The Bottom Line - Mastering Autodesk Inventor 2015 and Autodesk Inventor LT 2015 (2014) 

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

Appendix A. The Bottom Line

Each of The Bottom Line sections in the chapters suggest exercises to deepen skills and understanding. Sometimes there is only one possible solution, but often you are encouraged to use your skills and creativity to create something that builds on what you know and lets you explore one of many possible solutions.

Chapter 1: Getting Started

1.  Create parametric designs. The power of parameter-based design comes from the quick and easy edits, when changing a parameter value drives a change through the design. To make changes easily, though, you need to follow certain general rules so that the changes update predictably.

1.  Master It You want to create a model of a base plate, a rectangular-shaped part with a series of holes and rectangular cutouts. What would your initial sketch look like in Inventor?

2.  Solution To start a model for the base plate, your initial sketch would most likely be just a rectangle defining the width and length of the part. This rectangle would be extruded to give it a thickness, and then you would create secondary sketches for the other features and cut them from the plate. This approach follows the best practice of creating simple sketches to create simple features to build a complex part.

2.  Get the “feel” of Inventor. The interface contains many elements that change and update to give you the tools you need to perform the task at hand. Getting comfortable with these automatic changes and learning to anticipate them will help you get the “feel” of Inventor.

1.  Master It You create an extrude feature using the Extrude button, but you cannot seem to find an Edit Extrude button. How can you edit the extruded feature to change the height?

2.  Solution To edit an extruded feature (or any feature), you can simply right-click it in the browser and choose Edit Feature. This makes feature edits universal, so a separate edit tool is not required for each feature type. Keep in mind that for most features, you can double-click the feature button in the browser to edit it as well.

3.  Use the Inventor graphical interface. Inventor 2015 uses the Ribbon menu interface first introduced in Inventor 2010. Tools are grouped, which makes finding them intuitive once you become familiar with the basic layout.

1.  Master It You are trying to draw a line on the face of a part, but you seem to have lost the Sketch tab in the ribbon. How do you get it back?

2.  Solution The Sketch tab is present only when you have created a new sketch or are editing an existing sketch. To draw a line, you need to access the Line tool. You must first use the New Sketch tool to create a sketch, and then you will see the Sketch tab and on it the Line tool.

4.  Work with Inventor file types. Inventor supports many different file types in its native environment, separating tasks and files to improve performance and increase stability.

1.  Master It You have trouble keeping the various file types straight because all the file icons look rather similar to you. Is there a way you can see which file is what type?

2.  Solution You may want to turn on the view of filename extensions on your system so that you can read them (.ipt, .iam, .idw, and so on) as you open and save files. See the sidebar “Turning on Filename Extensions” in Chapter 1 for instructions on how to do so.

5.  Understand how project search paths work. Knowing how Inventor resolves file paths when it opens linked files, such as assembly files and drawings, goes a long way toward helping prevent broken links and repairing links that do get broken.

1.  Master It What type of file does Inventor use to point the assembly file to the parts that it contains?

2.  Solution Inventor uses the project file (*.ipj) to hold workspace and library search paths. If files are outside of these search paths, Inventor will not find the files, and you will be required to point the assembly to them each and every time.

6.  Set up library and Content Center paths. Library and Content Center paths are read-only library configurations set up in the project file.

1.  Master It When you set up a library or Content Center path to a folder that does not exist, what happens?

2.  Solution When you create a path to a nonexistent folder, Inventor will create that folder for you. Keep this in mind when you create paths in the project file, and watch out for spelling and syntax errors because Inventor will create a new folder with an incorrectly spelled name as well.

7.  Create and configure a project file. Project files are a key component of working successfully in Inventor, but for many people, this is a one-time setup. Once the project is created, for the most part you just use it as is.

1.  Master It After creating a project file initially, you want to make one or more changes to the configuration, but you can't seem to do so. What could be the problem?

2.  Solution Keep in mind that while you are working with a project file, it is held in a read-only status by Inventor. To make changes, you need to first close all of the files you have open that are included in the project path. If you close all the files and the project is still held in the read-only state, switch to a different project in Inventor, browse for the IPJ file in Windows Explorer, and then right-click and check the Read-only attribute of the IPJ file. Windows often seems to leave the Read-only attribute set on IPJ files, and then it needs to be manually taken off. Once it is off, you can switch back to that project in Inventor and make changes.

8.  Determine the best project type for you. Although the Autodesk solution to a multiuser environment is Autodesk Vault, many people may not be able to use Vault. For instance, if you use another CAD application that links files together like Inventor, Vault will likely not know how to manage the internal links for those files.

1.  Master It Because you generally do not work concurrently on the same files as your co-workers, you think it might be best to set up a single-user project for now while you continue to investigate the Vault solution, but you are not sure if that will work. Can single-user projects be used in this manner?

2.  Solution Set up a single-user project and then point everyone's computer to that file. Keep a close eye on how well it works in the first several days, and watch for signs that people are making changes to the file at the same time. If your workflow is fairly linear, with one department handing files off to the next, this may not be an issue. However, if you see that people are reaching for the same files at the same time, you probably need to make Vault a priority.

Chapter 2: A Hands-on Test-Drive of the Workflow

1.  Create a part model. The process of creating a part model starts with an *.ipt template file. Once you've started a part model from a template, you create sketches to define feature profiles, and then you make those profiles into 3D features using one of the 3D modeling feature tools.

1.  Master It You created a base 3D feature for your parts by extruding a sketch profile at a distance of 15 mm. Then you created other sketches on the top face of the base feature. However, you now realize that the base feature should have been 25 mm thick. Can the base feature be changed after you've created other features on it?

2.  Solution To modify part features, you can right-click them in the browser and choose Edit Feature. Inventor employs the same dialog box used to create a feature originally to edit that feature.

2.  Create and detail drawings of part models. The process of creating a drawing file starts with an *.idw template file. Once you've started a drawing from a template, you create views of a referenced part model file. After the views are created, you can add dimensions and other annotations to the view.

1.  Master It You've created a drawing of a part model and then realize that you need to make a change to that model. How will the change to the part model be handled by the drawing file?

2.  Solution When you edit a part model that is referenced in a drawing view, the view will automatically update. If you change the length of a part model and you have created a dimension for this length in the drawing, that dimension will update as well. If you dimensioned from the edge of the part to the center of a hole feature in the drawing and then edited the part model file and deleted the hole, Inventor will either remove the drawing dimension or reserve the dimension and highlight it in a different color to call attention to the removed feature.

3.  Put part models together in assembly files. The process of creating an assembly model starts with an *.iam template file. Once you've started an assembly model from a template, you place part model files into the assembly and then use Assembly constraints to arrange and assemble the part models.

1.  Master It You've assembled your part models in an assembly file and then need to make a change to a part-model file. How will the change to the part model be handled by the assembly file?

2.  Solution Changes made to a part-model file will be reflected in all the assemblies in which that part-model file was used. If the edit to the part model involved changing the length of the part, most likely the Assembly constraints will update properly, because the faces and edges of the part model used in the Assembly constraint are still present but have just been adjusted in size. If a part feature such as a hole was deleted from the part, any Assembly constraints that used that hole feature geometry would need to be edited or deleted.

4.  Create and detail drawings of assembly models. The process of creating an assembly drawing starts with an *.idw template file, just as it did with creating part drawings. Once you've started a drawing from a template, you can create views of a referenced assembly model file. After the views are created, you can add annotations such as parts lists and callout balloons, as well as dimensions, text notes, and so on.

1.  Master It You've created a drawing of an assembly model and then realize that you need to make a change to one of the part files within that the assembly model. How will the change to the part model be handled by the drawing of the assembly?

2.  Solution When you edit a part model that is referenced in an assembly model, the assembly is updated. If edits to the Assembly constraints are needed, it's best to open the assembly file and take care of those things first. Then the views in the assembly drawing will automatically update as expected.

Chapter 3: Sketch Techniques

1.  Set up options and settings for the sketch environment. Understanding the settings and options that apply to the sketch environment is an essential first step in working with Inventor.

1.  Master It You want to configure your own set of options and settings for your sketch environment and then back them up and/or distribute them to other workstations. How would you do this?

2.  Solution There are primarily two sets of options you can configure in Inventor. The application options configure Inventor itself, and the document settings configure the settings on a per-file basis. You access both options and settings by clicking either the Application Options or the Document Settings button on the Tools tab. In the Application Options dialog box, select the Sketch tab to configure the sketch environment. Once the changes are made, you can click the Export button to save the settings as an XML file for redistribution.

2.  Create a sketch from a part file template. Creating a sketch in a blank template file is the fundamental step in creating 3D parametric models. You will use this basic step to start most of your part designs.

1.  Master It How would you capture the intent of your design when creating a base sketch for a new part?

2.  Solution Use a combination of lines, arcs, and geometry as well as sketch constraints and dimensions to properly constrain your sketch. You can then use this sketch to create a base feature for your part. Keep in mind the importance of keeping sketches simple and fully constrained.

3.  Use sketch constraints to control sketch geometry. Understanding what each sketch constraint does when applied will allow you to determine when to use each type. Recall that often more than one constraint will work in any given situation.

1.  Master It How would you create a sketch that allows you to test “what if?” scenarios concerning the general shape and size of your part?

2.  Solution First ensure that your sketches are properly constrained. Sketches that are properly constrained are needed to allow you to experiment with your dimensional parameters by changing values and testing “what if?” scenarios. If the sketch geometry is not properly constrained, changes to dimensions may create unpredictable results.

4.  Master general sketch tools. Learning the features and tricks of the sketch tools will allow you to master Inventor sketching.

1.  Master It You are given a print of mixed units to work from, and you need to enter dimensions exactly as they are on the print. You understand that you can enter any dimensions in any unit simply by adding the correct suffix. But how would you create a radius dimension on a circle or a dimension from the tangents of a slot?

2.  Solution Recall that you switch between variant dimension solutions such as diameter to radius simply by right-clicking after having selected the geometry. You can also get alternate dimension solutions by selecting different parts of the same geometry. For instance, selecting a line and then almost anywhere on a circle will give you a dimension from the center point of the circle to the line, whereas selecting a line and the tangent quadrant point of the circle will give you a dimension from the tangent point of the circle and the line.

5.  Create sketches from AutoCAD geometry. You can use existing AutoCAD files to create a base sketch for an Inventor model of the same part.

1.  Master It You have many existing 2D AutoCAD drawings detailing legacy parts. You want to reuse these designs as you convert to 3D modeling. How would you proceed?

2.  Solution You can copy and paste selected geometry from AutoCAD directly into an Inventor sketch and then turn it into a solid model. Keep in mind that the results are dependent on the accuracy of the original AutoCAD data. Once you become proficient with Inventor, it is often just as quick to model a part from scratch rather than by copying it.

6.  Use 3D sketch tools. Much of working with a 3D parametric modeler can be done by sketching in a two-dimensional plane and then giving depth to the sketch to create 3D features. However, sometimes you need to create paths or curves that are not planar. In those cases, you use the 3D sketch tools.

1.  Master It You know the profile of a complex curve as viewed from the top and side. How would you create a 3D sketch from this data?

2.  Solution Start by creating a separate 2D sketch for both the top and side views of the curve. Then create a 3D sketch and use the 3D Intersection Curve tool to find the intersecting curve.

Chapter 4: Basic Modeling Techniques

1.  Configure options and settings for part modeling. Understanding the settings and options that apply to the modeling environment is essential for getting the results you want from Inventor.

1.  Master It You want to configure your options and settings for your sketch environment and then back them up and/or distribute them to other workstations. How would you go about doing this?

2.  Solution You would first configure the options and settings by clicking Application Options on the Get Started tab and then selecting the Sketch tab in the Application Options dialog box. Then you would use the Export button to save the settings as an XML file.

2.  Create basic part features. In this chapter, you learned how to plan a workflow that allows you to create stable, editable parts that preserve the design intent.

1.  Master It You need to create a fairly complex part consisting of many extrusions, revolves, sweeps, and lofts. In addition, you will need to create holes, fillets, chamfers, and other part modifiers. This part may need significant modification in the future by you or by other designers. What considerations will guide your part creation?

2.  Solution Determine how this part will be manufactured. Think about how the part might be designed to minimize production costs while still fulfilling the intent of the design by determining how many machining operations will be required. Determine the design intent of this part and how your approach will affect stability and any future edits or modifications.

3.  Use the Extrude tool. The Extrude tool is one of the most commonly used feature tools in the Inventor modeling toolset. Understanding the options and solutions available in this tool will prove useful throughout your designs.

1.  Master It Imagine that you need to create an extruded feature but don't know the exact length; instead, you know the extrude will always terminate based on another feature. However, the location of that feature has not been fully determined just yet. How do you get started on the feature?

2.  Solution Use the Extrude To option and extrude the feature profile to a face or work plane of the other feature. Then, as you determine the location of the other feature and make adjustments, your extrusion will update as well.

4.  Create revolved parts and thread features. Creating revolved features and parts in Inventor can often resemble the creation of turned parts and features in the real world. Applying thread features to a cylindrical face allows you to specify threads without having to actually model them.

1.  Master It Let's say you have a part that you intend to fabricate on a lathe. Although you could create the part with a series of stepped circular extrusions, it occurs to you that the Revolve tool might work also. How do you decide which method to use?

2.  Solution Oftentimes it may make sense to create a base extrusion from an extruded circle and then use the Revolve tool to create revolved cuts. This allows you to design both the stock material and the cut features with the intent of the design in mind, anticipating changes that might occur. You can then use the Thread tool to apply threads to any features requiring them.

5.  Create work features. Using work features, work planes, work axes, and work points enable you to create virtually any part or feature. Work features are the building blocks for sketch creation and use.

1.  Master It Your design will require creating features on spherical and cylindrical faces. You need to precisely control the location and angle of these features. How do you do that?

2.  Solution Using existing origin features, created model features and edges, sketch objects, and other existing geometry within the file will permit you to create parametric work features as the basis for additional geometry creation.

6.  Use the Fillet tool. The Fillet tool has a great deal of functionality packed into it. Taking the time to explore all the options on a simple test model may be the best way to understand them all.

1.  Master It You are trying to create a series of fillets on a part. You create four sets of edge selections to have four different fillet sizes, but when you attempt to apply them, you receive an error stating that the feature cannot be built. What went wrong?

2.  Solution Sometimes the creation of multiple fillet sizes combined into one feature is not the way to go. Instead, identify the edges that will “compete” for a common corner, particularly where they differ in radius size, and create these fillets as individual fillet features. This allows Inventor to solve the corner in steps and makes the results more robust and less ambiguous.

7.  Create intelligent hole features. Although you can create a hole in a part by sketching a circle and extrude-cutting it, this is typically not the recommended approach.

1.  Master It You need to create a part with a series of various-sized holes on a plate. You would like to lay out the hole pattern in a single sketch and then use the Hole tool to cut the holes to the sizes required. However, when you select the From Sketch option in the Hole tool, it selects all of the holes, so you think you must need to sketch out the hole pattern as circles and then use the Extrude tool to cut them out. Is this really the way to proceed?

2.  Solution Using the Extrude tool is not the way to go. Instead, create a sketch on the face of the plate and use center points to mark the hole centers. Dimension each center point in place and then start the Hole tool. Hold down Ctrl to deselect the center points for holes of a different size and then create the hole feature for the first set of holes. Locate your sketch in the browser, right-click it, and choose Share Sketch. Then use the Hole tool to place the next size holes.

8.  Bend parts. You can bend a portion of a part after you define a bend line using a 2D sketch line. You can specify the side of the part to bend; the direction of the bend; and its angle, radius, or arc length.

1.  Master It You need to create a model of a piece of rolled tube and would like to specify the bend direction, but when you use the direction arrow, you get a preview in only one direction. How can you get a preview in either direction?

2.  Solution Use a work plane to create a sketch in the middle of the part and then sketch the bend line on that work plane. This will allow you to specify either direction for the bend.

Chapter 5: Advanced Modeling Techniques

1.  Create complex sweeps and lofts. Complex geometry is created by using multiple work planes, sketches, and 3D sketch geometry. Honing your experience in creating work planes and 3D sketches is paramount to success in creating complex models.

1.  Master It How would you create a piece of twisted, flat bar in Inventor?

2.  Solution Create the flat bar profile in a base sketch. Then create a work plane offset from the original sketch and make it the length of the bar. Create the profile sketch on this work plane at a rotated orientation to match the degree of twist needed. Create a 3D sketch and connect the corners of the first profile to the appropriate corners of the second profile. Using the 3D sketch lines as rails, use the Loft tool to loft from one profile to the other to produce the twisted part.

2.  Work with multi-body and derived parts. Multi-body parts can be used to create part files with features that require precise matching between two or more parts. Once the solid bodies are created, you can create a separate part file for each component.

1.  Master It What would be the best way to create an assembly of four parts that require features to mate together in different positions?

2.  Solution Create the parts in a multi-body part file and subtract material from one part based on the profile of the other. Consider creating the first two parts in one multi-body part file and the other two in another multi-body part file to keep the files as simple as possible. You can also derive the first multi-body part into the second for better control.

3.  Utilize part tolerances. Dimensional tolerancing of sketches allows you to check stack-up variations within assemblies. When you add tolerances to critical dimensions within sketches, you can adjust parts to maximum, minimum, and nominal conditions.

1.  Master It You want to create a model feature with a deviation so you can test the assembly fit at the extreme ends of the tolerances. How would this be done?

2.  Solution Use the Parameters dialog box to set up and adjust tolerances for individual dimensions. In the Parameters dialog box, set the tolerance to the upper or lower limits for the part and then update the model using the Update button. Check the fit of the feature against its mating part or parts in the assembly environment and then edit the part to set it back to the nominal once done.

4.  Understand and use parameters and iProperties. Using parameters within files assists in the creation of title blocks, parts lists, and annotation within 2D drawings. Using parameters in an assembly file allows the control of constraints and objects within the assembly. Exporting parameters allows the creation of custom properties. Proper use of iProperties facilitates the creation of accurate 2D drawings that always reflect the current state of included parts and assemblies.

1.  Master It You want to create a formula to determine the spacing of a hole pattern based on the length of the part. What tools would you use?

2.  Solution Set up a user parameter that calls the part length and divides by the number of holes or the spacing and then reference this user parameter in the hole pattern feature.

5.  Troubleshoot modeling failures. Modeling failures are often caused by poor design practices. Poor sketching techniques, bad design workflow, and other factors can lead to the elimination of design intent within a model.

1.  Master It You want to modify a rather complex existing part file, but when you change the feature, errors cascade down through the entire part. How can you change the feature without this happening?

2.  Solution Position the end-of-part marker just under the feature you intend to modify and then make the change. Then move the end-of-part marker back down the feature tree one feature at a time, addressing each error as it occurs. Use the Rebuild All tool from time to time to see whether recomputing the tree will force a “fix” to cascade down the tree. Continue until all features have been fixed.

Chapter 6: Sheet Metal

1.  Take advantage of the specific sheet-metal features available in Inventor. Knowing what features are available to help realize your design can make more efficient and productive use of your time.

1.  Master It Of the sheet-metal features discussed, how many require a sketch to produce their result?

2.  Solution Five sheet-metal features consume a sketch: Contour Flange, Face, Cut, Punch, and Fold. Since Inventor has well-established paradigms for how sketches can be manipulated, knowing which features consume sketches may allow you to develop designs that are flexible and parametrically configurable.

2.  Understand sheet-metal templates and rules. Templates can help get your design started on the right path, and sheet-metal rules and associated styles allow you to drive powerful and intelligent manufacturing variations into your design; combining the two can be productive as long as you understand some basic principles.

1.  Master It Name two methods that can be used to publish a sheet-metal rule from a sheet-metal part file to the style library.

2.  Solution Rules and styles can be published or written to the style library either from Inventor or by using the Style Management Wizard (the harvester). Using the native Inventor method, right-clicking a given rule/style produces an option called Save To Style Library. Using the harvester, you can select a specific file and add its style information to your existing style library, or you can create a new one.

3.  Author and insert punch tooling. Creating and managing Punch tools can streamline your design process and standardize tooling in your manufacturing environment.

1.  Master It Name two methods that can be utilized to produce irregular (nonsymmetric) patterns of punch features.

2.  Solution Sketch center marks can be patterned within the insertion sketch as a symmetric array. During Punch tool insertion, the Centers control on the Geometry tab can be used to deselect center marks where you want a tool to be placed. The feature-patterning tools can also be used to create irregular patterns after a punch feature has been created. You can do this by first creating a symmetric pattern of punch features, then expanding the child pattern occurrences in the feature browser, and finally individually suppressing them. Both methods prevent the feature from being displayed in the folded and flat pattern as well as omit the Punch tool information in the flat-pattern punch metadata.

4.  Utilize the flat pattern information and options. The sheet-metal folded model captures your manufacturing intent during the design process; understanding how to leverage this information and customize it for your needs can make you extremely productive.

1.  Master It How can you change the reported angle of all your Punch features by 90 degrees?

2.  Solution The flat pattern's orientation infers a virtual x-axis for punch angle calculation, so rotating the flat pattern by 90 degrees will change all the punch angles by the same amount. The flat pattern can also affect the bend and punch direction (up or down) by flipping the base face, and reported bend angles can be changed from Bending Angle to Open Angle by changing options in the Bend Angle tab of the Flat Pattern Definition dialog box.

5.  Understand the nuances of sheet-metal iPart factories. Sheet-metal iPart factories enable you to create true manufacturing configurations with the inclusion of folded and flat pattern models in each member file.

1.  Master It If you created sheet-metal iPart factories prior to Inventor 2009, any instantiated files contain only a folded model. Name two methods that you could use to drive the flat pattern model into the instantiated file.

2.  Solution Once you have opened, migrated, and saved a legacy sheet-metal iPart factory, you can decide between two methodologies for obtaining the flat pattern model within your instantiated files: push or pull. The push method is accomplished from within the iPart factory by using the context menu option Generate Files, which is associated with the member filename. This method pushes out a new definition of the member file including the flat pattern model. The pull method requires you to be using the Inventor Rebuild All tool, followed by saving the factory file. Now that the factory has been rebuilt, any time you open one of the instantiated files associated with the factory, it will see that it's out-of-date and will trip the update flag. Selecting Update will pull the flat pattern model into the instantiated member file.

6.  Model sheet-metal components with non-sheet-metal features. Inventor doesn't always allow you to restrict yourself to sheet metal–specific design tools; understanding how to utilize non-sheet-metal features will ensure that your creativity is limitless.

1.  Master It Name two non-sheet-metal features that can lead to unfolding problems if used to create your design.

2.  Solution As discussed in the chapter, Loft and Shell can lead to numerous problems during unfolding because of nondevelopable curvature introduced by Loft and nonuniform thickness introduced by Shell.

7.  Work with imported sheet-metal parts. Understanding the way in which Inventor accomplishes unfolding as well as how to associate an appropriate sheet-metal rule are keys to successfully working with imported parts.

1.  Master It Name the one measured value that is critical if you want to unfold an imported part.

2.  Solution The measured sheet thickness is the most important geometric measurement in an imported sheet-metal part. Ensuring that the thickness of your imported part matches the active Thickness parameter means the difference between success and frustration. Although you can change the active rule (or create a new one) to match all the geometric conditions of your imported part, these will affect only new features or topology that you introduce. Thickness is the key.

8.  Understand the tools available to annotate your sheet-metal design. Designing your component is essential, but it's equally important to understand the tools that are available to efficiently document your design and extract your embedded manufacturing intent.

1.  Master It What process is required to recover flat pattern width and height extents within your Drawing Manager parts list?

2.  Solution By creating custom iProperties within your sheet-metal part file set equal to <FLAT PATTERN LENGTH> cm and <FLAT PATTERN WIDTH> cm, you can reference flat pattern extents by your parts list by adding these new properties using the Column Chooser tool. To make this process more efficient, you can predefine the custom iProperties in your sheet-metal template file, and the custom properties can be authored into a custom Drawing Manager parts list template for quick application.

Chapter 7: Reusing Parts and Features

1.  Create and modify iParts. iParts are the solution to creating parts that allow for an infinite number of variations without affecting other members of the same part family already used within your designs.

1.  Master It You use a purchased specialty part in your designs and would like to create the many size configurations that this part comes in ahead of time for use within assembly design. How would this be done?

2.  Solution Create or use an existing model and edit the parameter list to use logical names for specific parameters. Add the configuration table by creating an iPart from this model. Configure the parameters in the table and add rows according to variations needed. And finally, test the newly created iPart by inserting all variations of the part into a blank assembly.

2.  Create and use iFeatures and punches. Creating a library of often-used features is essential to standardization and improved productivity within your design workflow.

1.  Master It You want to be able to place common punches, slots, and milled features quickly rather than having to generate the feature every time. What is the best way to approach this?

2.  Solution Extract iFeatures from existing standard and sheet-metal part features and place them in user-defined folders within the Catalog subfolder. Using your custom-created iFeatures as well as standard iFeatures, practice placing them into your designs to see how they behave and how they can be modified. Finally, once the iFeatures or punches have been proven to work as expected, use them to quickly place common features in your production designs.

3.  Copy and clone features. You do not have to create iFeatures to reuse various part features in your designs. If a part feature will have limited use in other designs, it is often better to simply copy it from part to part or from face to face on the same part.

1.  Master It You need to reuse features within a part or among parts. You consider iFeatures but realize that this feature is not used often enough to justify setting up an iFeature. How would you proceed?

2.  Solution Right-click the existing feature and choose Copy. Determine whether dependent and independent features such as fillets and chamfers need to be copied as well and then paste the feature onto another face in the same part. Or open a different part file and paste onto a selected face. Copying between two parts is called cloning.

4.  Link parameters between two files. Linking design parameters between two or more files allows you to control design changes from a single source, making it easy to update an entire design from one file.

1.  Master It You want to specify the overall length and width of a layout design in a base part and then have other components update as changes are made to this part. What are the methods to do this?

2.  Solution From the other component files, open the parameter editor, use the Link button to specify the source file, and then choose which parameters to link. You can then call those linked parameters into the sketch and feature dimensions of the other components in your design.

5.  Configure, create, and access Content Center parts. Content Center provides a great opportunity to reuse database-created geometry within assemblies and within functional-design modules. The Content Center Editor provides the means to add custom content into Content Center. You can create and add custom libraries to your current project file.

1.  Master It You would like to change the part numbers in some Content Center components to match the part numbers your company uses. You would also like to add proprietary components to Content Center. How do you customize Content Center?

2.  Solution Create a custom Content Center library. Configure your project file to include your newly created read/write Content Center library. Utilize the Content Center Editor to create new categories within your custom Content Center library. Convert a part or an iPart to a Content Center component using the Publish option.

Chapter 8: Assembly Design Workflows

1.  Create assembly relationships using the Constraint and Joint tools. Assembly relationships are an important part of working with Inventor assembly files. Assembly constraints determine how assembly components fit together. As relationships are applied between components, degrees of freedom are removed.

1.  Master It You are new to 3D and find the concept of assembly relationships a bit challenging. Where can you find a simple overview of constraints?

2.  Solution You can find a good overview of constraints by selecting the Get Started tab and clicking the Place And Connect Parts button in the tutorials section. From there, you can follow the interactive tutorial using the panel on the right.

2.  Organize designs using structured subassemblies. Subassemblies add organization, facilitate the bill of materials, and reduce assembly relationships; all this results in better performance and easier edits. One of the habits of all Inventor experts is their effective use and understanding of subassemblies.

1.  Master It You need to hand off an accurate BOM for finished designs to the purchasing department at the end of each design project. How can the BOM be extracted from Inventor?

2.  Solution Organize parts in subassemblies in a real-world manner matching the way components are assembled on the shop floor. Use Phantom assemblies when structuring parts merely for the purpose of reducing assembly relationships. Set assemblies as Purchased or Inseparable when you want multiple components to appear as a single item in the BOM. Export the BOM from the assembly to an Excel spreadsheet or other intermediate format to give to purchasing.

3.  Work with adaptive components. Geometry can be set to be adaptive so that it can be sized and positioned in the context of where it is used in the assembly. You can set underconstrained geometry to be adaptive by specifying the elements allowed to adapt.

1.  Master It You want to set a feature of a part to be adaptive so that it can adapt to another part in an assembly. However, the feature is based on a fully constrained sketch. How would this be done?

2.  Solution To set a fully constrained sketch to be adaptive, you would edit the sketch and then set the dimensions that are intended to adapt to be driven dimensions. Doing so leaves the sketch in an underconstrained state, opening it up for adaptivity.

4.  Create assembly-level features. An assembly feature is a feature created and utilized within the active assembly file. Because the feature is created within the assembly file, it does not exist at the single-part or subassembly level.

1.  Master It You want to make a notch in a standard part that will not affect its use in every other assembly it is used in. Can this be done?

2.  Solution Create the notch in the assembly that it is used in rather than the part file itself, and then the notch will exist only for that instance of the part and not in other instances of it.

5.  Manage bills of materials. Managing a bill of materials can be a large part of any assembly design task. Understanding the BOM structure goes a long way toward successfully configuring your bill of materials.

1.  Master It You need to mark a component as a reference component in just one assembly file. However, when you attempt to do so using the BOM Editor, it is designated as a reference in every assembly. How can you set just a single instance of a component to be a reference component?

2.  Solution When components are set to reference in the BOM Editor, the BOM structure for the file is being changed globally. To override a component's BOM structure per instance, right-click it in the browser and choose BOM Structure; then select Reference.

6.  Use positional reps and flexible assemblies together. Often, you may need to show a design in various stages of motion to test interference and/or proof of concept. Copying assemblies so that you can change the assembly relationships to show different assembly positions can become a file management nightmare. Instead, use flexible subassemblies and positional representations.

1.  Master It You need to show your assembly in variations dependent on the position of the moving parts and the task the machine is accomplishing at given stages of its operation. How do you do this?

2.  Solution Leave subassemblies underconstrained if they have parts that determine their position based on the relationships with parts within another subassembly. Set them to Flexible to allow them to be mated to other parts and used in different positions within the same top-level assembly. Create positional representations to show the design in known kinematic states, such as fully opened, closed, opened at a given angle, and so on. As an added benefit, animating assemblies in Inventor Studio is simple when positional representations have been set up in the model.

7.  Copy assembly designs for reuse and configuration. Because of the live linked data that exists in Inventor assemblies, using Windows Explorer to copy designs and rename parts is difficult and often delivers poor results. Using the tool provided in Inventor will allow you to copy designs and maintain the links between files.

1.  Master It How do you duplicate an existing design to create a similar design?

2.  Solution Use the Copy Components feature in the assembly environment to copy designs and choose which parts to copy and rename, reuse, or omit from the new design. Use Autodesk Vault to take it to the next level and include all the 2D drawings in the copied design.

8.  Substitute a single part for entire subassemblies. Working with large assemblies, particularly where large, complex assemblies are used over and over as subassemblies within a top-level design, can tax almost any workstation if not approached in the correct manner.

1.  Master It You would like to swap out a complex assembly for a simplified version for use in layout designs or to use in large assemblies in an attempt to improve performance. What is the best way to do that?

2.  Solution Create LOD representations to suppress components when not in use during the design cycle. Create single substitute parts from large complex assemblies to be used as subassemblies within the design. Enjoy the benefits of referencing fewer files while maintaining an accurate bill of materials.

9.  Work with assembly design accelerators and generators. Design accelerators and generators allow you to rapidly create complex geometry and the associated calculations that verify the viability of your design.

1.  Master It Your design needs a bolted connection, but you are not certain about the number of bolts to use to ensure a proper connection. How do you determine this?

2.  Solution Use the Bolted Connections tool to determine the optimum number of bolts for a given material and loading conditions.

10.Use design calculators. Design calculators do not create any geometry, but they permit you to store the calculations in the assembly and repeat the calculation with different input values at a later time.

1.  Master It You need to calculate the size of a weld between two plates to withstand a certain lateral force. What tool do you use?

2.  Solution Use the Fillet Weld calculator to determine the size, type, and material of the weld bead.

Chapter 9: Large Assembly Strategies

1.  Select a workstation. Having the right tool for the job is the key to success in anything you do. This is true of selecting a large assembly workstation. You have learned that for optimal performance you should strive to keep your system working in physical memory (RAM).

1.  Master It You notice that your computer runs slowly when working with large assemblies, and you want to know whether you should consider a 64-bit system. How do you determine whether your system is adequate or whether it's time to upgrade?

2.  Solution To decide whether your system is adequate, evaluate the amount of time you spend working on large assemblies and the percentage of that time you spend waiting on your workstation. Monitor your RAM usage, and decide whether upgrading to a 64-bit system is a good solution for your needs. You should plan for hardware upgrades in your budget to make them more manageable. Remember that if you have a system that was built in the last year or two, it may already be capable of running a 64-bit operating system, so you may need to upgrade only the OS rather than replace the hardware.

2.  Adjust your performance settings. You have learned that there are many settings in Inventor and in Windows that you can use to configure the application to work more efficiently with large assemblies.

1.  Master It You want to make your current workstation run as efficiently as possible for large assembly design. What are some ways to do that?

2.  Solution Disable the unneeded Windows visual effects and discontinue the use of screen savers, large-resolution screen sizes, and desktop wallpapers. Learn the location of the Application Options settings within Inventor that will provide performance gains.

3.  Use best practices for large assemblies. Knowing the tools for general assembly design is only half of the battle when it comes to conquering large assemblies. Understanding the methods of large assembly design and how they differ from those for general assembly design is a key to success.

1.  Master It You want to create adaptive parts so that you can make changes during the initial design stage and have several parts update automatically as you work through the details. But you are concerned about how this will adversely affect your assembly performance. How do you keep your performance level high in this situation?

2.  Solution Create adaptive relationships between parts as you normally would, but ensure that the adaptivity is turned off once the initial design is done. If the parts require an update, turn Adaptivity back on, make the edits, and then turn Adaptivity back off.

4.  Manage assembly detail. Inventor includes several tools to help manage assembly detail so that you can accomplish your large assembly design goals.

1.  Master It You want to reduce the number of files your large assembly is required to reference while you are working on it and yet maintain an accurate bill of materials. How do you do that?

2.  Solution Use substitute level of detail (LOD) representations to derive a subassembly into a single part file. Place multiple instances of the subassembly into the top-level assembly at the substitute level of detail.

5.  Simplify parts. Creating highly detailed parts may be required for generating production drawings or Inventor Studio renderings, but using those high-detail parts in large assemblies may have an adverse effect on performance.

1.  Master It You want to create a lower-level-of-detail part file for common parts to be reused many times over in your large assemblies but are concerned about managing two versions of a part. How do you avoid versioning problems?

2.  Solution Create an embedded link between the two versions so that you can easily locate and access the other version if the first version requires an edit.

Chapter 10: Weldment Design

1.  Select and use the right weldment design methodology. You've been shown three weldment design methodologies. Before you start on any weldment design, it is imperative to keep the documentation, interference analysis, mass properties, and other design criteria in perspective and select the right design methodology.

1.  Master It How do you choose the right weldment strategy for you?

2.  Solution If you don't need to document the weldment design stages, you could consider the part files and part features methodology or the weldment assembly and derived methodology. With the weldment assembly methodology, you get to document the different stages of weldment design and reap the benefits of any new enhancements. Talk to your machine shop and then choose the one that best suits you. Use the weldment assembly design methodology if you can't decide.

2.  Create and edit weld preparations and machining features. Following the weldment methodology, you need to plan on creating the gaps needed (weld preparations) to deposit the weld beads. You need to create post-weldment machining features that go through the weld beads.

1.  Master It Weld preparations and machining features are similar to part modeling features. Based on the weld-bead shape needed, you should plan on creating the preparations in advance. Once the welds are done, you must create the features for the machining processes. Where can you find preparation and machining features, and when do you use them?

2.  Solution Double-click the Preparations or Machining tool in the assembly browser to go into those environments. Chamfer and Move Face are most commonly used. Most groove welds require some kind of weld preparations.

3.  Create and edit different kinds of weld beads, such as cosmetic, fillet, and groove. Weldment design involves the optimal mix of cosmetic and solid weld beads based on the requirements of your design goals and model verification needs.

1.  Master It You should create the weld annotations only in drawings, without any need to create them in the model. You have weld subassemblies that need only lightweight representation in both the model and drawings. In situations involving accurate interference and mass properties, you require accurate weld beads. The question is, what type of weld beads should you use?

2.  Solution Double-click Welds in the assembly browser and choose the desired weld bead type. For a lightweight representation with no interference and accurate mass properties, use cosmetic welds. For interference and accurate mass properties, use the solid representation. Use a combination of fillet and groove welds as needed to generate the desired weld-bead shape. Use the split technique in cases where you want precise control. Observe that you can use a single weld symbol to call out multiple weld beads.

4.  Document weldment stages in drawings. Welds need to be documented in assemblies or drawings. It is important to show the different stages of weldment design in drawings to get a good idea of how to manufacture the weldment. You can use the drawing tools effectively to annotate the welds in drawings. This will help the welder understand the design intent better.

1.  Master It Several tools are used for weld documentation. You can annotate the welds in assemblies. If you prefer to document the welds in drawings, you could document the four stages of weldment design: the as-assembled, as-prepped, as-welded, and as-machined stages in drawings. Name two other drawing tools that customize weld documentation.

2.  Solution While creating a drawing view on the Model State tab of the Drawing View dialog box, select Assembly, Machining, Welds, or Preparation. Use the End Fill tool to customize the weld-bead process shape. Weld Caterpillars is another useful tool to show welds in a drawing.

5.  Generate and maintain a consistent BOM across welded assemblies, drawings, and presentations. You have been shown how to generate and maintain a consistent bill of materials for weldment assemblies and a parts list in drawings. Mark parts or assemblies as inseparable to designate them as weldments.

1.  Master It How do you generate the BOM and parts list for your weldment?

2.  Solution You can generate the bill of materials and mark the components as inseparable. In the drawing, you generate the parts list for the weldment assembly. Click the BOM tool in a weldment assembly. In the Structure column, you can set each part to be inseparable. Use the Parts List tool and appropriate table-wrapping options to generate the parts list.

Chapter 11: Presentations and Exploded Views

1.  Create an exploded assembly view by creating a presentation. Presentation files are used to virtually disassemble an assembly so downstream consumers can better visualize the design. The explosion created in the presentation file can be referenced in an assembly drawing to complement nonexploded assembly views.

1.  Master It Your assembly design is complex and contains many internal components that can't be visualized in traditional assembly drawing views. What is a good approach to showing those components?

2.  Solution Create a new presentation file, reference an assembly, and tweak parts and subassemblies away from their constrained positions. Add as many tweaks as necessary to communicate the design effectively. You may choose to create several explosions in one presentation file to achieve this goal.

2.  Create basic linear tweaks. Tweaks are used to move (or translate) components along a specified axis. This allows you to pull your assembly apart in order to show how it goes together.

1.  Master It Your assembly design includes a number of hardware connections, and you'd like to show how they go together in a clear and concise way. How should you do this?

2.  Solution Creating linear tweaks in a presentation view can often show screw, washer, and nut stack-ups more clearly than they can be shown in an assembled view on a drawing.

3.  Create rotational tweaks. Rotational tweaks allow you to move components in an orientation that is not along the standard x-, y-, and z-axes and that can be used to show rotation of parts for animations.

1.  Master It Your assembly has a housing that you'd like to tip out of the way to show both the parts within and the connection features of the housing. When you apply a linear tweak, you can move the housing up and off the assembly to show the parts, but you cannot see the connection features. What do you need to do to see the connection features?

2.  Solution You can use a rotational tweak to tip over the housing part and expose the underside to the view. Using linear and rotational tweaks together is often the best way to add clarity to your assembly presentation views.

4.  Group, reorder, and animate tweaks. Once tweaks are created, you may want to group several of them together into the same sequence of steps and reorder them to show a specific assembly step in an animation.

1.  Master It You want to create an animated assembly presentation of your assembly going together, but when creating the tweaks, you did so by going from top to bottom of the assembly rather than following the order in which the assembly would actually take place. Can this be resolved?

2.  Solution You can use the Group and Reorder tools to refine your presentation after it's initially created. This is often helpful when you've created a presentation for the purposes of a 2D drawing view and didn't consider the order in which tweaks were created but then decide later to animate it.

5.  Publish presentation files. Although you can place views of your presentation file on a 2D drawing, it can be helpful to include the 3D animation for customers and colleagues in the form of a DWF or DWFx file.

1.  Master It You want to supply the shop floor with assembly instructions of your assembly going together. What is a good way to do this?

2.  Solution You can output your presentation sequences as a lightweight DWF or DWFx file and then allow the people on the shop floor to use Autodesk Design Review or Internet Explorer to view the files. Using presentation files in this way can add a great deal of clarity to build procedures and assembly instructions.

Chapter 12: Documentation

1.  Create templates and styles. Inventor provides numerous methods to create, store, and use drawing templates and styles. Careful planning as to how and where to manage these resources is important. Consideration must be given to how templates are deployed on your network and whether to use the style library.

1.  Master It Rather than using one of the out-of-the-box drawing settings, you need to set up a drawing template, a drafting standard, and annotation styles to conform to a particular international, industry, or company drafting standard. How do you get started?

2.  Solution Use one of the drawing templates that are installed with Inventor, and reconfigure it to meet your or your company's requirements. Edit the drawing resources to customize your title block, border, and sketched symbols. Define annotation styles such as dimension and parts list styles, and determine how best to share them across your workgroup.

2.  Utilize drawing resources. Each Inventor drawing file contains a number of commonly used drawing-resource definitions, such as title blocks, borders, symbols, and so on. These resource definitions allow you store preconfigured items for quick and easy reuse.

1.  Master It You have blocks of general notes that you place on every drawing file. However, some drawings get one set of notes, and others get another, so making these notes part of the title block seems to be the wrong approach. Is there a way to handle this in Inventor?

2.  Solution You can create a sketched symbol for each of the note blocks and type out the notes using the Text tool. Then when you create a new drawing file, you can choose which block of notes to place on the drawing and insert it from the Sketched Symbolsfolder in the Drawing Resources folder.

3.  Edit styles and standards. Inventor's drawing styles and standards allow you to set up your dimension styles, layer styles, and so on, in advance so that you can maintain consistency across all of your drawings.

1.  Master It You have set up your object defaults to use an inch-based dimension style, but occasionally you want to place a millimeter-based dimension. Can this be done easily, or do you have to override the dimension style?

2.  Solution Typically, you will set up several dimension styles in your template file. In this case, you might have one for Imperial and another for metric dimensions. Although only one dimension style can be the default style that is selected when you start the Dimension tool, you can set the Dimension tool to use another style. To do this, first start the Dimension tool, then go to the Format panel and select the styles pull-down, and choose a different dimension style from list. You can also select previously placed dimensions and change them to use a different style using the same pull-down.

4.  Create drawing views. Drawing views allow you to make 2D views of your 3D models. The hidden line generation and alignment of your projected views are automatic, as are updates to the 2D views when your 3D models change.

1.  Master It When placing a drawing view, the lines on curved edges don't show up. Is there an option to turn these on?

2.  Solution When placing a view or editing a view, you can click the Display Options tab. Here, you'll find several options to control the visibility of tangent edges, interference edges, thread lines, and many other optional display items.

5.  Annotate part drawings. Adding annotation to your part drawings is accomplished primarily using the tools found on the Annotate tab. Many of these tools automate traditional drafting annotation, but you might still find the need to add annotation in a more manual way.

1.  Master It You need to create sheet-metal flat patterns for your parts with laser etching on them. Often this is text, but you've noticed that if you attempt to create text as an extrusion on the part, you end up with a stencil effect, rather than single-line characters used for etching. Is there a way to do this?

2.  Solution There are a couple of methods for doing this, but the most common is accomplished by creating a sketch in the drawing environment. First you select the flat pattern view, and then you click the Create Sketch button from the Annotate tab. By selecting the view first, the sketch is associated to the view, and if the view is moved, the sketch will move also. To add the laser etching information, you can use the Text tool and select a font such as Simplex. You can also sketch lines and other geometry if needed. Using the Project Geometry tool lets you anchor and dimension your text and lines to the part edges for precise placement.

6.  Annotate assembly drawings. Often, much of the annotation created for assembly drawings concerns bill of materials information, but you can use most of the same annotation tools used for part drawings in an assembly drawing.

1.  Master It You created a section view of your assembly model and then noticed that you could hide the hatch pattern by right-clicking it and choosing Hide. But now when you right-click the drawing view, you can't find an option to bring back the hatch pattern. Is it gone for good?

2.  Solution To bring back a hidden hatch pattern, edit the view and click the Display Options tab. On this tab you'll find a Hatching check box. Select it and then your hatch pattern will be displayed again.

7.  Work with sheet-metal drawings. Inventor sheet-metal drawings give you access to the folded model and the flat pattern, provided that a flat pattern has been created in the 3D model.

1.  Master It When you place a bend note on a flat pattern drawing, it places the direction, angle, and bend radius. Your shop is accustomed to seeing only the direction and angle. Is there a way to remove the bend radius?

2.  Solution If you right-click a bend note and choose Edit Bend Note, you can remove the radius notation for that note. To do this for all of the bend notes on the sheet, right-click a bend note and choose Edit Dimension Style. This will take you to the Notes And Leaders tab of the edit dialog for the dimension style containing the bend note. Use the radio button near the top to select the Bend Note option, and then you can make changes that will update all of the bend notes.

8.  Work with weldment views. Weldment views offer some extra functionality over standard assembly views in that they allow you to document your assembly in each weldment stage.

1.  Master It You want to create a drawing package that shows all of the weldment pieces in the prepped stage and then show the weldment assembly in the completed form. What's the best way to do this?

2.  Solution When you place a view of the weldment assembly, you can use the Model State tab of the view creation dialog box to choose each component of the weldment in the Preparation stage.

9.  Work with iParts and iAssembly drawings. One of the benefits of creating part and assembly families as iParts and iAssemblies is the ability to created tabulated drawings that show each member and its key dimensions in a table.

1.  Master It You've created an iPart table and want to set the dimension on the sheet to match the table heading. Is this possible?

2.  Solution You can do this by simply overriding the dimension value. First, edit the dimension and then select the Hide Dimension Value check box. Then, type in the table heading name.

10.Share your drawings outside your workgroup. You can save your drawings in DWF, DWFx, and PDF formats in order to share them with people who do not have Inventor. You can use Autodesk Design Review to access DWF files and Adobe Acrobat Reader to access PDF files; both are free viewer applications.

1.  Master It You have a multipage Inventor drawing, but when you export it as a PDF file, you get only the first page. Is this a bug, or is it just the way it is?

2.  Solution When you export a drawing as a PDF, you will be presented with the Save Copy As dialog box. In this dialog box, there is an Options button; if you click this button, you'll find an option to include all drawing sheets.

Chapter 13: Tools Overview

1.  Take your models from Inventor to the Autodesk Building Systems (ABS) program. If you frequently need to take your Inventor models to ABS, BIM Exchange can help you in this process with three simple steps. Inventor provides a variety of ways to simplify the model and author it. Such models can be published in ABS.

1.  Master It Describe the basic steps involved in moving Inventor models to Autodesk Building Systems.

2.  Solution You can do this with the following three steps: model simplifying, authoring, and publishing. Author the model with cables, conduit, ducts, or pipe. Create part families and catalogs.

2.  Create AutoLimits (design sensors). You use AutoLimits to monitor design parameters in which you are interested.

1.  Master It You want to use AutoLimits for every dimension in your model. How many AutoLimits can you use at once?

2.  Solution Create the AutoLimits and set up their boundaries. Although technically the number of AutoLimits you can use in your model is unlimited, you should consider limiting the number of AutoLimits to around 10 to avoid impacting the performance of your model.

3.  Manage design data efficiently using Inventor tools. There are different tools for managing design data, which is typically distributed across part, assembly, and drawing files. You can associate Excel spreadsheets, text files, Word documents, and so on, with these tools.

1.  Master It Name some of the Inventor tools for managing design data. Describe what each one does and how to initiate it.

2.  Solution The Design Assistant keeps the file relationships while copying, renaming, and moving files. Whenever you are sending Inventor files to others, use Pack And Go, which hunts down the file relationship for you, and then you can package them into a single ZIP file. You can delegate many of the tasks in Inventor to the Task Scheduler. You can propagate source drawing template information to several destination drawings using the Drawing Resource Transfer Wizard. In the Design Assistant, click the Manage button. Right-click the file in the Action column and select Action. Right-click the file in the Name column and select Change Name. Click Save Changes. Right-click the file in Windows Explorer to use Pack And Go. In the Task Scheduler, use the Create Task menu to create your task. In the Drawing Resource Transfer Wizard, select source resources, deselect any unwanted resources, and propagate the template information to destination drawings.

4.  Manage styles. You can use the Style Library Manager to organize your styles to keep them simple and clean.

1.  Master It Styles normally need to be copied, edited, and deleted. How do you manage your styles? How can you create a central repository of styles?

2.  Solution You can create a new style library using the Create New Style Library button in the Style Library Manager. You can copy styles by clicking Style Library 1 and then clicking Style Library 2. To delete styles, right-click the style in the Style Library Manager and then rename or delete the style.

5.  Create expressions with iProperties. Property fields can be concatenated to produce desired customized information in BOM and parts lists. For example, you can break down your parts by stock size to be used in your BOM with associativity to model parameters.

1.  Master It How do you create and manage expressions for iProperties?

2.  Solution You can create expressions on the Summary, Project, Status, or Custom tab. Start with the = sign and type in the text. To include parameters or iProperty names, include them in brackets. A detected expression is denoted by fx. You can create a template file with predefined expressions for iProperties to unify your parts list and other documentation.

6.  Give feedback to Autodesk. You can participate in the Customer Involvement Program (CIP). Customer error reporting (CER) helps Autodesk know about any issue you might experience.

1.  Master It You have a repeatable crash that you suspect is related to a specific file or a specific machine and want to know whether Autodesk can help you determine this.

2.  Solution You can use the CER form to supply contact information and step-by-step information about repeatable issues and then call reseller support or log a case with Autodesk through the subscription website. Autodesk can look up your CER based on the submittal time and contact information you entered.

Chapter 14: Exchanging Data with Other Systems

1.  Import and export geometry. In the design world today, you most likely need to transfer files to or from a customer or vendor from time to time. Chances are, the files will need to be translated to or from a neutral file format to be read by different CAD packages.

1.  Master It You are collaborating with another design office that does not use Inventor. You are asked which you would prefer, IGES or STEP files. Which one should you request?

2.  Solution Request a STEP file over IGES when you have the choice. Take advantage of the extra intelligence related to assembly structure and filenames that can be retained in the STEP file format.

2.  Use Inventor file translators. Inventor offers native file translators for CATIA, Pro/ENGINEER, SolidWorks, Unigraphics, and other CAD file types. This allows you to access these file formats with Inventor and translate the files into Inventor files directly.

1.  Master It You are a “job shop” and in the past have been required to maintain a copy of SolidWorks in addition to your copy of Inventor to work with customers who send you SolidWorks files. You would like to eliminate the cost of maintaining two software packages. What is a good strategy for doing that?

2.  Solution Use Inventor to access the customer's files directly and convert them to Inventor files for your in-house use. Use Save Copy As to export the file back out as a SolidWorks file to send to the client for review. In this way, you may be able to eliminate the need to maintain two software packages.

3.  Work with imported data. Using the construction environment in Inventor, you can repair poorly translated surface files. Often, a file fails to translate into a solid because of just a few translation errors in the part. Repairing or patching the surfaces and promoting the file to a solid allows you to use the file more effectively.

1.  Master It You download an IGES file from a vendor website, but when you attempt to use the component in your design, the surface data is found to have issues. How should you proceed?

2.  Solution Open the file and copy the surfaces to the construction environment. Use Stitch Surface to create composite surfaces, and identify the gaps in the surface data. Use the construction tools to delete, patch, and extend surfaces in order to close the gaps and promote the data to a solid. Before getting started on this, evaluate the amount of time required to repair the surface data. You may find that you can model the vendor component—by using catalog specs or by measuring an actual part—faster than you can repair some surface models.

4.  Work with Design Review markups. Design Review offers you and the people who collaborate with you an easy-to-use electronic markup tool that can be round-tripped from Inventor. Design Review markups can be made on both 2D and 3D files.

1.  Master It You want to use Design Review to communicate with vendors and clients to save time and resources, but you have found that others are unsure of what Design Review is and how to get it. What are some good ways to help others begin to use this handy application?

2.  Solution Suggest using Design Review to the people you collaborate with and mention to them that this application is a free download. Send them the link to download the application and the online demonstration found in Design Review's Help menu. Continue to offer your collaborators the review material in PDF, DWG, or any other traditional file type in case they end up in a time crunch, but send them DWF files as well. If they use Internet Explorer 7, consider sending them DWFx files, and mention to them that they can open those files directly in their web browser.

Chapter 15: Frame Generator

1.  Work with frame files. Frame Generator puts all the members at the same level in the assembly.

1.  Master It You have a frame that is built up in sections that are welded together. How do you document the manufacturing process?

2.  Solution Use Demote to create subassemblies of frame members. Select the frame members in the browser. From the context menu, select Component and then Demote Frame Generator Components. This preserves the Frame Generator relationships.

2.  Insert frame members onto a skeleton model. Frame Generator builds a skeleton model for the frame from the selected lines and edges.

1.  Master It Since Frame Generator builds its own skeleton model, you don't have to build a master model before you start creating the frame. What would you reference in your assembly to use as a frame skeleton?

2.  Solution Use layout sketches and surfaces to design the basic frame shape. Position the components that will be mounted to the frame in the assembly and reference edges on the parts. As you make changes to the assembly, such as the overall size or the position of components, the frame will automatically update.

3.  Add end treatments to frame members. Frame Generator does not support end treatments on merged members.

1.  Master It Let's assume you are building a stairway and the handrail has curved sections. How would you approach the curved handrail so that its ends can be treated?

2.  Solution You can handle this situation in several ways:

§  When you create the frame member, don't select the Merge option. This creates individual files for each segment. You can add end treatments to the end segments and document the details in the assembly drawing.

§  Create the sketches so the ends of the curved member terminate at the face of another member. If the mating member has a flat face, you don't need an end treatment.

§  Add short linear segments that aren't merged with the rest of the curved member. You can document that the length of the curved member does not include end treatments.

§  Manually create end treatments using part-modeling commands. Frame members are created as custom parts that can be edited.

4.  Make changes to frames. Inventor provides detailed frame-member information.

1.  Master It You need to determine the size and wall thickness of the tubing and make it either thicker or larger. How do you do that?

2.  Solution Use the Frame Member Info tool to get the properties for the frame members. Then, you can use the Change tool to increase the wall thickness, increase the size, or select a different structural profile.

5.  Author and publish structural profiles. Frame Generator uses structural shapes from Content Center.

1.  Master It How would you add custom aluminum extrusions to Content Center so Frame Generator can access them?

2.  Solution Use the Structural Shape Authoring tool to prepare the parts for publishing. Use the Publish Part tool to add the parts to Content Center.

6.  Create BOMs for Frame Generator assemblies. Frame Generator has special parameters for frame members.

1.  Master It How do you add the profile dimensions and the length of your frame members to the Description field?

2.  Solution Use the BOM expression builder to add the Stock Number and G_L parameters to the Description field.

Chapter 16: Inventor Studio

1.  Create and animate cameras. Although static camera animations are a common part of any animation, by creating and animating cameras you give your renderings a much more professional feel.

1.  Master It You know that the most expedient means of capturing camera keyframe positions is to create a camera and animate it. How do you do this?

2.  Solution

To create a new camera, do the following:

1.  1. Use the view orientation tools to position the view to show what the camera would see in the first frame.

2.  2. Right-click and select Create Camera From View.

To animate the camera, do the following:

3.  1. In the Animation Timeline window, select the new camera by name in the drop-down list.

4.  2. In the Animation Timeline window, set the time slider to the time position representing when you want the camera to be in another location.

5.  3. In the Scene browser, right-click the new camera node and click Animate Camera.

6.  4. In the graphics region, use the View Orientation tools to position the view to show what you want at that time position.

7.  5. In the Animation Timeline window, click Add Camera Action.

Repeat as needed.

2.  Start new animations, modify animations, and use the various animation tools. Animating your assemblies so that the function of the mechanism is showcased is often the purpose of an assembly animation.

1.  Master It You have an existing animation but want to do a variation on it. How do you copy and edit an existing animation?

2.  Solution

Copy the animation:

1.  1. In the Scene browser, expand the Animations node.

2.  2. Right-click the animation for which you want to make a variation and click Copy Animation.

3.  3. Right-click the Animations folder and click Paste Animation. The Animations folder populates a new animation based on the selected animation.

Modify the animation:

4.  1. Right-click the new animation and click Activate.

5.  2. In the Animation Timeline window, make modifications to actions as needed.

6.  3. Add new actions as needed using the animation commands.

3.  Use multiple cameras to create a video production of your animation. Video Producer provides the means to combine camera shots into a single video output.

1.  Master It You have created several cameras, animated and static, and want to make a composite animation. What are the general steps you will follow?

2.  Solution Do the following:

1.  1. In the Scene browser, expand the Productions node.

2.  2. If no production exists, right-click the Productions node and click New Production.

3.  3. The cameras are loaded into the Video Producer window and are ready for use.

4.  4. Drag and drop shots into the timeline and set their parameters.

5.  5. Drag and drop the desired transitions between the shots.

4.  Use props to enhance your scene. Inventor assemblies can be combined with other components to create a more realistic scene for rendering.

1.  Master It You have completed a design and want to render a realistic image of it in its working environment. How do you do this?

2.  Solution Do the following:

1.  1. Create a new assembly that will be used as a wrapper assembly.

2.  2. Place your product assembly in the new assembly.

3.  3. Add any props, other parts, and other assemblies that make the scene more realistic.

5.  Render shaded and illustrative images. Inventor provides the means to render both shaded and illustrative images.

1.  Master It With your new product nearing completion, the marketing department has asked for rendered images for marketing collateral and technical documents such as white papers. What are the general steps for both realistic and illustration rendering?

2.  Solution

To create a realistic rendering, do the following:

1.  1. Prepare the scene with what you want to render.

2.  2. Click the Render Image command.

3.  3. In the Render Image dialog box, select Realistic as the render type.

4.  4. Specify the camera, lighting, and scene styles to use.

5.  5. Click Render.

To create an illustration rendering, do the following:

6.  1. Prepare the scene with what you want to render.

7.  2. Click the Render Image command.

8.  3. In the Render Image dialog box, select Illustration as the render type.

9.  4. Specify the camera, lighting, and scene styles to use.

10.5. On the Style tab, specify the appropriate settings for your rendering.

11.6. Click Render.

6.  Render animations and video productions. Inventor provides the means to render animations and video productions.

1.  Master It You've created a wrapper assembly and set up the scene with cameras, lighting, and a scene style. Now you want to render an animation for design review and render a video production for a multidisciplinary review or marketing. What are the basic steps in each process?

2.  Solution

To render the animation, do the following:

1.  1. In the Scene browser, select and activate the animation you want to render.

2.  2. Deactivate any active production. Remember, when a production is active, it is the render target. To render a single animation, you must deactivate any active production.

3.  3. In the Inventor Studio tool panel, click Render Animation.

4.  4. Specify the various styles to use and the render type.

5.  5. Specify the output file type and other parameters.

6.  6. Render the animation.

To render a production, do the following:

7.  1. In the Scene browser, select and activate the production you want to render.

8.  2. If you have not completed composing the production, you should do so.

9.  3. In the Inventor Studio tool panel, click Render Animation.

10.4. Specify the various styles to use and the render type.

11.5. Specify the output file type and other parameters.

12.6. Render the animation.

Chapter 17: Stress Analysis and Dynamic Simulation

1.  Set up and run Stress Analysis simulations. Oftentimes you may find yourself guessing at what impact a change to your design might have on the strength and overall integrity of your part. Questions such as “Can I make this part a bit lighter?” or “Can I move this cutout closer to the edge?” become important to the success of your design.

1.  Master It Set up a parameter study in your model to explore the consequences of editing features and their locations. Nominate all the crucial parameters to the table and then create the configuration simulations for all of the combinations.

2.  Solution Interpret the results of the parameter study, looking for the configuration that promises to exhibit the results that come closest to your goals, such as a target safety factor. Examine the various configurations to see which ones would be considered underbuilt and overbuilt and then determine why. Understanding what works and doesn't work will allow you to get closer to the target from the beginning of the design process next time.

2.  Set up and run Dynamic Simulations. When you find yourself working out the details of a design with many moving parts, consider using the Dynamic Simulation tools early in the process to prove what will or will not work before going forward.

1.  Master It Even before the assembly is complete, switch to the Dynamic Simulation environment and create assembly relationships in the simulation. Test the motion as you build the parts, and attempt to understand how contact will occur from the beginning.

2.  Solution Enable the automatic Assembly constraint option so that as you create relationships, standard joints are automatically created. Use the Input Grapher to design in the fourth dimension (time), understanding how a mechanism will or will not work as you go through the stages of its operation.

3.  Export results from the Dynamic Simulation environment to the Stress Analysis environment. Often when setting up a stress analysis simulation, you are guessing at what the loads might be, based on rough calculations. As you make changes to the design, those calculations become out-of-date and therefore invalid.

1.  Master It How do you use the Dynamic Simulation tools to determine the force exerted on one part by another?

2.  Solution Export the FEA information for the crucial time steps from the Dynamic Simulation environment into the Stress Analysis environment, and run the simulation. This helps keep your calculations both accurate and up-to-date. When the parts are modified, the load calculations will automatically update based on the mass properties.

Chapter 18: Routed Systems

1.  Create routes and runs. Using routed systems tools allows you to quickly define many different route types in order to check for clearance and fits within a design, all while creating a bill of materials that can be used downstream in the manufacturing process.

1.  Master It You have a model containing equipment and structural components defining the space requirements for a new route. Can you create a route using this geometry, or are you required to create a sketch first?

2.  Solution When you have geometry that needs to be referenced and routed around, you can create a sketch first, but it isn't required. Instead, you could use the orthogonal route tool to define the route.

2.  Author a tube and pipe component. To create your own fittings, couplings, and so on to be used within tube and pipe design, you need to first author them for use with the tube and pipe tools.

1.  Master It How can you set the depth at which pipe, tube, or hose segments are inserted into a fitting?

2.  Solution The pipe engagement is set during the tube and pipe component authoring process to determine how deep the segment will fit into the fitting. For butt weld–style components, the engagement is set to 0 since there is no insertion. Content Center components have the engagement positioning already set.

3.  Author an electrical component. To create your own electrical connector components to be used within cable and harness designs, you need to first define pins within the parts.

1.  Master It How can you create a family of electrical connectors with varying numbers of pins?

2.  Solution First, use the Place Pin or Place Pin Group tool to add the maximum number of pins to the connector part. Then convert the part to an iPart. In the iPart Author dialog box, use the Work Features tab to include only the pins required for each pin variation.

4.  Create and document cable and harness assemblies. Cable and harness assemblies are created using a specific subassembly and part structure. Each harness is contained in a harness subassembly, and the parts such as wires, cables, and segments are created within a harness part file.

1.  Master It You have a complex design that includes many harness assemblies and would like to turn some of them off while you work on others and/or create new ones. What is the best way to do this?

2.  Solution You can create level-of-detail representations in cable and harness assemblies in much the same way that you would in a standard assembly. You can suppress an entire harness assembly and the harness part. But you cannot suppress other harness objects within the harness. Harness objects do not include connectors that are within the harness assembly. These can be suppressed.

Chapter 19: Plastics Design Features

1.  Create thicken/offset features. When creating plastic parts, you will often find that working with surfaces allows you to achieve more free-form shapes than working with solids. Once the surfaces are created, you'll need to give them a thin wall thickness.

1.  Master It How would you create a plastic part file with many curved, free-form elements?

2.  Solution You can use the extrude and revolve features, among others, to create surface shapes that are much more free-form than what you can generally create with solid features. Once the surfaces are created, use the Thicken/Offset tool to give them a wall thickness.

2.  Create shell features. Shelling solids parts and features is a common way to create base features for plastic parts. Once the shell feature is created, other features can be added to it.

1.  Master It You want to create a shell feature but need to have some faces be thicker than the rest. How would you accomplish this?

2.  Solution You can use the button to expand the Unique Thickness option in the Shell tool dialog box to specify faces that require unique face thicknesses. Or you can use the Thicken/Offset tool to change the thickness of faces after a shell is created.

3.  Create split features. Many times you may want to establish the overall shape of a feature and then divide the shape into separate parts of the overall design. You can use the Split tool to do just that and more.

1.  Master It You have a plastic part that needs to have a raised face for a rubber grip applied during the manufacturing process. How would this be done?

2.  Solution Use the Split tool to create a surface that is unique to the rubber grip area and then use the Thicken/Offset tool to build up the rubber face.

4.  Create grill features. Grill features allow the inflow or outflow of air through a plastic thin-wall part. Grills can be created with a number of subfeatures such as islands, ribs, and spars, but only the outer profile of the grill is required.

1.  Master It How would you determine the area of a grill opening based on the airflow it needs to handle?

2.  Solution Edit the sketch from which the grill feature was created and then use the Measure Region tool to determine the general area of the opening. Or create a sketch on the grill; project all of the islands, ribs, and spars into the sketch; and then use the Measure Region tool on it to determine the exact area of the opening.

5.  Create rule fillet features. Rule fillets can be an extremely efficient way to apply fillets throughout the design to many edges that meet the same rule criteria.

1.  Master It How would you apply fillets to all of the edges that are generated by extruding a shape down to an existing set of base features?

2.  Solution Use the Rule Fillet tool with the source set to the new extruded shape, the rule set to Against Features, and the scope set to include all the base features to create intersecting fillets. If this feature changes to create new edges or remove existing edges that fit the rule, the fillets are added or removed automatically.

6.  Create rest features. Rest features can be used to create level platform faces for mounting other parts to an irregular plastic part face.

1.  Master It You want to create a rectangular pocket on the inside of a plastic housing to hold an electronic component. How would you do this?

2.  Solution On a work plane, create a sketch that defines the shape of the pocket. The work plane location will define the orientation. Use the Rest tool to create the pocket, using the options in the Rest tool to achieve the exact result you require.

7.  Create boss features. Boss features are ideal for creating fastener-mounting standoffs for thin-wall plastic parts. You can use the Boss tool to create both halves of the fastener boss.

1.  Master It You want to create multiple boss features around the perimeter of a flat, pan-type base part, but you know this base part is likely to change size. How would you set up the boss features to adjust to the anticipated edits?

2.  Solution On a work plane, create a 2D sketch that defines the height of the bosses. Use the Offset tool in the sketch environment to create an offset loop based on the perimeter of the part. Add sketch center points at all the required locations. Ensure that the offset loop and the sketch center points are fully constrained and dimensioned and then use these points when creating the boss feature.

8.  Create lip and groove features. When designing plastic parts, you may need one half of a design to fit into the other half. The Lip tool allows you to create both lip and groove features for these situations.

1.  Master It You want to create a groove around the edge of an irregular, curved edge. How can you ensure that the lip on the corresponding part will match?

2.  Solution Use the clearance height to remove uneven mating surfaces during the lip and groove creation, ensuring a proper fit.

9.  Create snap fit features. Snap features are a common way to join plastic parts together so that they can be disassembled as needed. You can use the Snap Fit tool in Inventor to quickly create these features.

1.  Master It How would you create a U-shaped snap fit with the Snap Fit tool?

2.  Solution Use the standard sketch and extrude methods to create the base of the U-shape. Then use the Snap Fit tool to add the snap and loop as needed.

10.Create rib and web features. Ribs and webs are often used to add rigidity and prevent warping during the design of plastic parts. You can add ribs based on open profile sketches in Inventor.

1.  Master It How would you create a network of ribs that are evenly spaced, with some of them containing different cutouts than others?

2.  Solution Create an open profile sketch for the first single rib. Then use the Rib tool to create it. Use the Rectangular Pattern tool to pattern the rib as needed and then create the cutout profile and use the Extrude tool to cut the shape from the first rib. Then pattern the cutout to match the rib pattern. Finally, suppress the cutouts you do not need.

11.Create draft features. Because plastic parts must be extracted from a mold during the manufacturing process, drafted faces must be included to ensure that the parts can indeed be extracted from the mold.

1.  Master It You want to create drafted faces on a complex part containing various shapes within it. How would you do this?

2.  Solution Start the Draft tool and then click the Help button in the lower-left corner, or just press F1 on the keyboard. This will open the help page specifically for the Draft tool. Expand the nodes on the Concept tab to explore the examples of the various results achieved by different settings. Use the various methods throughout the part where they will provide the correct result. Set up work planes to help establish fixed-plane faces.

12.Create an injection mold. To generate the components you have designed with the plastic part features, you need to properly define the cavity to create the part and define how the material will flow into the cavity.

1.  Master It You want to create a mold base design in an efficient manner using parts that can be purchased.

2.  Solution Use the many steps of the Inventor Tooling package to properly define the core and cavity. Then use the analysis tools to ensure that the part will be made correctly. Finally, use the library of features included with Inventor to construct the mold base assembly.

Chapter 20: iLogic

1.  Create iLogic rules. Use iLogic rules to document and embed into your models the common design rules that you use every day to determine the decisions required in your design process.

1.  Master It How can you add a rule to your part to change the size of it?

2.  Solution Create a rule and use a parameter function to get and set the model parameters.

2.  Edit iLogic rules. A large part of working with iLogic is testing and editing the rules you create. Often, it's best to add a function at a time to the rule and test it along the way.

1.  Master It Your rule works, but you have to manually update the model. Do you need to create a new rule to handle the update?

2.  Solution You can edit your existing rule and add the UpdateWhenDone document function to run at the end of the rule.

3.  Use multi-value list parameters. A common part of any design rule process is selecting from a list of standard entities. You can create multi-value list parameters from Numeric or Text parameters to add lists.

1.  Master It How would you create a rule that prompts you to select from a list of approved sizes?

2.  Solution To start, you will create a user parameter and then make it a multi-value list parameter. Then you can use the InputListBox function or create an iLogic form to reference that list.

4.  Work with multiple rules in the same file. It is often best to create several small rules rather than try to create one large rule that does it all. This helps you maintain and troubleshoot the code later, and it also allows you to use rules in multiple applications without the need to remove or edit existing code. This is particularly true when working with external rules, which might be used in varying applications later.

1.  Master It You've created two smaller rules because it makes sense to do so, but when you try to run one, the other is triggered also. Do you need to combine them into one rule?

2.  Solution When one rule updates the parameters another rule is referencing, the other rule is triggered by that update by default. To resolve this, you can choose to edit the rule. Select the Options tab and then select the Don't Run Automatically option. This prevents the rule from running automatically when the parameters are updated.

5.  Use conditional statements. Conditional statements are the foundation of any programmed logic. Learning how to use If, Then, and Select Case statements will go a long way in helping you solve logical problems when creating rules.

1.  Master It How can you check the value of a parameter or its state with an iLogic rule?

2.  Solution You can do this with an If, Then statement. For instance, if you want to check a parameter to ensure that it is not too small, you would use function operator such as < (less than) or <= (less than or equal to).

6.  Suppress features. Configuring a part file to include and exclude features is often based on engineering decisions you make every day. Setting up your iLogic rules to do this is straightforward, provided the model is well constructed to start with.

1.  Master It When you use the Feature.IsActive function on one feature, it causes an error in the part. How can a feature be suppressed without suppressing a dependent feature?

2.  Solution Oftentimes, the issue is the use of projected geometry in the sketch of the dependent feature. Other times, the part was simply modeled in a manner that prevents suppressing a base feature. In these cases, it's best just to edit the part and redefine the base feature so that it is based on the origin geometry and not on unrelated features.

7.  Work with iProperties. iProperties are a powerful part of working with Inventor. Being able to retrieve and use metadata helps with all parts of the engineering process. Automating the process of filling out iProperty data with iLogic is a big step forward.

1.  Master It Can iLogic be used to update the title block of a drawing?

2.  Solution If you set the title block up to read the iProperties of the model and/or the drawing, then an iLogic rule created to write to those properties will automatically update the title block.

8.  Create iLogic forms. iLogic forms make creating a user interface for your iLogic pursuits quite easy. The drag-and-drop tools provide professional-looking forms with minimal effort.

1.  Master It You have existing part files with no iLogic in them, and it would be nice to use the form you created in the most recent design to update those old designs as revisions require it. Can forms be created and shared across part files?

2.  Solution You can create an external global form and then use it in the future when you need to revise old designs of the same type.

9.  Build a part configuration form. Configuring Inventor components saves time, reduces human error, and promotes consistency. Using iLogic forms to configure common designs is a good way to go.

1.  Master It Can an iLogic form help with parts that are basically the same but have a lot of variation in the features they include?

2.  Solution Although you can't access the active status of the features directly, you can use rules to determine when a feature should be included or excluded and then use the rules in the form.