Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Tube and Ppipe style error

I haven’t finished with all the tube and pipe posts, just got sidetracked with authoring fittings and decided to share the problems and solutions found along the way.
Can’t remember if this has always been a problem but in 2015 even though you follow all the known steps and procedures you don’t always end up with usable tube and pipe fittings. I have been publishing a couple of fittings for a new route style and I found that you either end up crashing inventor or they can’t be found while browsing on the new T&P (tube and pipe) style dialogue.

First thing I recommend is to check the pipe and fittings end treatment. In my case the same pipe can be but welded or socket welded while the fittings (elbows, tees) can only be socket welded or but welded. So I used jointed on the pipe and jointed on the fittings no matter what type of connections they really are. On the fittings use different engagement distances to differentiate between socket and but welding. This is to avoid warning message every time you edit the style about non matching end treatment connections. Remember I don't keep any styles inside the T&P template but import the ones needed when starting a new T&P assembly.

We don’t use ISOGEN exports but I like to have it setup just in case we will ever need to. In my ipart table I have setup ITEM-CODE and ITEM_Description columns that I have used in the tube and pipe authoring dialog. The only column that needs to be on the ipart table is ND (nominal diameter) that I use as key when publishing to content center and that Inventor uses in the tube and pipe style setup. You can add this column while editing the ipart in the custom tab or you add it while editing the ipart table with excel. I like excel because it can contain any information you can think of without messing the ipart table. As long as you leave an empty column (actually first cell of a column) between the info you want in the ipart and the rest of your data, you can have any info you like. Formulas, graphs, images, even catalog pages from the manufacturer.

Setup the ISOGEN properties and engagement correctly but leave the end treatment to jointed. I don’t have a shoulder for pipe limit stop but I have created planes that will serve as my engagement limit in the author dialog.

You need to understand that socket and but weld “End Treatment” filter on the library browser while setting up you style, will not get you these parts; “jointed” will. So don’t filter by socket or but weld, as you will see later I use Standard and maybe Material as my filters.

After you finish publishing to content center you will find  that a “Designation” column is added automatically by Inventor and it’s linked to the part’s “Design Tracking Properties: Size Designation” which is of type string and can be edited but not in the iproperties window (code or else).

 It seems this is used only for content center stored parts and represents a “succinct user-friendly universal way of providing a name for the component represented by a row in the table”. This is copied from an old pdf I found on iproperties and VBA by Sean Dotson at AU2014. Most of the times you will have a description of the item like “d10 x 1 – 250 Lg” and it doesn’t need to be unique. I think this has been left over and obsolete so I would just ignore it except when it gives you problems with tube and pipe style as it did to me.

                It seems that it can be accessed as “Content Library Component Properties” as well:
Content Library Component Properties {B9600981-DEE8-4547-8D7C-E525B3A1727A}
Common Name: Size Designation
ENUM Name: kSizeDesignationContentLibrary
Value: 12
Comments: Size Designation: String (VT)BSTR), Editable, No UI, Succinct, user-friendly and universal way of providing a name for the component represented by a row in the table.
Why have I gone to such length and dig out old posts and manuals to find the info on Designation? Because I found it to be the source to my problems, and there’s no logic to what my problem is as well.
I've been having this weird problem with tube and pipe styles. After I author and publish a tube and pipe fitting it won't show up for selection in tube and pipe styles until I edit the family table and delete the designation values. I don’t edit the column formula just select all values in this cell and delete them. Because the column is an expression the cells update automatically to same values but now the family appears in tube and pipe style editor.
As soon as I delete the designation values, the family appears in the styles editor as you can see in the animation bellow, where I have 2 inventor sessions running at the same time.

In the style component browser if you expand your part you will see individual members as long as you have a unique individual stock number. The members are shown by stock number and AU explanation was that part number can have custom lengths so not suitable to use here. I don’t pick individual components just the family when setting up the styles.

Hope you never run into these problems but if you do try deleting the designation values and see if it fixes it.
Next week I will share a couple of excel tricks for retrieving data from other spreadsheets with vlookup match and error handling like when value not found returning #NA so check back. Hopefully I will finish the rest of Tube and Pipe tutorials. I will also share this elbow and excel as separate file (it's embedded anyway in the ipart).