Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Thread Sort Order

                When a new version of Inventor rolls out and I am doing a fresh install I use a check list of things to do in order to get the upgrade. It’s things like migrating files, importing options and customization files, setting up the templates, etc. But there are a couple of things that I do as I go along and change only when needed. One of the things off the list is changing the threads sort order.

Don't you just hate when the screw opens and the filler or screw gages fall out of order?

                I am a metric guy and while I use imperial units as well and I can think inches just as much as millimetres I still need to change the default thread order. When you create a thread either with the Hole or Thread command I like to have “ISO Metric Profile” as default instead of “ANSI Metric M Profile”. It’s not a big deal to just choose ISO every time but it takes seconds to change it and save my time for something else, like doing this blog.
                First you need to locate your Design Data folder and for that you need to look at the settings of your project. Usually you will have a single Design Data folder for all your projects but you could have more than for your work, school etc. Click the Projects in Get Started tab, on the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) or on the Inventor (big I top left) Manage submenu. The project can also be accessed on the open file dialog box.

                Expand the Folder Options and check the Design Data field. If it says “Default” then it’s not assigning special location for this and the Application Options settings are in place. Mine says “.\Design Data\” and the “.” in front suggests a relative path instead of a full path and it’s relative to the project located at “C:\CAD” so the location will sum up as “C:\CAD\Design Data\”. Relative paths are good because if I can copy or move the CAD folder without getting missing files and styles error.  If it was a full path and I would copy the CAD folder to CAD-B then the files from CAD-B would look for styles in CAD.

                If the field says “Default”, open Application Options from the Tools tab or on the Inventor menu. On the File tab Design Data filed you will see the location and if it’s not clear or the location means nothing to you, click the browse button next to it and you will see the full location.
                Navigate to Design Data, XLS, en-US folder and open thred.xls. Each thread type sheet will have a “Sort Order – X” cell right at the top which is what Inventor looks at when giving you the default thread. On the “ISO Metric profile” tab change the cell value to “Sort Order - 1” and on the “ANSI Unified Screw Threads” sheet change the cell to “Sort Order - 3”. Save and close the file and if you had Inventor open then you need to restart it. The thread.xls file is loaded in memory when Inventor starts and it will be used while that session is open.

                This will not save you a lot of time by itself but just like tuning a race car it’s the sum of all improvements that will give you performance. A 1% save in time here means nothing but add this up to other 10 small impact changes and you have a fair amount of improved time.

If you don’t use threads all that often then you can keep this in the back of your mind and skip doing the changes but if you find yourself constantly changing the thread standard then go ahead and implement this. It’s only when a new version rolls out that you can decided if this was a good call or not. With the new version installed did you even noticed that the threads are back to ANSI? If you did then you most likely need this change.