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Autodesk Introduces Fatigue Wizard for Algor Customers

Published 15 December 2009

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: autodesk, simulation, simulate, analysis, algor, fatigue, durability, the effects of time and cyclic loading

Autodesk has just announced that Algor Simulation subscription users can get their hands on the Fatigue Wizard which allows you to perform fatigue simulation without all the complexity that’s often associated with the process. Perhaps the trickiest thing about Fatigue is not the fact that it’s taking on board the effect of time and cyclic loading on a product’s performance (which is usually quite easy to understand for those with experience in their products), but usually how you go about inputting that data into your system of choice. I find it fascinating that these types of simulation are now becoming, if not commonplace, but certainly available to the masses. I’ve also had quite a few conversations with users, both from an Inventor perspective and those already using Algor’s tools, about what Autodesk’s plans are for the toolset and things are progressing - slowly, but when you’re working with this type of technology, that’s time well spent.

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I.D. Magazine to close up shop

Published 15 December 2009

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with:

Sad news for those with an interest in design, from whatever field, from whatever industry sector. Today, I.D. magazine shuts up shop after 55 years of bringing a wondrous selection of content on the people, the process, the practice and the end result of the design process. While it has never been widely available this side of the pond, my regular trips over to the US mean I’ve been able to pick it up and read it and relish it with delight. The guys at put it nicely with this: We want to thank all the contributors over all the years for providing such great coverage and inspiration, and to to let them know what an impact they had on the design industries, designers, and design. A sad day and we wish the team well with their on going endeavours.

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AU Follow up: Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program and Grants

Published 07 December 2009

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: autodesk, sustainability, autodesk university, clean tech

Green Ocean Energy relies on Inventor to develop groundbreaking wave energy devices.

After a discussion with Autodesk’s ultra impressive sustainability team (seriously, this team is intimidating with their knowledge on the subject) at AU last week, one thing that came up was the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program. Essentially, Autodesk is giving away grants of software to early-stage clean technology companies “who are working to solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges”.

The grant gives you five licenses each of Inventor, Revit, Vault, Showcase, NavisWorks and Alias Design worth around $150k. At the moment the program is restricted to North America (US and Canada), but what I found most interesting is that while almost every vendor is making its sustainability play, Autodesk are putting its money where its mouth is and offering some assistance to companies looking to develop new ways to assist the planet. Without spending more on software tools, those companies that they engage with can spend more on developing new technology that can help. That, my friends, is a good thing which ever way you cut it.

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AU 2009: Manufacturing keynote round up

Published 04 December 2009

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: autodesk inventor, autodesk showcase, autodesk university, inventor simulation

For me, the one session that’s worth the trip to Autodesk University is the Manufacturing Solutions keynote session. This is where you get to see what Autodesk are working on, some of which, as history has proven, is due for the next release, some of it isn’t and is just concepts. But the chances are that what you see here will make it into a release some point in the next two years (the next major release cycle is due around march next year). So, here’s the crappy video. and then some notes.

Alias Sketch for AutoCAD

This was announced a few days ago and it sees the integration of SketchBook into AutoCAD. While the UI is adapted to its new home, the tools see to remain emminently usable. One of the key points about SketchBook and why it’s seen such success is that it has a very stripped back set of tools, unlike Photoshop, and some specialised tools for design-led users. Looks nice and should be available soon according to Shaan Hurley’s blog.

Alias Freeform within Inventor

This bring a pretty easy looking set of geometry modelling tools directly within Inventor. While the video isn’t too clear, the concept is that you have a single feature which gives you all of the dynamic modelling operations you need to quickly create complex forms, then use the more standard existing tools to add engineering detail. The toolset demo’ed looks extensive and pretty powerful for manipulating geometry - one thing to consider is how straight edges are turned into curves, how planar geometry is is turned into curved surfaces. This demo reminded me of the ISDX-based Style feature within Pro/Engineer and any advanced Pro/E user will tell you that its worth its weight in gold - hope this one makes it into Inventor.

Direct Editing in Inventor

This is the first time Autodesk has shown any of its direct editing tools integrated into Inventor. While things are shaking out with regards Fusion and Change management, if this is what the future of Inventor’s direct editing tools looks like. again, that can’t arrive quickly enough.

Product Analytics and Data management

This is an intriguing one. Autodesk are looking at how to make data management more user experience. Using graphical output as the basis for data management interactions, using heavy use of colour coding, data filtering, it all makes sense - allowing you to grab the information you want and get on with the job. Also tagged on the end of the video is a quick look at the boosted graphics richness. Autodesk has a rich set of tools for visualisation (with Showcase, 3dsmax etc etc) and if these types of capabilities to work in a much more graphically rich environment are implemented, it’ll be useful and make working life much more pleasant for the user and provide a great deal of context for design work. Of course, visualisation tools have always had the benefit that it makes communicating complex forms much easier when dealing with those outside of the design environment

3D Printing

Autodesk worked with Stratasys to create the world’s largest 3D print of a turbo-prop aerospace engine. All 188 components were produced in 4 weeks and assembled in 2.5 weeks for a total production time of 6.5 weeks. Using conventional fabrication processes, such as machining and casting, a manufacturer would expect to spend 9 months or more producing a model like this. Costs were roughly $25,000 compared to estimated $800,000 to $1 million that would be required using conventional processes. Having seen the thing up close, its an incredible feat of prototyping.

We’ve discussed this already, but here you’ll see the Publisher application and the iPhone integration. Publisher makes huge sense and I’m fascinated to see where this is going to head. At present it covers 3D publishing, but as we all know, paper documentation is still heavily prevalent and I’m intrigued by what Autodesk has up its sleeve in this demand. One thing that came up this week was an element of dismissal of the iPhone has an industrial tool - I can see that point of view, but let me illustrate this for you. I recently saw an electrician turned up at a house to do some work. The part he was fitting wasn’t supplied with the correct manual. He flipped out an iPhone, looked up the part on the manufacturer’s web-site and read the PDF manual. Was he a young nerdy type? Nope. just a 50+ professional tradesman that found a solution that works wonderfully well. That’s a sea change in how tech gets adopted by the masses.

Moldflow visualisation

I like this one. Moldflow simulates how plastic is injected into a mould tool. But the results it gives are complex. What this shows is how you can take visualisation tools and provide an environment that shows users exactly how a part will look should manufacturing defects (such as sink marks) are left to enter into the manufacturing chain.


Last thing is simulation tools for Frame analysis. Beam element modelling is something that’s perfectly suited for framework, but there’s often a disconnect between the framework design and the highly stripped back model you’d use for simulation. This solves that very nicely indeed.

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