101 Autodesk Inventor productivity tips you can use right now!
July 2012 | Filed Under: Inventor Tutorials
We can all use an extra edge to help us get our drawings out just a little quicker. Here are over 100 links to my favourite Autodesk Inventor tips from my favourite Inventor Bloggers from around the web.
There are some great resources out there on the web, and I try and track as many as I can. In researching this post, I had a great time trawling through the Archives of some of my Favourite Inventor bloggers. A big thank you to Curtis Waguespack, John Evans and Scott Moyse, Mark Randa, Jon Landeros, Chris from Symetri, Jamie Ditsworth, Mark Flayler, Steve Bedder and Thomas Rambach for all your hard work and dedication to the cause.
Did I miss any? Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any Tip Top Inventor tips that you would like to add!
To help you navigate this post, I have broken it down into the following sections:
- Feature modelling
- Multi body and derived part modelling
- Sheet Metal
- Assembly modelling
- Frame generator
- Parts Lists
- Printing or Plotting
- CAD Management
- Just Cool stuff!
Autodesk Inventor: Keystroke References
This very handy printable keystroke reference is downloadable from Steve Bedder’s Autodesk MFG blog. Download it, print it and stick it up next to your monitor!
Inventor Reference – Assembly Browser Icons
If you ever saw an Icon in the assembly browser and wondered what it did – go no further. Mark Flayler has put together an excellent reference guide, which you can download for free here.
This tip from Steve Bedder is very useful to Inventor 2011 users who are using the Micro-toolbars, and who don’t need the full palette any more.
Note: This roll up option has been made a little more obvious in 2013. In 2014 I expect it to be turned on by default!
Reducing the disk size of Inventor part files
This really handy tip from Steve Bedder is good to know about, particularly if you would like to Email a part or post a part in a forum. In fact – there are Five ways to use the EOP (End of Part marker) – you can read about the other four on Shann Hurley’s blog.
All my Inventor drawings need a different title block! Are you kidding me?
If you ever need to change the title block in a large number of Inventor drawings, you’d be glad that you read this post from Mark Flayler.
How-To Create Templates in Autodesk Inventor
This ‘Oldie but goodie’ from Mark Randa is a great tip for Inventor CAD Managers. (NB the new file dialogue in Inventor 2013should make this a little easier).
Autodesk Inventor: Quick Tip – Managing Parameters
Steve Bedder’s excellent post on naming, managing and displaying your parameters. This post is a MUST READ for all new Inventor users!
Inventor 101: Simple Fully Constrained Sketches
If you are new to sketching with Autodesk Inventor – stop and read this post from Curtis Waguespack before you do anything else!
The Autodesk Inventor Default Setting From Hell
Mark Randa tells us why leaving the default ‘Constrain parallel and perpendicular’ option turned on may not be a good idea.
Inventor – Constraint Options
If you hear one of your colleagues murmuring about a ‘green dot’, be a kind soul and point them in the direction of this post by John Evans.
Inventor – Horizontal and Vertical
Constraints This quick tip from John Evans shows you how to use Horizontal and Vertical sketch constraints to centre a rectangle about a given point.
Knowing Your Constraints
Have you ever wondered how many constraints are required to constrain the geometry in a sketch? This quick tip from Jon Landeros points you in in the right direction.
Autodesk Inventor Perfect Spacing Everytime
This quick tip from Curtis Waguespack shows you how to space sketch geometry perfectly equally, and in a manner which will update with the part.
Inventor Sketch Tips – Arc Slot Dimensioning
Mark Flayler generously gives us a whole bunch of tips to do with constraining and dimensioning curves in Inventor Sketches. This post is well worth reading, even if you’ve been using Inventor for a while.
Quick Hole Patterns with the Polygon Sketch Tool
In this post, Curtis Waguespack shows you an excellent quick tip for creating regularly space holes using offset geometry and by changing the point type.
Sketch Planes and Offset Planes – In One Step
This is an old one but a good one from Jon Landeros. Have you been creating offset work planes and then creating a sketch on that work plane? If you have – you’ve been working to hard! Find out how to do both at once in one Ninja move!
Once Slice (Graphics) at a Time.
Sketching in a part that already has a lot of features can be like shooting blind. Did you know that you can temporarily ‘Slice’ the graphics along the sketch plane? If you never knew that you could do this, now is the time to find out how. Check out this quick tip from Jon Landeros to see how it works.
Inventor | 3D Sketch tips
If you find 3D sketching confusing – you are not the only one! If you would like to become less confused, this post from John Evans is a great place to start.
How to Create a Plane on Point using Autodesk Inventor
The ability to create work-planes is fundamental to feature modelling with Inventor. Mark Randa has written this really handy guide.
Inventor – Match Shape and Open Profiles
John Evans explains how to create extrusions from open sketch profiles, which follow existing features.
Inventor – Loft Angle and Weight
There’s a lot more going on in the loft dialogue than meets the eye. In this post, John Evans takes us on a deep dive of the various options and leaves us gasping with new understanding!
Conditional Feature Suppression
This is a really handy tip from Steve Bedder – particularly for those who use iParts or Multi-body design parts a great deal.
Who’s the emboss around here?
iFeatures are possibly one of Inventors most under used features. In this clear and easy to follow Tutorial, Jon Landeros walks us through the steps to create a punched iFeature.
Autodesk Inventor: Quick Tip – Axis Normal to Surface
I’ve seen Steve Bedder demonstrate this tip Live at the Digital Prototyping Forum. It’s a real AHA! Tip for those of us who have come from 2D Drafting. Well worth checking out.
Autodesk Inventor Tip: Center a Hole on a Face
It has been said that there are many ways to skin a cat. I’ve never skinned a cat, and this post from Mark Flayer is probably more useful to me in my daily workflow.
Inventor – Garin’s hole article
It’s always a good idea to know what Inventor’s industry specific tools will do for you – even if they don’t apply to your industry. In this post John Evans shows us how to place a hole on a cylinder using the traditional method, and also by using the Shaft Generator.
Inventor Tutorial: Curve Driven Patterns
The rectangular pattern tool is cleverer than you might think, it can pattern along curves too! If this is the workflow that you’ve been grasping for, read this post from Mark Flayler.
Change The Origin of an Imported Model
Curtis Waguespack gives us a great tip for editing ‘Dumb Solids’ that have been imported into Inventor with the wrong origin, using the ‘Move Bodies tool’.
Inventomizations: iFeature Icons and Placement
If you regularly need to create the same features over and over, you might consider creating an iFeature to do the job. This tip from Mark Flayler gives you some excellent advice on adding placement help to your iFeatures.
Textures, Bump Map Files, and RAL colors for Autodesk Inventor
Curtis Waguespack shows us how to add appearances with transparent sections, for textures such as wire mesh.
Inventor Multi Body Modelling
Mark Flayer has a secret. I can’t reveal what it is – but if you’d like to know more about Multibody part modelling, this post is a great place to start.
Inventor Tips: An Easier way to Derive
In my opinion, Multi-body and derived part workflows are the corner stone of working productively with Autodesk Inventor. In this post, Mark Flayer gives some excellent advice on using the ‘Make Part’ tool, to create derived parts.
Inventor | Sheet Metal Hem Tip
This master tip from John Evans combines good manufacturing design with Inventor sheet metal modelling workflow. Find out how to create mitred, hemmed joints without clashes.
Edit a Flat Pattern Orientation
Here is another tip from Curtis Waguespack that you simply wouldn’t know about unless someone told you it was there!
Sheet Metal Extents…Extents
Did you ever wonder how to get the overall Length, Width and Thickness of a part, without having to create lots of reference parameters? – Here’s a clue from mark Flayler.
Quick Inventor Tip – Projected Sketch Geometry
I’m not a big fan of creating adaptive geometry between parts in the Assembly environment. If you need to project geometry between parts and you DON’T want it to be adaptive, check out this quick tip by Steve Bedder.
Autodesk Inventor Slot Axis Tutorial
Jamie Didtsworth takes us through another of those handy to know work flows, that aren’t immediately obvious. In this case, creating an Axis in the Centre of a slot feature.
Autodesk Inventor: Quick Tip – Selection Filters
Knowing how to use selection filters in both the Part modelling and Assembly modelling environments is an absolute must if you want to be productive with Inventor. Steve Bedder walks us through how to use selection filters effectivly this post.
Mirror Mirror in 3D space…
Did you know that you can Mirror a component in an Inventor Assembly without creating a new set of files? I didn’t – find out Jon’s trick here.
Level of Details and Assembly Patterns
Curtis Waguespack gives us some great tips on suppressing Assembly pattern elements in LOD’s
Tricks o’ Me Trade ol’ boy, Tricks o’ Me Trade!
Creating Assembly constraints can be tricky enough. Check out this ‘Trick of the trade’ from Jon Landeros, on using the Flush constraint to create a selction set of faces only, before the applying the Mate constraint.
Autodesk Inventor 2011 Assemble Command Tutorial
The Assemble command rolls the functionality of all the constraint tools into one. It can look a bit daunting at first, but once you get your head around it, it can be very useful. Check out this post from Jamie Didtsworth for a demonstration.
Assembly constraint options
This tip from Thomas Rambach is useful for any one who is having problems diagnosing ‘sick’ constraints, or for anyone who needs to get the best performance from thier assembly models.
Assembly Challenge: Mating a Spherical Face with a Circular Edge
Some time you need to think outside the box. Some times the box is spherical. And the mating edge is circular. Curtis Waguespack demonstrates some out of the box thinking in this post, using Inventors contact solver to supply the answer.
Working With Unconstrained Imported Assembly Components
This tip is for people importing assemblies from other CAD packages, but it works equally well for people working with Multi-body ’Design Parts’ as well. From iLogic Sensai Curtis Waguspack.
Sectioning Parts in Assembly – Who’s Section is it, Anyway?
‘You don’t know what you don’t know’, and if you don’t know how to section just some of your parts in an assembly view I don’t see how you’d work it out! As always Jon Landeros makes it look simple.
A ‘Component’ by any Other Name
By Default, Inventor shows the Component’s (Part or Assembly) original name in the browser node. You may not want this. If you would like to change the browser node to read the file name (Including file extension) or Part number, then you will appreciate this tip from Jon Landeros.
Freeing Your Constraints! Showing Part Names in the Assembly Browser
If you liked Jon Landeros’s last tip on renaming browser nodes, you may also like this tip on renaming the Assembly constraints in your Browser.
Are Your Designs Static or Flexible?
One of the main reasons to use Autodesk Inventor, is to model kinetic assemblies. If you’ve modelled up an assembly, and got it nicely working – and then placed this into another assembly only to see it freeze, then you need to read this tip on Flexible assemblies from Mark Flayler.
Putting it in the Correct Folder.
If your Assembly model is getting out of hand, you might be tempted to create sub-assemblies that don’t reflect your shop process. Inventor 2010 gave us a new way of organising our Assembly models – without effecting our desired structure. This new tool is Assembly folders, and Jon Landeros tells us all about them in this post.
Save Hours of Design Time – Use Demote and Promote in Assemblies
This simple, but not so obvious, technique is really useful to know when working with large assemblies. Check out Mark Flayer’s post here.
Detailing Frame Generator Weldment Members Individually While Still Maintaining Assembly Features
In this detailed workflow, Curtis Waguespack gives us some excellent advice on using weldment assemblies to separate and detail individual parts.
Issues with Inventor 2011 Visual Styles?
Mark Flayler gives us some great advice to help us get the most out of our graphics cards and Inventor’s Visual styles.
Inventor | Some Quick Tips From A New Project
John Evans rattles through multiple tips in this post, including adding new members to a frame generator assembly, trimming frame members, deriving parts using the ‘Make Parts’ tool and using view reps to hide a frame skeleton.
Inventor Bills of Materials
This is a great introduction to the Inventor BOM from Chris at Symetri, well worth a read to anyone that’s new to the BOM.
Before you can use the data in your BOM, you need to make sure that you are extracting the right data from your parts. This tip on iProperty expressions from Thomas Rambach is sure to help.
Understanding Autodesk Inventor Frame Generator, Bill Of Materials and Part Numbers
In this detailed tutorial from Curtis Waguespack, you will learn how to ‘massage’ the BOM to get the data you need for your parts list.
Unwanted *Varies* and Merged Part Numbers in the Assembly BOM
This tip from Curtis Waguespack will help you to prevent parts from ‘rolling up’ in side your BOM when you didn’t mean them to!
What’s Old is New Again – Using AutoCAD Blocks Inside Your Inventor DWG
Here’s a quick tip from Jon Landeros – showing you how to reuse AutoCAD Blocks inside an Inventor drawing.
Drawing Views from a Different Perspective.
If you’ve ever forgotten to correctly orientate your Assembly view before creating a drawing view, or you want to create a drawing view that’s just plane weird… check out this tip from Jon Landeros on creating drawing views on the fly using the ‘Change View Orientation’ tools.
Note: Includes a tip on creating perspective views as well.
Change Model Reference – Making the Switch
In Jon’s last tip – he showed us how to change the view orientation of a component in a drawing view. In this tip, Jon shows us how to change the component that the view is referencing.
Note: This is a new feature in Inventor 2010, it was also available in the bonus pack for 2010. Before this tool became available, it was only possible to change the component the view was referencing by using a ‘Kludge’ involving lying to Inventor and then making up again.
How to get imported parts and surfaces to show up in a drawing view?
Did you know that a part doesn’t have to be a solid to show up in a drawing? Curtis Waguespack shows how to include surfaces in your drawing views.
Meet at the (Theoretical) Intersection
Inventor has this really cool ability to add dimensions in the drawing environment that finish at a theoretical intersection between two lines. It does take a little bit of thought to get it working, but once you have the way of it, it is pretty logical and straight forward. Check out this tutorial on Jon Landeros’s ‘Inventor Tales’ Blog to see how it’s done.
A new angle on dimensions….
Another great tip from Jon Landeros. Did you know that you can place honest to goodness Isometric dimensions straight into your Inventor drawings? Jon Shows us how.
Copying Properties, Copy if you can.
If you’ve come from AutoCAD you may miss the ‘MATCHPROP’ command for copying style between objects in your drawing. Inventor has it’s own version. Check out this quick Drawing tip from Jon Landeros to see how it works.
Inventor – Edge Selection Tip
Sometimes the obvious is staring us in the face and we just don’t see it. If you are having trouble connecting your annotation leaders to your parts, Stop – take a breath, and read this post from John Evans.
Associate a Text Note With a Drawing View
This quick tip from Curtis Waguespack shows you how to associate a note to a drawing view, so that the note and view always move together.
Inventor Drawing Tips: Geometry Enclosed Text
Did you ever need to create a text note which is enclosed by a frame? Check out this tip from Mark Flayler for details.
Suppress Your Frustrations (and drawing views!)
If you need to create a section or detail on a drawing, but you don’t need the base view – you can always just drag the base view off the drawing so it won’t plot… But this just doesn’t look tidy! Jon Landeros walks us through this alternative technique to suppress the drawing view instead.
Chains of Thought – Chain Dimensions in Inventor
This tip from Jon Landeros is really more about Technical Drawing than an Inventor per se. In this tip, you will find out when to use Chain dimensions, and when to use baseline dimension – to make sure that the manufacturer has the information they need.
Change Inventor Drawing Sheet Color
The default Inventor sheet colour is ‘Parchment’. If you’re not keen on drawing on ‘Virtual’ pig skin – check out this tip from Mark Flayler.
Autodesk Inventor Drawings and the Raggedy Shaded View
If you’re going to use colour in your drawing views – you might as make sure it looks pretty! Jon Landeros shows us the setting to make sure that Inventor is always using the highest quality rendering setting.
Specular Lighting in Inventor Shaded Drawing Views
‘Specular’ lighting effects make your colour drawing views look like there is a light shining on them. If you want ‘flat’ colour in your drawings, Mark Flayer shows you how.
Using AutoCAD Sheet Set Manager With Inventor Drawing Files
Inventor doesn’t have a sheet set manager. AutoCAD does… so why not use it? Curtis Waguespack takes us through creating a sheet set from an existing set of Inventor DWG’s.
How Do You Like Your Part List? Filtered, or Unfiltered?
We don’t always want to show every part on our parts list. There are more options for filtering your parts list than you might realise, including ‘By View’ and ‘Balloned items only’. In this tutorial, Jon Landeros tales you through all the options.
The Sum of its Parts – Adding Column Values in Autodesk Inventor
If you’ve jumped through all the hoops of getting the dimension of your parts into your parts list – then the next step must be to get Inventor to add them up for you… Check out this tip from Jon Landeros on using the Parts list roll up options to sum up your parts list.
iLogic: Export Parts List with Options
If you regularly export your Inventor parts list to an Excel spread sheet, why not automate the task? Curtis Wagusepack generously provides the code.
Using an iLogic Form to Make a Rule User Friendly in Autodesk Inventor
Jon Landeros takes us through creating a simple iLogic form to allow you to easily and intuitively change the dimensions or even features of a Part.
A helping iLogic hand ….
I love this tip, because I haven’t seen it anywhere else. Chris from Symetri gives us a great tip on rolling up sections of iLogic code.
iLogic: Sort Browser, Collapse Browser, Return Home, and Zoom All
Here’s another great example of iLogic code for you to enjoy from Curtis Waguespack.
iLogic to Rename All Solid Bodies
This iLogic code from Curtis Waguespack will help you to re name all the solid bodies in a multi body part – prior to exporting the solids as parts.
Creating a Basic iLogic Rule with an Event Trigger
This iLogic code example from Curtis Waguespack, shows you how to add some iLogic code to a file that will be triggered by an ‘event’ that happens inside Inventor.
Using Inventor iLogic to Save multiple formats
Steve Bedder shows us how to export multiple graphic formats (PDF, JPG e.t.c) at once useing a little iLogic code.
Working with external iLogic rules
If you want to share your iLogic rules with your colleges, it’s worth Investigating External Rules. Steve Bedder takes us through the pros and cons in this post.
Autodesk iLogic: Highlight and Update Features During Changes
In this post,Curtis Waguespack shows how to use the iLogic ‘iLogicVb.UpdateWhenDone’ statement, to see changes made by your iLogic rule as you go along.
Built for Speed: Running iLogic Rules Automatically When Saved, For New and Existing (pre-iLogic) Inventor Files
You want to run your iLogic rules automatically on new parts, but you don’t want to manually add an event trigger to each one? Curtis Waguespack shows us how to make use of some nifty VBA code form Jürgen Wagner.
Swift Prints for Inventor
This isn’t really a tip for you to follow – but a tool for you to use instead. Thomas Rambach has written this very nice (and FREE) ploting plugin for Autodesk Inventor that allows you to save your plot settings, much as you used to in AutoCAD. Well worth trialing.
Making your Inventor Render Better
Drawings are OK – but when we really want to show off, a rendering is better. This quick tip from Thomas Rambach shows you how to get a great image for little extra effort.
How To Add Command to the Ribbon or Quick Access Toolbar
If you find yourself using a tool frequently – check out this tip from Jaime Ditsworth. Jaime shows us how to add a favourite command to the Ribbon or QAT (Quick access toolbar).
Autodesk Inventor 2012 – Customize Marking Menu
The marking menu is new – brand new. But don’t fret, if you don’t like it – change it! Jamie Ditsworth shows us how.
Inventomizations: Slice Graphics Pattern I
love this tip from Mark Flayer, this is one for the Uber Inventor Geeks to deploy!
How to Use a Custom Background Image in Autodesk Inventor
Did you ever wonder how to change the background image in Inventor? Wonder no more! Mark Randa takes us through it in this nifty little tutorial.
Creating a New Application Color Scheme in Autodesk Inventor
Pimp my Inventor! This is one of those articles that I’m glad Mark Randa wrote - because I wouldn’t like to have to write it myself! This post walks you through using the ColorSchemeEditor from Inventor’s SDK to design your own scheme.
Guest Post: Autodesk Inventor Hole & Thread Data
Autodesk Inventor uses the American engineering standards by default. If you are based outside the ‘states, and you use a different standard, then you may appreciate this tip from Steve Bedder’s Blog.
Creatures of Habit… Even in Inventor, That’s Me.
This handy new setting available from Inventor 2010 allows us to save files directly into our templates folder. Another Great post by Jon Landeros.
Keeping Up with the Styles of the Times – Migrating to Autodesk Inventor 2011
Jon Landeros has written an number of useful posts on migrating styles and templates from one release of Inventor to another. Because we only do it once a year (Minimum!) it’s the kind of thing that’s easy to forget. I, for one, am glad that Jon wrote this tutorial – I’ve need it more than once! You may also find these other posts on migration from Jon Landeros helpful:
- Moving Forward. Migrating Template Files Captain’s Log – Migrating from Inventor 2011 to 2012
- There’s Been a Change or Two – Migrating Styles Libraries from Inventor 2012 to Inventor 2013
- Migrating Colors and Materials into Autodesk Inventor 2013
Create New Tabs in Autodesk Inventor’s New File Dialogue Box
This trick may not be relevant if you’ve already upgraded to Inventor 2013. Otherwise – sit back and enjoy another great tip Jon Landeros.
Templates: A New Starting Point
Could you save your colleagues time and your company money just be creating a few extra templates? This post by Thomas Rambach gives you some food for thought.
Inventor | How to Adjust The Perspective Camera Angle
This cool tip from Scott Moyse shows you how to dynamically adjust Autodesk Inventor’s camera angle, while in perspective viewing mode. Handy if you’r presenting to your Boss or a client.
You made it! Thanks very much for sicking around :) I hope that you found plenty of really useful Inventor tips that you can use right now. If you read, understood and retained all the information in all these posts, you can now consider yourself an Inventor Master. Go you!