30 Dec 2011

Sheet Metal Flat Pattern Export

After creating a Sheet Metal Flat Pattern you are likely to want this sending to a supplier or CNC machine in DXF, DWG format. You could create a Drawing and do a Save Copy As (AutoCAD DWG or DXF), however you can export a Flat Pattern straight from the Model file in SAT, DXF or DWG.

To do this open your Sheet Metal part, which has a Flat Pattern, then right click on the top level of the Flat Pattern > Save Copy As. Set the required format (SAT, DXF, DWG), location and name. For a SAT file you can specify the Version. For DXF, DWG you will be prompted with various settings you can adjust to get the required output, see screenshot below.

Tip: If you need to export a DXF without the Bend Lines, you can turn off the Layer in the DXF Export Options dialogue (Layer TAB). However some applications will still bring in the Bend Lines, for these situations you can create a Post Process xml which deletes the Layers for the Bend Lines.

29 Dec 2011

Project to Surface

From time to time you might want to create something more complex than a Solid with a perpendicular Cut feature. A useful, but often overlooked tool in Inventor is the 3D Sketch, which contains some useful features, such as Project to Surface.

This feature allows you to project a 2D Sketch to a Face/Surface, allowing you to place sketches exactly on a face to use as a Sweep path, Split Line, Loft Rail etc. See the steps below to get yourself started with 3D Sketches.
  • Create your Model and 2D Sketch geometry

28 Dec 2011

Set Units to Metric and mm

With the inclusion of Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2012 in many of the new Design Suites, there are more people starting to experiment with this product. We thought it might be useful for you to know where the Units settings are to help get you setup correctly.
  • To customise the default Inch Units, go to the Customize menu > Units Setup.

23 Dec 2011

Vault Explorer - Open Error

After selecting a file in Vault Explorer and double clicking on it or right click > Open, you see the following message:

This can happen if another program has become associated with Inventor assembly files. In this situation, the message was caused by importing an Inventor file into Autodesk Showcase 2012, which although is not a qualifying CAD application for Vault, it is still a part of the Product Design Suite.

The workaround is to close Vault Explorer and Inventor and re-start Inventor. This will re-register Inventor with the Operating System.

This is an extract from the Cracking the Vault, Manufacturing Community Blog.

22 Dec 2011

Emergency Backup and Restore Routine

You may find yourself in the situation where, for an environmental reason, it is not possible to take a supported Backup from your ADMS Console. The following steps should only be carried out as a last resort when all other avenues have been explored.

On a clean machine (Restoring Machine)

  • Install Vault Server on a new machine.
  • After a successful installation, Start the ADMS Console.
  • Delete the Vault Database (Right click on the Database > Delete).
  • Tools > Detach Master Vault.
  • In Windows Explorer, navigate to the SQL Data folder where the Database files are configured to reside. By Default this is going to be something like "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.AUTODESKVAULT\MSSQL\DATA" (This location will vary depending on your Operating System).
  • Delete these files KnowledgeVaultMaster.mdf and KnowledgeVaultMaster_log.ldf.

21 Dec 2011

DWG Convert

AutoCAD 2012 includes a useful tool, DWG Convert, which enables you to translate AutoCAD DWG files to any of the following DWG versions: R14, 2000, 2004, 2007 and 2010. This is for a single file, or multiples, making it useful for batch conversion of older files to the latest release.

To access the DWG Convert tool, simply go to the Application Menu (Red A, top left corner) > Save As > DWG Convert. In the DWG Convert dialogue box, you can specify the DWG files to be converted, save the list for future use, create new lists and open/append existing lists.

20 Dec 2011


Workspaces are sets of menus, toolbars, palettes and ribbon control panels that are grouped and organised so that you can work in a custom, task-oriented drawing environment.

When you use a Workspace, only the menus, toolbars and palettes that are relevant to a task are displayed. In addition, a Workspace may automatically display the ribbon or a special palette with task-specific control panels.

You can easily switch between Workspaces. The following task-based Workspaces are already defined in the product:
  • 2D Drafting & Annotation
  • 3D Modelling
  • AutoCAD Classic
For example, when you create 3D models, you can use the 3D Modelling Workspace that contains only 3D-related toolbars, menus, and palettes. Interface items that you do not need for 3D modelling are hidden, maximising the screen area available for your work.

To change Workspaces either select from the drop down at the top or the list at the bottom:

19 Dec 2011

Merry Christmas from Micro Concepts

Before it gets too close to the festive season for people to see this message, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Micro Concepts. Thanks for Reading this year, hope to have more for you next year.


New 3D Connexion SpaceMouse Pro

SpaceMouse Pro is the latest addition to 3Dconnexion’s line of professional 3D mice. With an advanced ergonomic design and innovative On-screen Display, it delivers superior comfort and a simpler, more productive workflow. SpaceMouse Pro increases your productivity by more than 20% (#1) , as well as improving overall design quality1. It supplies you with exactly the right tools at the right time making it an indispensable tool for anyone who works with 3D software.

SpaceMouse Pro incorporates 3Dconnexion’s patented 6-Degrees-of-Freedom (6DoF) sensor, for intuitive, precise navigation of 3D models and camera positions in 3D space. It also features a full-size, soft-coated hand rest for maximum comfort and an array of 15 large, fully programmable function keys that enable you to stay focused by reducing the need to shift your attention between the screen, mouse and keyboard.

SpaceMouse Pro’s QuickView Keys provide fingertip access to 12 views, making it easier to detect errors, explore alternatives and present your work more effectively for review, and the conveniently positioned Keyboard Modifiers (Ctrl, Shift, Alt, Esc) save time by giving you fingertip access to application-specific editing commands.

SpaceMouse Pro automatically assigns appropriate commands to its four Intelligent Function Keys, and a convenient On-screen Display provides a visual reminder of function key assignments on your computer screen. The Virtual NumPad lets you input numerical data into your application using the standard mouse, rather than the keyboard.

Autodesk Cloud Security

Over the last few months we have been reporting about the new Autodesk Cloud services, you may have also seen the Inventor Optimisation messages yourself when running Inventor.

If you have not seen any information about the Autodesk Cloud technologies, then please visit the Autodesk Cloud website - www.autodesk.com/cloud.

This technology has quite rightly raised a few questions from customers regarding security of their data on the Autodesk Cloud. This has been fed back to Autodesk, who have recently released a white paper to help cover some of peoples questions. Please see the document for yourself: