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This course introduces you to the interface and key processes of Inventor, the parametric design system from Autodesk. Author John Helfen covers sketching, part modeling, assemblies, and drawings. These tasks work in conjunction, allowing you to create parts and assemblies and document them in a way so that the manufacturing process proceeds faster and more efficiently.
In this movie we are going to begin creating our assembly file. The first step in creating an assembly is to place components into an assembly file. We can do this by starting a new assembly file. If we go to the Getting Started tab under the Launch panel, we can click New to bring up the Create New file dialog box. Earlier in the course we talked about file types, and if you remember we do have the ability to create a couple different assembly types. We have Weldments, and we have Standard assemblies. Because we are not creating a Weldment we are going to select Standard.iam and click Create to begin a new assembly file.
On the screen you can now see our blank assembly file. An assembly file is essentially just a container that holds the individual parts that are going to be assembled. To begin placing parts into this assembly, we have two options. We can go to the Assemble tab under the Component panel and select Place, or we can right-click in the Graphics window and select Place Components from the marking menu. In the Place Component dialog box you see our exercise files. We are going to start by selecting the engine block. The reason for this is the engine block is the main component of this assembly.
Everything attaches to it. So it's the most important component and makes the most sense to start from. With the engine block selected, we can click Open to place this file. Now by default Inventor will automatically place that first component for you. If you notice, as I move my cursor I do have the ability to add additional versions of this component, but in this case we don't need that, so I'm going to right-click and select OK to complete the place process. Now that our component has been placed in the assembly, you'll notice that we do have the work planes turned on from this part.
We don't need that for the assembly, so I am going to go ahead and go to the view tab and under the Visibility panel select Object Visibility and uncheck All Workfeatures. This turns them off. I can always return to turn them back on when needed, but they're out of the way now so we can begin our assembly process. The other thing I am going to do while I'm on the view tab is turn on my ambient shadows, just so I can see little depth in the model. The other thing you might notice is the engine block is laying on its side. I am going to quickly reorient the view cube so that we can have a better visibility of this model and prepare to place the remaining components.
To do this, I am going to orient the model into an isometric view that I prefer. I am going to right-click on the home button and from the Set Current view as Home menu select Fit to view. This resets my default isometric view. Next, I am going to click on the view that I feel should be the front view. I am going to right-click and from the Set Current view as menu select Front. Now when I click my Home button, my model is an orientation that makes sense to continue the assembly process.
With the engine block placed into the assembly you can notice that the browser has been updated to indicate that a part has been added to this assembly. If I hover over it, you can see a highlight in the graphics window. The other thing I want to call out here is the fact that there's a pin icon next to this. The pin icon represents the fact that this component is grounded. The first component in any assembly file is going to be a grounded component. We can always change that, and I'll show you how to do that in a minute, but if I click and drag on this part, you'll notice that I get the pin icon indicating that this part cannot move because it's grounded.
We are now ready to place another component into this assembly. I will right-click in the Graphics window and select Place Component. This time from the Place Component dialog box, we are going to select the crankshaft, we will click Open to place that, and as I move my cursor the part follows, and I can find a location that makes sense, left-click, and place that component. Now you will notice I do have the ability to place the component a second time. I am going to go ahead and do that just so I can show you what the process is to remove it and explain a little bit about what that does.
Now that I'm finished placing components, I'll right-click and select OK. In the browser you will notice we'll have two crankshafts, Crankshaft:1, and Crankshaft:2. These are identical copies of each other in this model. If I were to change one of these part files, both would update in the graphics window. Because I don't need the second crankshaft, I am going to right-click and select Delete, but before we move on, I do want to talk about how we can place components from the browser itself. Now that we have the crankshaft in the browser, if for some reason we did need a second one, we could simply click and drag from the browser into the graphics window, release our mouse button, and place a second version of that item. Notice we have Crankshaft:1 and Crankshaft:2 again.
This is the same as placing the component twice, but you don't have to use the dialog box to do it the second time. Once you have the parts in the browser, you can simply drag from the browser to make copies of them. This will save time if you need to do that. Let me go ahead and remove that by right- clicking on it and selecting Delete so that we only have one crankshaft here. We are ready to place our next component. I am going to right-click and select Place Component again from the marking menu, and this time, rather than selecting a single file, I am going to go ahead and select the crank arm, hold my Ctrl key down on my keyboard, and select the faceplate, the piston pin, the piston shaft, the piston, and the pulley shaft, all in one selection set.
We left out the crankshaft and engine block because they're already in the assembly. With those selected I can select Open and Inventor arranges the parts in an organized fashion and allows me to place them all at once. With those parts placed I can right- click and select OK to complete the process. You will notice all of the remaining components in the browser do not have the grounded pin next to them. If from the graphic screen I click and drag on a part, you'll notice that they're floating in space. If I need to ground one of those components for any reason, I can right-click on it in the Graphics window and select the grounded option from the right-click menu.
By doing so, you'll notice that the piston shaft now has a pin next to it, and if I click and drag on it in the graphics window, I get the pin icon again. At any point I can ground or unground components as needed, and there will be times while you're assembling simply things that it makes sense to do that temporarily. I am going to unground that shaft, because I don't need to have it grounded. I just wanted to show you the process. By doing so, we can now move it again. With all our parts placed into the assembly, we are now ready to continue with the assembly process.
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