Inventor 2009 Subscription Bonus Pack

Autodesk is moving towards a Microsoft approach to product releases which they are calling ‘Flexible Software Delivery’. This approach will be based on two different components available after the initial product release. Product updates like they exist now will include service packs and hotfixes. They will also have available subscription bonus packs.

These bonus packs will be available to active subscription members only via the subscription website. The bonus tools will then be rolled into the following product release. This sounds like a good way to get some good feedback on new features before they are incorporated into the entire product, beyond the beta programs which has limited participation.

According to Autodesk, AutoCAD will be the first product this new software delivery model is fully available for. Following this approach, they now have available a subscription bonus pack for Inventor 2009. The bonus pack includes the following additional functionality:

  • Drawing Manager Tools

– Arrange dimensions
– Dimension Selection Filters
– Directly open a corresponding drawing right from a part or assembly
– Refreshing drawing parameters
– Balloon snap and alignment on placement
– Project geometry works like part environment
– Edit dimension upon placement

  • Part Modeling Tools

– Create parameters on the fly when dimensioning
– Specify iFeatures normal direction
– Create iFeatures from iParts
– Apply buttons on Scale and Rotate dialogs
– Simplified loft selection through right click context menu

  • Assembly Design Tools

– Bill of Material Editor
– Shift or Control for contiguous or non-contiguous selection
– Capitalization
– Find and Replace
– Cross highlight from the BOM editor and Assembly model
– Auto Save Reminder

You can read more about the new features in Autodesk’s
official Subscription Bonus Pack PDF.

I think the ability to open an associated drawing directly from the model environment will be a real time saver. Download your copy and try it out for yourself.

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McCain, Obama – Side by Side Comparison

Check out this side by side comparison of quotes by McCain and Obama on the issues.  It also allows you to see quotes from other high profile politicians.

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Assembly constraint options

Two of the most under used and misunderstood application options are related to assembly constraints. How many times have you inherited someone else’s assembly file and spent hours trying to unravel their constraint scheme?

Enter the options, ‘constraint redundancy analysis’ and ‘constraint failure analysis’.

Constraint redundancy analysis will analyze for duplicate constraints applied within your assembly. The redundant constraints will be marked in your browser for your information. This is not considered an error, just a means to diagnose your constraints to a deeper level.


Constraint failure analysis will analyze for conflicting constraints. Normally, when this option is turned off a conflicting constraint that is applied will highlight as an error but will not show you which other constraint is it in conflict with. When this option is on, it will highlight all of the constraints that conflict with one another.


It’s important to remember that having these options turned on, especially when working with large assemblies will require Inventor to perform more checks than normal when applying constraints and will result in slightly slower performance. It is considered a best practice to turn these options on only when required. I’d like to hear your comments on how you use these options.

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Inventor on 2 computers and 3 screens?

Three Monitor Setup

If you have ever done a lot intense rendering within Inventor studio on large assemblies, you know how long the rendering process can take to create a lengthy animation. Even by breaking the animation into short segments and pasting them together later still can take hours for a few seconds of animation. One solution to the problem is to use multiple computers for your work consisting of a primary workstation for everyday work and a dedicated workstation to perform rendering and video composition.

I have found it to be nice to use two monitors on a primary workstation and at least one for the rendering workstation. This can start to pose a problem in a small work area with 2 computers, 3 monitors, 2 keyboards, 2 mice, and 2 space pilots. Along with this, the constant turning from one work area to the next isn’t the most ergonomically efficient working habit to follow.

An obvious solution to the issue would be to purchase a KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switch to utilize 1 keyboard, mouse, and space pilot for both computers. You may need a separate USB hub to do this, depending on the number of USB connections the KVM switch you purchase has. The KVM switch basically allows you to manually switch which computer your input devices controls when you want.

The draw back is that a KVM switch usually has some delay in the actual switch over (a few seconds at least) and you have to remember to press the button each time.

A solution that seems to have the best results is a combination of hardware KVM and a software KVM switch. The software KVM switch I use is Inputer Director ( You basically set one of the computers as the master (the one that actually has the keyboard/mouse attached). The slave is then driven by the master workstation. The transition is seamless when your mouse crosses from the first computers monitor(s) to the second computers monitor(s). The connection is over your local LAN with no noticeable graphic issues or network performance hits.

The hardware KVM is then used to utilize your Space Pilot (or other device) on the second workstation.

So far it seems to be a good setup. If anyone else uses an method, post your configuration so we can compare.

Note: I wasn’t able to photograph my setup so I sourced this photo from a Google image search.

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