Friday, 21 August 2015

TP Branches

I’ve already showed you how I do my branched here, but I have a different solution today.

                As you are aware you cannot connect a third line where two are already connected and the error you will get from Inventor is: “Branches not allowed in routes”. Well now, we already proved that it's possible and here I will show you a different, and in some aspects better way.

                As you try to connect another line where two are joined into a node the route goes into violation mode and it’s partially locked for editing until you fix this error by deleting the segment or removing the constraints that hold it all together.

                The alternate solution is to use Coincident Constraint but not as you might expect, by connecting the 3 nodes together. Instead constrain the node to the line twice and you simulate a node to node constraint but without Inventor seeing this as a branch.

                  Start the Coincident constraint, and select the end of the free line. Choose one of the fixed lines for the second element of your selection.

                Continue with Coincident Constraint by selecting the node on the fixed lines and then select the free line as your second element.

                This will in fact simulate a connection between the nodes but without generating a route violation error.

                When you place a fitting like the tee in the line the pipes are trimmed automatically to the engagement distance. For the free node (open ends) you can choose Trim/Extend Pipe from the contextual menu and set a manual value. Those of you that follow my blog and videos know that I like to import parameters with preset values for how much space a fitting will take, like valves, tees or elbows (in my case they take same space for installment). When I use trim on the loose end branch line I am actually typing “ee” to get the engagement distance parameter value and to have Inventor automatically update it when I change size of the route.

                 If you have already connected the free line to the fixed ones you need to select the node and see if Trim/Extend Pipe is on the contextual menu. If there isn’t one click the node again and in the right click menu choose Select Other and see if there’s an option for second point, or the third. You cannot get it wrong and edit a different pipe because only the free end has this option and is allowing you to trim/extend.

TIP: From all my tests Point 2 is the free end so right from the beginning Select Other and right click when “2.Point”  shows up to get the Trim/Extend Pipe menu. This of course depends on your selection order when doing the coincident constraint.

TIP: Sometimes when populating a route it will complain that it’s intersecting with itself and you need to edit the route and allow for gaps before connecting the points. This goes against my rule to populate the routes at the very end but the solution is to create a small segment, step up and populate and then remove the segment and do your normal routing. The error only occurs the first time you populate a route. If the route has been populated once it can run intersect it as much as you can and you won’t have an error.

And the video: