How to Protect Design Intellectual Property with Autodesk Inventor?
In the modern business world with millions of files coming and going in cyber space it is important for companies to protect their Intellectual Property (IP). This becomes even more important when manufacturing a product in which countless hours of engineer time has gone into, not to mention a company’s reputation if a “knockoff “product held to lesser standards hits the market. We have found that as industries go, we also may find the need to work with Architects or architectural design firms to bring solid mechanical models, such as boilers or mezzanines into Revit to represent placement, size or shape. Regardless of the situation we would like you to keep your IP safe. This is why Autodesk has worked so hard to help you prevent this with Simplify in Autodesk Inventor, allowing the user to create a simple version for the consumer to use without giving them the real important design information. So please follow along as we help you learn this important tool and how it can help you.
The Full Model
Shown below, you can see in the section that I created in which there are internal items as well as external items that you may not want the customer to have when providing them with a model for their planning purposes. They basically need the size shape and maybe a few connection points. This can be done a couple of ways, the first is creating a shell of the original model as a single part, and another is creating basic shapes to represent the model and the space it takes up.
The First step to protecting your IP is going to the Simplify tab and choosing which components to include. You will do this with the Include Components command.
After selecting Include Components a mini tool bar will open, allowing you to select various options from the drop down menu. The first drop down is what you will view. In the drop down you have the option of viewing all Components, Included Components, or Excluded Components. I find it most helpful to switch between the three viewing options while making my selections, allowing for a review of any missing parts or parts that should not be included. I have shown in the screen captures below what each option does. The drop down option is for choosing Part, Component, or Parent Priority. After choosing your options and selecting what needs to be included, simply click the check mark to finish this part of the process.
When you finish the Include Components portion you will notice that you can no longer see the items that were not included, and if we look at our View Master the command automatically created a view called Simple View 1 (example is shown below). We can also right click on this view in the browser to edit our selections.
Create Simplified Part
The Third step is to select Create Simplified Part, this launches a new dialog box with the standard new part creation options such as file save location and name, but also includes options for what type of part you create using the combine style buttons. The options are as follows:
- Single solid body with seems between faces merged
- Single solid body with seems between faces maintained
- Maintain each solid as a separate body
For our purposes I will choose the second option. You will now see the BIM tab is open for further simplification.
Note: Simple View 1 must be the current view and I always create a Simple Folder for these simplified parts.
BIM Tab and Further Simplification
At this point your model is simplified a great deal, but we can still simplify it more using the Simplify section of the BIM Tab. We will cover the other half of the BIM Tab in my next paper.
We will first look at the Remove details command, using this will remove recagnized fillets and chamfers as well as custom- selected faces. It utilizes a mini tool bar for any of your options. When looking at the mini tool bar we have a few options for selecting items to remove. The All Faces Selectable allows us to select faces. We also have a Fillet and Chamfer selection box (these will be selected by default). Our last Option is Auto Select. Please see the screen captures below to understand how thease options work.
The second option to further simplification is Fill Voids, this option fills holes and spaces with surface patches, leaving a smooth surface. Our options on this tool bar for selection besides the auto Select are Select Loop, Select Edge, or Select Face.
See below to view how these tools function.
The third option to simplify the parts further is the Define Envelopes option, this option replaces a part or object with a solid object in the form of a cylinder or box. Our options on this tool bar are Bounding Box and Bounding Cylinder for our first button, Join or New Solid in the second button and our selection methods are faces and solid. See below for examples.