We’ll start this iLogic tutorial by informing you that there is no built-in cutlist functionality in Autodesk Inventor –parts lists, sure, but a parts list in most cases is about as useful as teats on a bull. I will likely go back later and split the top and create a glue-up schedule as well, but for now, an automated cutlist.
I cobbled together the technique used in this iLogic tutorial back when iLogic was a subscription bonus add-in a few years back. It uses Custom iProperties to hold WIDTH, LENGTH, and THICKNESS values on a per-part basis. These values are filled in automatically using and iLogic rule that reads parameters in the parts, and are then used at the drawing level in fields of the same name.
This tutorial builds upon the twenty three previous tutorials in the Shaker Table series. On with the Cutlist Tutorial. Begin by opening up the Designing a Shaker Table with Autodesk Inventor.iam (the assembly). From there open the layout part which should be at the top of the list in the Browser Bar. We need to know all of the parameters that describe the width, length, and thickness of the Leg A solid body so that we can bring them into the assembly. Looking at the Parameter Editor, we can see one of them, Leg_Width…
For the thickness, I went to the solids folder, expanded the Leg A solid body, then double clicked on the Leg A Ext extrusion. As you can see in the image to the right, we used the same Leg_Width parameter to get the thickness. Now all we need to know is where to find the length.
To find the length, again we use the solid body to find the info we need. Everything about the leg in question can be found by expanding the Leg A solid body and looking. In this case, we need to expand the Leg A Ext extrusion, and double click the underlying sketch, the Leg Profile A sketch. As we can see in the image to the left, the length of the leg is controlled by a formula within the d20 parameter (your number may differ –it doesn’t matter a lick). Finish the sketch, that’s all we need to know.
Now fire up the parameter Editor and find d20 (or whatever you have), and change it to Leg_Length. The only reason for doing this is for clarity sake. We will be using this parameter in formulas later, and a cryptic d20 does not convey design intent (a lot of modelers out there really suck at this, and it makes things much harder for those down the line).
With that done, we will switch back to the Designing a Shaker Table with Autodesk Inventor assembly, and double click the Leg A part in the Browser Bar to activate the part in situ. Then right click on the derived layout part within the Leg A part, and choose Edit Derived Part…
We are going to be bringing in (Linking) the two parameters we just refreshed our memory about. To do so, expand the Parameters list, then the Model Parameters list. The former d20 parameter –now named Leg_Length should be clicked to change its status to Derived. Do the same in the User Parameters list to bring in the Leg_Width parameter. Click OK to finish up.
Now launch iProperties, and click on the Custom Tab. Add three Custom iProperties with the Type set at Number:
- 1. WIDTH
- 2. LENGTH
- 3. THICKNESS
They will order themselves alphabetically in the Custom iProperties window –pay the order no never mind. Click OK to add these Custom iProperties. Now for an iLogic Rule to connect the new iProperties to the parameters we linked earlier. Create a new iLogic Rule called Parts List. In the iLogic Rule Editor, go to the System Tab of the Snippets column, expand the iProperties list, and double click Custom. Hit enter and do it twice more so that you have three snippets stacked atop one another.
Here is where things suck a bit. For some reason, Autodesk neglected to add any way to access iProperties from within the iLogic Rule Editor. One way around this is to copy and paste the iProperties you will be manipulating into Notepad or another text editor –or try to remember the ones you need, and hope to get the exact spelling correct (otherwise your rule will fail). Lucky for us, we have the list above.
Change the three PropertyName place holders to the ones listed above…
…then tie them to the parameters we linked earlier by clicking on the Linked Parameters on the Model Tab to expose the two parameters, adding an equals (=) sign after each iProperty snippet, then placing the insert hash mark after the = sign and double clicking the correct parameter –except for the thickness. We know that it is the same as the width, but for illustration of a later feature, just add the number 66 (or any other number)…
Now, open your iProperties thingamajig. Switch to the Custom Tab, and there you have it…
So-far so good. The thickness is obviously jacked up, but we know that now don’t we? We need to repeat the above steps on the other three legs, except for the fake 66 value –put a different value in each of the other legs –it sucks, but we need to do it all three more times.
I’d like to say you can go ahead and do the same thing on all of the parts, but you can’t, so wait. I haven’t modeled further than what you see here, but I do know that at least one driven dimension is needed on the bracket, and we haven’t covered that
That will wrap up this iLogic Turorial. The next installment should be tomorrow. Later.
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