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Already up and running? This course is the next step in building your Autodesk Inventor skillset. Author John Helfen takes you through the interface and key processes of this parametric design system, including sketching, part modeling, assemblies, and drawings. Each process works in conjunction with the rest, allowing you to create parts and assemblies and document them in a way that they can be manufactured. Learn how to set up your project file; create and modify geometry; create extrusions, sweeps, and lofts; build parts with placed features and patterns of features; and create iParts and iFeatures. John also covers assembly visualization techniques, drawing views, and balloons and parts lists.
The course was created and produced by John Helfen. We're honored to host this training in our library.
Now that we're ready to learn about sketching, I wanted to take a minute and step back and show the high-level concept of what sketching is and how it relates to part modeling, because I find that it's incredibly important to understand why we're sketching in the first place. Sketching is foundational in Inventor. It's where you're going to spend most of your time during the design process. And it's important in the beginning to understand how sketching and part modeling are related, so that you understand where we're going. The best way for you to understand this is for me to show you. I'm going to go ahead and create a new part in Inventor.
Now it's not important that you understand how to create a part or all the details of what I'm doing here. It's more important to understand the basic concept that I'm going to draw a 2D shape and turn that into a 3D model and what I want to do is show you the relation between the two, so that as you're learning about sketching, you can keep that in mind. On the screen, I now have a blank 2D part. The very first step of any part is to create a base feature, and you're going to do this by creating a 2D sketch. Since there's nothing flat to draw on, the origin planes come up and I can just select a flat surface to sketch on.
You think of it as selecting a flat piece of paper to create a 2-D shape on. I'm going to go ahead and create a rectangle real quickly. And rather than add dimensions and instructions and intelligence into this sketch, I'm just going to finish the sketch. All I want to do is show the overall process, not the details yet. We'll get into that later. But now that I have a 2D shape, I have the ability to apply a 3D modeling action to that shape. I'm going to right-click and I have the option in my right-click menu to select Extrude or Revolve, which are a couple of modeling actions.
I'm going to start with Extrude, because it's the one you'll probably use most often and it's the most basic. What it does is essentially takes that 2D shape and adds 3D depth to it. By hitting OK or clicking the green check box, I've essentially created the base feature of my very first part. Now it's not the most exciting part, but it is a part nonetheless. Next, what I'm going to do is continue the design process by creating more sketches and modeling features to essentially sculpt this part into the shape that I want as a final design.
To do that I can create another sketch and essentially rinse and repeat that same steps I did in the beginning. I'm going to select a flat face to sketch on. I'm going to create some type of 2D shape. In this case I'll create another rectangle. I'm going to finish that sketch and I'm going to apply a 3D modeling action again. I'm going to go ahead and select Extrude one more time, but this time, since there's more than one shape, Inventor wants me, as the designer, to select the shape I want to take action on. And I can select one or both or as many I want, depending on how many I've created in the sketch.
But essentially, I'm going to select this rectangle in the center, An inventor begins adding material. I can also remove material with the same steps, by just switching the direction of the extrusion. There's also many other options, like distance and termination types for how far I want to Extrude this. But at the most basic level I can add and remove material to sculpt a shape. I now have essentially a u channel. Now what's important to understand is, depending on what I sketch, I could do this, for example, in one action.
Let me create a new part real quick, and I'll show you what I mean. Rather than creating the first Extrude, then using a face on that part to create a second Extrude, I could draw those both in one shape. I'm going to go ahead and select my flat surface to draw on. And I'll create both rectangles in my sketch this time. When I finish my sketch, I can apply my 3D modeling action, I'm going to select extrude again, but this time since I have multiple shapes, again I get to select which one I want to take action on. And if I select the larger one, you can see that the Extrude allows me to create that basic shape in a single Extrude, based on what I've sketched.
Now that you see how those are related, the next step I want to mention is the fact that you can change the type of modeling action that is applied to that sketch. I'm going to use control + z on my keyboard to undo and get back to the 2D sketch. This time, I'm going to go ahead and right-click and select Revolve. And it starts out the same as the Extrude. I need to pick a profile I want to take action on. But this time, I have the ability to select an axis. If I select a line in this model or in this sketch, you can see that that same 2D shape can become a very different 3D feature.
That's essentially the connection between sketching and part modeling. It's important that you understand that as you get started, because it might affect how you or what you sketch as you're doing design.
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