30 Dec 2011

Sheet Metal Flat Pattern Export

After creating a Sheet Metal Flat Pattern you are likely to want this sending to a supplier or CNC machine in DXF, DWG format. You could create a Drawing and do a Save Copy As (AutoCAD DWG or DXF), however you can export a Flat Pattern straight from the Model file in SAT, DXF or DWG.

To do this open your Sheet Metal part, which has a Flat Pattern, then right click on the top level of the Flat Pattern > Save Copy As. Set the required format (SAT, DXF, DWG), location and name. For a SAT file you can specify the Version. For DXF, DWG you will be prompted with various settings you can adjust to get the required output, see screenshot below.

Tip: If you need to export a DXF without the Bend Lines, you can turn off the Layer in the DXF Export Options dialogue (Layer TAB). However some applications will still bring in the Bend Lines, for these situations you can create a Post Process xml which deletes the Layers for the Bend Lines.

29 Dec 2011

Project to Surface

From time to time you might want to create something more complex than a Solid with a perpendicular Cut feature. A useful, but often overlooked tool in Inventor is the 3D Sketch, which contains some useful features, such as Project to Surface.

This feature allows you to project a 2D Sketch to a Face/Surface, allowing you to place sketches exactly on a face to use as a Sweep path, Split Line, Loft Rail etc. See the steps below to get yourself started with 3D Sketches.
  • Create your Model and 2D Sketch geometry

28 Dec 2011

Set Units to Metric and mm

With the inclusion of Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2012 in many of the new Design Suites, there are more people starting to experiment with this product. We thought it might be useful for you to know where the Units settings are to help get you setup correctly.
  • To customise the default Inch Units, go to the Customize menu > Units Setup.

23 Dec 2011

Vault Explorer - Open Error

After selecting a file in Vault Explorer and double clicking on it or right click > Open, you see the following message:

This can happen if another program has become associated with Inventor assembly files. In this situation, the message was caused by importing an Inventor file into Autodesk Showcase 2012, which although is not a qualifying CAD application for Vault, it is still a part of the Product Design Suite.

The workaround is to close Vault Explorer and Inventor and re-start Inventor. This will re-register Inventor with the Operating System.

This is an extract from the Cracking the Vault, Manufacturing Community Blog.

22 Dec 2011

Emergency Backup and Restore Routine

You may find yourself in the situation where, for an environmental reason, it is not possible to take a supported Backup from your ADMS Console. The following steps should only be carried out as a last resort when all other avenues have been explored.

On a clean machine (Restoring Machine)

  • Install Vault Server on a new machine.
  • After a successful installation, Start the ADMS Console.
  • Delete the Vault Database (Right click on the Database > Delete).
  • Tools > Detach Master Vault.
  • In Windows Explorer, navigate to the SQL Data folder where the Database files are configured to reside. By Default this is going to be something like "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.AUTODESKVAULT\MSSQL\DATA" (This location will vary depending on your Operating System).
  • Delete these files KnowledgeVaultMaster.mdf and KnowledgeVaultMaster_log.ldf.

21 Dec 2011

DWG Convert

AutoCAD 2012 includes a useful tool, DWG Convert, which enables you to translate AutoCAD DWG files to any of the following DWG versions: R14, 2000, 2004, 2007 and 2010. This is for a single file, or multiples, making it useful for batch conversion of older files to the latest release.

To access the DWG Convert tool, simply go to the Application Menu (Red A, top left corner) > Save As > DWG Convert. In the DWG Convert dialogue box, you can specify the DWG files to be converted, save the list for future use, create new lists and open/append existing lists.

20 Dec 2011


Workspaces are sets of menus, toolbars, palettes and ribbon control panels that are grouped and organised so that you can work in a custom, task-oriented drawing environment.

When you use a Workspace, only the menus, toolbars and palettes that are relevant to a task are displayed. In addition, a Workspace may automatically display the ribbon or a special palette with task-specific control panels.

You can easily switch between Workspaces. The following task-based Workspaces are already defined in the product:
  • 2D Drafting & Annotation
  • 3D Modelling
  • AutoCAD Classic
For example, when you create 3D models, you can use the 3D Modelling Workspace that contains only 3D-related toolbars, menus, and palettes. Interface items that you do not need for 3D modelling are hidden, maximising the screen area available for your work.

To change Workspaces either select from the drop down at the top or the list at the bottom:

19 Dec 2011

Merry Christmas from Micro Concepts

Before it gets too close to the festive season for people to see this message, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Micro Concepts. Thanks for Reading this year, hope to have more for you next year.


New 3D Connexion SpaceMouse Pro

SpaceMouse Pro is the latest addition to 3Dconnexion’s line of professional 3D mice. With an advanced ergonomic design and innovative On-screen Display, it delivers superior comfort and a simpler, more productive workflow. SpaceMouse Pro increases your productivity by more than 20% (#1) , as well as improving overall design quality1. It supplies you with exactly the right tools at the right time making it an indispensable tool for anyone who works with 3D software.

SpaceMouse Pro incorporates 3Dconnexion’s patented 6-Degrees-of-Freedom (6DoF) sensor, for intuitive, precise navigation of 3D models and camera positions in 3D space. It also features a full-size, soft-coated hand rest for maximum comfort and an array of 15 large, fully programmable function keys that enable you to stay focused by reducing the need to shift your attention between the screen, mouse and keyboard.

SpaceMouse Pro’s QuickView Keys provide fingertip access to 12 views, making it easier to detect errors, explore alternatives and present your work more effectively for review, and the conveniently positioned Keyboard Modifiers (Ctrl, Shift, Alt, Esc) save time by giving you fingertip access to application-specific editing commands.

SpaceMouse Pro automatically assigns appropriate commands to its four Intelligent Function Keys, and a convenient On-screen Display provides a visual reminder of function key assignments on your computer screen. The Virtual NumPad lets you input numerical data into your application using the standard mouse, rather than the keyboard.

Autodesk Cloud Security

Over the last few months we have been reporting about the new Autodesk Cloud services, you may have also seen the Inventor Optimisation messages yourself when running Inventor.

If you have not seen any information about the Autodesk Cloud technologies, then please visit the Autodesk Cloud website - www.autodesk.com/cloud.

This technology has quite rightly raised a few questions from customers regarding security of their data on the Autodesk Cloud. This has been fed back to Autodesk, who have recently released a white paper to help cover some of peoples questions. Please see the document for yourself:

22 Nov 2011

Working Smart in Assemblies Articles

We often get asked about Assembly best practises, or recommended workflows. It seems Autodesk also get these questions and have put together some interesting and useful articles to help advise users of how to manage their Assemblies.

If this is something that would be useful to you, then please visit Autodesk's articles here.

21 Nov 2011

Inventor Data Migration

What is data migration?

Data Migration
is the process of updating Autodesk files and Design Data from a prior release to a newer release.

Do I need to migrate?

It depends. When you upgrade to a new release, Migration of files is not essential; files will be Migrated on their own when you Open and Save a file created in an earlier release (R11 – present) to your current release. Legacy data that is out of production does not require any kind of Migration process.

18 Nov 2011

25 Worst Passwords of 2011 [STUDY]

Pro tip: choosing “password” as your online password is not a good idea. In fact, unless you’re hoping to be an easy target for hackers, it’s the worst password you can possibly choose.

“Password” ranks first on password management application provider SplashData’s annual list of worst internet passwords, which are ordered by how common they are. (“Passw0rd,” with a numeral zero, isn’t much smarter, ranking 18th on the list.)

The list is somewhat predictable: Sequences of adjacent numbers or letters on the keyboard, such as “qwerty” and “123456,” and popular names, such as “ashley” and “michael,” all are common choices. Other common choices, such as “monkey” and “shadow,” are harder to explain.

Autodesk Vault Updates

In the past Autodesk would release a Vault Hotfix for each issue that is discovered. This was a good strategy to get Hotfixes released to address specific issues that were affecting production. But the feedback received from Customers was that it was very difficult to roll these out individually over multiple systems.

So lately you may have noticed that many of the Hotfixes being released for Vault 2011 and 2012 are now cumulative. So a Multi Issue Hotfix, which should contain most (if not all) of the hotfixes that preced it. There will still be Hotfixes released to address hot issues, but these should be consumed with the next Multi Issue Hotfix.

There may also be a situation where a specific Hotfix is released immediately prior to a Multi Issue Hotfix, but is not consumed within it. In that case, Autodesk just could not get it published in time, but did not want to delay a big patch that could help most users. You should look at the readme of the Multi issue Hotfix to see if any issues you are experiencing are listed. If it is not listed, it should be consumed in the next Multi Issue Hotfix.

So as a rule, always install the latest Multi Issue Hotfix, and any other relevant Hotfixes between that and the preceding Multi Issue Hotfix.

17 Nov 2011

Autodesk Announce Inventor Optimization

Some of you may be getting the message below when starting Inventor:

So, what is Inventor Optimization all about? Extend ideation and simulation beyond the desktop by testing the performance of multiple product design options with the Autodesk Inventor Optimization service, powered by Autodesk Cloud. This capability makes it easy to create higher-quality products and more sustainable designs that lower costs.

See the video below for further information:

Vault Data Migration

Concept and Terminology

As customers upgrade from release to release of their Inventor platform this typically also involves migration of CAD files and increasingly CAD data stored in Autodesk Vault document management solutions.

Migration from an Autodesk Vault perspective is twofold, often the change of database versions is referred to as Migration and indeed during the installation process the Autodesk Data Management Console will report that it is “migrating” databases.

This Migration however refers only to the Metadata component of the Vault system where new tables and property definitions are added to the Database set, during this process no managed CAD files are modified, created or touched in any way.

Migration of your CAD data becomes a secondary operation to be completed after the Database Migration, this CAD file Migration is what this article is intended to cover.

As Autodesk Vault allows support for the latest plus 2 previous versions of Inventor with Vault, permitting users to work with legacy Inventor formats, it is important that there is no assumption made about the need to migrate CAD data.

Migrating CAD data to the latest version of your CAD system means that the latest version only of each CAD file in the Vault will have a new version created – in essence every unique CAD record will have a new version, increasing the Filestore size.

In a design environment where Item or File Lifecycle schemes are utilised by either Vault Workgroup, Vault Collaboration or Vault Professional there are a number of additional file access and security considerations which will need to be addressed in order to successfully Migrate the Vaulted data. See Autodesk's document on Migrate released or locked CAD files.

16 Nov 2011

Activate the Old Menu bar in AutoCAD

Most of you will be aware that AutoCAD has been using a Ribbon interface for a number of years. On the whole, people have moved to using this, helping integration across different applications, such as Inventor, which also runs a Ribbon interface.

If you are still using the old Classic interface and want to transition to the newer Ribbon interface, or perhaps already using the Ribbon interface, but from time to time you are unable to find the exact tool you want. There is a neat interface tool you can utilise:
  • If you go to the Quick Access Toolbar along the top of the AutoCAD window, then click on the small black down arrow at the end you will find a list of tools you can turn on/off by default. Scroll down a little further and there is an option to Show Menu Bar.

15 Nov 2011

Make Your Mouse Work Harder

We recently had a support query from one of our customers, with regard to setting the extra buttons on their new shiny Microsoft mouse to operate AutoCAD functions, helping to speed things up.

We thought this was a useful workflow, which others may not have found yet, so thought we would share the details as below:
  • This has only been tested with a Microsoft mouse, but suspect other manufacturers (i.e. Logitech) will have a similar system.
  • Firstly, connect your mouse and download/install the Microsoft Intellipoint software for your device, see the Microsoft website here.
  • Once installed go to Control Panel > Mouse, this should give you the Mouse Properties dialogue as below.

14 Nov 2011

Autodesk Suite Updates Page Added

With the introduction of the Autodesk Design Suites (2012), you now have lots of packages to manage, ensuring they are all up to date with the latest Service Packs etc. So, to help make this easier, we have added an Autodesk Suite Updates page to the Technical Downloads section on our website.

This will give you an idea of the latest Service Packs for each product in the relvant Autodesk Suite you have installed.

Please visit the new page at:


Nvidia Release Quadro Driver 276.28

Just a quick pointer that Nvidia have just released a new driver for their Quadro/FX graphics cards. This is available for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 (32 & 64 bit). See below for important highlights from the release notes:

Open Issues in Version 276.28

As with every released driver, version 276.28 of the Release 275 driver has open issues and enhancement requests associated with it.

Windows Vista/Windows 7 32-bit Issues

Quadro FX family: Autodesk applications–random crashes occur when launching the application.

Windows Vista/Windows 7 64-bit Issues

Quadro FX family: Autodesk applications–random crashes occur when launching the application.

Download for yourself at http://www.nvidia.co.uk/drivers.

9 Nov 2011

Autodesk 123D Catch Released

Turn ordinary photos into extraordinary 3D models with Autodesk 123D Catch. Take photos of your favorite people, places and things and let the power of the cloud magically transform them into detailed 3D models.

123D Catch is free beta software. Try it out and share your projects with us in our gallery.

How it works:
  • Snap - Take multiple digital photos of stationary people, places or things with any standard digital point-and-shoot camera.
  • Submit - Powerful photo stitching technology operates in the cloud, generating high-quality 3D models. Add or remove photos to adjust the results.
  • Share - Save your project as a movie and share it via email or post it to YouTube. Export the model to .obj or .dwg to use it in other 3D tools.
Visit the 123D Catch website to find out more, or download to try for yourself.

27 Oct 2011

Autodesk Customer Success - CD Slot Mount

The designer of a car accessory from Essex has won the top award at the British Invention Show in London.

Gary Smith, from Clacton, beat competitors from across the world to take the Most Innovative Design award for his "CD Slot Mount".

Inventor Gary Smith

Quick F Reminder

I am sure most people will be aware of AutoCAD F (Function) Keys, but we thought a quick reminder would be useful for newer users, or those who didn't realise.

So, by default the following F Keys will give you the relevant result:
  • F1 - Shows help
  • F2 - Shows the text window (History of used commnads)
  • F3 - OSNAP on/off
  • F4 - 3DOSNAP on/off
  • F5 - Cycles isometric planes
  • F6 - Dynamic UCS on/off
  • F7 - Grid on/off
  • F8 - Ortho on/off
  • F9 - Snap on/off 
  • F10 - Polar on/off
  • F11 - Object Snap Tracking on/off 
  • F12 - Dynamic input on/off

26 Oct 2011

Create Model Space Geometry from a Layout

There is a little feature in AutoCAD which allows you to create Model space geometry in a new DWG from a Layout. This might be useful to create a new version of a file, or perhaps copying detail from a Layout which has been sent to you.

Either way, if this seems like a useful tool, then read on to learn more.
  • Whilst in your Layout, right click on the active Layout TAB. Select Export Layout to Model... from the flyout menu.

25 Oct 2011

Section Content Center Components in the Workspace

Inside the Inventor modelling environment you have the ability to apply Section Views (Quarter, Half and Three Quarter). This can be a useful tool to cut through a model, checking internal parts, fixtures or clearances.

However, if you have Content Center components inside an Assembly and create a Section View, you may have discovered that the Content Center parts do not Section, they stay solid (see below).

24 Oct 2011

iLogic Forms

With Inventor 2012 came the incorporation of iLogic Forms, which gives you the ability to create very quick and easy to use Parameter or iLogic driven entry Forms.

These Forms can be as simple or complex as you require, but to give you a taste of what they are all about, we have set out a basic example below. This example is to create a Form, which allows us to change size Parameters (no iLogic rules) in a simple Square Hollow section.
  • The first step is to create our model, during which we have renamed the sketch Parameters which make up our shape. This makes them easier to identify, also the names will come straight through onto our Form.

21 Oct 2011

Vault Gadget for Change Orders in Vault Professional

Developed by Chris Sawicki and Brian Schanen, Vault Gadget allows you to view your Change Order list from your Windows desktop, without the need to run Vault Professional 2012.


  • See the Change Orders in your list without running Vault Professional 2012.
  • Refresh timer - adjust how often Vault Gadget checks for Change Orders.
  • Click on a Change Order to view its properties.
  • Click on the Go To CO link to launch Vault Professional 2012 and navigate to the Change Order.

To try the Vault Gadget for yourself, please visit the It's All Just Ones and Zeros Blog for download instructions.

20 Oct 2011

Information for all Those Who are Wondering what Vault is all about

Another video I know, but we felt this latest Autodesk Vault video had a really good message. Plus we liked the sketching!

Anyway, this is a really useful overview of what Vault is all about and where it fits within a company. So, if you are considering Vault, are not aware of Vault or even those who have used it for sometime, please have a watch.

18 Oct 2011

How to Create a Central Material Library for 3ds Max

When you have a Material that you wish to reuse and share with your colleagues, you can save the Material to a Central Library for all users to access. See the steps below to achieve this:
  • Select the material in the Material Editor and pick Get Material.

17 Oct 2011

Autodesk Cloud for Autodesk Subscription Customers

Autodesk Subscription now provides a greater advantage with Autodesk Cloud capabilities that can help you increase mobility, improve collaboration, and optimize your designs, advancing the way you work.

Core benefits include:
  • Sharing - Share your design files with others, even if they don't have the design software used to create the files
  • Viewing - View and mark up DWF files on the web or on your mobile device
  • DWG Editing - Edit DWG files on your mobile device or the web. Multiple users can edit the same file in real-time
  • Storage - Store your files in the cloud and access them anytime, anywhere, with 3GB of storage per seat on Subscription
  • See more click here
Select benefits include:
  • Rendering in the Cloud - Improve design visualization and bypass the need to invest in specialized rendering hardware
  • Energy Analysis in the Cloud - Quickly gain insight into energy consumption and costs of early design concepts
  • Optimization in the Cloud - Simulate and test the performance of multiple product design options to accelerate innovation
  • Collaboration in the Cloud - Exchange and manage project information across companies, teams, and locations
  • See more click here
The video playlist below covers all of the features above, to give you a better understanding of the benefits available.

How to Download your Autodesk Software

We have received quite a few calls in reference to downloading Autodesk Subscription software. Autodesk have recently produced a PDF to help step you through the process, so we thought it was worth a quick post:

Granta Design Release Eco Materials Adviser Full Version

Granta Design is delighted to announce the availability of Eco Materials Adviser Full Version.

Eco Materials Adviser is an easy-to-use, interactive tool within the Autodesk Inventor software. It enables engineers to make more sustainable design decisions by exposing information on environmental impact, cost, and performance to guide materials selection.

The Base Version is already available to you in Autodesk Inventor 2012. It allows you to interactively generate an eco impact analysis for an assembly of less than twenty parts. An easy-to-read dashboard display shows key indicators such as energy usage, CO2 footprint, water usage, compliance with RoHS legislation, and materials cost.

The Full Version extends the scope and depth of analyses. You can:
  • Study assemblies of any size
  • Access and apply Granta’s comprehensive database of around 3,000 materials
  • Include the environmental impact of finishing processes
  • Study the full product lifecycle, including transport and use phases
To find out more see the video below and/or visit Granta's website at http://inventor.grantadesign.com/e2/upgrade.asp:

30 Sep 2011

LABS - LaunchPad Technology Preview

The LaunchPad Technology Preview accelerates design efforts by providing a single portal into Product Design Suite applications, project data, and workflows. The LaunchPad’s one-click workflows prepare your design data in the Suite environment that is most appropriate to your task so you can quickly start designing, engineering, simulating, and visualizing your design. The LaunchPad is intended for users who already have Product Design Suite installed.

28 Sep 2011

Autodesk Design Review for Mobile devices

Autodesk's mobile applications have a new addition in the form of Autodesk Design Review for the iPad or iPhone.

The Autodesk Design Review app allows you to View your 2D or 3D DWF files from anywhere.

You get 1Gb (3GB with Autodesk Subscription) of file storage with this free viewer and upload them to your Autodesk Cloud or Autodesk Labs Project Nitrous account.

20 Sep 2011

Service Pack 1 for AutoCAD Electrical 2012 Released

Service Pack 1 is now available for AutoCAD 2012 and can be downloaded directly from the link below:

This Service Pack resolves a number of issues which are detailed in the ReadMe document along with installation instructions. Please make sure you read this important document before carrying out the service pack installation.

Service Pack 1 is available for 32bit and 64bit installations and is a 12Mb or 16Mb download.

Service Pack 1 for AutoCAD Mechanical 2012 (Part of Inventor Suites) Released

Service Pack 1 is now available for AutoCAD 2012 and can be downloaded directly from the link below:

This Service Pack resolves a number of issues which are detailed in the ReadMe document along with installation instructions. Please make sure you read this important document before carrying out the service pack installation.

Service Pack 1 is available for 32bit and 64bit installations and is a 17Mb or 26Mb download.

19 Sep 2011

Autodesk Digital Prototyping Forum

Following on from last year’s hugely successful event we are pleased to announce the date and location for this year’s Autodesk Digital Prototyping Forum.

Date: Wednesday 2nd November 2011
Location: Villa Park, Birmingham

Autodesk will be using Directors boxes that look out onto the pitches to host the break-out sessions and there will be a tour of the pitch, changing rooms and dug outs for all those that attend the Digital Prototyping Forum. Vicki Butler Henderson will be hosting the day!

With this year’s Forum just around the corner, Steve Bedder caught up with one of the attendees from last year to see what they though. Read there interview here.

Click here to see highlights from last year’s Digital Prototyping Forum.

16 Sep 2011

Sweep Along an Edge

Prior to the release of Inventor 2012, when creating a Sweep feature along an edge you would have had to create your 2D profile Sketch (the shape to Sweep) and a 3D Sketch, into which the edge is projected (the Path for the Sweep).

Now you can simply create your 2D profile Sketch, then start the Sweep command and select the edge as your Path. When you create the Sweep feature, the edge is automatically projected into a new 3D Sketch.

Note: Using edges as a Sweep Path is not available for Assembly Sweep features.

15 Sep 2011

Project to 3D Whilst in the 2D Sketch

In Inventor 2012, if you want a 2D Sketch projecting onto a 3D Face as a 3D Sketch, simply do it whilst creating the 2D geometry. The new Project to 3D Sketch command projects geometry from the active 2D Sketch onto selected Face/s to create a 3D sketch. Follow the steps below:
  • Create your 2D Sketch

14 Sep 2011

SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 - Supported with Vault Server 2012?

Microsoft recently published SP1 for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 (Editions Standard, Enterprise, Express).

At this stage SP1 for MS SQL Server 2008 R2 is not supported with Vault Server 2012 until further notice.

13 Sep 2011

Software installed/required by Vault Server 2012

You may need to repair, reinstall or uninstall\reinstall all or some of the components that Vault Server 2012 uses and need to know what those components are.

The following list contains all of the components that are installed by Vault Server 2012:
  • MSI Runtime 4.5 ( installed by framework)
  • .NET Framework Runtime 3.5 SP1
  • .NET Framework Runtime 3.5 SP1 Language Pack
  • Microsoft WSE 3.0 Runtime
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express
  • Microsoft MSXML 6
When uninstalling the components, do so in this order,
  • Autodesk Vault <version> 2012 (Server)
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express 
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Native Client
  • Microsoft MSXML 6
  • Microsoft WSE 3.0 Runtime
  • .NET Framework Runtime 3.5 SP1 Language Pack
  • .NET Framework Runtime 3.5 SP1
  • Internet Information Services

12 Sep 2011

Selection Cycling

If you have large, complex drawings, with overlapping geometry, you may have difficulties selecting a particular piece of geometry. With the Selection Cycling tool, when you select an object that overlaps other objects, AutoCAD displays a dialogue listing all of the overlapping geometry. Geometry highlights in the workspace as you move up and down the list.

To use Selection Cycling, first of all check you have it enabled on the Status Bar:

9 Sep 2011

Directly Manipulate the UCS icon

Directly manipulate the UCS icon using multifunctional Grips. Easily move and align the Origin with drawing geometry (including curved surfaces and solids). Select the UCS icon and choose from the various menus that appear as you hover over the Grips.

Or just click and hold one of the Grips to modify, including moving the whole UCS with the corner (cube) Grip point to snap with other geometry.

7 Sep 2011

Service Pack 1 for AutoCAD 2012 Released

Service Pack 1 is now available for AutoCAD 2012 and can be downloaded directly from the link below:


This Service Pack resolves a number of issues which are detailed in the ReadMe document along with installation instructions. Please make sure you read this important document before carrying out the service pack installation.

Service Pack 1 is available for 32bit and 64bit installations and is a 14Mb or 19Mb download.

2 Sep 2011

Service Pack 1 for Inventor 2012 Released

Service Pack 1 is now available for Autodesk Inventor 2012 and can be downloaded directly from the link below:


This Service Pack resolves a number of issues which are detailed in the ReadMe document along with installation instructions. Please make sure you read this important document before carrying out the service pack installation.
Service Pack 1 is available for 32bit and 64bit installations and is a 31Mb or 61Mb download.

Please note: If you are running Inventor 2012 on an XP 32bit machine, you may come across an issue when installing SP1. The error you may receive is Error 1402, to resolve see below:
  • After seeing the error, click OK on the error dialog.
  • The installer will fail, then try to reinstall the SP1.
  • The problem should not happen again and you should be able to install the SP1.
  • If you still have the problem installing the SP1 for the second time, try to install it from the Live Update.

24 Aug 2011

Loading VBA project performance issue

When working with Inventor 2012, you may have noticed that the first time you create a new drawing in a session, you get a message in the bottom left saying Loading VBA project.
This slows down the time before you see a drawing template on the screen infront of you.

In order to speed up the performance, select the checkbox Load VBA on start-up, from Tools Application Options > General TAB.

After that, the next time you start Inventor the VBA module will be loaded on startup, rather than when you need to create a drawing.

23 Aug 2011

Unable to Turn Visibility Back on in an IPN

In an Inventor 2012 IPN, presentation file, you may have found that after turning a parts Visibility off, a right click > Visibility, does not turn it back on.

22 Aug 2011

Autodesk Vault Webclient Does not Show Items/Files

When working in the Autodesk Vault Webclient for Vault Collaboration/Professional 2011/2012 you may have noticed that your Items and/or Files are not showing. Instead you just see a status icon saying Loading:

19 Aug 2011

Enabling the Vault Add-in for 3DS Max

Here is a handy tip for those of you that have Product Design Suite (with 3DS Max Design) or 3DS Max and wish to utilise Vault (Asset Tracking).

Before you try logging in to Vault from Asset Tracking, go to the Application Menu > Manage > Asset Tracking > Options > untick Disable Asset Tracking.

Once this setting is unticked you will be able to log into Vault and start managing your files as with Inventor and AutoCAD.

18 Aug 2011

Hatch Grip

The new Hatch Grip functionality is very powerful, giving you direct manipulation of Hatch objects. Hover over the Grip Centre mark to stretch, move, change the origin, angle or scale.

17 Aug 2011

Viewport Control

In AutoCAD 2012 t is easier than ever to set up or modify your viewports, 2D and 3D views and visual styles directly from the drawing window.

If you click on these options you will be given a quick list of options to chose from, saving time finding these settings on the Ribbon or in Options.

View menu:

15 Aug 2011

Autodesk DWF Writer now available for 64bit Operating Systems

DWF publishing helps you enhance collaboration and easily exchange project information with extended teams. Download the free Autodesk DWF Writer to securely share 2D and 3D data as DWF files - no matter what design application you are using. Now available for 32 and 64bit versions of Microsoft Windows.
  • Built-In 2D and 3D publishing - Publish 2D or 3D designs automatically with built-in DWF publishing from many of the Autodesk design applications.
  • Publish rich design information - Select the preferred 32bit Autodesk DWF Writer plug-in - SolidWorks 2006, CATIA (V5), or Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 2.0 - to publish 3D models including intelligent design information.
  • Publish from Microsoft applications - A Microsoft Windows system printer driver, DWF Writer allows you to publish easily and directly from Microsoft applications, including PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Visio and Project applications.
For more information and/or to download for yourself see the Autodesk page here.

123D Sculpt Released for iPad

Autodesk's mobile applications have a new addition in the form of 123D Sculpt for the iPad.

Autodesk 123D Sculpt app for iPad allows you to Sculpt and Paint interesting and realistic 3D Shapes. This app is Free for a limited time period.

It is easy to get started. Choose a shape from the library of Creatures, Humans, Vehicles and more. Then push, pull and paint to make the sculpture your want. When you are done, take snapshots in the camera room or create animated QuickTime turntable movies to upload to YouTube or email to friends.

12 Aug 2011

Current Service Packs for 2012 Products

We thought it was about time we highlighted the currently available Service Packs for the 2012 Autodesk products, which are included in the new Product Design and Factory Design Suites:

- Inventor Fusion SP2

- Autodesk Mudbox SP3

- Autodesk Showcase SP1

- Factory Design Tools SP1

- Autodesk 3DS Max Design SP1

- Autodesk Sketchbook Designer SP1

These can all be found on the Autodesk website, or listed on our own Micro Concepts Website. Alternatively, click on the relevant link above!

22 Jul 2011

LABS - PointLinker for Inventor

Inventor can import point data from an Excel file, but once the data has been imported, the link with the Excel file is not retained. If the user then updates the point data in the Excel file, the data must be manually re-imported and the associated model re-constructed. This is a time consuming and isnefficient exercise. The Point Linker for Inventor tool allows Inventor users to import points from an Excel file, and retain a link to that file. Users can import data (as with the existing command), update with new data, or resolve to another Excel file.

This tool is available for Inventor 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

You can try the PointLinker for yourself at:


3D Design Challenge II – 3D Mouse of the Future

Get ready to show off your design skills and compete for the grand prize of a £3,000 CAD workstation! So what's the challenge?

Design your ultimate 3D mouse - no holds barred!! The only criteria is to ensure your design integrates 3Dconnexion's existing controller cap. After all, it's the heart of a 3D mouse, so look after it!

29 Jun 2011

Change to Using the Full Help for Inventor

You have downloaded and installed the Inventor 2012 Full Help and for performance reasons you want to use it, instead of the help from Autodesk Wiki Help, even when you are on-line.

Of course, you can simply create a shortcut on your desktop and have it point to, for instance:

\Inventor 2012\Help_Full \index.html

However, if you want to access the Full Help from within Inventor or inside a dialogue, do the following:
  • Edit the file \Inventor 2012\Bin\HelpIds.xml in Notepad
  • Find the string UseOnline
  • Change the value from 1 to 0 and Save the file.
  • Restart Inventor
Note: Be aware that by downloading and using the help on a local drive, you have chosen to work with a snapshot version of the Help that is possibly out-of-date, contrary to the Wiki Help, which at all times shows the most up-to-date help information.

If you want to go back to the default behaviour, that is, to use the help from Wiki Help when you are on-line, set the value for UseOnline to 1.

28 Jun 2011

Hole Feature Defaults Changed for 2012

The Hole Features defaults for Inventor 2012 have changed from previous releases, see below:



As you can see in Inventor 2012 the default setting for a hole is Through All, from Distance in previous releases. This has caught a few users out, so Autodesk have provided a Hotfix to address this:


27 Jun 2011

Vault Integration with Microsoft Outlook

With the 2012 release of Autodesk Vault, compatibility now extends to Microsoft Outlook - enabling users to access correspondence check-in from within Outlook. Users can now multi-select their email messages and check in using the ribbon commands to assign emails to a folder within the Vault.

24 Jun 2011

Vault Integration with Inventor LT Suite and AutoCAD LT

Autodesk Vault 2012 integration for Inventor LT Suite 2012 and AutoCAD LT 2012 is now available as part of your Autodesk Subscription. If you have access to the Subscription Centre - you can access the update here.

The AutoCAD LT 2012 Vault Client update enables Vault functionality for use within the AutoCAD LT 2012 application to connect to a Vault Workgroup, Collaboration or Professional 2012 server. Those wishing to use AutoCAD LT 2012 with a Vault 2012 server must install this update.

23 Jun 2011

Included Express Tools

The NCOPY Express Tool is now a core AutoCAD command. Copy nested objects from Xrefs, Blocks and DGN underlays (no need to explode or bind!).

Use the Delete Duplicates tool (OVERKILL Express Tool) to clean up your drawing and remove duplicate geometry.

Control Delete Duplicates settings in the dialogue box. Specify which object properties to ignore along with whether or not to optimise polyline segments and/or combine co-linear objects. The tolerance value controls the precision by which Delete Duplicates will operate.

22 Jun 2011

New Multifunctional Grips

In AutoCAD 2012 multifunctional Grips have been added to many objects!Polylines have extra Grips to make editing much easier. Secondary Grips are located at the midpoint of each segment. Hovering over a Grip provides several valuable editing options such as Stretch, Add or Remove Vertex and Convert to Arc/Line.

Look for these powerful grips in Lines, Arcs, Elliptical Arcs, Dimensions and mLeaders. 3D Faces, Edges and Vertices also have them. Just hover over a Grip to access numerous relevant options.

21 Jun 2011

Product Design Suite 2012 Workflow Example

We recently came across this four part video, which helps illustrate a typical Product Design Suite 2012 workflow. This might help you ascertain where the different products included in your Product Design Suite 2012 fit in.
  • Chapter 1 - the conceptual design phase of your product design workflow
  • Chapter 2 - moving from concepts to detailed engineering models
  • Chapter 3 - tools for documentation and data management
  • Chapter 4 - presentation and collaboration tools

LABS - Inventor ThreadModeler

The ThreadModeler tool allows Inventor users to more easily create realistic modelised threads based on an existing Inventor thread feature. Users select an existing thread feature in the model and ThreadModeler generates a realistic thread based on the feature properties.

This tool is available for Inventor 2011 and 2012.

You can try the ThreadModeler for yourself at:


7 May 2011

Mini Toolbars

We saw the introduction of Mini Toolbars in Inventor 2011 and these have been further expanded within Inventor 2012.

The Mini Toolbars now appear in most of the feature tools within Inventor and you now have access to more Options within the Mini Toolbar itself. Alongside this update has been the addition of enhanced previewing when you are adding a feature such as Holes and Fillets. You will now notice that you get a real time preview, which you can interact with.

6 May 2011

Marking Menus

Marking Menus have been around in the industry for a while and those that use them 8-10 hours a day fly around never searching for commands or pallets to update. A flick of the wrist and off to the next command.

With the Marking Menu, muscle memory will eventually kick in. But with all changes, a transition period is needed to get used to the new menu. Some of you may have already turned it off, but we recommend giving it a try.

There are two modes you can use the Marking Menu with. The first is as you see it below, a typical pop up style menu, but with radial access to commands.