Last night I worked late into the night on what I thought would be a relatively simple start to what inevitably will become a complex iLogic SmartPart configuration.
As you can see in the image to the right (if you were to click on it ), I set up the basic parameters that describe a drawer as iLogic Rules. In the case of a drawer, the first question that needs to be answered is what is the material for the sides? The choices I’ve come up with so-far are Solid Lumber, Plywood, and Melamine—-which would be typical of most cabinet component manufacturers. Whatever the choices are in the real-world, they should determine what downstream options are available. The downstream options I included (so-far) are the side thickness, edge detail, and finish type.
I have written the iLogic Code that filters out whole parameter sets, such as shutting off the choice of Melamine and Plywood if Solid Lumber were selected (image above). I have also set up defaults for available choices, for instance: when Plywood is chosen as the main construction material, the plywood type is defaulted to ‘Euro Birch Economy’ and the thickness is defaulted to 0.5.These settings should also have the option to default to ‘last used’ but I’m not sure that is possible with iLogic by itself. I’ll look into it…
I will start by writing iLogic Rules that I will reuse on a manufacturer-specific basis as each SmartPart is intrinsically linked to manufacturing capabilities…
…because the average drawer box component manufacturer may offer a thousand or more possible configurations for the drawers (and usually doors) they offer, the first place to start would be developing a robust set of rules for the top-level options.
These top level rules will act as a filter for the lower level rules –turning off those that are no longer applicable e.g. a drawer is configured to be constructed of Melamine at the top level of the configuration process therefore Lumber Species in no longer a viable option, nor is the finish (and numerous others) —and vice versa.
I will be testing out an iLogic configurator as I go, so there will be a bit of tutorial action going on by default as I stumble my way through something new ……I’ll do plenty of stupid things, and report them to you so that you can laugh at me avoid them yourselves Continue reading →
This Autodesk Inventor drawer box tutorial is the first of a series that will ultimately build a intelligent outsourced drawer component for use in the iCabinet.
It took far longer to complete than I wanted it to, but that’s because I tend to make the tutorials geared towards the beginner side of the experience spectrum. At any rate, It’s a good tutorial for multi solid bodies and goes over some best practices for those who are new to them.
The beginning of the tutorial can be found on the menu at Inventor Tutorials > The iDrawer > iDrawer iLogic 01and as per usual, there is a drop-down list and forward an back arrows at the bottom of each page for navigation. The tutorial is 20 pages total, and has a starter file available for download at the beginning and the completed file at the end.
Enjoy the tutorial, and please let me know if you find anything amiss. I am back on the iCabinet again, and will be adding iLogic rules to this very same drawer box at the assembly level this evening, and will post a progress update no later than tomorrow. Have a great day…
I had a long conversation with a savvy woodworker in Maryland yesterday about whether Autodesk Inventor is ready for ‘Prime Time’ as far as the wood trades go.
The short, general answer is “it depends”…. but in his case…. “no”.
His shop will be heavily reliant on output to CNC machinery, and Inventor is heavily reliant on third party developers for all of its CNC output . What I have seen of this third-party software so-far is underachieving at best, and at a very high price.
Anecdotal Drivel; for What it’s Worth…
A few months ago I watched a video presentation from one of the big name CAM Add-on developers that showed how to take output from Inventor —– a pattern of holes in a solid body—- and recreate that same hole pattern in their software! This is like composing a letter in MS Word, then recomposing the letter in another, lesser quality word processor just to print. I actually thought the video was a joke for awhile, and that they were going to spring out some software gee-wizardry at any moment. But, no. It was lame by design. They were totally serious.
Another big name CAM add-on I am familiar with from my yacht making days forced the CNC operator to convert Inventor parts to ACIS solids, explode them, then manually set router paths and drill procedures to the lines and other geometry pulled from the exploded part. On the design side, we designers needed to create grain direction and ‘money side’ indicators that were cut into the Inventor parts to serve as visual clues for the CNC programmers. The whole process was just a tad quicker than beating the parts into shape with a dull rock, and much less fun.
iLogic Tutorial – 19 – Completing the Inventor Model
You should have a drawer that looks like the one below.
The front mirror operations are the same as those for the sides. Mirror the Front solid body end to end to create a whole part, then mirror that part across to the back. Name the new features as shown in the image below…
…and you’re done!
The model as it sits will flawlessly accept any width and depth changes you throw at it, but the height, along with all of the optional features, will be controlled via iLogic rules, and therefore are not as easily accessible directly.
The iLogic parameters shown below were taken from the options available for drawer boxes made by one of the on-line suppliers. I chose this one because it had a very good mix of options and materials that were likely to work with just about any shop –even furniture makers like myself. The 14 wood species was a big plus!
When the iLogic portion of this SmartPart is complete, this drawer will auto configure its size based on the cabinet configuration. Most other options will be chosen globally, and will have a per drawer override capability. I will likely use a Configurator on this as there are an overwhelming amount of options, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
The completed part would also make a sweet on-line sales tool using a web Configurator. The combination of manufacturers using SmartPart for design integrated sales as well as web based sales will likely be the next big thing. mark my words.
The tutorial for the iLogic portion of the drawer will be announced on the main page, so stay tuned…
iLogic Tutorial – 18 – Extruding Sketches and Mirroring Bodies
Now for the bottom. Turn the visibility of the Drawer Bottom Profile on, and arrange the view so that you can see at least one of the dado cuts. This will allow you to tell if you are extruding in the right direction.
Use the Drawer_Dado_Thickness for the Extents, and select the New solid button. For some reason, selecting New solid always reverses the extrude direction, so if its now going the wrong way, change it back.
Click OK to accept the new solid body, then rename the extrusion Bottom Ext and the solid body Bottom. It should look like the image below…
Save the file. From here on in, everything is mirrored from the origin planes. Grab the Mirror tool from the Pattern panel, and select the Mirror a solid button, which is the lower of the leftmost buttons on the Mirror dialog. This will bring up the extra options needed for mirroring a solid body. Now select the Right Side body in the Solid Bodies folder. Now click the XZ Plane in the Origin folder –you should get a preview at this point that looks like the one below…
…the Magenta outline on the front section means that the new material will be added to it. Click OK to accept the mirror, and name the new feature Right Side Mirror. Now use the same process to mirror the right side again. This time you will use the YZ Origin plane, and you will need to click the New solid button as we are creating a whole new body on this one. The preview will look like the one below…
…click OK to accept. Rename the new mirror Left Side Mirror, and the new solid body Left Side.