Monday, August 26, 2013

We Are On The Move!!

“The only thing constant in life is change!” - Fran├žois de La Rochefoucauld

This statement being true, we are moving the MANUFACTURING SOLUTIONS blog to a new site. We’re joining forces with other industry leaders to create a “one stop shop” for all things technological in nature. The new site will include posts by other authors within the building, infrastructure and manufacturing industries, as well as a “New” technical support blog.

We would like to encourage you to follow us at for all of the up-to-the-minute posts, latest trends in technology and fun facts.

You only have until September 3rd before MANUFACTURING SOLUTIONS will become obsolete.  Follow us today at

Friday, July 12, 2013

Autodesk Vault 2014 Service Pack 1

Autodesk® Vault data management software helps organize, manage, and track data creation, simulation, and documentation processes for design, engineering, and construction teams. Get more control over design data with revision management capabilities and quickly find and reuse design data, for easier management of your design and engineering information.

Autodesk has released Autodesk Vault 2014 Service Pack 1 (Client) and Autodesk Vault 2014 Service Pack 1 (Server) for Autodesk Vault 2014, Autodesk Vault Workgroup 2014 and Autodesk Vault Professional 2014 which fixes or addresses a variety of issues pertaining to those releases. The README file highlights how to install the Service Pack, what has been fixed, and how to download the Service Pack.

WARNING: Read and follow the directions contained within the README for exact installation instructions. Failure to do so may result in an unusable vault.

Click to download:
Click here to see the Readme file.

Note: All future Autodesk Vault hotfixes will depend on the above being installed

Monday, July 1, 2013

Using Sketch Blocks to Create Assemblies

There are many ways to create assemblies within Autodesk Inventor. One technique is bottom-up designing, where you create each part independently of the assembly or other components. After all components are created they are brought together for the first time in the assembly. Using this technique, none of the design intent is shared between the components that make up the total design.

Using the Top-down design technique allows you to put the critical design information in a top-level assembly and push that information to the component level. One top down technique is using Sketch Blocks in the part environment, to conceptually create an assembly. Then after these sketch blocks are created you can output them as separate part files and have them placed within an assembly file. The part file that contains the sketch blocks are used as a design reference for your 3D parts. So if you change a dimension in a sketch block then your 3D part file will update to that dimension.

Begin creating sketch blocks by starting a new Autodesk Inventor Part file, then create a new 2D sketch.

Next, create multiple profiles with geometry, dimension and constraints. Each profile will represent each component needed for your assembly.

Next, select the Create Block command from the Layout panel on the Sketch tab. You then will give your block a name, select its geometry and add an insertion point. After the block is created, the geometry will still be displayed within the sketch, but without its dimensions. As an option, you can select the block within the sketch and delete it for clarity. This only removes it from the active sketch, but not the file.

After creating all of your blocks, you will find them within the Autodesk Inventor browser under the Blocks folder and can begin creating an "assembly" of Autodesk Inventor blocks.  

To add blocks to your sketch you can drag and drop them into the active sketch or you can right click on a block in the browser and select Place Block. Using the Place Block method, allows the block based on the insertion point. In addition, allows you to insert the same block multiple times. This method will also allow you to add the first block to the origin point.

Now you will build your assembly by adding sketch constrains between each block. These constrains will serve as assemble constrains when you make your solids. I would recommend that you fully constrain your first block to the origin point. Then constrain your other blocks to the first and so on. You can also locate blocks by adding dimensions between each block. I like to add dimensions so that I can drive the block's position within the sketch.

Since you are creating an assembly, you would want the Bill of Material to be accurate. This can be achieved by adding the correct number of blocks into the sketch.  This means that if I needed two clamp arms, I would place a second one into my sketch and constrain it to the first. I am essentially placing one on top of the other and when using the Make Components command I will have a quantity of two within my BOM.

Now that your "assembly" is complete with in the sketch environment, you are ready to test it. After testing is complete you can use the Make Component command to create the needed assembly and components of the assembly. 


  • To create sub-assemblies you need to create a nested sketch block. This is done by create a new sketch block and add other sketch blocks to it.
  • After blocks are created you can change with other commands: Edit Block, Explode and Flexible.

"With great power comes great responsibility." - Ben Parker

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Support Webinar - Autodesk Inventor Project Files

If you are one of the lucky Advanced Solutions Platinum and Enterprise Support Customers, you’ll soon be receiving an invitation to attend the webinar:

Don’t  forget about me: Additional Tools for Inventor users 

Advanced Solutions' Manufacturing Solutions Engineer, Craig Bashor (that’s me) will demonstrate some of lesser known, but beneficial, time-saving tools included with Autodesk® Inventor® including:

• Understanding Autodesk® Inventor® Project Files
• Autodesk Inventor Project File Configuration
• Creating and Editing Project Files
• Using Autodesk Inventor Assemblies with Project Files

Sign up for Platinum Support, today, so you don’t miss out on all of my Inventor tips and tricks!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Autodesk 3ds Max - Creating Workspaces

With the release of Autodesk 3ds Max 2013 you were able to create custom workspaces for the UI (User Interface). The Workspace feature lets you switch quickly among different interface setups. You can restore custom arrangements of toolbars, menus, viewport layout presets, the modeling ribbon, and keyboard shortcuts.

The Workspace interface is found on the quick access toolbar and is made up of two sections. The upper section provides a list of available workspaces and the lower section is used to manage and reset the default state of the UI.

A new workspace can be created by selecting on the Manage Workspace option in the drop-down list. Then the Manage Workspaces dialog box opens where you can create, edit and delete workspaces. It is recommended that you create a new workspace before adding or removing items to the UI.

Under the Current Workspaces area of the dialog, the active workspace is the one in dark gray. But you can switch workspaces while the dialog box is open by selecting the text of the another available one. You can also delete a workspace by selecting the red "x" next to its name.  

You can create a new workspace by picking the Save as New Workspace button. Then give your new workspace a name and clicking OK on the Create New Workspace dialog box. This new workspace becomes the active one and you can begin modifying it. 

You can make changes to the UI while the Manage Workspaces dialog is opened or closed. In my example, the Layers and Snaps toolbars are added to the new workspace, but the default workspace does not have contain them.

Autodesk 3ds Max 2014 contains an extra workspace called "Default with Enhanced Menus". This workspace changes the look of the pull-down menus. The default workspace keeps your menus the same as they have been in the past. After switching over to the enhanced space your menus change and are grouped by type of function and contain some sweet looking icons. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sharing your Autodesk Inventor Publisher Mobile Files

Here at Advanced Solutions, I just recently taught our Autodesk Inventor Publisher Essentials class and a student asked me how he would share this IPM (Inventor Publisher Mobile) file to a specific customer.

Well the solution is very simple and starts by creating your Autodesk Inventor Publisher document. Then next step is to create the Inventor Publisher Mobile file. This is done by going to the Publish drop-down and selecting Mobile option.

Next in the Mobile dialog, ensure your Title and Description is filled out and select the Save Local option.

Next you will save the mobile file to you computer and then you can email it to your customer. Your customer now can add that file to a file sharing site like Autodesk 360 or Dropbox . Once the file is loaded there and that account is tied to a mobile device then your customer can open that file in the Autodesk Inventor Publisher Viewer app.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Autodesk Inventor - "User-defined" Marking Menu

If you have ever used AutoCAD, you probably know that you can customize the user interface a great deal. Whereas, if you use Autodesk Inventor the customization of the user interface is a tad bit limited.

With that being said, one new tool for customization is the User-defined Marking Menu. This User-defined Marking Menu can be created for each Inventor environment, but must be configured before it is accessed.

You can customize the User-defined Marking Menu under the Marking Menu tab in the Customize dialog (access the dialog by right clicking the ribbon and selecting Customize User Commands). Next, choose the Environment in which to add the new menu and then choose the Add Ctrl+Right Click Menu under the Sub-Environment drop down list.

To add a command to the user-defined menu, select one of the wedge balloons in the Select Menu Location then select an item from the command list. After added the commands to the wedges then click OK to the Customize dialog and then test your custom Marking Menu.

If you choose the Add Ctrl+Right Click Menu Sub-Environment for either the 2D sketch or 3D sketch environments you will notice that it already contains command for sketch constraints.

This marking menu will appear if you hold down the Ctrl and use your right mouse button in the part or assembly sketch. This is the default menu for the sketch environment, but it can be modified.

By training your brain to use the Marking Menu you spend less time selecting commands within the ribbon and speed up your software efficiency. Hope this post helps and enjoy customizing. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Test Drive the Autodesk Factory Design Suite

If you participate in any of the processes involved in planning, designing or managing factory layouts, you should consider attending one of our test drive events.

The Factory Design Suite Test Drive puts you on the fast track to becoming smarter, faster, and stronger with your factory designs through a focused, interactive program that pairs you with experienced Autodesk manufacturing technical specialists.

The suite consists of AutoCAD® and Autodesk® Inventor® along with tools which help you to easily reference your 2D layout drawings and create compelling 3D Visual layouts with simple drag and drop techniques.

We currently have 2 dates planned at the end of October at the following locations:

If you're interested in registering for this FREE event, please follow the below link:

We look forward to seeing you there.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What's New in AutoCAD Electrical 2013 - The Marking Menu

As a continuation from the rollout of the Autodesk 2013 family of products, my video below showcases the new marking menu in AutoCAD Electrical 2013 and its ability to easily access the most common commands used on specific electrical components such as schematic / panel components, wires, wire numbers, etc.  I also show how the marking menu can be customized to help tailor this interface component for any user.

Thanks for watching.

What's New in AutoCAD Electrical 2013 - Project Organization

As many of you probably know by now, the Autodesk 2013 family of products have been released.  Over the next few series of posts, we will be continuing to publish content focusing on the newest enhancements to these products.  In this video, I dissect AutoCAD Electrical 2013 and the ability to promote better organization and updates to your electrical projects using subfolders and various project wide update utilities against these subfolders.

As always, thanks for watching...