autodesk inventor

What are the main features of Autodesk Inventor? – 3D natives

Autodesk Inventor is CAD (Computer Aided Design) software for 3D mechanical modeling, simulation, visualization and documentation, developed by the Autodesk company of the same name. Inventor enables the integration of 2D and 3D data in a single environment and creates a virtual representation of the end product, allowing users to validate the product’s form, fit and function before it is built. Autodesk Inventor includes parametric, direct editing, and free-form modeling tools, as well as multi-CAD translation capabilities in its standard DWG computer drawings (DraWinG). Inventor uses ShapeManager, Autodesk’s proprietary geometric modeling engine. This software is in direct competition with SolidWorks, Solid Edge and Creo.

The CAD software combines parametric design functions: direct, free-form and rule-based. With this professional solution you have integrated tools for sheet metal, frame, pipe, cable and harness design, layout, rendering, simulation, machine design and much more. In addition, it supports TrustedDWG® files and has powerful model-based definition capabilities to embed manufacturing information directly into the 3D model. It is commonly used by mechanical engineers who need specialized and automated tools to design and prepare for manufacturing.

Autodesk Inventor

Example of a model designed in Autodesk Inventor (Image credit: Autodesk Inventor)

General features of Autodesk Inventor

Parts are the main building blocks of Inventor. They are created by defining features or elements, which in turn are based on sketches (2D drawings). Working drawings can also be used to create sketches at various locations in the workspace. The advantage of this construction method is that all sketches and features can be corrected later without having to redo the entire division. This modeling system is more intuitive than previous, legacy tools where changing the basic dimensions had to start from scratch.

To continue the process, parts are joined into assemblies. In this way, by modifying the parts and assemblies, different variations of the product can be obtained. Parts are connected by adding constraints between faces, edges, planes, points, and axes. This modeling method makes it possible to create large and complex assemblies.

Autodesk Inventor

Inventor has the tools to control and manage the data generated by large and complex assembly designs (Image credit: Autodesk Inventor)

Autodesk Inventor for 3D printing

Autodesk Inventor is one of the world’s most widely used 3D CAD design programs for creating 3D digital prototypes used in product design, visualization and simulation for mechanical design. It uses parametric solid modeling techniques to quickly modify and adjust the geometric properties of the product design through a very intuitive workflow.

In 3D printing, the goal is to create correctly meshed models that can be exported as STL files. A 3D model created with Autodesk Inventor results in a closed design and a perfect mesh.

Within this software there is a specialized 3D printing tool. To find it you need to navigate to the top bar and go to the “Environment” section. By clicking on this tool you get the representation of a printing plate. From this environment we can now define the orientation of our part, do direct modeling if we need a slightly larger part, etc. In addition, users have the option to send this part to Autodesk Print Studio, Meshmixer or directly to the desired printer. With the Print Options tool, you can fine-tune the mesh structure, units, and even color.

Autodesk Inventor

Mesh generated via software (Image credit: Autodesk Inventor)

The latest version, Inventor 2023

The latest version of Inventor® 3D CAD software is packed with updates and enhancements to help you manage your design process, accelerate your connected engineering workflows, and reduce repetitive tasks. This latest release provides interoperability with Fusion 360, allowing you to quickly access and launch Inventor-Fusion 360 workflows, including additive design, simulation, electronics, and manufacturing. With an improved approach to BIM (Building Information Modeling) and MCAD (Mechanical CAD) interoperability, you can also securely exchange data between Revit and Inventor building design software.

Other benefits include the ability to prepare designs for fabrication with the new Markup command, updates to sheet metal export, and support for dimensional tolerances in additional features. With this software you can better control your BOM and manage tolerances. This release also includes performance and productivity improvements for graphics and large assemblies.

In terms of pricing, Autodesk Inventor is available as a free trial for 30 days, after which payment is by subscription. The annual subscription is 2,862 euros or 360 euros per month. If you are considering purchasing this software solution, you can find more information on the official Autodesk website, HERE.

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