Autodesk Inventor Help: 7 Tips and Tricks to Get the Most from Newer Features

by Jeff Yoders
- Apr 16 2014 - 2 min read

For the third roundup of Autodesk Inventor help, here are some tips for new additions from Inventor 2011 and later versions.

Frame-member design automation, easier import from STEP and IGES files, iCopy for sub-assemblies, the Style Library, and the 3D Pipe Run App are all innovations asked for by users and added in the past few versions of Inventor. All of these new features can help product and part designers, as well as structural engineers and architects, make more of their Inventor experience.

1. Frame Member Design. Why build your frame structures manually when you can extrude profiles from existing sketch lines? This tip explains how to use the hundreds of profiles in your library to create a structural frame, and how to cut, cope, and miter the existing sketches into a new frame. Andy Rahden explains:

2. Authoring and Publishing Custom Frame Members for Inventor’s Frame Generator. You can also make the process of creating custom frame members by turning your frame members into iParts and using Inventor’s frame generator to author them as structural shapes. This is similar to the frame design tip above, but with more customization. See more from ImaginIt Technologies:

3. Use iCopy to Create Similar Sub-assemblies. Many designs require the creation of sub-assemblies that have only small variations of a commonly used assembly. The iCopy feature in Inventor 2011 and later versions enables you to easily customize commonly used assemblies by automating the process of copying and positioning similar components. You can automate the process of copying and positioning multiple components. From Autodesk Manufacturing:

4. Easy Import of Vendor-Supplied 3D Models. Many vendors supply 3D models of their products in neutral file formats such as STEP; however, importing them into your Inventor assembly can take a while if you don’t know this shortcut. Use the Place command and switch to the file format you want to convert from (STEP, IGES, and so on), and follow the menus for exactly what you want to import. From ECAD:

5. Gathering Styles and Using the Style Library. In Inventor 2012, a style library is no longer optional. Prior to Inventor 2012, styles could be held in individual files, part files, assembly files, or any other type of Inventor file. A Style Library consolidates all styles into one place; this saves RAM by keeping Inventor from making individual style copies for each file. You can easily create a library by changing the “Use Style Library” setting in your Projects tab. ECAD explains how to gather your various styles into one concise library:

6. Adaptive Spring Creation. To design a spring whose compressed length is adaptive to the distance between two parallel faces in Inventor, you must first create the planes at an indicative distance between the start and the end of the spring. Then use the Create command to sketch your spring in the XZ frame. See how from Symetri UK:

7. Using the 3D Pipe Run App. There is a 3D pipe run app available for Inventor 2013. All you need to do is enter the number of points you’re working from, their values, and the diameter of your pipe, and the app will automatically create your 3D pipe run. Dave Whiteley explains it in more detail:

For more help with Inventor, check out these eight tips to make you a more productive designer and these 10 tips on contraints, lofts, bolted connections, and more.

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