of previously distinct responsibilities, including creative design, engineering, and analysis. Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's editor in chief.


Avatech Tricks Tutorial:
Effective iPart Editing in Autodesk Inventor

Adding features or altering parameters after authoring an iPart calls for the Editing Scope function.

By John Hackney

The process of authoring an iPart is easy if you take the time to model your Inventor part, add and name all desired features, and name all parametric dimensions. You simply finish these steps, select "Create iPart," and the iPart table is automatically created. Add a few unique rows, set an index key, and you're done. But this is not a perfect world, and someone will probably ask you to add or remove a feature, or edit parameters and dimensions. That's when this trick will come in handy.

I will assume you have an iPart completed, and you need to edit it. First we must modify the ribbon a bit to gain access to the commands we will be using. Inventor locates the "Edit Scope" commands on the ribbon in the Assembly environment, but not in the Part environment.

Open the iPart you will be editing, and select the tab where you wish to add the three commands. In this example, I have chosen the "Tools" tab. Right-click on the ribbon and select "Customize User Commands." Read more »

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John Hackney is a senior mechanical application engineer for Avatech Solutions.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


May 18–20, 2010
Anaheim, California
Attendees at this conference, a Society of Manufacturing Engineers event, will be able to evaluate the latest materials and machinery, compare processes, and talk with industry experts. Read more »

PLM Road Map 2010
September 28–29, 2010
Plymouth, Michigan
At PLM Road Map 2010, attendees can join the CPDA (Collaborative Product Development Associates) team to find out first-hand which issues are confronting end users in design and engineering. Read more »

Capture 3D Users Group Conference and 3D Metrology Workshop
October 6–7, 2010
Newport Beach, California
The goal of this fourth biannual conference is to provide tips, techniques, and solutions to improve internal processes in order to maximize return on investment. Topics will include 3D scanning, quality control, inspection, reverse engineering, and more. 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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CAD Manager's Toolbox: CAD Managers Unite on Facebook
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Programming for CAD Managers, Part 3
Learn how to create command shortcuts with this simple introduction to AutoLISP. Read more »

Building a More Sustainable Print Paradigm
With help from Océ, HGA Architects and Engineers is reconciling its demand for large-format printing with its commitment to environmental stewardship. Read more »

Newforma Project Center Seventh Edition Beefs Up E-mail Support, Server Power, and Remote User Functionality
Project information management solution works with any CAD or BIM option to facilitate integrated project delivery for AEC. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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