MCAD Tech News (#254)

19 Nov, 2008

Model Checking for Autodesk Inventorp>

Automated model checker iCHECK ensures design data and standards compliance.

By Jeffrey Rowe

Jeffrey Rowe photo

Many steps are involved in turning an idea into a reality, and this sentiment is highly regarded, not to mention respected, in the mechanical design community. These steps, especially if they are performed by a dispersed design team, can introduce errors into a design if standards are not adhered to and models are not checked. And, while 3D is a great design innovation, it has also brought with it new challenges. For example, in 2D design, most of the challenges associated with model checks involve manually checking a printed drawing. The advent of 3D, although it allows for better collaboration, can also promote and perpetuate design errors faster, thus making automated model checking a vital consideration earlier in the design process.

This need did not go unnoticed by INCAT, a software reseller and engineering services company. INCAT researched and identified several challenges to using Autodesk Inventor productively and addressed them by developing iCHECK, its proprietary data quality and integrity analysis software application. The software is an Inventor-certified CAD model checking tool for ensuring dimensional accuracy, geometric integrity, and conformance to predefined standards so design discrepancies can be corrected.

The software is equipped with approximately 70 standard checks that can be performed, and each check can be custom configured to account for a company's particular standards. Checks can be run either individually or as a collection, depending on how they are configured. Some examples of checks include navigation of sketches that are not fully constrained, working with assemblies with adaptive features turned on, and manipulating drawings that contain override dimensions. In each of these cases, a designer's productivity can be compromised by obvious and not-so-obvious problems or deviations from standards, but with iCHECK, each of the conditions can be verified and resolved if problems are detected. A couple of the obvious things I often find myself doing with Inventor -- not constraining a first sketch to an origin and not fully constraining a sketch -- are caught, reported, and resolved by iCHECK.

A Spellchecker for Models
In effect, iCHECK is analogous to a spellchecker during the design process to automate compliance with corporate standard design practices and methodologies. You can use it to build, implement, and enforce 3D CAD standards, ensuring consistent design deliverables throughout in-house design departments or from outsourced designers. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Jeffrey Rowe is the principal of Cairowest Group, an independent industrial design, mechanical engineering, and technical communication consulting firm with offices in Colorado and Michigan. You can reach him by e-mail at or by phone at 719.221.1867.


Cadalyst Labs Review: SolidWorks 2009

By Bill Fane

Many SolidWorks users were less than thrilled when SolidWorks 2008 introduced a new ribbon-style interface that mimicked Microsoft Office 2007. At that time, it made sense to incorporate an interface that was consistent with other new products from many companies. But Microsoft's ribbon implementation was a disaster, because it locked to the top of the screen and consumed a lot of screen real estate.

SolidWorks 2009 corrects the ribbon menu blunder in a big way. You can undock the Command Manager and the Property Manager and park them anywhere. And anywhere really means anywhere — docked at any of the four sides of the screen or floated in the location of your choice. Anywhere also includes outside the application window if you are running SolidWorks 2009 in less than full-screen mode or even on another monitor in a dual-monitor configuration. If you opt to turn on the traditional toolbars, they also have this capability. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

Improving Data Management with Autodesk Productstream
December 11, 2008
11 a.m CST
During this webinar, from Applied Engineering Technology, attendees will learn how Autodesk Productstream can be used for file organization and search, design reuse with copy design, and design revisions and lifecycles. Read more »

Introduction to AutoCAD Electrical 2009
December 18, 2008
10:30 a.m. CST
During this webinar, from Applied Engineering Technology, attendees will be introduced to some specialized tools in AutoCAD Electrical, such as electrical schematic design, electrical circuit utilities, and PLC modules. Read more »

Siemens PLM Connection Americas 2009
June 1-4, 2009
Nashville, Tennessee
PLM World's four-day conference is a forum for users of Siemens PLM products to exchange software knowledge in technical sessions, attend training sessions, and network one-on-one with other users and professionals. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on