Autodesk – Inventor – 2010 – Quick Start

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Autodesk Inventor 2010
Getting Started
January 2009 Part No. 527B1-050000-PM01A©
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Published by:
Autodesk, Inc.
111 Mclnnis Parkway
San Rafael, CA 94903, USAContents
Chapter 1 Digital Prototypes in Autodesk Inventor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Digital Prototype Workflow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Components of Digital Prototypes (file types) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Associative Behavior of Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Associative Behavior of Assemblies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Associative Behavior of Drawings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Chapter 2 Create Digital Prototypes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Single Body Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
iParts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Sheet Metal Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Derived Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Multi-body Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Shrinkwrap Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Assembly Substitute Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Content Center Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Content Center Libraries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Sketched Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Sketch Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Sketch Blocks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Sketch Constraints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
iii2D AutoCAD Data in Sketches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Placed Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
iFeatures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Assembly Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Work Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Edit Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Assemblies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Place Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Drag Components into Assemblies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Assembly Constraints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Degrees of Freedom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Top-down Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Create Subassemblies In-place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Design Accelerator Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Design Mechanisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Check for Interference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
iAssemblies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Chapter 3 Document and Publish Designs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Drawings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Start Drawings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Types of Drawing Files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Create Views of Models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Types of Drawing Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Drawing View Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Drawing View Tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Exploded Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Annotate Drawing Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Types of Drawing Annotations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Styles and Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Studio in Autodesk Inventor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Publish Designs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Chapter 4 Manage Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Share Files in Work Groups Using Vault . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Autodesk Vault Add-ins for Design Applications . . . . . . . . . . 56
Microsoft Office Add-ins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Copy Designs Using Vault . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Share Files Externally . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Autodesk Vault Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Autodesk Design Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Import and Export Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
AutoCAD Files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Import Files from Other CAD Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Export Files to Other CAD System Formats . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
iv | ContentsChapter 5 Set Your Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Commands and Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Environment Preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Application Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Document Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Styles and Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Style Libraries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Views of Models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Templates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
Vault Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Default Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
New Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Learning Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
New Features Workshop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Integrated Help . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Tutorials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
Skill Builders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Contents | vviDigital Prototypes in
Autodesk Inventor
Autodesk Inventor
®
provides a comprehensive set of 3D mechanical CAD tools for producing,
validating, and documenting complete digital prototypes. The Inventor model is a 3D digital
prototype. The prototype helps you visualize, simulate, and analyze how a product or part
works under real-world conditions before it is built. Manufacturers get to market faster with
fewer physical prototypes and more innovative products.
Inventor provides an intuitive 3D design environment for creating parts and assemblies.
Engineers can focus on the function of a design to drive the automatic creation of intelligent
components, such as steel frames, rotating machinery, tube and pipe runs, electrical cables,
and wire harnesses.
Tightly integrated motion simulation and stress analysis in Inventor are easy to use. They
make it possible for engineers to optimize and validate the digital prototype.
Generating manufacturing documentation from a validated 3D digital prototype reduces
errors and associated engineering change orders (ECOs) before manufacturing. Inventor offers
rapid and accurate output of production-ready drawings directly from the 3D model.
Inventor is tightly integrated with Autodesk
®
data management applications. This integration
enables the efficient and secure exchange of digital design data and promotes earlier
collaboration between design and manufacturing workgroups. Different workgroups can
manage and track all components of a digital prototype with Autodesk
®
Design Review
software. This software is the all-digital way to review, measure, mark up, and track changes
to designs. You can better reuse crucial design data, manage bills of materials (BOMs), and
collaborate with other teams and partners.
Digital Prototype Workflow
Before you start a design, determine the most efficient workflow. A top down
workflow is often the most efficient way to create a design. In a top down
1
1workflow, you design your components in the context of other components.
This method can greatly reduce errors in form, fit, and function.
Some examples of a top-down workflow are:
■ Create new parts or sub-assemblies in the destination assembly.
■ Create multiple solid bodies in a part file and then save the individual
bodies as unique parts.
■ Create 2D sketch blocks in a part file to simulate a mechanism. You can
use the sketch blocks to create 3D components in an assembly that is
controlled by the layout.
Following are questions to consider before you start:
■ Which view of the part best describes the basic shape?
■ Is the part a sheet metal part?
■ Can this part be used as a part factory (iPart) to generate multiple parts?
■ Can a spreadsheet control one or more parts?
■ Can I create the part automatically by using a Design Accelerator?
■ If the part is a component in a structural steel frame, can I use Frame
Generator to create the entire frame?
■ If the part is a common library part, does it exist in the Content Center or
other library?
The following image shows a multi-body part file saved as individual parts in
an assembly. Individual bodies in a multi-body part file can share features
with other bodies such as fillets and holes.
2 | Chapter 1 Digital Prototypes in Autodesk InventorLocation For more information
Search: “Multi-body parts” Help topic
Parts 1 – Create Parts Tutorial
Parts Skill Builders
Components of Digital Prototypes (file types)
Create or activate a project file before you open an existing file or start a new
file to set the file location. Click New to see the New File dialog box with
templates for a new part, assembly, presentation file, sheet metal part,
weldment, or drawing. You can choose from several templates with predefined
units.
A template can contain property information, such as part and project data,
and drawing views. You can see information stored in a file by viewing its
properties.
For more information about templates, see Templates on page 67. For more
information about projects, see Projects on page 68.
For more information about projects, see Projects on page 68.
Components of Digital Prototypes (file types) | 3Part (.ipt) Files
When you open a part file, you are in the part environment. Part tools
manipulate sketches, features, and bodies which combine to make parts. You
can insert a single body part into assemblies and constrain them in positions
they occupy when the assembly is manufactured. You can extract multiple
part files from a multi-body part.
Most parts start with a sketch. A sketch is the profile of a feature and any
geometry (such as a sweep path or axis of rotation) required to create the
feature.
A part model is a collection of features. If necessary, solid bodies in a
multi-body part file can share features. Sketch constraints control geometric
relationships such as parallel and perpendicular. Dimensions control the size.
Collectively this method is called Parametric modeling. You can adjust the
constraints or dimensional parameters that control the size and shape of a
model, and automatically see the effect of your modifications.
The following image shows a single body part in the upper half of the image,
and a multi-body part in the lower half of the image. Notice the different part
icons in each image.
Assembly (.iam) Files
In Autodesk Inventor, you place components that act as a single functional
unit into an assembly document. Assembly constraints define the relative
position these components occupy with respect to each other. An example is
the axis of a shaft aligning with a hole in a different component.
4 | Chapter 1 Digital Prototypes in Autodesk InventorWhen you create or open an assembly file, you are in the assembly
environment. Assembly tools manipulate whole subassemblies and assemblies.
You can group parts that function together as a single unit and then insert
the subassembly into another assembly.
You can insert parts into an assembly or use sketch and part tools to create
parts in the context of an assembly. During these operations, all other
components in the assembly are visible.
To complete a model, you can create assembly features that affect multiple
components, such as holes that pass through multiple parts. Assembly features
often describe specific manufacturing processes such as post-machining.
The assembly browser is a convenient way to activate components you want
to edit. Use the browser to edit sketches, features, and constraints, turn
component visibility on and off, and do other tasks. In the following image
of an assembly, two of the components display an icon indicating they are
part of a contact set. Components that belong to a contact set behave as they
would in the physical world.
Presentation (.ipn) Files
Presentation files are a multi-purpose file type. Use a presentation file to:
■ Create an exploded view of an assembly to use in a drawing file.
■ Create an animation which shows the step by step assembly order. The
animation can contain view changes and the visibility state of components
at each step in the assembly process. You can save the animation to a .wmv
or .avi file format.
Components of Digital Prototypes (file types) | 5Drawing (.idw, .dwg) Files
After you create a model, you can create a drawing to document your design.
In a drawing, you place views of a model on one or more drawing sheets. Then
you add dimensions and other drawing annotations to document the model.
A drawing that documents an assembly can contain an automated parts list
and item balloons in addition to the required views.
The templates to use as the starting point for your drawings have the standard
drawing file extension (.idw, .dwg).
6 | Chapter 1 Digital Prototypes in Autodesk InventorAutodesk Inventor maintains links between components and drawings, so
you can create a drawing at any time during the creation of a component. By
default, the drawing updates automatically when you edit the component.
However, it is a good idea to wait until a component design is nearly complete
before you create a drawing. Edit the drawing details (to add or delete
dimensions or views, or to change the locations of notes and balloons) to
reflect the revisions.
Location For more information
Search:
“Autodesk Inventor file types”
Help topic
“Set file names”
Manual in PDF format. Autodesk Vault Implementation
Guide
Associative Behavior of Parts
Other than the origin work planes, work axes, the center point, and grounded
work points, all work features are associated to the features or geometry used
to create them. If you modify or delete the locating geometry, the work feature
changes accordingly. Conversely, changes to the work feature affect any feature
or geometry that is dependent on a work feature for its definition.
A parent-child relationship is a term frequently used to describe the
relationship between features. A child feature cannot exist without the parent
feature. If you delete a parent feature, you can choose to retain the originating
sketch of a child feature. If you create geometry on an origin plane or a work
plane created from an origin plane you can often avoid creating parent-child
relationships.
A derived part can maintain associative links to the source component so it
can be updated. You can also choose to break the link between the derived
part and the source part or assembly to disable updates.
For more information about derived parts and work features, see Parts on page
9 and Features on page 18.
Associative Behavior of Assemblies
An assembly maintains active links to the source components. Each time you
open an assembly, Inventor detects the latest version of the components
Associative Behavior of Parts | 7contained in the assembly. When you open an assembly file in which one or
more components are modified, a message displays asking if you want to
update the assembly. Answer yes to update the assembly to the last saved state
of the components. Answer no to disregard any modifications to the referenced
components.
Associative Behavior of Drawings
Drawings maintain associativity to the components contained in the file views.
If you change a component, the component view automatically updates the
next time the drawing file is opened. You can choose to disable automatic
updates by enabling Defer Updates in the Drawing tab of Document Settings.
If the drawing contains a parts list and item balloons, the balloon numbers
are associative to the item numbers in the parts list. The parts list is also
associative to the Bill of Materials in the source assembly. If items are deleted
from the assembly, they are no longer contained in the drawing parts list. The
parts list is associative to the iProperties of the components being detailed for
entries such as part number and description.
Location For more information
Search:
“3D modeling concepts”
Help topic
“2D to 3D bidirectional associativity”
“Assembly components in patterns”
“Design view representations in drawings”
8 | Chapter 1 Digital Prototypes in Autodesk InventorCreate Digital Prototypes
Traditionally, designers and engineers create a layout, design the parts, and then bring
everything together in an assembly. Once the design is created, the next step in the traditional
process is to build and test a physical prototype.
NOTE This chapter describes how to create digital prototypes in Inventor LT
With Autodesk Inventor
®
, you can create an assembly at any point in the design process. You
can virtually explore, test, and validate a digital prototype as the design evolves. You can
visualize and simulate real-world performance of the design, so there is less reliance on costly
physical prototypes.
The basic component of a digital prototype is the part file. A part model is a collection of
features or solid bodies that define your digital prototype. Parametric modeling provides the
ability to apply driving dimensions and geometric relationships to the model. These dimensions
and relationships are called parameters. Parameters control the size and shape of a model.
When you change a parameter, the model updates to reflect the changes. Using parameters,
you can control multiple parts in an assembly.
Parts
A file with an .ipt extension represents a part file. A part is represented on disk
with only one file type. However, there are many different types of part files.
They can be simple to complex. Some of the common types of parts are
explained in the following section. The workflow you use to create the part is
what determines the part type.
2
9Single Body Parts
The most basic part type can vary greatly in complexity from just a few features
to a complex design. The distinguishing features are that it is composed of
one material and one solid body, of which the thickness can vary.
A single body part contains one solid body that shares
a collection of one or more features. A single body part
defines a single item in a parts list.
Location For more information
Search:
“Create parts in assemblies”
Help topics
“Work with parts”
Parts 1 – Create Parts Tutorial
iParts
Most designers have parts that differ by size, material, or other variables, but
the same basic design works in many models.
An iPart is a table driven master part that
configures standard parts to different sizes
and states. The table can be edited within
Inventor or externally in a spreadsheet.
Each row can control feature state (en-
abled or suppressed), and many other
variables such as feature size, color, mater-
ial, and part number. Table driven iFea-
tures can also be included in an iPart
table.
10 | Chapter 2 Create Digital PrototypesAn iPart typically generates multiple
unique parts that belong to the same
family.
NOTE You can create an iPart and save
it as a table-driven iFeature.
Use the iPart Author to create the part family members in each table row.
When placing the part in an assembly, select a row (member) to generate a
unique part.
Location For more information
Search: “iPart Fundamentals” Help topic
Parts:
iParts – The Basics
Skill Builder
iParts – Beyond the Basics
Sheet Metal Parts
Chances are that a design you have been asked to create
contains components that lend themselves to fabrication
from sheet metal.
Autodesk Inventor provides functionality that simplifies the
creation, editing, and documentation of digital prototypes
of sheet metal components.
A sheet metal part is often thought of as a part fabricated
from a sheet of uniformly thick material. If you design small
objects, this material is often thin. However, in Autodesk
Inventor you can utilize the sheet metal commands on any
design where the material is of uniform thickness.
Within the Autodesk Inventor design environment, a sheet metal part can be
displayed as a folded model or a flat pattern. With sheet metal commands,
you can unfold features and work on a model in a flattened state, and then
refold the features.
You create sheet metal parts from a template file. The sheet metal template
file incorporates a set of rules. The rules determine some common attributes
such as material type and thickness, unfolding rules, gap sizes, and so on. By
changing a single rule, you can change the material of a sheet metal part from
Sheet Metal Parts | 11aluminum to stainless steel. A change of material often requires changes to
the attributes that define bends and corners. Such changes often require
changes to shop floor machinery and set-ups used to fabricate the parts.
Like other parts created within Autodesk Inventor, sheet metal parts begin
with a base feature. The base feature of a sheet metal part is often a single face
of some shape to which other features (often flanges) are added. A complex
design could use a contour flange or contour roll as the initial base feature.
Some parts could utilize a lofted flange as the initial feature.
Unlike regular parts, sheet metal parts are always created from a uniformly
thick sheet that is flat. This sheet is formed into the final part using various
fabrication techniques. In the sheet metal environment, you can create a
folded model and unfold it into a flat pattern. The flat pattern is typically
used to detail the fabrication. The sheet metal commands you use to work
with flat patterns can provide critical fabrication information.
If a regular part created in Autodesk Inventor is of a consistent thickness, you
can convert it to a sheet metal part. The same is true for parts imported from
other systems.
Location For more information
Search:
“Sheet Metal Defaults”
Help topics
“Templates for sheet metal parts”
Build sheet metal parts Tutorial
Parts:
Sheet Metal Punch iFeatures – part 1
Skill Builders
Sheet Metal Punch iFeatures – part 2
12 | Chapter 2 Create Digital PrototypesDerived Parts
A derived part is a new part or body created from an
existing part or assembly.

Use Derived Component to:
■ Create modified or simplified versions of other
components.
■ In an empty part file, create a derived part from
another part or assembly.
■ In a multi-body part, insert components as tool-
bodies.
■ Mirror or scale a part or assembly
■ Perform Boolean operations.
A derived part can contain features independent of the parent component,
and can be:
■ Driven by the original component or the link can be disabled.
■ Used for scaling and mirror operations.
■ Derived from a specific assembly Level of Detail.
■ Used to perform add and subtract operations on assembly components.
■ An existing component inserted as a new toolbody in a multi-body part
file.
Location For more information
Search:
“Derived parts and assemblies”
Help topics
“Derived parts”
Create Parts from Derived Geometry Tutorial
Parts – Derived Parts Skill Builder
Derived Parts | 13Multi-body Parts
Multi-body parts are used to control complex curves across
multiple parts in plastic part design or organic models.
A multi-body part is a central design composed of features
contained in bodies that can be exported as individual part
files.
You can insert components into a multi-body part file with
the Derived Component command. Use the Combine
command to perform Boolean operations.
Location For more information
Search: “Combine solid bodies” Help topic
Explore Multi-Bodies and Plastic Features Tutorial
Shrinkwrap Parts
A shrinkwrap part uses the derived component mechanism to create a
simplified part file from an assembly. The Shrinkwrap command uses rule
based face and component removal and hole patching to simplify an assembly.
A shrinkwrap surface composite (the default setting) uses less memory and
14 | Chapter 2 Create Digital Prototypesprovides the best performance when used as a substitute LOD in consuming
assemblies.
Use Shrinkwrap to:
■ Create an envelope of an assembly to provide
information to an outside group such as AEC.
■ Create a part that uses less memory and provides
better performance in consuming assemblies.
■ Create a part that protects intellectual property
by concealing holes and components.
■ Create a simplified part to use as a substitute LOD
in the owning assembly.
NOTE A shrinkwrap part is created from an assembly
to remove parts and small features from the assembly.
Use a shrinkwrap part to simplify a design or protect
intellectual property.
Location For more information
Search: “Shrinkwrap assemblies” Help topic
Assembly Substitute Parts
An assembly substitute part is a simplified representation of an assembly. It
can be created from any part file on disk, or derived in place in the owning
assembly. You can create a shrinkwrap substitute part in an assembly to reduce
file size and complexity.
Assembly Substitute Parts | 15Location For more information
Search: “Create Substitutes” Help topic
Content Center Parts
Autodesk Inventor Content Center libraries provide standard parts (fasteners,
steel shapes, shaft parts) and features to insert in assemblies.
Two types of parts are included in the Content Center library: standard parts
and custom parts. Standard parts (fasteners, shaft parts) have all part parameters
defined as exact values in the table of parameters. Custom parts (steel shapes,
rivets) have a parameter set arbitrarily within the defined range of values.
The basic component in a Content Center library is a family (part
family or feature family). A family contains family members that
16 | Chapter 2 Create Digital Prototypeshave the same template and family properties, and represent
size variations of a part or feature.
Families are arranged in cat-
egories and subcategories. A
category is a logical group-
ing of part types. For ex-
ample, studs and hex head
bolts are functionally related
and are nested under the
Bolts category. A category
can contain subcategories
and families.
Use the Content Center environment to work with Content Center library
parts in the design process.
■ Open and view a part family, and choose the family member.
■ Insert a part from Content Center library into an assembly file.
■ Insert a feature from Content Center library in a part.
■ Use AutoDrop to place a part interactively from a Content Center library
into an assembly file.
■ Change the size of a placed Content Center library part.
■ Replace an existing (also non-Content Center) part with a part from the
Content Center library.
Location For more information
Search: “Content Center Environment” Help topic
Use Content Center Tutorial
Content Center Skill Builders
Content Center Parts | 17Content Center Libraries
Content Center libraries contain data required to create part files for Content
Center library parts. The data are:
■ Parametric .ipt files which provide models for Content Center library parts.
■ Family tables which include values of part parameters.
■ Descriptions for parts including family properties such as family name,
description, standard, and standard organization.
■ Preview pictures displayed in the Content Center.
Parametric .ipt files, description texts, and preview pictures are common for
all members of one family. Sets of parameter values specify particular family
members.
A set of standard Content Center libraries can be installed with Autodesk
Inventor. Standard libraries are read-only and cannot be edited directly. You
must copy parts to the read/write library first.
Use the Content Center Editor to build user libraries and to modify or expand
standard content delivered with the Autodesk Inventor installation.
Location For more information
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Content Center User Libraries Tutorial
Features
The building blocks of a part model are called features. There are four basic
types of Features:
■ Sketched Features that require a sketch.
■ Placed Features that modify existing geometry. For example, a hole is a
placed feature.
■ Work Features used for construction purposes.
■ iFeatures that represent common shapes and are saved in a reusable library.
An iFeature driven by a table can represent different shape configurations.
18 | Chapter 2 Create Digital PrototypesYou can create surfaces with many of these operations to define shapes or
aspects of the part body. For example, you can use a curved surface as a
termination plane for cuts in a housing.
You can edit the characteristics of a feature by returning to its underlying
sketch or changing the values used in feature creation. For example, you can
change the length of an extruded feature by entering a new value for the
extent of the extrusion. You can also use equations to derive one dimension
from another.
Location For more information
Search: “Adaptive features, parts, and subassemblies” Help topics
Create and Reuse iFeatures Tutorial
Sketched Features
Most parts start with a sketch. A sketch is the profile of a feature and any
geometry (such as a sweep path or axis of rotation) required to create the
feature. Your first sketch for a part can be a simple shape.
Sketched part features depend on sketch geometry. The first feature of a part,
the base feature, is typically a sketched feature. All sketch geometry is created
and edited in the sketch environment, using Sketch commands on the ribbon.
You can control the sketch grid, and use sketch commands to draw lines,
splines, circles, ellipses, arcs, rectangles, polygons, or points.
You can select a face on an existing part, and sketch on it. The sketch displays
with the Cartesian grid defined. If you want to construct a feature on a curved
surface, or at an angle to a surface, first construct a work plane. Then sketch
on the work plane.
The browser displays the part icon, with its features nested under it. Surface
features and work features are nested or consumed by default. To control
nesting, or consumption of surface and work features for all features, set the
option on the Part tab of the Applications Options dialog box. To override
consumption on a per-feature basis, right-click the feature in the browser, and
then select Consume Inputs.
Sketched Features | 19The following features are dependent on a sketch you create:
Extrude
Adds depth to a sketch profile along
a straight path.
Can create a body.
Revolve
Projects a sketch profile around an ax-
is.
The axis and the profile must be co-
planar.
Can create a body.
Loft
Constructs features with two or more
profiles.
.
Transitions the model from one shape
to the next.
Aligns the profiles to one or more
paths.
Can create a body.
20 | Chapter 2 Create Digital Prototypes Sweep
Projects a single sketch profile along
a single sketched path.
The path can be open or closed.
A sketch profile can contain multiple
loops that reside in the same sketch.
Can create a body.
Coil
Projects a sketch profile along a helical
path.
Use Coil to create springs or to model
physical threads on a part.
Can create a body.
The models created by these operations are typically solid features or new
bodies that form a closed volume.
Surfaces
You can create surfaces with many of these operations. Surfaces can form an
open or closed volume but contain no mass. Use surfaces to define shapes,
use as a split tool, or sculpt certain aspects of the part body.
Sketched Features | 21The following features require sketches, but do not create a base feature because
they are dependent on existing geometry.
Rib
Creates a rib or web extrusion from a
2D sketch.
Use Rib to create thin-walled closed
support shapes (ribs) and thin-walled
open support shapes webs.
Emboss
Creates a raised (emboss) or recessed
(engrave) feature from a sketch profile.
22 | Chapter 2 Create Digital Prototypes Decal
Applies an image file to a part face.
Use decal to add realism or to apply a
label.
Location For more information
Search:
“Plan and create sketches”
Help topic
“Sketch properties”
Parts 1 – Create Parts Tutorial
Sketch Environment
When you create or edit a sketch, you work in the sketch environment. The
sketch environment consists of a sketch and sketch commands. The commands
control the sketch grid and draw lines, splines, circles, ellipses, arcs, rectangles,
polygons, or points.
When you open a new part file, the sketch environment is active. The 2D
Sketch button is selected, and the Sketch commands are available, along with
a sketch plane on which to sketch. You can control the initial sketch setup
by using template files, or settings in the Application Options dialog box,
Sketch tab.
When you create a sketch, a sketch icon displays in the browser. When you
create a feature from a sketch, a feature icon displays in the browser with the
sketch icon nested under it. When you click a sketch icon in the browser, the
sketch is highlighted in the graphics window.
After you create a model from a sketch, re-enter the sketch environment to
change or start a new sketch for a new feature. In an existing part file, first
activate the sketch in the browser. This action activates the commands in the
Sketched Features | 23sketch environment. You can create geometry for part features. The changes
you make to a sketch are reflected in the model.
Location For more information
Search:
“Sketch Environment”
Help topic
“Application Options settings > Part tab”
“Application Options settings > Sketch tab”
Work with Sketch Blocks Tutorial
Sketch Blocks
In many assembly designs, rigid shapes are repeated.
You can use sketch blocks to capture such shapes as a
fixed set, and place instances of the set where needed.
You can define nested sketch blocks and place flexible
instances of these blocks. These flexible instances retain
specified degrees of freedom that allow them to simulate
kinematic subassemblies.
Sketch blocks are created in 2D part sketches and can be comprised only of
sketch objects. Sketch block definitions are contained in the Blocks folder
while sketch block instances reside under the parent sketch. You can control
the appearance and format of block definitions and instances.
Use sketch blocks to represent components in your top-down design layout.
After you create a sketch block, you can add instances of the block to your
layout. This method for adding components in multiple locations in the design
is quick and associative. Any changes to the block definition are propagated
to all block instances.
Location For more information
Search:
“Sketch blocks”
Help topic
“Top-down design”
Sketch Blocks Tutorial
24 | Chapter 2 Create Digital PrototypesSketch Constraints
Constraints limit changes and define the shape of a sketch. For example, if a
line is horizontally constrained, dragging an endpoint changes the length of
the line or moves it vertically. However, the drag does not affect its slope. You
can place geometric constraints between:
■ Two objects in the same sketch.
■ A sketch and geometry projected from an existing feature or a different
sketch.
As you sketch, constraints are automatically applied to the various sketch
elements. For example, if the horizontal or vertical symbol displays when you
create a line, then the associated constraint is applied. Depending on how
accurately you sketch, one or more constraints could be required to stabilize
the sketch shape or position. You can also add constraints manually to any
sketch element.
Although you can use unconstrained sketches, fully constrained sketches result
in more predictable updates.
Location For more information
Search: “Constrain Sketches” Help topic
Explore Sketch Constraints Tutorial
2D AutoCAD Data in Sketches
When you open an AutoCAD
®
file in Autodesk Inventor, you can place 2D
translated data:
■ On a sketch in a new or existing drawing.
■ As a title block in a new drawing.
■ As a sketched symbol in a new drawing.
■ On a sketch in a new or existing part.
You can import AutoCAD (DWG) drawings into a part sketch, drawing, or
drawing sketch overlay. The entities from the XY plane of model space are
placed on the sketch. In a drawing, certain entities, such as splines, cannot
Sketched Features | 25be converted. You can choose to import AutoCAD blocks as Autodesk Inventor
sketch blocks.
When you export Autodesk Inventor drawings to AutoCAD, the converter
creates an editable AutoCAD drawing. All data is placed in paper space or
model space in the DWG file. If the Autodesk Inventor drawing has multiple
sheets, each is saved as a separate DWG file. The exported entities become
AutoCAD entities, including dimensions.
You can open a .dwg file and then copy selected AutoCAD data to the clipboard
and paste into a part, assembly, or drawing sketch. The data is imported at
the cursor position.
Location For more information
Search:
“3D sketch environment”
Help topic
“AutoCAD, using geometry in Inventor”
Placed Features
Placed features are common engineering features that do not require a sketch
when you create them with Autodesk Inventor. You usually provide only the
location and a few dimensions.
The standard placed features are shell, fillet, chamfer, face draft, hole, and
thread.
The commands for placed features are located on the Sketch and Model tabs:
Fillet Places a fillet or round on selected edges loops, and features.
Chamfer Breaks sharp edges. Removes material from an outside edge and
adds material to an inside edge.
Hole Places a specified hole in a part, optionally with thread.
Thread Creates regular and tapered external and internal threads on cylindrical
or conical faces.
Shell Produces a hollow part with a wall thickness you define.
Rectangular Pattern Creates a rectangular pattern of features.
Circular Pattern Creates a circular pattern of features.
Mirror Feature Mirrors different type of features across a plane.
26 | Chapter 2 Create Digital PrototypesDialog boxes define values for placed features, such as the Hole dialog box.
iFeatures
An iFeature is one or more features that you can save and reuse in other
designs. You can create an iFeature from any sketched feature. Features
dependent on the sketched feature are included in the iFeature. After you
create an iFeature and store it in a catalog, you can drag it from Windows
Explorer and drop it in the part file. You can also use the Insert iFeature
command.
Location For more information
Search:
“Placed features”
Help topic
“iFeature fundamentals”
Assembly Features
Assembly features are like part features, except that you create them in the
assembly environment. They can affect multiple components in an assembly
file, but the modifications do not alter the included component files. If
assembly features are used, use LOD reps to exclude unnecessary components.
The more participants, the bigger the file size and the longer it takes to
calculate the feature. You usually suppress assembly features before saving.
Assembly features include chamfers, fillets, sweeps, revolved features,
extrusions, holes, move face, rectangular feature pattern, circular feature
pattern, and mirror. They also include the work features and sketches used to
create them. The workflow and dialog boxes are the same as for part features.
However, some operations are not available, such as creating a surface for
extruded and revolved features.
You can edit, add to, suppress, or delete assembly features. You can also roll
back the state of the assembly features and add or remove components that
participate in the feature.
Location For more information
Search: “Assembly Features” Help topic
Assemble and Constrain Components Tutorial
iFeatures | 27Location For more information
Show me how to create an assembly feature Showme
Work Features
Work features are abstract construction geometry that you can use to create
and position new features when other geometry is insufficient. To fix position
and shape, constrain features to work features.
Work features include work planes, work axes, and work points. The proper
orientation and constraint conditions are inferred from the geometry you
select and the order in which you select it.
The work feature commands provide on-screen prompts to help you with
selection and placement. You can:
■ Create and use work features in the part, assembly, sheet metal, and 3D
sketch environments.
■ Use and refer to work features in the drawing environment.
■ Project work features into a 2D sketch.
■ Create in-line work features to help you define a 3D sketch or position a
part or assembly feature.
■ Make work features adaptive.
■ Turn the visibility of work features on or off.
■ Drag to resize work planes and work axes.
Location For more information
Search:
“Adaptive work features”
Help topics
“Work axes”
“Work planes”
“Work points”
Explore Sketch Constraints Tutorial
28 | Chapter 2 Create Digital PrototypesEdit Features
In the browser, right-click a feature, and then use one of several options on
the menu to modify the feature:
Displays the sketch dimensions so you can edit them. Show Dimensions
■ Change the dimensions of a feature sketch.
■ Change, add, or delete constraints.
Activates the sketch so it is available for edit. Edit Sketch
■ Modify or create a new profile for the feature.
After you modify a part sketch, exit the sketch and the
part updates automatically.
Opens the dialog box for that feature. Edit Feature
■ Choose a different method to terminate the feature.
■ Choose whether the feature joins, cuts, or intersects
another feature.
Uses grip handles to drag a feature or face, or snap to
other geometry to resize a feature. Arrows indicate the
3D Grips
drag direction. The feature preview shows the expected
results before you commit to the change.
Location For more information
Search: “Features and feature termination” Help topic
Parts 2 – Create Base Parts Tutorial
Assemblies
Assembly modeling combines the strategies of placing existing components
in an assembly, and creating other components in place within the context
Edit Features | 29of the assembly. In a typical modeling process, some component designs are
known and some standard components are used. Create the designs to meet
specific objectives.
Place Components
In the assembly environment, you can add existing parts and subassemblies
to create assemblies, or you can create parts and subassemblies in-place.
A component (a part or subassembly) can be an unconsumed sketch, a part,
a surface, or any mixture of both.
When you create a component in-place, you can do one of the following:
■ Sketch on one of the assembly origin planes.
■ Click in empty space to set the sketch plane to the current camera plane.
■ Constrain a sketch to the face of an existing component.
When a component is active, the rest of the assembly is shaded in the browser
and graphics window. Only one component can be active at a time.
Choose a fundamental part or subassembly, such as a frame or base plate, to
be the first component in an assembly. Except for the first placed component,
all placed components are unconstrained and ungrounded. You add the
constraints you need.
The first component you place in an assembly is automatically grounded (all
degrees of freedom are removed). Its origin and coordinate axes are aligned
with the origin and coordinate axes of the assembly. It is a good practice to
place assembly components in the order in which they would be assembled
in manufacturing.
30 | Chapter 2 Create Digital PrototypesWhen you create a component in the assembly context, the created component
is nested under the active main assembly or subassembly in the browser. A
sketch profile for the in-place component that uses projected loops from other
components within the assembly, is associatively tied to the projecting
components.
Drag Components into Assemblies
You can place multiple components in an assembly file in a single operation
by dragging them into an open assembly window.
Drop the files over the graphics window where the assembly model is displayed.
A single occurrence of each component is placed in the assembly file. The
dropped components appear at the bottom of the browser in the receiving
assembly.
Location For more information
Search: “Assembly components” Help topic
Assemble and Constrain Components Tutorial
Assembly Constraints
Assembly constraints establish the orientation of the components in the
assembly and simulate mechanical relationships between components. For
example, you can:
■ Mate two planes.
■ Specify that cylindrical features on two parts remain concentric.
■ Constrain a spherical face on one component to remain tangent to a planar
face on another component.
Each time you update the assembly, the assembly constraints are enforced.
Assembly Constraints | 31Degrees of Freedom
Each unconstrained component in an assembly has six degrees of freedom
(DOF). It can move along or rotate about each of the X, Y, and Z axes. The
ability to move along X, Y, and Z axes is called translational freedom. The
ability to rotate around the axes is called rotational freedom.
Whenever you apply a constraint to a component in an assembly, you remove
one or more degrees of freedom. A component is fully constrained when all
degrees of freedom (DOF) are removed. You are not required to constrain
completely any component in an assembly in Autodesk Inventor.
To verify the DOF of components in an assembly:
■ Select Degrees of Freedom from the Visibility panel of the View tab.
■ Drag a component in the graphics window. Other components in the
assembly will move based on existing constraints.
Location For more information
Search:
“Assembly Constraints Overview”
Help topic
“Degrees of Freedom in Assemblies”
“Plan Constraints”
Assemble and Constrain Components Tutorial
32 | Chapter 2 Create Digital PrototypesTop-down Design
The top-down design technique (also known
as skeletal modeling) centralizes control of your
design. The technique enables you to update
your design efficiently and with minimal disrup-
tion to your design documents.

Top-down design begins with the layout. The
layout is a 2D part sketch that is the root docu-
ment of your design. You create a layout that
represents your assembly, subassembly, floor
plan, or equivalent. In the layout, you use 2D
sketch geometry and sketch blocks to represent
the design components. You position these
components, in the layout, to evaluate design
feasibility.
Once you are satisfied with the state of your layout, you make components
from the sketch blocks. This process, also known as push-derive, results in
part and assembly files that are associated to the layout sketch blocks. When
you change the sketch block definitions, your component files automatically
reflect the changes.
Experiment with top-down design to experience the power of truly associative
designs.
Location For more information
Search: “Top-down design” Help topics
Top-down Workflow Tutorial
Create Subassemblies In-place
In the assembly environment, you can add existing parts and subassemblies
to create assemblies or you can create new parts and subassemblies in-place.
A component (a part or subassembly) can be an unconsumed sketch, a part,
a surface, or any mixture of both.
Top-down Design | 33When you create a component in-place, you can do one of the following:
■ Sketch on one of the assembly origin planes.
■ Click in empty space to set the sketch plane to the current camera plane.
■ Constrain a sketch to the face of an existing component.
When you create a subassembly in place, you define an empty group of
components. The new subassembly automatically becomes the active assembly,
and you can start to populate it with placed and in-place components. When
you reactivate the parent assembly, the subassembly is treated as a single unit
in the parent assembly.
Optionally, you can select components at the same assembly level in the
browser, right-click, and then select Component ➤ Demote to place them
into a new subassembly. You are asked to specify a new file name, template,
location, and default bill of materials structure. You can then move
components between assembly levels by dragging components in the browser.
Subassemblies can be nested many layers deep in a large assembly. By planning
and building subassemblies, you can efficiently manage the construction of
large assemblies. You can create subassemblies that match the intended
manufacturing scheme to facilitate the creation of your assembly
documentation.
Location For more information
Search: “Top-down, bottom-up, middle-out design” Help
Design Assemblies and Constraints Tutorial
Assemblies Skill Builders
Design Accelerator Components
Design Accelerator provides a set of generators and calculators to create
mechanically correct components automatically from simple or detailed
mechanical attributes you enter.
34 | Chapter 2 Create Digital PrototypesYou insert components using Design Accelerator generators and calculators
in the assembly environment. The generators and calculators are grouped
according to functional areas. For example, all welds are together.
For more information
Search: “Design Accelerator” Help topic
Design Bolted Connections, Shafts, Spur Gears Connections,
Bearings, V-belts Connections, Disc Cams, Compression
Springs
Tutorials
Design Accelerator Skill Builder
Design Mechanisms
A mechanism is defined as a design with one or more moving parts. Inventor
provides numerous tools to assist you in creating and evaluating a mechanical
design.
Use sketch blocks in a 2D part sketch to create a schematic layout of your
mechanism. Create flexible, nested blocks and apply sketch constraints to
define subassembly kinematics. Derive sketch blocks into component files
and create other features to develop your 3D models. The components remain
associated to their corresponding blocks and update to reflect any changes in
block shape.
Use the following tools to evaluate a mechanism in the 3D environment:
■ Animate an assembly constraint and enable collision detection to determine
the exact point of contact. For example, animate an angular constraint to
evaluate the range of motion before contact occurs.
Design Mechanisms | 35■ Create a Contact Set and add members as required to simulate physical
contact between components and to determine the range of motion.
■ Use Positional representations to save a mechanism in various states such
as maximum and minimum extension.
■ Use Inventor Studio to animate simultaneous or sequential movement.
36 | Chapter 2 Create Digital Prototypes■ Use the Dynamic Simulation Environment to calculate displacements,
velocities, accelerations, and reaction forces without the cost of a physical
prototype.
■ Use the Stress Analysis Environment to conduct structural static and modal
stress analysis studies on the digital prototype.
Location For more information
Search: “Physical environment” Help topic
Animate Assemblies
Explore Part Stress Analysis
Tutorial
Explore Assembly Simulation
Check for Interference
In the physical product built from your design, two or more components
cannot occupy the same space at the same time unless they are specifically
designed to do so. To check for such errors, Autodesk Inventor can analyze
assemblies for interference.
The Analyze Interference command checks for interference between sets of
components or among the components in a single set. If interference exists,
Autodesk Inventor displays it as a solid and displays a dialog box that contains
the volume and centroid of each interference. You can then modify or move
the components to eliminate the interference.
Location For more information
Search: “Check for interference between components” Help topic
Optimize Assemblies Tutorial
Check for Interference | 37iAssemblies
An iAssembly is a configuration of a model with a few or many variations
called members. Each member has a set of unique identifiers, such as diameter
or length. A member could have different components, such as a power train
for a vehicle with several different engine sizes.
Create an iAssembly if you want to show different quantities for assembly
components in a parts list. You can define the required parts list quantity for
each iAssembly member.
You can manage iAssemblies from a table. In an iAssembly, you can replace
one member with another member from the same factory by selecting a
different row in the table. The bill of materials and parts list automatically
update when you edit members.
Location For more information
Search: “iAssemblies” Help topic
38 | Chapter 2 Create Digital PrototypesDocument and Publish
Designs
During the process of creating digital prototypes in Inventor, there is often a need to
communicate the design to individuals outside the design team. In Autodesk Inventor
®
, you
can create the appropriate type of documentation for any consumer, such as customers or
manufacturers. The document types available are:
■ 2D drawings
■ 3D CAD files
■ Read-only files, such as DWF or PDF
■ Photo realistic renderings
You can create the documentation at any stage during the process of creating digital prototypes.
Drawings
A drawing consists of one or more sheets that each contain one or more 2D
drawing views and annotations. Drawings are associative to the digital
prototypes. Any change to the model is automatically reflected in the drawing
the next time you open it. You can create a drawing at any point in the design
process, and it always reflects the current state of the digital prototype.
Annotations can include dimensions, symbols, tables, and text.
Start Drawings
Drawings are created from a drawing template file. Autodesk Inventor includes
standard templates (.idw, .dwg) stored in the AutodeskInventor (version
3
39number)Templates folder. The available templ

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