How to Use Autodesk Inventor: 8 Tips to Make You a More Productive Designer

by Jeff Yoders
- Dec 10 2013 - 3 min read
Engineering Center LTD

Many Autodesk Inventor users don’t have the time to learn productivity tools and shortcuts on their own. Let our experts make you a faster, better drafter. Here are eight tutorials to help you learn how to use Autodesk Inventor, save your small business time and money, and allow you to get more done as a productive designer.

1. Use 2013 Productivity Tools.

Autodesk Inventor 2013 included several user-requested productivity enhancements for the creation of parts and assemblies, such as equation-driven curves, enhanced 3D sketching, offset base solids, and sketching tools like dynamic trim extend. Context-sensitive menus and more direct model manipulation of models were also included in this release. Check out this video:

2. Reduce Inventor Part File Size.

If you want to share an Inventor part file (.ipt) with colleagues, clients, or suppliers, and you want to keep the file size down, here’s a little tip: Once you have finished the design and are ready to send it out, before you save the part file, move the Inventor End of Part feature from the bottom of the feature tree to the top. This will suppress all of the part features within the tree, and the part model will disappear from the modeling window. Read more from Autodesk expert Steve Bedder:

3. Make Drawing Easier.

Autodesk Inventor 2011 premiered several productivity enhancements, including replacing model references, a DWG file block browser, custom hatch patterns, multi-view create, leading zeros when entering fractions, and many more enhancements that will make your 2D output much more efficient than before. From Autodesk Technical Evangelist Rob Cohee:

4. Use the Libraries.

Inventor ships with more than 1.1 million standard library parts—nuts, bolts, bearings, pins, frame, tee’s, elbows, pipes, and more. All of the standard parts are categorized into their own Content Center libraries included in Inventor. There are seven different libraries preloaded and ready to use, all based on international standards. Each library is a database file that contains all of the relevant information for the components and their families. Learn more from Steve Bedder:

5. Take Advantage of BIM Interoperability With Revit and AutoCAD.

Designing a building system such as a fan or a chiller part? Inventor 2014 can exchange data seamlessly with a Revit or AutoCAD MEP model using DWG files. Using BIM Exchange in Inventor 2014 allows you to import all 3D geometry from such BIM software. You can also use the Shrinkwrap tools in Inventor 2014, which allow you to delete unnecessary or extraneous detail from the BIM authoring tool when bringing it into Inventor. Check out this video from Autodesk:

6. Use Boundary Patches and Other Inventor 2014 Productivity Enhancements.

Selecting edges to create boundary patches now have an automatic edge chain in Inventor 2014. No more selecting every separate edge. When working with forgings or castings, creating fillets was not easy or quick. In Inventor 2014, the preview function actually shows successful and failed fillets. See more of the 2014 enhancements from Dave Whiteley/Envisage UK:

7. Use Inventor Digital Prototype to Simplify Sheet Metal Design.

Inventor 2014 has several tools for sheet metal design, including the Flange tool and automatic error notification. You can also manipulate the defaults for your particular materials. See more from Thomas Mac Donald:

8. Employ Sheet Metal Default, Rules, and “Styles.”

Sheet metal defaults play a particularly important role in the manufacturability of sheet metal products. Consistent rules and defaults, or “styles,” in Inventor can greatly speed up the design of parts using sheet metal. Thicknesses and radiuses can, for instance, be built into a style using Inventor. By making several styles for all of the sheet metal materials you work with, you can limit rework and complete product designs much faster, with more flexibility and design time.

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