Autodesk Inventor 2008 Offers Smooth Transition from 2D Workflow
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Dean, July 23, 2007
is Autodesk’s flagship system for 3D product development. As with all things
Autodesk, the company is looking to bring across a portion of the massive
AutoCAD user community to this system. Inventor is clearly
the future for Autodesk’s Manufacturing Solutions Division.
For Inventor 2008 Autodesk has done some work on Inventor/AutoCAD
interaction, which manifests itself in a couple of ways. Initially, there’s
an effort in this release to bring parity between the sketching tools found
in Inventor and the drawing tools in AutoCAD. This is done in two ways.
First, the operations have been fleshed out within Inventor, so that you
have the same basic tools (this has meant the addition of a move, rotate and
stretch command). Alongside this, the icons have been hanged within Inventor
to match AutoCAD. While I’m sure this will be galling for experienced
Inventor users, the changes aren’t that dramatic; a few hours should see you
settled in. Sketching has also seen non-AutoCAD related updates. The
constraints tool has been revised to reduce clutter and allow the user to
visualize the control constraints within a sketch, to see where remaining
constraints are required and such. Also, the user now has greater control
over how sketch entities are displayed (such as line weight, color, style).
Author in Inventor, Reuse in AutoCAD
Alongside Sketching, there have been
some major changes in the architecture beneath the interaction between
Inventor and AutoCAD, all wrapped up under the banner of TrueConnect.
TrueConnect sees how a user interacts with AutoCAD DWG; it notices data
changes rather dramatically and should prove useful to users still mixing up
3D and 2D-based processes.
Inventor 2008 takes DWG interoperability to a higher level with DWG
TrueConnect -- new technology that provides direct read and write of DWG.
The first usage model for TrueConnect is that all authoring is
Inventor-based, but there is a desire to reuse that data within AutoCAD. A
drawing file is created within Inventor which can then be read into AutoCAD
(whether that’s generic or Mechanical) without any translation or
conversion. But—and this is interesting—Inventor stores the individual
drawing views as separate entities, so from within AutoCAD, you use the
Design Center to open an Inventor DWG file, browse its contents (in terms of
drawing views) and just extract the view or views you need for reuse in
Enhancements to dynamic simulation in Inventor 2008 support analysis of
the stress on parts at different points, or time steps, in the simulation
Intelligent Data Exchange
A huge update for those working with imported
data is found under the banner of Composite data, allowing the user to
import geometry and use it in design work. What’s intriguing is that when
the user re-imports that data (say, a new rev from a client or supplier),
any parts or features derived from that geometry are also updated.
Obviously, this will go best with geometry changes, rather that topology
edits, but it will still be useful. Elsewhere data can now be exchanged
between Inventor and Autodesk AliasStudio (formerly, StudioTools). The
predominately surface-based data can be read straight into Inventor for
further design, engineering and production preparation work. For those
looking to mix AliasStudio and a 3D modeling application, this represents a
pretty compelling argument for adopting both.
One cool new feature is the Area-based loft which allows the user to
create a standard loft but with much more control over the area within each
section or profile. What I mean by this is that while you might create the
form (such as a circle, polygon, etc.), the real driving factor behind that
section might be the cross sectional area. This is particularly critical for
those involved in fluid or gas flow applications.
- Drafting and
- Design Accelerators
Integrated Simulation and Analysis
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