The Creative Inventor: Exploring Desktop Content

In previous versions of Autodesk Inventor, delivery of Content Center components was accomplished through the use of the Autodesk Data Management Server (ADMS). If you opted to have Content Center stored and accessed locally on each individual machine, then ADMS was required to be installed on each system, often causing additional memory overhead.

Inventor 2010 delivers Content Center along to entirely different paths. If you choose a shared location for your content center databases, then Autodesk Data Management Server is installed on a file server, along with Internet Information Services. This install path allows any number of user workstations to access the same shared Content Center databases. This method allows great flexibility in creating shared custom Content Center libraries.

The alternative path provides for installation of the new Inventor 2010 Desktop Content. This path allows installation of Content Center databases on each local workstation drive. Using the Desktop Content approach, ADMS will not be required. Installation is simplified and the memory load is reduced.

Configuring your system for desktop content

If you currently have Content Center available for previous versions of Inventor, then Content Center should still be available when you're working in those previous versions. However, in order to utilize Desktop Content in 2010, you will need to configure your system in two places.

Application options - Content Center

When you go to Application Options, you will notice that there is a new tab in options for 2010. Be sure to configure this before attempting to use Content Center components in your new design. The Content Center tab is shown below.

The image above illustrates the correct settings for use. If you have difficulty in placing or accessing content center in 2010, you will want to verify that the location of the installed libraries matches the location specified in this dialog box. Libraries that should be installed on your system are shown in the image below.

Desktop Content libraries do not follow the same format as previous Content Center libraries - they are different file types with different extension names. The IDCL extension is new for Inventor 2010 and does not require ADMS to deliver the content.

You'll notice that the standard list of libraries that are installed also include a custom read/write library called "My Library." Additional custom libraries may be created through the project file interface.

Configuring the project file for desktop content

Configuration of Content Center in project files has changed for Inventor 2010. To access projects in Inventor 2010, go to File >> Projects in the Classic interface, or select the Inventor Icon (upper left corner of your screen) >> Manage >> Projects, as shown below.

In the projects dialog box, you may configure the Content Center libraries by picking on the icon in the lower right corner as shown below.

When you launch configuration, you will be presented with a configuration dialog that will allow you to easily select the particular library(ies) that you want to use within this project. This is a much simpler approach than in previous versions. Instead of adding or removing libraries, you simply place a check box in front of the desired active libraries. In the image below you will notice that there are two unchecked libraries that are custom libraries, allowing for creation or addition of user content.

Content Center libraries, like all other aspects of the project file, are stored within the individual project file. Once you have properly configured for desktop Content Center, the available content is accessible through the right-click menu in the assembly environment.

Important Announcement to All Teachers

School budgets rarely have money to train teachers and instructors in CAD. As a result, their vocational programs are severely hampered in training students for jobs in industry. Especially in the United States, manufacturing tends to migrate where there is skilled help. Quite often today, that help is not available within the US.

In the interest of improving the current manufacturing environment, I am providing free Inventor training to all instructors this summer, with classes scheduled for late June and a second class starting in late July.

Any teacher located anywhere can register to attend these training classes for free and receive a certificate and continuing education units for their time. These are formal training classes that will instruct on how to use and how to teach Autodesk Inventor. The classes will be taught live via the Internet with the opportunity to ask questions and communicate with the instructor.

All class materials including the training manual will be provided free. The requirements to take the class are simple: broadband access, sound card, and a computer capable of running Inventor 2009 or 2010. Autodesk has free software available to students. Registration is available to all middle school/high school and college instructors.

Registration for the free classes are at:

Be sure to sign up for my free newsletter at the site, so that you will be notified of the date and time of these free live web training events.

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