Autodesk and FRC 2016

With the Kickoff just a few weeks away I will be checking the forum for any questions you may have.

Already we have a great discussion on the use of Autodesk Inventor and HSM 2016.

So for now, welcome from Autodesk and we look forward to working with you on FRC 2016.

Actually, our team has just started a CAD team this year, and so far we’ve managed to design most of an off-season robot that we’re developing completely in Autodesk. So thank you sir, for the excellent software.

I just attended Autodesk University in Las Vegas and was blown away. Another big THANK YOU AUTODESK for your support of education. You are an amazing company with a great corporate culture and fantastic software products.

We just finished installing Inventor and HSM 2016 today. We are looking forward to using the new “Inventor Connect” feature to do nightly design shares pushed to A360 and Shape Generator to optimize lightweight conponents . For anyone running Inventor 2016, make sure you get the “R3” update for these new features.

One thing I could use is a setup and usage guide for network distributed rendering using iRay in 3ds Max 2016.

Great to hear you were able to attend AU. It is a highly recommended event and adds a whole new perspective on the size of Autodesk and what it does as a company.

Good advice on the Inventor update so that you can access the new functionality.

I will check for you on the iRay question. Not my department!!

So long as you’re taking questions,

I recently installed Inventor HSM, and I’m trying to use it to create and post process tool paths for a Southwest Industries (SWI) Trak K3 - 2.5 axis - Knee Mill with an A.G.E. 2 CNC controller. The support website for SWI simply says something to the effect of “Talk to your CAM software provider” when searching for post processing configuration settings.

If that information was something you could get a hold of I’d greatly appreciate it.

On a side note, I’m also going to be looking for configuration settings for an X-Carve CNC router from Inventables, but thankfully Inventables has a much more active online community that I can ask than I could for the Mill above (unless you happen to have that information easily available). :rolleyes:


I have spoken to the folks in Autodesk about HSM questions and they have suggested that questions such as yours be posted on the following site,

Please follow up with me if you do not get an answer.

Our team has recently placed a large emphasis on cad and using inventor to bridge the gap between prototypes and design. I have struggled to find a method of collaborating on inventor projects between different users and workstations. Autodesk Vault seems to be an excellent solution… But I am not sure where to start with incorporating it into the team. Is it possible to use without investing in a server. If so, is it reasonable to run it off of a workstation? We appreciate your support, and I hope that you could give me a few pointers as to how to get started, thanks.

If you can’t get a working solution with one of the Autodesk software packages, check out GrabCAD. We have been using it for sharing SolidWorks drawings and documentation with our team.

Hi Phil! Thank you for your support from AutoDesk. We have a CNC and a small CAD army this year (8 kids, 2 dedicated) so I’m looking forward to a great season! Autodesk’s release of the full field was paramount to figuring out a canburglar design for champs, and it worked with marvelous speed/accuracy.

Autodesk Vault is definitely the best solution for collaboration but does present issues in the school lab or FRC lab environment. In reference to the server, one computer (managed by the CAD manager) can act as the server and the other machines are the clients.

Autodesk A360 is an easier starting point in that it is cloud based and each team member can have their own accounts. It does provide the security of Vault and the Check In / Check Out work flow, but it is a good first step in data management.

Email me to discuss further.

Good news on the field. We will be doing our best to make it available immediately after Kickoff in January.

Always glad to see Autodesk’s continual support.

We are thinking about switching to Fusion360 this year for FRC for a few reasons, but have a few issues with it. We want to switch because of the cloud-sharing, integrated CAM (love the waterjet CAM feature), and the direct insert from McMaster button.
My biggest concern right now is that I don’t understand how to structure what are “assemblies” in Inventor. I understand that there are bodies, components, and component groups, but should I be making a new file for every part, or just every sub-assembly? It seems like Fusion is geared more towards the one-file robot, with all parts in that file. My only problem with this is that I made a, assembly (component group) and tried to export one of the pieces to make CAM for it, but it did not export correctly, and there was some messed up associations.

I would also love to have a belt/chain (pulley/sprocket) generator. Oh, and sheet metal parts.

Thanks for this! Will it be in a native Inventor format or available as STEP/IGES as well?

Inventor 2016 and STEP.

I was going to mention Fusion in the next few days but your question has moved that up a bit!

I worked with an FTC team mentor on using Fusion 360 or Inventor for his team. I started by modeling the base FTC robot using Tetrix parts. All parts were uploaded into my design from Inventor. Here is the public link to the frame I modeled.

A major change in Fusion this year is being able to insert a subassembly into the current design. I used this a lot. It is officially called “Distributed Designs”. The frame I built is fully functional. Driving one wheel drives all wheels and gears. You cannot see that in the preview, but it is true!

Sheet metal is on the road map for next year. I have seen some folks using scripts for gears, etc. but have not followed up on that.

Email me if you want to discuss this further.

Hi Phil,

While we successfully got Inventor 2016 R3 installed through our school’s IT department, which I’m assuming has some sort of educational subscription account, it looks like R3 is not available on student and educator accounts, or through the Application Manager for Inventor that was installed through a student or educator account.

If Autodesk wants people to adopt its “flagship” cloud services such as A360, it only seems natural to offer students and educators the R3 release of Inventor 2016, which includes Connected Design with A360.

Can you look into how we can go about getting R3 for home use, and get back to us?


I have emailed the folks in Autodesk Education to see what can done. Should have an answer early next week.

Hi Phil,
I am currently using inventor HSM 2016 to generate complex 3d and 2d toolpath operations. some of the cutters i am using for these toolpaths are a non-centercut type tool. Does Inventor HSM have any easy support for these types of operations to force a ramp into the material? I have been having to fudge the settings to force a ramp. If it does not, I would recommend that sort of setting as an improvement to the package. The ability to ensure any tool does not plunge into the work piece on any operation you do as a simple setting in the toolpath dialogue would be a lot simpler than what im currently doing.

Nate Smith


I commented on HSM 2016 issues in a previous thread and the advice is to post to the Autodesk HSM forum since the Autodesk experts review the comments.

I will track down the link for you.

Here it is.