The assets that come with the Factory Design Suite are, for the most part, generic. We can see that there are several categories of standard offerings, but they probably don't exactly fit the bill for most customers. Believe it or not, this is actually by design. If Autodesk went into the asset creation business, they'd have a never ending task on their hands – and probably a lot of grumpy customers.
The truth is, Autodesk knows its users are smart folks, and can make pretty much whatever they need. What is provided is a little head start. Let's talk about how we can get more out of these.
The idea is – copy the standard one from the standard library to your user library, and then modify it to suit your needs. Here's the process…..
Open Inventor. Select Create a New Project. I'm naming mine My Company Assets, you can call yours whatever you'd like…. The corresponding subdirectory will be created for you automatically. This makes it a lot easier to find your stuff later on if you need to.
Now we need to find a starter asset to get me started on the one you want to create. In our case, we are going to create some ACME (Gotta love Road Runner, Meep Meep…..) belt conveyors in some standard sizes that our company uses. Open Inventor, start a new blank layout.
In the asset browser, type in belt conveyor in the search field as shown below….
Select the straight belt conveyor. Right click on it and select explore.
You will see two sub directories – Metric and Imperial – we'll select Imperial in our case; select the Conveyor.ipt file and right click / open.
Select Save As, give it a name, and a copy will be saved in the working directory for you. Close this one, select open – and the file you created will be there – open it.
We can now change this asset into whatever suits us. For example, my company's conveyors are orange, not blue. I change the rail color to suit. I also have standard widths that we use. Let's go to the asset builder to take care of that.
Select Asset Builder. You will see the key parameters box open; the one we care about is width.
Select Asset Variants. Select the Width parameter, populate the right column – a column is added and you can now create some variants – I want a 16" wide, a 24" wide, and a 28" wide.
Close the command, and publish. You now have:
Orange conveyors in standard widths (you can right click them and change the variant on the fly in Inventor) – AND….
You can now insert conveyors in AutoCAD FDS – and change their widths the same way.
The end result – a more flexible, more useable, asset that looks how I want it to…