Ever find yourself up late at night trying to assemble a toy or gift? Did you think that the instructions should have been easier to explain? Maybe whoever wrote them was just a warm body and not the engineer? Often instructions are an afterthought, since most are made up of text and 2D sketched drawings that are difficult to understand. Assemby instructions in a 3D environment are more intuitive because we live in a 3D world.
There is an easy to use tool in Autodesk Inventor for building assembly instructions. It was designed for DWF, which can be displayed in Design Review. The purpose of this tool is to give shop floor technicians or customers clear directions on how to assemble a part.
This tutorial will show you how to reduce mistakes and headaches for assembliers. If only I could convince toy companies to use this tool, I would not be up so late on Christmas Eve.
See the “How To” Movie on Vimeo: http://www.vimeo.com/859329
Disassemble your assembly
- In Inventor, select the New button, then Presentation (also, File > New > Standard.ipn)
- Select Create View…, which opens the Select Assembly dialog. Open an assembly (.iam) file (should be default if assembly file is open). Your assembly will display in the main display window.
- Select a part in the assembly (multi-select by using Shift-selecting)
- Move the camera to a good location for the animation. This can be changed per sequence of the animation.
- Choose Tweak Components… from the Presentation Panel, which opens the Tweak components dialog.
- Select an axis for the animation (usually on the part you selected)
- Selet the transformation (rotate or transform), and the axis for transforms, then…
- Adjust the part to its new location…that’s it, you have your first animated part.
- Repeat steps 6 through 9 for each part(s) inverse to the final animation (first is last) sequence.
- Once you have all parts disassembled, you will need to tweak the sequence. You can also combine sequences, if necessary. For example, if you want to parts moving at the same time (i.e. screw rotation and movement).
- To play the assembly animation, select Animate… from the Presentation Panel.
- On the model Panel, change the filter to “Sequence View”. This is where you can move and combine sequences order by dragging and dropping the sequences. Note that when you mouseover a sequence it will outline the part in the display window.
- Repeat steps 2 & 3 until the animation is in the correct order. Adding steps may be necessary.
Add Assembly Instructions and Set Camera locations
- Once the animation order is set, you will probably need to set up your cameras for each sequence, and add assembly instructions. To do this, simply right-mouse-click on any sequence, and select Edit…, which will open the Edit Task & Sequences dialog.
- In the description under Sequences, add in the instructions for the given sequence.
- Adjust the camera, and click on the Set Camera button to reset the camera.
- Run through steps 14-15 until animation is complete.
- Once completed, save the presentation file, then Publish DWF…
- Under the Publish Presentation Dialog, be sure to select the Presentations tab, and invoke animations and instructions “on” before publishing.
Open DWF in Design Review
Once complete, open the DWF file in Design Review. The animation controls in Design Review are simple.
This great article was submitted by Cliff Medling. He is our Technical Marketing Manager in the Platform Technology Products group and focused on collaboration tools such as Autodesk Design Review and Freewheel. Cliff has over 12 years of experience in the software industry, including roles as product designer, applications engineer, and visualization engineer.