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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.
Before we begin digging into the product, I wanted to take a minute and talk about the file types that can be created with Autodesk Inventor. Just like Microsoft Office has specific file types for Word documents, Excel documents, and PowerPoint, Inventor has similar file types of its own. To see the types of files that can be created with Autodesk Inventor, you can click the New button, which is found in the Getting Started tab in the Launch panel. This brings up our New File dialog. On the left you can see a browser that includes an organization structure for templates that can be used in Inventor.
When installing Inventor, a series of selections during the installation like the standard you're using and the unit you want to use are reflected partially in this list. The default templates include those settings, but you'll also have more specific templates, for example, in English and Metric that are more specific to different types of standards. For example, in the Metric templates we have both ANSI and DIN as well as some others. While you're learning Inventor, most of the time the default templates are going to work well for you.
If you're using Inventor in a commercial market or a commercial environment, I highly recommend that you consult your CAD manager before you begin creating any types of files or parts in Inventor. The reason for this is it's very common for companies to create their own standards or variations of existing standards that have been agreed upon with manufacturers and partners that you work with. So again, if using Inventor in a commercial environment, you should consult your CAD manager before you begin creating files. Now that you know about the templates, let's talk a little bit about the specific file types that are available.
Files fall into four major categories: Part files, Assembly files, Drawing files, and Presentation files. At the top, you can see the Part files. Within each category there's often slight variations or multiple variations of a type of file. In the Part environment you can see Standard.ipt, the .ipt stands for Inventor Part file, and when I select that you can see an image of what can be created with this type of file. In this case, Part files represent single items in a design.
It could be a Lego brick, it could be a pen cap, it could be an engine block. The point is that it's a single file that represents one item. Sheet Metal parts have the same basic concept. The difference is rather than standard modeling features, Sheet Metal parts include features that are specific to that type of modeling. The ability to create bends and flat patterns are an example. Next, we have Assembly files. The standard.assembly file is essentially a container that contains multiple part files.
If you need to create a pen or an engine block, you're going to first create the parts that make up that model and then you're going to connect them inside of an assembly file. Similar to the Part files, there's variations of Assembly files as well. Weldments, for example, are very specific types of assemblies that allow you to show how parts are connected through welding. Next, we have the Drawing files. Drawing files come in a couple of variations. The standard one is Standard.idw. This is the default file format for Inventor Drawings.
Drawings are going to be used to document your parts and assemblies for manufacturing purposes. The other option you have within Drawings is in DWG file. DWG files work in the exact same way as an IDW, but they have a different standard. DWG is the standard file format for AutoCAD. Because Autodesk develops AutoCAD as well, we have the ability to create native drawing files in Inventor. If, for example, your company works with partners and manufacturers that require DWG files you can simply change settings in Inventor to always use DWG as your file format, or you can select it on your own when you're creating a new file.
If you create an IDW you can still save a file as a DWG, and it will create a native DWG file as if it was written out of AutoCAD. The final file type is a Presentation file. Presentation files are representations of assemblies, but rather than showing all the parts attached to each other, Presentation files allow you to disassemble the assembly so people can have a better understanding of how the parts are connected to each other. In this course we're going to be focusing on three major components: Part files, Assembly files, and Drawing files.
Presentation files are beyond the scope of this course.
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