Authoring & Publishing Third Party Stuff

Hello!

In my day to day work, I often receive cad data from suppliers for purchased parts that I need to put into my piping designs.  Valves, special fittings, instruments etc.  These can come from a variety of sources, such as email or the supplier website.  Very often these are in the form of a STEP file, or possibly even Solid Works files.  I need to get these components authored for tube & pipe, and then saved to my Content Center.  It’s nothing difficult, but I wanted to share my workflow just the same.

Once I get the part opened from whatever source, the first thing I do is save it to the proper file location, so that the original can be checked in to Vault.  This way I ensure that my naming standards are met for whatever type of part it is, and that it will be vaulted in the correct spot in case I ever need to publish it again.  So, I generally use Save As for this.  The other thing this does for me, that will be helpful later, is to place the new file name into the Part Number iProperty field.  I do not change this at his time, I want that to be in Part Number… I’ll explain why shortly.

Once the part has been renamed and saved to the correct folder, it’s time to author & publish for tube & pipe.  Rather than go through this entire procedure, I’m going to take a shortcut and refer you to the handout for my Autodesk University 2014 class on Tube & Pipe.  The section on authoring and publishing is pretty good I think, and covers most of the types of fittings you may encounter.  One part that I will mention here, is that for components that you want to place into a custom folder in your Content Center, there are a few rules.  First, the folder must have already been created in the CC before hand.  CC categories cannot be created on the fly.  Second, in the authoring window at the top, where you select the fitting type, select Other for these parts going into custom categories.  That way when you publish, you will be able to place it into any folder you want.

Here is the important part.  When you publish these parts, and are prompted for Key Columns, always use Nominal Size.  This may seem counter intuitive, since the size is not something you need to select for a stand alone part.  But it will all make sense soon, I promise.  Once the part is published, do NOT place it right away.  As you probably already know, the first time you use a Content Center component, a part file is generated in the proper Content Center folder.  These parts are not yet ready… there is one more important step.

Go to the Content Center editor, find the new part, and edit the family table.  You will notice that the Filename column is blue and shows the Size of the part.  For example, if the part is 2″, the filename column will show 2as the filename.  If you generate the part now, your part file name will be…. 2.ipt.  Not a very good file name, wouldn’t you agree?

editor

Also notice the Part Number column.  This is the name you gave the part when you first did the Save As up above.  I told you this would become important later, and now I will explain why.  Select the part number text, and copy to your clipboard.  Use either right click – Copy, or the standard ctrl-C.  Now move over the the Filename column, but DO NOT PASTE YET.  Right click on the column header and select Column Properties.  this is what you should see, or something similar for whatever you are working with.

fileprop

The {NS} you see in the Expression box comes from the Nominal Size you chose as the Key Column.  Select the text and delete it.  Important that you do this first, then uncheck the Expression box above it.  If you want to push the file name to an iProperty, use the Map to Inventor box below.  For example, I always push the File Name to Description, since our file name is essentially that, a description of the part.  Don’t get me started on the Part Name vs Part number debate.  LOL

desc

Hit the OK an the Column Properties box, and notice that the file name column now has no value.  NOW you may paste the Part Number string into that box.  Then you can modify the part number to whatever you need it to be.  Change the material if you want to, so that the part gets generated in that material.  Nominal size is already set up.  Designation is, by default, set to equal nominal size.  If you want to modify this column and map the value somewhere else, do that now.

And that’s it.  Your third party downloaded component is now authored, published and made ready for use in your tube & pipe assemblies.  Happy piping!

Enjoy!

“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!

 

 

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About

CAD Department Supervisor at Powell Fabrication & Manufacturing, Inc. CAD Designer & Detailer specializing in Inventor Tube & Pipe, Frame Generator, Content Center, Vault Professional. Autodesk Expert Elite member. Blogger. AU 2014 Speaker. Husband and father.

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