Yesterday my co-worker here had an epiphany in Inventor Tube & Pipe. We have encountered several instances where a pipe or tube fitting placed inline in a pipe route, also needs a secondary fitting assembled to it. In this example, the scenario is a socket fusion weld piping system. Breaks in the pipe lines are established by fusion welding in a pair of stub ends, over which are placed backing flanges that are then bolted together.
Prior to this breakthrough, we had authored the stub end fitting as a flanged fitting, with (2) connection points like any other flanged fitting. The backing flange then, was assembled to the stub end using standard assembly constraints. It would require an Insert to connect the backing flange to the face of the stub end, and an angle constraint to orient the holes correctly. In our other situation, it was a tube fitting that required a special gasket assembled in a similar way.
My coworker (let’s just call him Bob) wondered if it were possible to author these inline parts with a third connection point for the backing fittings. We weren’t sure what to expect, since normally a fitting with three connections is a branch fitting of some sort, like a tee with the third connection perpendicular to the flow.
But…, no guts no glory, right? So, I opened a stub end from the Content Center, and saved it “As Custom”. On the Manage tab in Inventor I looked at the authoring for the part, which had been done with (2) flanged connections. By selecting the up arrow on the connections button at the top, I added a third connection, and then defined the connection point and axis. The connection point, I placed on the diameter at the face where the backing flange would sit, then selected the same diameter again for the axis. The axis direction is not important on this connection since it is not being used to determine flow in the pipe route. I set the end treatment to Flanged, and hit OK.
That was all we did, and it looked as though it would work, so I went to my test assembly and gave it a try. The backing flange was already authored as a flanged fitting with (2) connections as well. Now I just had to see if it would attach to the new third connection on the stub end. I placed an instance of the newly authored stub end into my assembly, and it went inline as it had before, so the new point hadn’t messed up the original connections. Now for the real test. I placed an instance of the backing flange, and used the “Connect Fitting” option. Placing the flange near the point of the new connection on the stub end, I was very happy to see that it snapped right into place, and gave me the familiar rotation arrows. Success!! After a few high fives, we decided I had to write this one up and share it. The same procedure will work for our tube fitting with the gasket attached. This should save a lot of time placing unnecessary constraints when using these fittings.
I ran a quick video of the process this morning, it was before i had my coffee so I hope I was coherent, have a look. And as always…
“Autodesk ® screen shots reprinted with the permission of Autodesk, Inc. Autodesk ® , AutoCAD® , DWG, the DWG logo, Vault ®, Autocad Electrical ® and Inventor ® are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and other countries.” Programs and programmers’ information used with permission. Thanks guys!