hydraulic manifold design

Step Converter

With Step Converter it is possible to convert a solid manifold block model into an intelligent mbxml file to be used with VEST MDTools.
After convert process, the block can be rebuilt, modified, checked, assembled like if designed with MDTools.
Please find below a short introduction video, feel free to contact me for more informations.

MDTools 760 demo for Autodesk Inventor

MDTools give you all the commands to design, check and assemble hydraulic manifolds, either you start from a circuit on paper or made with HyDraw.


Below is a list of MDTools main features:

  • extensive and customisable cavity library
  • rich 3d command set to quickly create,change and twist your manifold design
  • ability to display connections in the manifold thanks to an easy and intuitive net color set
  • ability to find errors in the design like
    • wrong connections (like a pressure net hitting a tank net)
    • missing connections (you forget to connect one port of a cavity)
    • bad quality connections (a drill shorter than expected)
    • dead area intersections (a drill hole hitting an are where you would expect an oring)
  • ability to check wall thickness problems (2 cavities too close each other)
  • manufacturability check
  • commands to manage stamping text
  • automatic assembly from HyDraw
  • tools to easily and quickly assemble components
  • simplified 3d assembly in step model directly from MDTools (removing all construction ports and all internal connections)
  • automatic machining drawing with full set of customizable lists (bore chart, cavities, engravings…)

Here’s a video showing a small manifold design workflow from a circuit on paper, and consequent modification through a schematic made with HyDrawCAD.


MDTools 760 at work

MDTools 755, released

MDTools 755 for Autodesk Inventor has been released, compatible with Autodesk Inventor 2015, 2014 and 2013.

VEST professional hydraulic manifolds design software is growing, year by year, to provide extensive features and powerful solutions to address a complex engineering problem.

designed with MDTools 755

a 500 drill holes manifold designed in less than 3 days with MDTools 755 for Autodesk Inventor

what’s new page here

  • Enhanced shrink wrap command, working in assembly environment and automatically creating a simplified solid model without construction ports.
  • Update assembly commands, to quickly update assembly constraints even if you change face to a cavity
  • Conformance to schematic check: ability to check circuit, cavities, type of connections, flow rate
  • Keep existing machining IDs, helpful if you handle revisions
  • New assembly interface
  • much more….

want to evaluate MDTools?


MDTools 750 with large manifolds

Large Hydraulic Manifolds design can be fast and efficient thanks to Virtual Cavity Design Mode, available with MDTools for Autodesk Inventor.


One problem of 3d cad software is that performance becomes poor when part model complexity increases.
In my past experience with CATIA (V5 R18 to 21), designing manifolds with a modern workstation was a problem even with 100 drill holes. It was becoming slow, cavity insertion took some seconds, the overall user experience was poor. One solution was, of course, bump up my workstation (video board, processor, RAM…). Computers become more powerful every month, that is a fact, but you don’t change them every year.

If you look at a hydraulic manifolds with hundreds of drill holes, anytime you add a feature you ask your CAD software to calculate surface intersections, geometries… a new feature will be added at the end of  the ‘feature tree’, it will be difficult to find it in the browser, edit it, etc…

MDTools for Autodesk Inventor is different:

  • Do you design hydraulic manifolds? MDTools bring you all the commands you need and something more (energy efficient design, automatic assembly, …)
  • Do you design large hydraulic manifolds (by large I mean hundreds of drill holes)? MDTools offer you Virtual Cavity Design Mode.

What is ‘virtual cavity design mode’ ?

Imagine to design a complex hydraulic manifold, imagine you add a cavity and you watch it in your display but that cavity is not yet a feature and you handle it like a feature (move, stretch, align, change face, etc… ).
This is Virtual Cavity Design Mode.

What does ‘virtual cavity design mode’ mean?

When you work in virtual cavity, anytime you insert a cavity you simply add one sketch corresponding to its position. MDTools will take care of displaying the 3d shape of the cavity.
The 3d Inventor Engine will not be affected by performance issues because ‘feature tree’ has only sketches, no real 3d features.
On the other side, you will be able to run all MDTools command to efficiently design your hydraulic manifold within Inventor, without the need to create real 3d features.

Is it possible to shift between ‘Virtual Cavity’ and ‘Cavity as feature’?

Absolutely yes, it is. You can work directly in Cavity as Feature, MDTools will create Inventor 3d features anytime you place a cavity. That works good for small and medium manifolds. If you want maximum speed, convert the model to Virtual Cavity and exploit the quick hydraulic manifold design within Inventor.
Do you have a large manifold with 3d features and you need to heavily modify it? Convert it to Virtual, do your job, when you are done you convert again to Feature mode.

When do I need ‘Cavity as feature’?

When you want to create a machining drawing, MDTools need real features and Inventor should represent them in a 2d view. Please remember that machining drawing is completely automatic with MDTools.
When you create a 3d assembly, Inventor wants surfaces to assemble other components. Please remember that if you start from a HyDraw circuit, Assembly is fully automatic (1 click and few seconds)

Can you show an example?

This is a large manifold (700 Drill Holes) designed by Aries di Scalmana Luigi e C. snc

Example of a 700 Drill Hole manifold designed by Aries di Scalmana Luigi Srl


This short video will show you how to add cavities, align, modify, delete, etc
My machine is a 2012 Lenovo W530 with Autodesk Inventor 2014 and MDTools 750. I am sure that any modern workstation will be faster than mine.

MDTools Essential for Autodesk Inventor, released

VEST recently released MDTools Essential for Autodesk Inventor, for people not designing many hydraulic manifold block to justify the need for MDTools

A new Software which represents an effective powerful solution to design Hydraulic manifolds within your CAD platform. MDTools Essential is also available for Solidworks users.

MDTools Essential can read a HyDraw circuit, helping the complete design process.

The description of a workflow with MDTools Essential can be found at this link

MDTools Essential for Inventor comes with ‘virtual cavity mode’, the fastest way to design hydraulic manifolds in a 3D CAD platform. Here’s a video of MDTools Essential for Autodesk Inventor

MDTools 945 for Solidworks, released!

MDTools 945 gives more Power-to-Design. Energy efficient connections are now possible by auto optimization of drill depth and diameter. Achieve smooth bends and minimize pressure drop to cut energy losses within the manifold block.

Enhanced HyDraw to MDTools Integration to pull in flow and port type information automatically. Enhanced MDTools user interface with improved icons and an integrated browser.

New interactive functionality includes Stretch Block, Stretch and Incline Drill, and Move Cavity or Footprint by dragging. Consolidated Wall Thickness Check, and Connection Offset Check. >> more…

MDTools, Solidworks and …. color

machining drawing are always black and white, during a recent visit to Parker Italy I had the chance to look at a huge hydraulic manifold drawing……with colors

this is possible with MDTools and Solidworks, without manually “painting” all the cavities

MDTools, Solidworks and color

MDTools, Solidworks and color

MDTools, Solidworks and color

MDTools, Solidworks and color

Load More