This one is going to be about in-line work features, plain and simple. I really shouldnt have to go over something that has been in the product for as long as it has, but having seen an Inventor user not take advantage of this last week I feel compelled to bring this to everyones attention, or re-introduce you to it. Take a look at the image below
Perhaps for visualization purposes, we need to cut the spur gear on the same plane as the cut flange you see here. A fairly simple task, all we need is a workplane that passes through the centers of the two holes we find, coincidentally (heh, heh), on plane with the cut flange. ( and yes, I know there are several other ways of creating this cut that dont necessitate the use of work axes, but if we do that I have no subject material for this weeks blog entry just work with me on this )
So, how do we go about creating this workplane? Well, we could create a pair of work axes down the center of each of the holes, and then we could create a workplane that was defined by this pair of axes. This is still a totally valid workflow, unfortunately most of us dont realize that we need the work axes until we are already in the workplane command, and in the past this meant backing out of the workplane command, placing the two work axes, then re-entering the workplane command to finish, which happens to be the workflow that the poor soul who was the inspiration for this weeks blog chose to take.
Well, for a while now there has existed a more streamlined workflow if you happen to find yourself in a modeling situation such as we find ourselves here, and realize in the middle of the a work feature command that you need some combination of additional work features to help define it, you can create what are referred to as in-line work features. You may have seen this before, perhaps by accident when you hit the right mouse button in the middle of the creation of some work feature and found yourself looking at the popup menu you see below
We need a pair of work axes to define our workplane, so if you select the Create Axis option from the menu you see in the image above, the workplane definition will pause momentarily and give you the opportunity to create a work axis somewhere on your model. As you can see from the image below, I have selected one of the two cylindrical features we are using for the definition of our workplane, as the feature that will define our work axis.
Depending on the color scheme you are using in Inventor, this axis will appear in either a very noticeable or very faintly noticeable format on your display. In our case, as the workplane will pass through the centerline of both of these holes, I need one more work axis and will use the right click menu once more and again select the create axis option. I should point out that the direction of the workplane normal, e.g., the positive side of the workplane, is defined by the order that you select the axes. I have yet to figure out what model property helps to determine this so if anyone can figure this out, please feel free to comment and then we will both know. [grin] In any case, the fact that you can change the workplanes normal direction really makes this pretty much a non-issue, but I did notice this behavior and thought I should bring it to your attention.
So, now we have our workplane that we can use to split our part nice. But what happened to the phantom work axes that were used to define it? Well, if you take a look at the browser, and find the workplane we just created, you will notice that there are consumed features hidden below the workplane indicated by the little plus sign. If you expand this by selecting the plus sign, you will see the two work axes.
The reason that these are hidden in this manner is a feature known as auto consume, and like the in-line features is also not new. It was introduced to help keep browser clutter to a minimum, and also to sort certain features based on their dependencies. This is controlled via the highlighted command in the Part Settings tab in the Application Options dialog box you see below.
If you choose to keep this setting as is, which I recommend, you can temporarily override this on a per feature basis in the browser by right clicking on the feature and then selecting, and thereby shutting off consume inputs as seen in the image below.
Well, I think that is it for this week let me know what you think and sorry for the delay but as far as weeks go this one has been an extremely busy one.