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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.
The next user interface component we want to talk about is the browser. The browser is essentially a lens into what is being shown on this graphic screen. In this case, we are looking at an engine assembly, and we can tell that from within the browser we have Engine.iam listed at the top of the tree. Below that, we have things that are specific to this assembly, things like the parts. This Engine Block, for example, you'll notice as I highlight it in the browser, it also highlights in the graphics window. This is a bi-directional link. If I select on something like this Heat Sink, you'll notice that it highlights down here in the browser.
This is a nice way to be able to find components within the assembly. You notice that not all items are visible, some are hidden deep within the assembly. For example, the Piston Shaft is actually hidden inside of the assembly, inside the Engine Block. But as we hover down this list, you can see certain items highlighting. It's important to understand that the browser is connected to the graphic screen, because in certain cases, I might need to interrogate my model a little more closely. For example, let's say we needed to see how the piston works in this model.
We can select things in the graphics window and hide them so that we can interrogate things inside the model. In this case, we can see that the piston works, but we have a problem now. On the screen, we don't see those parts. If we want to turn them back on, we actually have to use the browser in conjunction with the graphics window. Here you can see in the browser the things we made hidden or not visible have now become grayed out, and we can right-click on them and select Visibility to bring them back to visibility in the graphics window. So once you've hidden something in the graphics window, you are going to need to use the browser to actually return that to its original state.
Now, as I mentioned, here we are looking at an assembly, so we've got things like Parts and Assemblies and even if you expand the Engine Block, for example, you can see the constraints or the rules that tell this model how they're assembled, or how they're connected. The browser is very context-sensitive to what is being shown on the screen because it's actually a representation of the same thing. For example, if I actually double-click on any part in this model, what's happened here is I've begun editing a part.
When I did that, the browser changed significantly. I'm still viewing the Assembly.iam file, but you'll notice that the Engine Block is now highlighted, and it's got a focus to it. If I expand that, it's as if I've opened this part on its own, but now I see the Engine Block listed, and instead of other parts, I actually see features that make this component on. I see Extrusions, I see Work Planes, I see Lofts, I even see Mirrors, Holes, and Fillets, these are all the modeling operations that we'll learn about later in this course.
But it's important to show that the browser is a direct link to that which is being shown on the graphic screen. To return to the Assembly, I simply click the Return button, which is like going up a level back to the Assembly, and now I am returned to seeing parts in assemblies. So, the system will automatically adjust based on what types of things and actions you are doing.
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