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Last Revised: 11/4/2006

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Mechanical Desktop Tutorial Archive

A message to my faithful visitors...

I think it is time that I face the truth and admit that I don't expect to add anything new to the content that has existed here for several years. Consulting work, a bout with Prostate Cancer, children in adolescence, and the emergence of Inventor™ as Autodesk's premier modeler have made it tough to add new Mechanical Desktop® related material in a timely manner.

Despite being developed for use in Mechanical Desktop® 1, 2, and 3, I believe that these tutorials can still be useful to users of later versions (and even Inventor™ users!). The new Pattern functionality eliminates some of the difficulty in creating Part Arrays, but the other tips remain relevant. These tips will continue to appear here in their current form. Please excuse the somewhat dated appearance of the tutorial pages, they will not be updated with the rest of the site.

Thanks and Best Regards,
Robert A. Williams
September 8, 2002 (Updated February 19, 2004)

Mechanical Desktop® Tutorials

These tutorials assume a basic knowledge of how to create Mechanical Desktop® parts and assemblies. You should also be familiar with table linking either global or active part variables. These techniques have been successfully used in both version 2 and 3 of Mechanical Desktop®. Good Luck!!!

Tutorial #1- Part Morphing....Hiding two or more profiles within a Mechanical Desktop® Part, and how to make each appear or disappear parametrically using design variables. This example creates a part that can either assume the profile of a Structural Angle or a Structural W Beam. This example also shows how to create work planes to properly assembly constrain the changing profiles. (Published 29 MAY 1998)
Update... We have added a file to the File Download page demonstrating this technique using Table driven Feature Suppression.

Tutorial #2 - Parametric Part Arrays......That's right, Parametric, it can be done with a little planning up front and a few well placed design variables. This example creates a part (rather than just a feature) that can be arrayed parametrically. An array of pins is created that is designed to fit into a matching circular flange. Everything is table driven. (Published 10 JUN 1998)

Tutorial #3 - Hiding a part in your assembly (making it invisible) until it is needed. Builds on the above hints. Completely parametric using only design variables. The example creates various configurations of a casing plate with stiffening. The first configuration is a plate with no stiffening. The other configurations are plates with stiffeners in varying numbers and profiles (angle and W beam). All this is accomplished parametrically using table driven variables. (Published 10 AUG 1998)

Tutorial #4 - Rotating a part about an axis parametrically. This tutorial shows you how to create parts that can be rotated about an axis from 0° to 360° using parameters only. The example shows how to create a simple circular shell and then add a circular nozzle (and the cut out for the nozzle). The orientation of the nozzle can then be controlled parametrically using only design variables. Use this example as a basis to create large parametrically controlled assemblies with maximum variability. (Published 2 FEB 1999)


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