Author Topic: Inventor for structural steel  (Read 12194 times)

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MickD

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Inventor for structural steel
« on: January 28, 2009, 02:04:39 AM »
Does anyone use or know of others that use Inventor for structural steel design and detailing.

In our office we usually do projects that include both the design and detailing or structures, anything from a flight of stairs or simple platforms to complete conveyor gantries and buildings.

We have a few mechanical guys here that swear by it for their discipline and after doing some of the tut's and studying some of the features I reckon we could use it in our structural section as well.

The biggest plus for us is the FEA, we can produce a proposal model, feed it to the engineer for review then detail it and the 'live' 2d drawings from the model is the icing on the cake.

I'd be interested to here from others of any potential pitfalls or advantages.

thanks,
Mick.
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vegbruiser

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Re: Inventor for structural steel
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2009, 07:19:17 AM »
depending on what you're trying to do, I'll help where I can. :)

Bob Garner

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Re: Inventor for structural steel
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2009, 05:23:34 PM »
Mick,

What structural analysis package do your engineers use?


Bob G.

MickD

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Re: Inventor for structural steel
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2009, 08:17:32 PM »
inventor and space gas Bob
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"Short cuts make long delays,' argued Pippin.
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MickD

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Re: Inventor for structural steel
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2009, 04:43:29 PM »
Update.

I've since had a chance to throw myself in the deep end and it has been a learning experience for sure!
Luckily though we have some Inventor experts here so that is a great help, they are mechanical drafters though so their systems of creating models are a bit different but as I learn more and they understand my needs we're getting something going and it's looking good!

The biggest advantage to using Inventor (for us at least) is the ease of changes right through the model and to the drawings, we did a rough model and by moving a work plane or 2 the whole model updated all relevant members and the details automagically, very slick.
This comes at a small price though which is the learning curve but even without the adaptive/parametric modeling, any changes made are reflected in the drawings and BOM's which is worth the effort at the very least. You need to forget how to model in Acad though, it's completely different but quite intuitive once you get going.
There is a lot of potential to create spreadsheet driven parts and members in the future which will speed things up quite a bit too, the best thing is Inventor will let you mix your automated/parametric modeling with your manual modeling and it all plays well together at BOM and detailing time.

I think Space Gass is better at analysing complete buildings and structures though, the FEA from what I can see in Inventor works fine for single parts but not for larger structures as a whole.

I doing a small job with it now, I'll let you know how I get on.
"Programming is really just the mundane aspect of expressing a solution to a problem."
- John Carmack

"Short cuts make long delays,' argued Pippin.
- J.R.R. Tolkien

James Cannon

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Re: Inventor for structural steel
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2009, 04:57:02 PM »
I tried to do a test-project in Inventor using an existing job we had already completed a couple years ago.  We were offered some deal from our reseller when the company first started up, and they offered us Inventor for the price of Autocad or something, and since it COMES with Autocad, they jumped on it since the Inventor was just lagniappe, so we have Inventor on subscription.  It's usually just shelved.  I pull it out occasionally to save IAM files down to a DWG for our engineers to analyze since we only have one seat of inventor and they don't know how to use it.

I used it pretty well at my last gig for metal fab with sheet metal, tubing, angles, and bar stock type things.

I found online content to be extremely lacking for structural, though, so there was little help to get me up off the ground for the basics.  It may have been my lack of knowing where to look.

I've never set up a good drawing template, either, though... it was never a priority at my last job.

I would love to know what type of libraries and, if you utilize them, iParts you've used.  I assume structural bolts and steel shapes at least, are something you library'd?

Using a simple platform as an example, what are some of the specifics about the software that made it so much better, in your opinion?  I had been tossing around the idea of giving Inventor a whirl, again, for some of our structural as I delved more and more into 3D in Autocad and found myself more and more frustrated with what I -wish- I could do in it.

vegbruiser

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Re: Inventor for structural steel
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2009, 06:01:59 PM »
...I doing a small job with it now, I'll let you know how I get on.
Glad to hear you're getting used to using it. As you say, the ability to update final drawings just by altering one model dimension is a great function. I just wish it didn't crash so often.

I've filled out at least 4 crash reports this week alone, and the more people we get using it, the more frequent the "random crash (usually to desktop)" is becoming - and we're all using IVPro 2009 SP1 too which is surprising...


MickD

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Re: Inventor for structural steel
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2009, 06:54:37 PM »
hmmm, we use the same here, we haven't had that issue that much. I think if you mix up your constraints it can chuck a fit, I think you're supposed to turn off adaptivity whenever you're done too as that takes a lot of work to calculate all the time.
This is my biggest learning curve at the moment, making adaptive connections and placing constraints in the right assembly hierarchy to help with changes.
The mech guys can model parts separately and then assemble which is perfect for what they do, with structural we need to model in main model level but the features need to be added at the sub assembly level for detailing.

The hierarchy is this if it makes it any clearer -

main/global model
|
\/
sub assemblies (members connecting to each other to make the main model)
|
\/
parts to make each sub assembly

Getting the constraints and features at the right level is the hardest to get the head around but if I keep an eye on the map I do alright. Then getting it to all work at the main model level is the tricky bit.
"Programming is really just the mundane aspect of expressing a solution to a problem."
- John Carmack

"Short cuts make long delays,' argued Pippin.
- J.R.R. Tolkien

MickD

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Re: Inventor for structural steel
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2009, 07:13:15 PM »
...
I found on line content to be extremely lacking for structural, though, so there was little help to get me up off the ground for the basics.  It may have been my lack of knowing where to look.

I've never set up a good drawing template, either, though... it was never a priority at my last job.

I would love to know what type of libraries and, if you utilize them, iParts you've used.  I assume structural bolts and steel shapes at least, are something you library'd?

The content centre has all I need for now with the steel shapes and bolts if I need to.

Experimenting I did create a iPart of steel sections which was pretty easy, I set up a typical sketch with extrusion driven by the params, edited the table as a spreadsheet, copied and pasted the relative data for all shapes and bingo bango I had an iPart lib.
the thing I didn't pick up on though was you can't edit iParts, only the custom parameters but they may be handy for typical beams with end holes or something simple anyway, not worth the worry at this point.

I will probably set up some template sketch parts for plates for end/shear plate connections which can be driven by spreadsheets very easily, that will be one of the first tasks.

Quote
Using a simple platform as an example, what are some of the specifics about the software that made it so much better, in your opinion?  I had been tossing around the idea of giving Inventor a whirl, again, for some of our structural as I delved more and more into 3D in Autocad and found myself more and more frustrated with what I -wish- I could do in it.

At this stage I can model twice as fast in Acad (with a few tools I wrote) than with Inventor, BUT, they have no intelligence or parametric ability to update models and drgs automatically. When I need to make a change I need to adjust/re-model parts then re-create the drg views and adjust dim's etc. and the parts list then needs updating as well, and so on...

Once you get your head around origin/work planes and constraints it all makes sense, when I first started and I didn't have point filters or any other way to line up objects it was very frustrating, now knowing better, lining up planes and faces makes a lot of sense and it is how you would put things together anyway.
"Programming is really just the mundane aspect of expressing a solution to a problem."
- John Carmack

"Short cuts make long delays,' argued Pippin.
- J.R.R. Tolkien