Before I started this blog post I realized that only the engineering students, with the exception of the biomedical students who still remember 7th grade PLTW, would know what Autodesk Inventor is. Since, my blog post is going to consist mainly of the good ole adventures one can expect to have with Autodesk Inventor, I figured I would explain what the program was. When Google searching “autodesk inventor” I figured the program would pop up and a small description of its purpose and function, but instead I was met with the literal search.
John Walker, born 1950, is co-founder of the computer software AutoDesk. Autodesk is a software developing company for architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media and entertainment industries. The specific software from Autodesk that we are using is called Inventor, not to be confused with AutoCAD (Computer Aided Design). Inventor is 3D CAD software that allows you to digital prototype (design and test your products virtually). On the other hand while AutoCAD is very similar in purpose the actual process is different than Inventor. Autodesk is very kind to have free student software download, available on our school computers, but with past experience using Inventor I know the 3D design process can be long and tedious so I thought it would be a good idea to have Inventor on my own personal computer and who doesn’t want to be able to design anything in their spare time? Well, thinking I was downloading the correct version of the program I accidentally downloaded AutoCAD instead of of Inventor. After waiting for hour or more to download the software once I got on I realized it was the wrong version, but that shouldn’t be a problem right? Well for the next few days I tried countless of number of times to unsuccessfully download Inventor. I tried creating a different account, thinking the account might be limited to one software download, well that didn’t work. Then I thought maybe I should download an older version, since newer software versions almost always have some sort of bug or glitch, well that didn’t work either. I thought that maybe if I downloaded the trial version instead of the student version that would work, well that was also unsuccessful. Eventually I decided I had lost my chance and started work on the school computers.
While I was afraid it would mean a repeat of freshman year, coming in before, during lunch, and after school to work the designing surprisingly has gone faster than I expected. It didn’t take me too long to become accustomed to the program once again, kind of like riding a bike, you never really forget. To make the process faster, Jessica and I split the designing in two. Jessica is in charge of designing the body of the flashlight while I am in charge of designing the head of the flashlight (the light bulb containing area). So far in the designing Jessica and I have been working closely to make sure both parts are proportional, the over all dimensions are realistic, and that both parts will correctly connect together. This is actually the first Inventor project that has been a collaboration between me and someone else. The only other similar experience is with DAP, when I modeled a 1970s exterior of a trailer on Google Sketchup and someone else modeled the interior on the same 3D model.
The actual process of making the head of the flashlight has not been too troublesome so far. I think what will be most difficult will be making the place holder slab in the head to hold all the LEDs. My only worry is that once it is 3D Printed that the LED lights will not fit in the holders and that the cables of the LEDs will not be able to go through the channel that connects them to the body of flashlight. I feel that in general this is one of the biggest concerns for both Jessica and I as we begin to prototype that the guts of the flashlight and components will be too big to fit in the space we have provided for it. Luckily though Adina and Kyrie have bought us about a kilo of 3D printing plastic, so we definitely have enough to print out more pieces. “Trial and Error and Keeping Your Fingers Crossed” will just have to be our motto for the next few weeks.
Fighting Evil by Moonlight