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# can inventor ouput production data useful for programming?

## can inventor ouput production data useful for programming?

(OP)
this is my first post.
so far I've read some threads looking for reasons to propose a  switch from AutoCAD to either SolidWorks or Inventor.
I've also considered PRO/E, but so far I'm only getting negative feedback.

I want to be able to resize one dimension of one part, which would automatically resize the same kind of dimension on all the rest of the parts of an assembly, and output these dimensions in the forms of programming objects or a spreadsheet of some sort, that can be reusable for another program.
Do both Solidworks and Inventor do this?

### RE: can inventor ouput production data useful for programming?

It is possible in Inventor, and I'm pretty sure Solidworks too.

With Inventor you would make a derived assembly and link it to an excel spreadsheet. That spreadsheet could either be embedded in the Inventor part or be a stand alone file that Inventor checks for changes. Try to do all the math logic in Excel and leave the modeling to Inventor. You get pretty crazy with all the functionality of Excel, and all that Inventor cares about is the values you linked to the parameters of the parts. It is not the easiest thing to do, but the Inventor newsgroup will give you all the help you need, and Sean Dotson has some great tutorials to get up to speed with linking parts and spreadsheets.
www.sdotson.com (also links to other Inventor sites)

Solidworks handles the link with excel differently and I have minimal experience with it. (I hate to tell you the wrong thing) I just did a 8 week evaluation before I went back to Inventor.

Solidworks VS Inventor has been discussed here and many other places at great length. Do a search of this forum and some of the others to see how other people feel.  Inventor R8 is just out, but there is some great new stuff included (especially if you still need to use autocad).

### RE: can inventor ouput production data useful for programming?

Angelito and DesignerMike,

Solidworks will do exactly the same thing.  Solidworks uses Design Tables.  As for the reusability in another program you have to find someone more versed in the programs, SW, Inventor and the other program.

I am one that has used both Solidworks and Inventor.  Sw for 4 years and now Inv for a month...and I must say that after a month on IV I am much less comfortable than I was after a week on SW.

HTH

Alan M. Etzkorn
Product Engineer
Nixon Tool Co.
www.nixontool.com

### RE: can inventor ouput production data useful for programming?

(OP)
thanks DesignerMike and MechEng13!

I've looked into Inventor more time than into SolidWorks.
It seemed to me that Inventor to some extent was their response to SolidWorks, and probably other parametric apps.

I am interested in Inventor's constraint capabilities.
Does SolidWorks do the same thing?

I have reasons to favour either program. Inventor seems to have increasing compatibility with autocad-based apps such as MDT. It also has the constraint system which seems to work well. It's also the flagship app for autodesk in this type of industry. We have autocad in this plant. Another of our plants uses SolidWorks, which is not the flagship of Dassault, but nonetheless has power.

What are the prices for Inventor and SolidWorks?
I think Inventor 8 costs $5200. I was going to request a quote from SolidWorks but I think that before I start sending company information to them I should try other means, since this switch to 3D will be a proposal of mine to the company in this particular plant. In regards to the time it takes to feel comfortable with an application, I think it's an important issue, but not among the main aspects I'm evaluating in these two apps. Regarding reusability, this is one of the key issues I'm focusing on. Part of the proposal is making custom apps for specific calculations and I want to know what can of data Inventor and SolidWorks can ouput and in what formats. ### RE: can inventor ouput production data useful for programming? Angelito Solidworks has the exact same functionality as constraints in IV. In SWks it's mates. I am still not as comfortable on IV after a month as I was after a week with Swks. I feel that right now Swks is the more mature product. I have not dabbled with IV 8 as we just got it late last week and i haven't had time to jump into it. Cost they are about the same...I saw a comparison that IV's Pro package was$4495 USD and Swks 2004 Office was \$4995 USD.  Now from what I could gather Swks Office was a slightly more comprehensive package than IV's Pro.  It comes with a full FEA package, Edrawings: handy for presentation and sharing of projects, Animator, and some others not sure what.

As for output...Swks can out put .sat, step, dwg, dxf, iges, x_t (Parasolid).  There may be others, I've been away from it for almost 2 months.

The one to go with is your choice.  Don't base it on the fact that your plant is primarily ACAD...to run either you have to completely forget ACAD and your thought process for running it.

Someone said it well the other day and I'm going to paraphrase, unfortunately I can't remember who...

"In ACAD you are drawing lines, in Inventor or Solidworks your drawing Metal"

Alan M. Etzkorn
Product Engineer
Nixon Tool Co.
www.nixontool.com

### RE: can inventor ouput production data useful for programming?

(OP)
Hi MechEng13,

in your post you mentioned "As for output...Swks can out put .sat, step, dwg, dxf, iges, x_t (Parasolid).  There may be others, I've been away from it for almost 2 months."

I'm not familiar with all these formats, from the SolidWorks website I know that the file type support in SolidWorks is twice or three times longer then the list you can remember.
I know that DXF files can be opened as a .txt document, and the data is stored in a table format, of two columns and as many rows as needed depending on the drawing complexity.
But this is too cumbersome to work with, I am looking for a feature that would output the exact data that I choose.
For example, if I had say a contraption made of cones and a cylinder, I want to be able to change the height of the cylinder, and the cones are changed according to a pre-defined series of equations I am able to enter in that assembly, and then output only the heights of the cones and cylinder in a table format for to use in another progam which already exists.

This would be even better if Inventor or SolidWorks could automatically be opened, open that assembly, make the change to that one dimension of height, the rest of the assembly is updated, export the new heights in a file in table format, and then close the application (be it solidworks or inventor) automatically saving the new configuration with a name based on an arbitrary number system, say simply an incremental number system, file001, file002, file003... etc. Which can later be managed by someone in appropriate folders for database PDM purposes.

Anybody know if this can be done right out of the box with Inventor or SolidWorks? Are any plugins needed? In the case of SolidWorks, is PDMWorks required for doing this? In the case of Inventor, is Vault appropriate for accomplishing this?

### RE: can inventor ouput production data useful for programming?

From what you are describing, I don't think either have the out of the box functionality to do what you are asking...if I'm wrong someone can correct me.

For what you want I believe you would have to write a VBA routine to do it.  Both have tables that you can use to modify parts/assemblies.

If someone else is more familiar and can correct me please feel free.

Alan M. Etzkorn
Product Engineer
Nixon Tool Co.
www.nixontool.com

### RE: can inventor ouput production data useful for programming?

I believe you are right Alan, I think it would take a relatively involved VBA to do this.

Try not to overcomplicate the process though. I think you would want to change the driven dimensions in Excel and have Excel export the values (heights of cones and cylinders) that you are looking for. With Inventor I think it would be easier to let Excel do this type of work, and the model is just along for the ride. Actually it might not make any sense to generate the different version of the model at all, if all you are looking for is the "numerical" data for the model it would probably be simpler to do in Excel. When you wanted to look at the model it would update to the new parameters. You might have numerous other reasons for saving the individual models, but I figured I would throw out another option (to confuse you some more)

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