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Archive for the ‘General’ Category
Thursday, May 9th, 2013
While you never know for sure which decision is the best, according to Murphy’s Law we will always find what can go wrong.
Our goal is to help point you in the right direction so we have taken some personal downloading experiences from 2014 as well as some standard suggestions. Unfortunately, not every computer system and situation will react exactly like the next therefore we will provide a few options.
Per the Autodesk website you have 3 downloading options, and below are the highlights:
• Installs and launches the Autodesk Download Manager to give you more control than the conventional browser will allow
• Reduces the time by decompressing the files in parallel during the download
• Eliminates the extra file extraction step
• Recommended for downloading now and installing later
• Best option to get products up and running on your computer
• Installs and downloads the product simultaneously
• Allows for product selection prior to downloading
• Recommended for the most efficient and reliable download and installation directly on the computer your actively on
• Uses built-in download for any web browser
• Usually less efficient and less reliable
• No file compression utilization
• After downloaded, must extract and begin installation.
• Recommended if you cannot or do not prefer to use the Autodesk Download Manager
Currently you can utilize Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari to access your Subscription Center for your downloading needs. Our greatest successes have come from users with Google Chrome and most have report solid results with few complaints. We have been receiving the most feedback with Internet Explorer 10 users having log in issues and various downloading issues. Again, whether these are consistent browser issues or a computer-specific issue has yet to be determined.
Software Support – MasterGraphics
Monday, May 6th, 2013
So much goes into the idea of Digital Prototyping, though it’s really a simple concept—try to validate your product before you ship it out the door. Depending on what you make, that validation could be complex. Let’s start with something simple: movement. I have a design that needs to clamp down, so the travel distance of the parts is important.
In my example the clamping mechanism is driven by a cylinder. I want to show the cylinder both extended and retracted, to make sure the proper range of motion I need is accounted for. This can be satisfied with the use of Positional Representations in Autodesk Inventor. What a positional rep does, is allow for a constraint value to be varied, but only while that specific rep is active. You’ll always have a Master positional rep—that’s the default position of your assembly. You can create as many others as needed to help describe your assembly.
To create a positional rep, expand the Representations folder at the top of the assembly browser. You can right click on the Position category and choose New. Click twice slowly on the name to enable the edit option and rename the rep to whatever fits best. In my example, I made one called Retracted and one called Extended.
The assembly looks like this when retracted:
Then like this when it’s set to the extended representation:
This is set up by overriding the constraint value that holds in place the parts you want to move. In my example, I used an angle constraint between the front of the cylinder and the clamp I want to move. Not perfect for how the cylinder will truly function, but I wanted to keep everything at the top level of my assembly. My cylinder is a sub-assembly in the design. A positional rep could have been made inside of it, and then referenced by the top level assembly, but I have kept everything at the top level for simplicity.
After making a new positional rep, find the constraint you want to adjust the value for. Right click on it and choose Override. Check the box for Suppression and choose the Enable option. Then check the box for Value and enter your new value for the constraint. Repeat the process for each positional rep you want configured. Extended and Retracted look like the following images for me:
With those set up, you can check your assembly for any interference and other criteria you need to validate. There is also the option to create your 2D views from positional reps. They can be done independently or as an Overlay in Inventor. The overlay would look like this:
The initial view is the solid black lines (Retracted pos rep in my case) and the other linetype is used for the overlay view. Each can be dimensioned to, as illustrated in the image above.
So using Positional Representations can help solve for functionality before ever having to cut a part and physically prototype.
Sr. Application Eng. – MFG
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
WOW! Where did the time go?? It’s time for the AIA Wisconsin annual convention and expo, and MasterGraphics is looking forward to another great show!
If you have not signed up to attend, the expo is FREE! Register here: http://aiaw.org/convention/index.shtml
We’re participating in the mini sessions again this year! We’re presenting two sessions twice each day of the convention. Each session is worth .25 CEU, making it a great way to get in another credit between sessions. We’ll be presenting at Booth 701 at the times below. So stop in and take advantage of theses free sessions!
AIA Mini Sessions
Linking Revit Models with Other Discipline Models
May 8th – 3:15pm & 5pm
May 9th – 12:30pm & 1:30pm
Rendering in the Cloud: Achieving Photorealistic Images in Minutes, Not Hours
May 8th – 4pm & 5:45pm
May 9th – 12pm & 1pm
Questions on the sessions?
Call Michael Dunham at 262.717.2165
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
At MasterGraphics we have a long standing history of helping clients leverage their design data to make it work harder and better for them. One of MasterGraphics’ greatest strengths to assist our customers with all of this is our technical staff. Whether you are working through a means to help automate a particular process, applying methods to help streamline time to market, or working on collaborating new ideas inside and outside your organization in a clearer fashion, having access to some of the best Subject Matter Experts in the industry can go a long way to shortening these processes.
MasterGraphics has four level of support specifically design for our CAD community that we are very pleased to offer.
This is a specialized offering that gives access to a specific individual, for a specific length of time on a specific project you may be working on.
Monday thru Friday 8AM – 5PM – Includes Phone, Email, Chat, and Remote Access to assigned AE
Customer MUST be on Subscription.
-Must have Identified a Named Project
-Must have a Start and Finish Date, no longer than 90 days in duration.
-Customer have a named Point of Contact
-Issues will be directly related to the named project effort and the Technical issues surrounding the software being used.
If an AE not immediately available, Guaranteed 24 hr.
This is our traditional solution support offered to subscription and non-subscription customers. Dedicated AEs scheduled daily on the support line.
Monday thru Friday 8AM – 5PM – Phone, Email, Chat, Remote Access
For AutoCAD, Revit Architecture, Revit Structure, Inventor, C3D, Navisworks and MAX, we now offer a seat of the Global E-Learning as a reference tool or a means to answer the question “How do I do this…” more efficiently. Global E will be directly handling any email support issues a user might have with the tool and be able to answer basic software usage issues. If the issue is workflow related, the call will be routed to our support team at MasterGraphics.
T/M Technical Support
For those individuals who may only have a need to speak with someone on a rare occasion, MasterGraphics does have a $125 per/hr. T/M change for customers not wanting to engage in a support contract.
For a review of pricing, please visit our website;
Monday, April 29th, 2013
Application Engineer – Simulation Specialist
Recently, I’ve had some inquiries about how to contact Autodesk’s technical support team for help with Simulation products. While the inquiries were specific to Simulation customers, this post contains information which is beneficial to any Autodesk customer on Subscription.
Customers with products on Subscription do have access to Autodesk’s web-based technical support. And any product that is on Advanced Support from Autodesk also includes telephone support from Autodesk. (Please note that these items are different than our own MasterGraphics technical support offerings, which you can find more information on here.) There are a couple of avenues to explore for contacting Autodesk technical support. These can be found via the following link: http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/Autodesk-Simulation-CFD/How-to-Contact-Technical-Support/td-p/3467828
This link is a forum post from the Autodesk staff in the Simulation CFD discussion group that details the user’s options for support. Since Simulation products are usually required to have advanced support, both items listed for support should be valid. This post also includes items that may address problems getting Simulation 360 jobs to run, as well as login issues for Subscription. This post also provides direct links to Autodesk’s site, providing detailed instructions on how to access both web-based and telephone support via Subscription:
Phone Support: (NOTE: Specific phone numbers are not listed on this page. Users will need to log in with access to advanced support to be able to get Autodesk’s support number.)
There’s also a pretty nice list of introductory and topic-specific videos available for all Autodesk Simulation products on the Simulation TV page, located here:
These videos run the gamut, from Sim Mechanical to Sim CFD, and cover many different topics. If you are interested in seeing more information, feel free to point them here to see the product in action. Autodesk’s YouTube channel also has lots of videos on Simulation for customers to view, along with numerous other products within the Autodesk portfolio.
Thursday, April 25th, 2013
A successful implementation of Autodesk Vault is comprised of three elements:
- Technical installation
- Functional implementation
- On-going maintenance
Obviously, all three elements must be properly executed for Vault to perform correctly. The value of each element must also be understood and viewed with the correct expectations for the implementation to truly be called successful. In this posting I’ll address the technical installation.
Technical installation is comprised of components such as:
- Hardware and network readiness evaluation
- ADMS installation
- IT administrator training
- Creation and installation of client deployments
These components may seem very straightforward, and should be; but with the almost limitless combination of hardware, operating system and network configurations, memory, and so forth, technical problems often do arise. What is the value, therefore, that should be placed on technical installation?
The worst case outcome for a Vault technical installation is a non-functioning Vault. Even if the Vault is functional at the end of the installation, technical problems during installation can cause excessive expenditure of resources by both the client and the reseller, unplanned modifications or upgrades to network infrastructure, and business disruptions.
Technical installation is one of the components that drives the cost of the overall Vault implementation, and, therefore, becomes part of the overall ROI equation for that implementation. The value of the technical installation must be evaluated separately as to what is the value to the business of a smooth, well-executed installation that causes minimal disruptions and uses resources as planned.
Bottom line, what is the value of appropriate and successful management of risk?
Stephanie Green, Consultant
DataWorks MGI, a division of MasterGraphics
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Autodesk has released their new software images for the 2014 releases and they are available for download from the Autodesk Subscription website. I’ve been hearing some problems from a number of people trying to download the software using the Download Manager (the Download Now option in the menu) provided by Autodesk. In general, it doesn’t download and sometimes even locks up Internet Explorer. I was having the same issue downloading a 3+GB image and seeing no progress after several hours of attempting to download the software. To get around this, I launched Google Chrome, logged into Subscription and then downloaded the software via the Browser Download option and 29 minutes later, I had all 3+GB of data.
Stephen Gabriel – Senior Application Engineer
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
It’s that time of the year, spring is in the air, well OK not here, where I’m staring out the window at fresh snow, but it’s still AutoCAD upgrade season! Time to dust off that server keyboard and download the latest license file for your favorite flavor of AutoCAD 2014. In typical fashion, the new release of software will require the latest ADLM. Let’s warm up your cerebral cortex with a handy little list of what release years require which ADLM version.Software Version–ADLM Version AutoCAD 2014 – Version 126.96.36.199 AutoCAD 2013 – Version 188.8.131.52 AutoCAD 2012 – Version 184.108.40.206 AutoCAD 2011 – Version 220.127.116.11 AutoCAD 2010 – Version 11.5.0 AutoCAD 2009 – Version 18.104.22.168 AutoCAD 2008 – Version 22.214.171.124 AutoCAD 2007 – Version 10.8.0 AutoCAD 2006 – Version 10.1.5 AutoCAD 2005 – Version 9.2.2 AutoCAD 2004 – Version 8.3a AutoCAD 2002 – Version 7.1f
I’m including some handy links for setup, so instead of hunting all over the Autodesk site I’ve listed the important ones in the order you need them. First, let’s request a new license file following the steps on this page, using your Autodesk login. If you don’t have one already, go ahead and create an account, you’ll enter your products Serial Number to tie it all together. If you’d like to run multiple products from one license server, you have some options. You cannot run more than one service for Autodesk products on the ADLM, but you can append license files to combine them. Here is a great explanation on appending license files and what order to put them in. There are various Autodesk TS documents out there, and some conflicting information on whether you should put older or newer products first. I try to base my appended files on the latest Autodesk TS. The basic principal is to have single products first, then the suites. I think the Autodesk thought here is to follow the cascade sequence, but that’s an article for another day. In a nutshell, here is the format to use, and I’ve included notes in parenthesis on basic product versus suite hierarchy.SERVER <SERVERNAME> <HOSTID> USE_SERVER VENDOR adskflex port=2080 PACKAGE (first product preferable single/lower products first) INCREMENT (package for subscription, 4 versions can be run) <EMPTY LINE> PACKAGE (second product preferable single/lower products first) INCREMENT (indicates how many packages are owned) <EMPTY LINE> PACKAGE (last product preferable suites/higher products last) INCREMENT (increment alone for non-subscription, 1 version only)
You could also have an INCREMENT and PLIST in there and it is detailed in the link above. You are basically stripping out the first three lines of every license file except the first one, and pasting them into a copy of the first one with a blank line between each appended piece. Remember to use Notepad or some other plain text editor so you don’t introduce any rich text that will corrupt your license file! Now lets grab the Autodesk Network License Manager and fire up that server.
Here are the links to the latest ADLM, choose either IPv4 or IPv6 for your network and take care to pick the correct x86 or x64 from there. Or you can go to this link and pick your year for each products correct version if you’d like to run an older one, mind you the latest version will server up prior licenses, so why not upgrade now?
Now for the moment of truth, fire up the software on your client machine. Older versions that pointed to the same server (if you upgraded the ADLM or just put a new license file in place) should pull a license automatically. New installs may open the license finder dialog, enter your server name, and you should be set.Mark Howard
Monday, April 8th, 2013
As everyone gets word that many of the brand-spanking-new Autodesk 2014 software is available to download as a trial, weeks before their actual download and serial numbers are available, there are a couple things to be aware of.
The trial versions are a great way to get a “sneak peak” at the software before your subscription download and/or serial number(s) are available. However, you need to be aware that if you are a Design Suite user, those trial versions you are installing are more than likely going to need to be uninstalled before you can install your Design Suite! We’ve seen it happen many times in the past couple years where the trial version can’t be activated using the Design Suite serial number and product key. If you’ve ever noticed, the software that’s part of the Design Suite displays the Design Suite it is part of when you see the launch/splash screen. The trials just show their own title.
The other item is geared towards those that are using the Revit software. In 2013, Autodesk introduced Revit (many call it “one-box”), which was included in the Design Suites. This product is Architecture, Structure and MEP all rolled into one software “package.” Autodesk also changed the trial download to be the same. In previous years, you could download just Revit Architecture or Structure or MEP. The same is true for 2014…if you download the trial; you’ll be downloading Revit 2014 (“one-box”). The problem I described above holds true, but it also affects those of you who specifically have, say, just Revit Architecture licenses. If you try to use your serial number and product key on the Revit trial, it’s not going to work. So again, you’ll need to uninstall Revit so you can install and activate your Revit Architecture.
It’s nice to be able to grab a trial, but please keep in mind what you’re going to have to do when you get your serial number and product key: uninstall and reinstall.
By: Dwane Lindsey – Sr. AEC Application Engineer, MasterGraphics
Friday, April 5th, 2013
A support call came in last week with a question that every CAD manager in the business can relate too, yet few have a very good solution for. The question was, “How can I convert my company’s logo to vector art easily?” It’s a good question. I know myself, I have traced and redrawn many a logo in AutoCAD over the years just so I could easily put it on a title block, or use it as a sketch in Inventor. The issue is not that it can’t be done; the issue is that it is tedious and time-consuming.
So I got to pondering if there was a better tool in the Product Design Suite that can help with this process. After some poking around, I believe the answer is YES. Sketchbook seems to be well-suited to this type of work, and can export the final product as a DWG file that can be imported into either AutoCAD or Inventor easily.
To get started, I need a logo to demonstrate with. I choose the Master Academy logo we use in our books and classrooms. Here is what the logo looks like before we start:
Now to get started, we will launch Sketchbook, and go with the “Designer” option when prompted. (The Pro option is intended for use with a light-pen rather than a mouse) Next, I will import my base image into Sketchbook so I can begin work.
Which will bring in our image looking like this:
It makes it much easier to see what we are doing if the image is somewhat transparent. That way when we draw on top of the image we can see what we are doing and correct mistakes. This is easily done by selecting the layer from the on-screen palette, then dragging the transparency slider as shown in the image below:
The next thing to do is create a new layer that will contain our vector art as we create it. From the “Layer” menu, select “New Vector Layer”. TIP, you can optionally rename the layer by double-clicking on it’s name in the layer manager. In the image below, I have named mine “Vector Lines”.
Now we are finally ready to draw. I recommend the Pencil Tool for this task. Selecting the pencil tool from the toolbar will display a drop-down menu of options. For straight line segments, the “Polyline Point Mode” is very useful. Curved elements can be drawn using the “Curved Point Mode”. Use the other tools as appropriate. The rest is just tracing over the top of your Raster art. Here is a picture of my logo after I traced it with a combination of straight polylines and curved splines. (It’s normal for Raster Art to look a little blurry especially if you have zoomed way in for accuracy as I have.)
The next step is to export our work into the DWG format that we need. From the “File” menu, select “Export” >> “Curves DWG” to start the process. This will open a Save file Dialog where you can browse for the location you want to place the file, and of course give it a name. Here’s a picture of what the exported DWG file looks like in AutoCAD after some basic cleanup. TIP, AutoCAD’s parametric constraints were very useful here!
Now it is all ready to be hatched and placed in a title block, or used as a sketch to make a feature in Inventor.
Manufacturing CAD and Data Management Specialist
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