Introduction to Autodesk Inventor

  • “Inventor is a parametric solid modeling program built for mechanical design and engineering. With this program, you can design 3D models of complex parts, find their engineering properties, and create dimensioned detail drawings. Then, you can combine the parts into assemblies along with standard components, such as fasteners, from a built-in library. Assemblies can be animated to study their motion and to check for part interference. Assembly drawings with parts lists and balloons are easy to create and, like part drawings, are directly related to the model. In Inventor Studio, you can create realistic renderings and video files of animated assemblies.” (Learning Autodesk Inventor 2010, 6th by Short & Dudek, p. 17)
  • An Inventor part is a collection of features. Take a bolt part for example. The entire bolt is the part but it is made up of features such as a 2D sketch showing the diameter of the bolt, an extrusion of the bolt length, an extrude polygon for the bolt hex head, and a coil feature to represent the threads on the bolt. The Inventor features are displayed in the Browser window.
  • “All of the features are listed in the part tree in the order in which they were created, with the first feature at the top. Features may be reordered by simply picking and dragging them to a new position in the part tree. Reordering features may alter the part. In addition, features cannot be moved above other features on which they are based. For example, if a hole has a fillet applied to it, the fillet feature cannot be moved above the hole feature. The last feature to be listed in any Inventor part tree is the End of Part marker. Its icon is a red octagon with a white X. This serves as an 'end-of-file' marker for the part or assembly.” (Learning Autodesk Inventor 2010, 6th by Short & Dudek, p. 18)

User Interface

Application Menu

Pack and Go

  • Application Menu ? Save As ? Pack and Go
  • “Pack and Go packages an Autodesk Inventor file and all of its referenced files in a single location. All files that reference the selected Autodesk Inventor file from a selected project or folder can also be included in the package. Use Pack and Go to archive a file structure, copy a complete set of files while retaining links to referenced files, or isolate a group of files for design experimentation.” (Autodesk Inventor 2014 Help - Files packaged with Pack and Go)


Colors tab

  1. Increase default size of Annotation
    1. Application Options → General tab → Annotation scale
      1. default 1 change to 1.25
  2. How do I change the Inventor display area background color from a default gray gradient to a solid white color?
    1. Setting Background Color: Inventor Application Menu (Uppercase I in top left corner) ? Options button ? Colors tab. Default color settings are: Color scheme - Winter Night, Background - Gradient.
    2. Figure 1-0 Inventor Options - Background Color
    3. To set the background color to <b>white</b>, use color scheme <b>Presentation</b> and background <b>1 Color</b>. This is beneficial when making screen shots to display in a wiki or Word document. (see ? Learning Autodesk Inventor 2014. 01. Autodesk Inventor - Model Display).
    4. Figure 2-0 Inventor Options - Background Color - White
    5. Alternative is to use color scheme <b>Sky</b> and use Microsoft Paint to save the default blank, white image as .png to background folder (C:UsersPublicPublic DocumentsAutodeskInventor 2014Backgroundswhite.png). See Tip#14 Autodesk Inventor White Background from Autodesk University 2013 - MA2822: 60 Inventor Tips in 60 Minutes.

Display tab

  1. How do you change default zoom behavior when using the wheel mouse to zoom in/out?
  2. Figure 3-0 Inventor Options - Display

Status Bar

  • The Autodesk Inventor Status Bar is displayed across the bottom of the active window and provides prompts on the next step in command. For example, if using the Line command, the status bar prompt is <I>Select start of line, drag off endpoint for tangent arc</I>.
    • Figure 1-0 Location of the Inventor Status Bar
  • Status Bar 1 - Displays information about the activate command
  • Status Bar 2 - Snap to Grid, restricts the movement of the cursor to a rectangular grid when a sketch command is active.
  • Status Bar 3 - Show or Hide All Constraints, toggles on/off all glyphs for constraints applied to the sketch geometry. This is just a snap shot, that is if you add new constraints, the glyphs will not be added, that is the view updated. To refresh the view to see all current constraints, need to toggle the All Constraints button on and off.
  • Status Bar 4 - drop down menu of either Value, Name, Expression, Tolerance, or Precise Value.
  • Status Bar 5 - Slice Graphics, removes the display of the geometry in front of the active sketch plane. This setting is for display only, it does not affect the geometry. This is a favorite feature for Inventor users.
  • Status Bar 6 - Show All Degrees of Freedom / Hide All Degrees of Freedom, displays or hides glyphs that represent unconstrained geometry.
  • Status Bar 7 - mouse coordinate location
  • Status Bar 8 - Constraint status, Fully Constrained
  • Status Bar 9 - Total Occurrences in Active Document
  • Status Bar 10 - open documents in session, capacity meter (not available in 64-bit operating systems) giving the
  • The Status Bar visibility can be turned on and off from the View ? User Interface menu.
    • Figure 1-0 Inventor View Menu - Status Bar visibility
  • References


  • Inventor requires that geometry (e.g. lines, points, polygons, etc.) be created on a work/origin plane. Also when you draw a 2D sketch, Inventor will automatically orient the model view to the positive/normal side of the work plane. Remember, the blue side of the work plane is negative and the yellowish side is positive. If you don't like this default behavior, just right click on the work plane and select <b>Flip Normal</b> from the context menu. (see ? Learning Autodesk Inventor 2014 ? 05 Creating Work Features ? 04 Working With Work Features, by Adam Cooper) (Secure avi)

Simple Part

  • Figure 1-0 Basic Technical Drafting p. 138 Figure 9
  • Figure 1-0 Animation creating Figure 9 Part

Sketch Constraints

  • Autodesk Inventor 2014 Help - Constraints in sketches
  • Yellow Dot (soft constraint)
  • Green Dot (hard constraint) - occurs when clicking on the origin point in a 2D sketch. If this happens, then can no longer move that portion of the sketch as it is locked/constrained.

Tangent Constraint

  • To create a line tangent to a circle/arc
    • Option A: 1) draw a circle, 2) select line, 3) click-n-hold while dragging the cursor around the circle until the tangent constraint appears
    • Option B: 1) draw a circle, 2) select line, 3) draw near the circle, 4) click tangent constraint button, 5) click circle and line to apply tangent constraint.
    • Figure 1-0 Drawing Tangent Lines in Autodesk Inventor 2014
  • References

Fix Constraint

Snap Points

  • How to find snap points? When creating geometry, you can snap to a midpoint, center, or intersection. Right-click in the graphics window, and then select a snap location from the menu. Plans and Tips for Sketches

Sketch Coordinates


  • Figure 2-0 Closed-end wrench
  • Figure 2-0 Hexagon (6-sided polygon)


Three Point Arc

  • Creates an arc defined by two endpoints and a point on the arc. The first click sets the first endpoint, the second sets the other endpoint (chord length), and the third point sets the arc direction and radius. ( 3D arc reference)
  • Figure 1-0 Nail box
  • Figure 2-0 Nail box handle
  • Figure 3-0 Arc Three Point - example on nail box handle


Autodesk Inventor Team

  • Jim Byrne is the Autodesk Inventor Product Manager,
  • Johnson Shiue, is familiar with threadModeler app

Wishlist - Inventor Ideas


Civil Engineering Engineering - Computer Engineering - Electrical Mechanical Engineering

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