Thursday, 20 February 2014

mExtension rename function for Inventor

Today I will show you how to use the rename tool on the mExtension toolbar in Inventor.
I will describe the function at large in a later post but for now I will show you how to use it to help release part of a project for manufacture early in the design state.
Some of the things the function does:
-          Renames models, assemblies and drawings without losing the links.
-          Modify any of the iProperties of the models individually or by multiple selection at once.
-          Generate reports with advanced filter and sort with multiple criteria conditions.
-          Transpose data and reports via clipboard to excel and any other destination.
So as I mentioned I will release part of the project, the tank cover more precisely, but not before assigning part numbers and renaming the models and drawings.
We will keep the main assembly open during our rename operation in order to propagate the link to the newly renamed model.
Click on the “Rename” button on the mExtension toolbar to  bring the rename window.

I have used a filter on the file path and kept just the files containing “Inventor” in the file path. I could have used a filter on the “BOM structure” to keep just the “normal” parts and to exclude the rest (purchased, phantom, etc.). I will mention that library files can not be modified from inside the project so they can't be modified with this function as well. If you do want to modify referenced files (library files); you need to open the assembly in a different project (use the default one that comes with Inventor, that doesn't have your references as library).

Copy the description into excel and quickly assign a part number to all the components. Copy back the new part number into the rename window and use it over the existing part number and over the new name filed.

At this point you might be wondering why I haven’t used the “Codify” function to get the same results but today I want to show you a different way of part numbering.
Once the operation finishes it will pop up a report window showing you the number of files it has modified. In my case it renamed 10 files (5 models and 5 drawings) and modified 5 properties (part number for the models).

As you can see it renamed the browser nodes as well based on the new part number and description making it easier to identify.

We go back to the main assembly we left open and click update. The model should contain the newly renamed tank cover instead of the old one.
This tool has saved me thousands of hours of work, and a lot of money. I would have been an old man long ago if it wasn’t for this tool. I meet people that are trying to push part numbers yearly in the design stage and it didn’t work for me. I don’t like to be constrained on the design phase; I want to focus on the design, confident that I can deal with renaming the models later in the design stage. Most of the times I restructure the model and welded parts become bolted, cast or folded so assigning part number upfront is not easy.
Try it out and post back your thought on it.

Almost forgot to mention Jennifer's post on copying and all the various ways you can do that. Check it here:
Come back to see my post on Codify and Cloning, really powerful stuff.


And of course the video: