Configurator 360 is no Flash in the Pan!

Online Configurators Can be a Flash in the Pan

In my email a few days ago, I found an invite from somebody in the ” Information Technology and Services” sector to join their professional network. I accepted (not really sure why), and soon received an email from the person outlining the type of services they have to offer ― mostly web-based programming. Nothing  unusual, but there was a link that they appear to have targeted to me (and likely anyone else with the word “configurator” on their profile), that went to a portfolio page showing an online 3D configurator they had created for one of their clients.

Judging by the “flash-and-flex” in the URL, I am guessing that this configurator is a 3D animation that is choreographed by the user……… which is pretty interesting. You see, I was part of the beta testing of a cloud configurator service by Autodesk called Configurator 360 ― which is an actual product engineering/design configurator. There is a big difference between the two. Configurator 360 is now a live product, and although it is still in its infancy, it shows tremendous potential.

Our cabinet configurator live on configurator 360 Read more ›

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Fix Inventor’s Bad Material Name Bug

Bad Material Name Fix

The bad Material name error, as can be seen in the image below, is caused by Inventor itself.

For some unknown reason, inventor will lose track of the Material and Appearance Library settings, and revert back to using the default Inventor Material Library, as can be seen in this image of the project editor…

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Configurator Functionality Expanded

Configurator Maximus

The most powerful configurator for cabinetry!The base cabinet in our cabinet configurator set has received several new capabilities that make it close to the only configurator needed by many shops….. so much so, that the name no longer makes much sense. Our original thinking was to have a group of configurators that represent the different general cabinet styles, which could be modified by each shop to suit their needs. We envisioned shops making their own tall cabinet and other versions using the base cabinet we supply as starting point. We did not, and still do not, want the configurators to become bloated with features and the code required to drive them ― but we made some relatively simple adjustments that now allow the one configurator to create a huge amount of different cabinet styles ― everything but a bank of drawer or file drawer unit (as far as we can see).    

So as of the next release, we will remove the upper cabinet configurator and add a little more function to what is now called the Base – Master so that it will represent uppers properly as well. Individual companies will still have to make their own modifications to make the configurator match their construction methods or add/subtract features, but having one fast, stable model is far easier to maintain than a bunch of versions. Enough chit-chat. Here is a list of the possible configurations using the configurator formerly known as Master – Base. I had planned on showing an image at each setting, but there are too damn many, so here is an abbreviated list…

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Renaming Configurator Files

To change the file names for a configurator is fairly easy. The first thing to do is open the file explicitly by right clicking on the file in the browser tree, then selecting Open from the context menu…

First, open the configurator file explicitly

 You will now have a window with the opened file. From here, you go to the Application Menu in the upper left of the program, and select Save As > Save Copy AsRead more ›

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How-to Restructure an Autodesk Inventor Assembly

….or, what I did last summer, then the restructure stuff.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but I have been incredibly busy as of late. As of this year, I am the new Autodesk Inventor Instructor at a major CAD Tutorial Producer . Over the past six months or so, I have produced 368 Autodesk Inventor video lessons that span nearly 32 hours, and cover Autodesk Inventor 2014 from ‘soup to nuts’.

More about that later……….. but for now, stick around for a brief lesson on assembly modeling where I will show how to restructure newly added elements of a large assembly. I will do so using some of the BIM-esque work I have been doing on the Blackhawk Cottage. I recently routed the ducting for the cottage’s 18,000 btu high efficiency wall furnace (it takes very little to heat the place), and I’m nearly done installing that ducting, so I’ll include some images of that as well.

The placement of the PVC pipe for the unit was pretty tricky because of the incredibly tight spaces it needed to go into, and the fact that I don’t want to build bulkheads all over the place to hide things. There is a 3” mechanical chase built into what I refer to as the, of all things, mechanical wall, and this pair of pipes had to make its way through much of the already built wall. This is because when the cottage was originally designed, they did not make high efficiency furnaces small enough for a small ultra efficient design. Now they do, and before the wall is sealed up, the ductwork needed to be in place.

The image below shows how I started routing the duct. It is a part created in-place in the Master Assembly, and grounded at the origin. From there I project whatever geometry is needed to create the pipe run, which in this case is self draining back to the heater…

The restructure pipe run diagram

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Edge Banding With Inventor Configurators

Edge Banding Capabilities in Inventor Configurators

Can your configurators handle edge banding? I’ve been asked that question several times as of late, and have done a good deal of modeling and code writing related to edge banding, so I put out this post with its accompanying video to answer the questions for others who have concerns related to edge banding.

Edge banding is not ‘built-in’ the configurators themselves, but is covered in detail in our tutorials in the Cabinet Web Portal area of the website. The reason for this, is that configurators that are designed to please everyone, will wind up pleasing no one. They get huge in file size, slow, and have tons of features that will likely lead to mistakes by your newer design staff. More about that later. Check out the edge Banding video, then take a look at some screen shots and more detailed descriptions below…


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