Mastering Autodesk Inventor 2015 and Autodesk Inventor LT 2015 (2014)


The Autodesk® Inventor® program was introduced in 1999 as an ambitious 3D parametric modeler based not on the familiar Autodesk® AutoCAD® software programming architecture but instead on a separate foundation that would provide the room needed to grow into the fully featured modeler it is now, more than a decade later. Autodesk Inventor 2015 continues the development of Autodesk Inventor with improved modeling, drawing, assembly, and visualization tools. Autodesk has set out to improve this release of Autodesk Inventor by devoting as much time and energy to improving existing tools and features as it has to adding new ones.

With this book, the sixth edition of Mastering Autodesk® Inventor® 2015 and Autodesk® Inventor LT™ 2015, I have set out to update the existing pages and add new content and exercises. In these pages, you will find detailed information on the specifics of the tools and the principles of sound parametric design techniques. Some readers will find this book works best for them as a desktop reference, whereas others will use it primarily for the step-by-step tutorials. With this in mind, I've worked to shape the pages of this book with a mix of reference material, instructional steps, and tips and hints from the real world.

Who Should Read This Book

This book is written with a wide range of Autodesk Inventor users in mind, varying from beginner to advanced users and Autodesk Inventor instructors:

·     Beginner Autodesk Inventor users who are making the move from traditional 2D CAD design to Autodesk Inventor 2015. These readers might have experience with AutoCAD and will possess an understanding of basic design and engineering concepts as well as a desire to improve their skill set and stay competitive in the marketplace.

·     Intermediate Autodesk Inventor users who are self-taught or have gone through formal Autodesk Inventor training during their company's initial implementation of Autodesk Inventor and who are looking for more information on a specific module within Autodesk Inventor. This book also targets users looking for a desktop reference to turn to when they come upon an area of Autodesk Inventor they do not encounter on a day-to-day basis.

·     Advanced Autodesk Inventor users who have mastered the Autodesk Inventor tools used over and over daily but want to conquer the parts of the program they do not utilize during their normal design tasks. This book also targets advanced users who want to add to their skill set to move up the ranks within their current company or want to expand their knowledge in pursuit of a new position with another employer.

·     Autodesk Inventor users of any skill and experience level who are preparing for the Autodesk Inventor Associate or Professional exam.

·     CAD and engineering instructors looking for a text to use in instructor-led classroom training.

Attempting to learn all the tools in Autodesk Inventor can be an intimidating experience because of the wide range of task-specific modules available. It is the goal of this book to separate these modules into easy-to-tackle chapters relating to real-world situations for which the tools were designed while also including chapters on general Autodesk Inventor tools, techniques, and design principles.

What You Will Learn

The following pages will explain the Autodesk Inventor settings while teaching you how each tool functions. Just as importantly, though, these pages are filled with the tips and techniques learned by the experts who spent years using, researching, and discussing the tools in Autodesk Inventor. You should come away from reading this book with a solid understanding of the capabilities of Autodesk Inventor and a strong idea of how to tackle your design challenges in the future, as well as an abundance of time-saving tips and tricks.

What You Will Need

The files needed to complete the tutorial projects in this book can be downloaded from the Sybex website at the following location:

Download the collection of zip files and extract all the files to a folder on your computer, such as \My Documents\Mastering Inventor 2015. In this folder you will have a subdirectory for each of the 20 chapters, plus a couple of other folders, as well as a file calledMastering Inventor 2015.ipj, as shown here:


Once the files are in place, set the Mastering Inventor 2015 project as the active project by following these steps. Note that if you are using Autodesk Inventor LT, the use of project files does not apply, and you can skip these steps:

1.  From within Autodesk Inventor, close any open files.

2.  From the Get Started tab, click the Projects button.

3.  From the Projects dialog box, click the Browse button.

4.  From the Choose Project File dialog box, browse to the Mastering Inventor 2015 folder, select the Mastering Inventor 2015.ipj file, and click Open.

5.  Note that the Mastering Inventor 2015 project is denoted with a check mark as being the active project.

6.  Click Done to close the Projects dialog box. Now you are ready to get started.

Free Autodesk Software for Students and Educators

The Autodesk Education Community is an online resource with more than five million members that enables educators and students to download—for free (see website for terms and conditions)—the same software used by professionals worldwide. You can also access additional tools and materials to help you design, visualize, and simulate ideas. Connect with other learners to stay current with the latest industry trends and get the most out of your designs. Get started today

To install and run Autodesk Inventor, you should consult the system requirements information on the installation media and ensure that you have a system capable of running Autodesk Inventor adequately. For basic educational purposes, dealing with small tutorial-sized assemblies, Autodesk recommends a minimum of 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of available hard disk space to accommodate the installation files and temporary files created during the installation. Note that these are the minimum requirements to install and run the program, and you might see slow performance when executing operations that require heavy calculations.

I recommend a system with a minimum of 6 GB of RAM for doing production work on moderate-sized assemblies and encourage you to consider an appropriate workstation for undertaking large assembly design.

The Mastering Series

The Mastering series from Sybex provides outstanding instruction for readers with intermediate and advanced skills in the form of top-notch training and development for those already working in their field, as well as clear, serious education for those aspiring to become pros. Every Mastering book includes the following:

·     Real-world scenarios, ranging from case studies to interviews, that show how the tool, technique, or knowledge presented is applied in actual practice

·     Skill-based instruction, with chapters organized around real tasks rather than abstract concepts or subjects

·     Self-review test questions, so you can be certain you're equipped to do the job right

What Is Covered in This Book

This is what the book covers:

·     Chapter 1, “Getting Started with Autodesk Inventor,” introduces the Autodesk Inventor interface, project setup, and the concept of parametric 3D design.

·     Chapter 2, “A Hands-on Test-Drive of the Workflow,” explores the general workflow of modeling parts, creating detailed drawings of those parts, assembling those parts, and then detailing the assembly.

·     Chapter 3, “Sketch Techniques,” explores the principles of creating parameter-driven sketches for use in modeling features and parts.

·     Chapter 4, “Basic Modeling Techniques,” conquers creating parametric features and building 3D parts models.

·     Chapter 5, “Advanced Modeling Techniques,” explores complex feature creation, including sweeps, lofts, and more.

·     Chapter 6, “Sheet Metal,” covers how to create accurate sheet-metal models and flat patterns as well as how to create documentation and set up sheet-metal styles and templates.

·     Chapter 7, “Reusing Parts and Features,” examines the different methods for reusing parts and features for maximum consistency and design efficiency.

·     Chapter 8, “Assembly Design Workflows,” gives you a thorough understanding of this key concept of Autodesk Inventor design, including the use of Assembly constraints, subassemblies, and more.

·     Chapter 9, “Large Assembly Strategies,” explores tips and techniques to getting the best performance out of your Autodesk Inventor workstation and considers upgrade requirements for the future.

·     Chapter 10, “Weldment Design,” explores the Autodesk Inventor weldment modeling environment and the weldment documentation tools.

·     Chapter 11, “Presentations and Exploded Views,” gives you a thorough look at the presentation tools used to create exploded assembly views and animated assembly instructions.

·     Chapter 12, “Documentation,” covers how to use the Drawing Manager to create traditional 2D annotated drawings.

·     Chapter 13, “Tools Overview,” examines this collection of Autodesk Inventor utilities, including AutoLimits, the Design Assistant, the Drawing Resource Transfer Wizard, style tools, and much more.

·     Chapter 14, “Exchanging Data with Other Systems,” shows the available options for importing and working with solid models from other CAD packages.

·     Chapter 15, “Frame Generator,” covers how to get the most out of this utility when creating structural frames from the Autodesk Inventor library of common shapes.

·     Chapter 16, “Inventor Studio,” covers this powerful toolset to create photorealistic images and animations of all your Autodesk Inventor models.

·     Chapter 17, “Stress Analysis and Dynamic Simulation,” explores the simulation tools used to analyze load stress and mechanism motion on your models.

·     Chapter 18, “Routed Systems,” covers the cable and wire harness and tube and pipe environments and their uses in creating routed design layouts.

·     Chapter 19, “Plastics Design Features,” explores the tools used specifically for plastics design as well as the general tools used in specific ways for plastics design. Also included is the Autodesk Inventor Tooling module used to design mold tooling for plastic-part design.

·     Chapter 20, “iLogic,” introduces and explores the iLogic tools used to customize, configure, and automate your Autodesk Inventor design files. This chapter provides a solid foundation in the rules-based iLogic programming toolset and interface, allowing you to move forward with your advanced automation and configuration goals.

·     Appendix A, “The Bottom Line,” gathers together all the self-testing Master It problems from the chapters and provides a solution for each.

·     Appendix B, “Autodesk Inventor 2015 Certification,” points you to the chapters in this book that will help you master the objectives for each exam.

Autodesk Inventor LT, Autodesk Inventor, and Autodesk Inventor Professional

The Autodesk Inventor mechanical CAD software is available in three primary product configurations that offer specific levels of functionality to fit the needs of different users. This book contains information that relates to all three of these versions of the Autodesk Inventor software. Depending on the version you have installed, you might find that parts of this book are relevant to your version. For instance, if you have Autodesk Inventor LT installed, you will find that Chapter 8 of this book will not apply to your version, since Autodesk Inventor LT does not include tools used for assembly design. Similarly, if you have Autodesk Inventor installed, you'll find that Chapter 17 does not apply to your version, since that chapter addresses tools found only in Autodesk Inventor Professional. To gain a better understanding of your version of the Autodesk Inventor software and how it relates to each subject in this book, please refer to the feature comparison matrix provided by Autodesk online. You can find this by visiting the Autodesk website.