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This sample chapter is for review purposes only. Copyright The Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc. All rights reserved.

CHAPTER

Figure 1-1.
Inventor provides tools to create three-dimensional solid models and two-dimensional drawings.

Introduction to Autodesk Inventor


Learning Objectives
After completing this chapter, you will be able to do the following: Describe the primary Autodesk Inventor file types. Explain the concept of parametric modeling. Define the elements of a part model. Perform basic file activities, such as creating, opening, saving, and closing files. Describe the Autodesk Inventor user interface. Control the multiple document interface. Access application options. Locate and use help resources. Autodesk Inventor, referred to as Inventor throughout this textbook, combines three-dimensional (3D) solid modeling with two-dimensional (2D) drawing capabilities. See Figure 1-1. Inventor is a powerful computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) system that allows you to start with very basic product design ideas and end with a virtual prototype and a complete set of working drawings. Inventor can be adapted to use and conform to a variety of mechanical drafting standards. This textbook focuses on using Inventor according to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) design and drafting standards. Other common standards, such as the American Welding Society (AWS) standards, are also presented when appropriate.

.886

4X .541(=2.165) (.541) 5X 5.000 THRU 10.000 5.000 .005 M A B C M

.984

.492 B C

.394 .886 1.772 2.657 3.543 3.937 2X R.394 8X R.197 8X R.394 1.969 8X .394 .005 M A B .005 M .984 A .394 .394 .394 .394

NOTES:
1. INTERPRET DIMENSIONS AND TOLERANCES PER ASME Y14.5M-1994. 2. REMOVE ALL BURRS AND SHARP EDGES.

UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED DIMENSIONS ARE IN INCHES (IN.) TOLERANCES: .X .1 .XX .01 .XXX .005 ANGULAR: 10' 62IN. FINISH:

APPROVALS DRAWN CHECKED APPROVED MATERIAL

DATE

DPM 6/20/2008 DPM


TITLE

MADSEN DESIGNS INC.


SLIDE BAR HINGE
SIZE CAGE CODE DWG NO.

THIRD ANGLE PROJECTION

SAE 51410
FINISH

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Inventor Files
Inventor uses different files to prepare 3D part, assembly, and presentation models, as well as 2D drawings. Each file serves a specific design and documentation purpose. A basic design may require only a single part file or a part file and drawing file. Complex projects that include multiple items may require hundreds of part, assembly, presentation, and drawing files.

Part Files
part: An item or product or an element of an assembly.

Part files are used to create single parts and sheet metal parts. Figure 1-2 shows an example of a part. You can create a part in a part file or build it in place while you are working in an assembly file. When created in place, each part is saved as a unique part file. Part files are referenced into assembly files as parts for assemblies and weldments, and into drawing files to create 2D part drawings. Part files have the file extension .ipt.

Inventor and Its Applications 2009

Figure 1-2.
An example of a C-clamp body created in a part file.

Figure 1-4.
This presentation of a C-clamp contains trails, or connection graphics between components that show their relative positions in the assembly.

Trail

Trail

Assembly Files
Assembly files are used to create assemblies, subassemblies, and weldments. Parts and subassemblies used to build an assembly are known as components. An example of an assembly is shown in Figure 1-3. You can develop an assembly in a separate assembly file or create it in place as a subassembly while you are working in an assembly file. When created in place, each assembly is saved as a unique assembly file. Assembly files are referenced into other assembly files as subassemblies, into presentation files for creation of exploded and animated assemblies, and into drawing files to create assembly drawings. Assembly files have the extension .iam.
weldment: An assembly in which parts are fixed together with welds. components: The individual parts and subassemblies used to create an assembly.

Drawing Files
drawings: 2D representations of models containing views, dimensions, and annotations.

Drawing files are used to create 2D drawings. See Figure 1-5. Drawings reference existing part, assembly, and presentation files. Drawing files can have the extension .idw or .dwg. Figure 1-5.
A drawing file should contain enough information to describe the part or assembly completely. This drawing is used to document the design of a C-clamp body.

Presentation Files
Presentation files are used to create exploded, animated, and stylized assembly models that show how separate parts and subassemblies interact within the full assembly. See Figure 1-4. Presentation files have an .ipn extension and reference existing assembly files. They are also referenced into drawing files to create exploded assembly drawings. Figure 1-3.
An example of a C-clamp developed in an assembly file.

9.5

19

9.5

M10x1.5 - 6H

50.8 19 14 14 14

2X R6.35

101.6

25.45

20.65

14 14 14
UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED DIMENSIONS ARE IN MILLIMETERS (mm) TOLERANCES: .X 0.5 .XX 0.05 .XXX 0.005 ANGULAR: 10' 3.2m FINISH: APPROVALS DRAWN CHECKED TITLE APPROVED MATERIAL DATE

DPM

6/20/2008

GOODHEART-WILLCOX
C-CLAMP BODY

NOTES:
1. INTERPRET DIMENSIONS AND TOLERANCES PER ASME Y14.5M-1994. 2. REMOVE ALL BURRS AND SHARP EDGES.

THIRD ANGLE PROJECTION

SAE 4140
FINISH SIZE CAGE CODE DWG NO.

ALL OVER
DO NOT SCALE DRAWING

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Chapter 1 Introduction to Autodesk Inventor

Inventor and Its Applications 2009

Exercise 1-1
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Understanding Constraints
constraints: Parameters that control the size, location, and position of model elements, including sketches and features.

Access the Student Web site (www.g-wlearning.com/CAD/InventorApps2009), select Chapter 1 from the Chapter Materials drop-down list, and select and complete Exercise 1-1.

Parametric Solid Modeling


Inventor works on the concept of parametric solid modeling. Parameters can be adjusted to make changes to the model, but if the modifications conflict with other geometry, the model cannot be built without errors. The parametric concept is also referred to as intelligence because of the way model information is stored and managed in a database.
parametric solid modeling: A form of modeling in which parameters and constraints drive the model form and function to produce models that contain object volume and mass data that can be used to analyze internal and external object characteristics. parameters: Characteristics that control the size, shape, and position of model geometry.

fully constrained model: A model that has no freedom of movement.

Constraints are added in the form of dimensions and geometric associations. The use of well-defined constraints preserves specific design intentions, even as revisions are made. For example, if the center of a 10 mm hole in a square plate must be 12 mm away from a specific edge, a constraint in the form of a dimension identifying the 12 mm distance is added. If the edge is moved, the hole moves also, maintaining the 12 mm distance. Constraints define model elements and protect your model and design ideas. An under-constrained model is shown in Figure 1-7. As you progress through the design process, you will often fully constrain the model to ensure that your design is accurate. However, an over-constrained modelone that contains too many constraints generates a modeling failure and a warning. See Figure 1-8. Over-constrained and modeling failure situations must be resolved before you can create a model.

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Parametric Association
The easiest way to understand the basic principle of parametric association is to study the size of a parametrically created geometric shape. For example, the first circle shown in Figure 1-6 was drawn with a 1 diameter. Adding a dimension to the circle that defines the circle diameter as 2 changes the size of the circle according to the 2 diameter dimension. When a new diameter of 3 is applied to the circle, the size of the circle changes from two to three inches in diameter. This example shows how the size of the circle is associated with the circle dimension. The size of the circle changes only when the parametric value of the dimension is edited. Parametric modeling allows you to control every aspect of a model and drawing during and after the design and documentation process. In the parametric modeling world of Inventor, you begin a design with a basic 2D shape and develop it into a complex 3D model. As you learn to use Inventor, you will recognize and work with the parametric relationships between model and drawing elements throughout the entire design process. Planning how to build a model and thinking about how it relates to future parts, assemblies, and drawings is an important step in beginning a design. Throughout this book, you will explore many examples of parametric relationships and learn how to work within the parametric Inventor environment. Figure 1-6.
After creating the circle, you can control its size by assigning a dimension.

Part Model Elements


Part models are the primary solid models. They are used to form subassemblies, assemblies, and 2D part drawings. A part model begins as a sketch or group of sketches that are then used to construct a feature. Additional features are added to the initial feature to create a part model.

Sketches and Sketched Features


sketch: A 2D drawing that provides the profile or guide for developing a sketched feature. sketched features: Features such as extrusions, revolutions, sweeps, lofts, and coils that are built from a sketch.

A sketch is typically the first item you create when developing a model. See Figure 1-9. Sketches are used to create sketched features. Typically, every part model contains at least one sketch and at least one sketched feature. Most of the time, the Figure 1-7.
The hole can be moved horizontally because it is not fully constrained.
This hole is not fixed in the horizontal direction

Drawn at 1 diameter

Added a 2 diameter dimension

Changed the dimension to 3

Chapter 1 Introduction to Autodesk Inventor

Inventor and Its Applications 2009

Figure 1-8.
This warning appears when you try to add a dimension that causes an over-constrained situation.

Figure 1-10.
These sketched features are added to the base feature.
Embossment created from text on a sketch This dimension is not needed

Extruded sketched features

Base feature

Figure 1-9.
This simple sketch has two dimensions that control the objects size.
Rib

Figure 1-11.
Threads, fillets, and chamfers are a few of the placed features available in Inventor.

Threads

base feature is produced as a sketched feature. Ribs, embossments, and some holes are also sketched features. See Figure 1-10.

base feature: The initial model feature, on which all others are based.

Placed Features
Placed features include shells, fillets, chamfers, threads, and face drafts. See Figure 1-11. Generating placed features requires adding size dimensions and selecting a location, such as a point or edge.
placed features: Features added to an existing feature without using a sketch.

Fillet

Chamfer

Work Features
work features: Reference or construction features that direct the location and arrangement of other features.

Work features are used for construction and reference purposes. They serve as a basis for creating part geometry and features in areas where no other geometry is available. Work features include work planes, work axes, and work points. See Figure 1-12. Work features may be placed anywhere on a feature or in 3D space. Like other features, work features are parametrically associated with a model.

Chapter 1 Introduction to Autodesk Inventor

Inventor and Its Applications 2009

Figure 1-12.
Work features are used to build and control other features.

Work plane Work point

Figure 1-14.
Use patterns to create multiple copies of a feature or group of features.

Work axis

Rectangular Pattern

Circular Pattern

Mirrored Feature

Exercise 1-2
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iFeature: An existing feature or set of features you create and then save and store in a catalog to be used in other models. derived components: Features that can contain a complete model consisting of several features, or even multiple parts; often used as a base feature. feature pattern: An arrangement of copied existing features, generating occurrences of the features.

Access the Student Web site (www.g-wlearning.com/CAD/InventorApps2009), select Chapter 1 from the Chapter Materials drop-down list, and select and complete Exercise 1-2.

Catalog Features
Catalog features are similar to placed features, because you can place a catalog feature onto an existing feature. However, catalog features are often far more complex than a standard shell, fillet, chamfer, or face draft. See Figure 1-13. Catalog features include design elements such as iFeatures and derived components.

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Getting Started
icon: A small graphic representing an application, file, or tool.

Feature Patterns
Once you create a feature, such as a hole, you may copy it into an arrangement called a feature pattern. Inventor feature patterns include rectangular patterns, circular patterns, and mirrored features. Examples of feature patterns are shown in Figure 1-14. Figure 1-13.
An example of a catalog feature. This feature contains three holes and a round.

Catalog feature

When Inventor is first installed, Windows creates an Inventor icon, which is displayed on the Windows desktop and in the list of programs available from the Start menu. One of the quickest methods to start Inventor is to double-click on the Inventor desktop icon. Another option is to pick the Start button in the lower-left corner of the Windows desktop, move the cursor to Programs and hold it there or pick, and then select Autodesk, Autodesk Inventor 2009, and finally Autodesk Inventor Professional 2009. The Open dialog box appears by default when you start Inventor. See Figure 1-15. The Open dialog box is used to locate and open existing files. Options are also available for accessing the New File dialog box and for activating and managing projects.

Beginning a New File


templates: Files with predefined settings that are used to begin new documents.

Pick the New File button in the Quick Start area of the Open dialog box to begin a new file using the New File dialog box. See Figure 1-16. This dialog box is the primary tool used to access templates for creating new Inventor parts, assemblies, presentations, and drawings. The New File dialog box can also be accessed by selecting the New option on the File pull-down menu, typing [Ctrl]+[N], or picking the New button on the Inventor Standard toolbar.

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Figure 1-15.
The default display shown when you first launch Inventor includes the Open dialog box.
New and Open options are available from the File pull-down menu Pick to access the New File dialog box Pick to access the Open dialog box

When AutoCAD is configured to display a screen menu, the commands appear in a separate screen.

NOTE
The New button on the Inventor Standard toolbar, shown in Figure 1-15, is a flyout that contains Assembly, Drawing, Part, and Presentation options. These selections are used to quickly access a new standard part, assembly, drawing, or presentation template file. The templates located in the New flyout button are those found in the Templates folder and listed in the Default tab of the New File dialog box.

By default, the New File dialog box contains Default, English, and Metric tabs. On each tabbed page are Inventor template files, represented by unique icons. You can specify the Default tab as English or Metric when you install the program, based on the units you typically use. The English and Metric tabs hold templates with specific units for each Inventor file type, including ANSI in the English tab, and ANSI, BSI, DIN, GB, ISO, and JIS in the Metric tab. Sheet metal and weldment templates are also available in the New File dialog box. These templates are not actually separate file types, as indicated by the .ipt and .iam file extensions. They are template files that are preset for specific model applications. A sheet metal template automatically provides the tools used to create a sheet metal part. A weldment template offers the welding tools necessary to create a weldment. To begin a new file, double-click on the template icon. You can also pick the icon and then pick the OK button in the lower-right portion of the New File dialog box to start a new file.
Pick to begin a new file This button becomes available after certain files are selected
When AutoCAD is configured to display a screen menu, the commands appear in a separate screen.

NOTE
The tabs and template files displayed in the New File dialog box are fully customizable. To specify the tabs and templates shown in the New File dialog box, use projects or create new tabs in the default template folder. Projects and templates are introduced in Chapter 2.

Figure 1-16.
Templates for creating new files are located in tabs along the top of the New File dialog box.

Contains templates based on choosing English or metric during program installation Contains templates based on U.S. Customary units Contains templates based on metric units

Exercise 1-3
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Access the Student Web site (www.g-wlearning.com/CAD/InventorApps2009), select Chapter 1 from the Chapter Materials drop-down list, and select and complete Exercise 1-3.

Standard drawing Sheet metal part

Standard drawing Standard assembly

Standard part Weldment (welded assembly)

Opening an Existing File


Use the Open dialog box, shown in Figure 1-15, to access existing Inventor files and to import non-native CADD files into Inventor. Access the Open dialog box from the New File dialog box by picking the Open button in the Quick Start area. The Open dialog box can also be accessed by selecting the Open option from the File pull-down menu, typing [Ctrl]+[O]; or picking the Open button on the Inventor Standard toolbar.

Standard presentation

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When AutoCAD is configured to display a screen menu, the commands appear in a separate screen.

NOTE
You can open existing files directly from Microsoft Windows Explorer, or you may be able to find files using the quick document access area located near the bottom of the File pull-down menu. This area lists the path and file name of several previously used documents. The files are listed in the order they were opened, and each path is associated with a number. Number 1 is the most recently opened file.

Using the Save Tool


A quick way to save your work is to pick the Save button on the Inventor Standard toolbar. You can also select the Save option from the File pull-down menu or type [Ctrl]+[S]. The Save tool resaves the file if it has already been saved, or opens the Save As dialog box if the file has not previously been saved. See Figure 1-17. The Save As dialog box functions much like similar dialog boxes found in other Windows applications. The file type listed in the Files of type drop-down list should be set to the current file type. Use the Look in drop-down list or the buttons along the top of the dialog box as needed to locate the file. Pick the Options... button to open the File Save Options dialog box, which controls the method of generating a preview image for the file. This image is displayed in the Preview area of the File Open dialog box. Pick the Save button to complete the save.

When you access the Open dialog box, the folder assigned to the active project is displayed, allowing you to quickly access files associated with the active project. However, you can navigate to any file on your computer or the network. Files do not have to be in the active project to be opened. The Open dialog box functions much like similar dialog boxes found in other Windows applications. Use the Files of type drop-down list to specify the type of files to display in the Open dialog box. Then use the Look in drop-down list, the Go To Last Folder Visited, Up One Level, Create New Folder, and View Menu buttons along the top of the dialog box, and the Preview area as needed to locate the desired file. Once you select a file, the Options... button may become available. Picking this button opens the File Open Options dialog box. The choices available in this dialog box vary depending on the selected file type. To open a file, double-click on the file icon, or pick the icon and then pick the Open button in the lower-right portion of the New File dialog box.

Using the Save As Tool


The Save As tool, which displays the Save As dialog box, is available by picking the Save As option from the File pull-down menu. When you use the Save As tool, the original file closes, and the newly saved file with the specified name appears. For example, if you are working on a part named LARGE PLATE and want to use the file as a basis for a small plate design, use the Save As tool to save a copy of the part titled SMALL PLATE. The LARGE PLATE file closes and the SMALL PLATE file appears, ready for modification. You will use the Save As tool throughout the exercises and problems in this textbook to save an existing file using a different name.

Using the Save Copy As Tool PROFESSIONAL TIP


If you forget where an Inventor file has been placed, you can use the Windows search tool to find it, but Inventor also has a method of finding files that may be quicker. The Inventor search tool is conveniently located in the Open dialog box. Pick the Find... button to open the Find: Inventor Files dialog box. The Save Copy As tool is available by picking the Save Copy As option from the File pull-down menu. Selecting this tool displays the Save Copy As dialog box, which is similar to the Save As... dialog box. When you use the Save Copy As tool, the original file does not close. The copy is saved to the specified location and does not open. Use the Save Copy As tool when you want to continue working on the original file, but make a copy as a design state backup or for use at a later time. The Save Copy As tool is also used to save an Inventor file as a non-native or alternative format, such as IGES, JPEG, or STEP. These file formats may be necessary when Figure 1-17.
The Save As dialog box appears if the current file has not been saved.

When AutoCAD is configured to display a screen menu, the commands appear in a separate screen.

NOTE
Double-clicking on an Inventor file in Microsoft Windows Explorer causes Inventor to start, if it is not already running, and opens the selected file.

Exercise 1-4
si te

Access the Student Web site (www.g-wlearning.com/CAD/InventorApps2009), select Chapter 1 from the Chapter Materials drop-down list, and select and complete Exercise 1-4.

Saving Your Work


A model or drawing you want to keep must be saved. Typically, the first step in creating a model or drawing is to save the file in an appropriate location using a descriptive name or code. Then, as you work, save the file frequently; at least every five to ten minutes, in case of a sudden loss of power or a computer problem that may cause the loss of your file.
Chapter 1 Introduction to Autodesk Inventor Type the new file name in this box The list of file types is restricted to match the current type

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you are collaborating with others or when you need to create an image from what is shown on-screen. Savable file formats are available from the Save as type drop-down list in the Save Copy As dialog box.

Figure 1-18.
Elements of the Inventor interface.
Panel bar Shortcut and hot keys Toolbar buttons Dialog box

Closing a File
One of the quickest methods of closing a file, without ending the Inventor session, is to pick the Close button on the right side of the file window title bar. Other options include double-clicking on the file icon on the file window title bar, and selecting the Close option from the File pull-down menu.
When AutoCAD is configured to display a screen menu, the commands appear in a separate screen.

NOTE
Many design projects require that multiple files be open. To save changes to all open files, use the Save All tool. To close all open files, use the Close All tool. Both tools are available from the File pull-down menu.

Exiting Inventor
To exit Inventor, pick the Close button located in the upper-right corner of the Inventor window, double-click the Inventor window title bar, select Exit from the File pull-down menu, or pick the Inventor icon located in the upper-left corner of the Inventor window and select Close. When you close a file or exit Inventor, several alert boxes may appear, depending on the situation. For example, if you have not saved your work, you are asked if you want to save the file before closing.
Browser bar Shortcut menu Communication center button

Exercise 1-5
si te

Access the Student Web site (www.g-wlearning.com/CAD/InventorApps2009), select Chapter 1 from the Chapter Materials drop-down list, and select and complete Exercise 1-5.

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When AutoCAD is configured to display a screen menu, the commands appear in a separate screen.

NOTE
This textbook focuses on the default Inventor interface. Only default interface items are shown throughout this textbook, except in specific situations that require additional information.

The Inventor Interface


Interface, or user interface, items include devices such as the keyboard and mouse to input data, and the monitor to receive information. The Inventor graphical user interface (GUI), shown in Figure 1-18, includes both standard Microsoft Windows functions and specialized Inventor items. The specialized interface tools and options are used for preparing models and drawings and are described when appropriate throughout this textbook. The Inventor interface constantly changes as you develop a part, assembly, presentation, or drawing. Only the tools and options that apply to the current work environment and design or drafting task are available. For example, the part file interface is displayed in Part mode and contains the tools and options required to create parts. Interface items such as the panel bar and pull-down menu options automatically change as you progress through each design phase and work with different file types.
interface (user interface): The tools and techniques used to provide information to and receive information from a computer application. graphical user interface (GUI): On-screen interface items.

Interface Terminology
Figure 1-19 provides a list and description of interface terms used throughout this textbook. Become familiar with these terms and reference Figure 1-19 as you learn Inventor.
floating: Describes interface items, displayed within a border, that can be freely resized or moved. docked: Describes interface items that are locked into position on an edge of the Inventor window (top, bottom, left, or right).

Controlling Windows and Interface Items


The Inventor program and graphics windows are similar to other windows within the Windows operating system. To minimize, maximize, or close the Inventor window or individual graphics windows, pick the small control icon in the upper-left corner, which displays a standard window control menu, or pick the appropriate icon in the upperright corner. Window sizing operations are the same as those for any other window. Several Inventor interface items, including the Inventor and graphics windows, can float or be docked. Different options and functions are available, depending on the particular interface item and whether the item is floating or docked. Some items,

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Figure 1-19.
Common interface terms and descriptions. Term Alias Button Command Cursor Default
[Enter] ()

Figure 1-20.
The shortcut menu that appears depends on the item under the cursor when you right-click.
Cursor is on the graphics window Cursor is on a sketch in the browser Cursor is on a feature in the browser

Description A keyboard key or key combination used to define and access a command or tool. A button on the screen or mouse. An instruction issued to the computer. The primary means of pointing to and selecting objects within the Inventor window. A value maintained by the computer until you change it. The [Enter] key on the keyboard. One of the keys labeled [F1][F12] along the top of the keyboard. A graphic representation, typically initiating an action, symbol, or function. For example, a perpendicular glyph represents a perpendicular geometric situation. The largest area in the Inventor window, where modeling and drawing occur. Use the mouse to move the cursor over an item and hold the cursor at the location to display additional information or options. An image identifying or depicting the function of an interface item. A key on the keyboard. An aspect of a command or tool that can be selected. Use the left mouse button to select an item on the screen. A command used to perform a specific task. For example, the Line tool is used to draw lines.

Function key Glyph

Figure 1-21.
Cascading menus are available from shortcut menus and from pull-down menu options that have a flyout arrow.

Graphics window Hover Icon Key Option Pick or click Tool

Arrow indicates that cascading menu is available

Cascading menu

such as the graphics window, have a title bar at the top or side. The close and minimize or maximize options are often available, and most items can be resized. Some floating items, such as toolbars and panels, include grab bars.
When AutoCAD is configured to display a screen menu, the commands appear in a separate screen.

NOTE
The graphics windows can be adjusted and positioned only within the Inventor window.

grab bars: Two thin bars at the top or left edge of a docked or floating item; used to move the item.

context-sensitive shortcut menu: Menu in which only items associated with the current work environment and application are displayed.

You can access the tools and options available from shortcut menus using many of the other interface techniques. However, because shortcut menus are context sensitive and positioned near the cursor, you can improve the speed with which you perform tasks and access options that may otherwise be difficult to find. A shortcut menu often provides the quickest method for accessing a tool or option. Therefore, shortcut menu access is presented first in this textbook for tools and options that are best accessed from a shortcut menu.

Using Shortcut Menus


Shortcut menus, also known as pop-up, cursor, and right-click menus, are used extensively in Inventor. See Figure 1-20. The option at the top of a shortcut menu allows you to quickly access the previously selected tool or option. Some menu options have a small arrow to the right of the option name. When you pick one of these options, a cascading menu appears. See Figure 1-21.

shortcut menus: Menus that allow access to tools and options by rightclicking anywhere in the graphics window or on an object or selection. cascading menu: A secondary menu that contains options related to the chosen menu item.

Using Pull-Down Menus


pull-down menus: A text-based menu input system in which options appear when you pick the menu name.

The pull-down menu bar, shown in Figure 1-22, houses the pull-down menus that are available for the particular work environment. Pick a pull-down menu to reveal the options for that menu. Then move the cursor down and up to highlight and select the desired menu option. Like shortcut menus, some pull-down menu options display an arrow to the right of the menu selection, indicating that a cascading menu of related options is available. To close the currently selected menu without opening another menu, press the [Esc] key, pick outside of the menu list, or pick on the menu bar. If you

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Figure 1-22.
The View pulldown menu is an example of the many pull-down menus available in Inventor.

Pick the menu name to display options

Figure 1-23.
These detail images of the Inventor Standard toolbar show the types of features that may be found on all toolbars.
Pick to close the toolbar Material color list box

want to change to a different menu, move the cursor over the specified menu name or pick the menu name. A tool or option accessible from a pull-down menu is presented as a graphic in the margin of this textbook, like the example shown in the margin. The graphic in this example represents the process of picking the File pull-down menu, then hovering over and selecting the Save option to activate the Save tool.
When AutoCAD is configured to display a screen menu, the commands appear in a separate screen.

New File button


Menu Browser
File > Save

Separator bar

Figure 1-24.
Pick the flyout arrow next to some buttons to see additional tool buttons.
Flyout for the New button

NOTE
You can also access menus and menu options using menu accelerator keys. One method involves holding down the [Alt] key while pressing the key that corresponds to the underlined character in the menu. Another option involves the use of control keys, which are shown to the right of the option name and allow you to access certain tools by pressing and holding the [Ctrl] key while pressing a second key. Once a menu appears, you can also use the up, down, right, and left arrow keys to move to different items in the menus. Press [Enter] to select a highlighted item. Despite the name, using accelerator keys is usually a more difficult means of selecting tools from the menu system.

Toolbar
Inventor Standard > Save

This textbook focuses on the default interface display, which includes only the
Inventor Standard toolbar. A tool or option accessible from the Inventor Standard toolbar

is presented as a graphic in the margin of this textbook, like the example shown in the margin. The graphic in this example represents the process of picking the Save button to activate the Save tool.

Supplemental Material
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Toolbars display tool buttons arranged into groups of similar tools that are separated by thin lines. Many toolbars are available that apply to specific tasks, but by default, only the Inventor Standard toolbar is shown. See Figure 1-23. Toolbars have features similar to pull-down menus. Some toolbar buttons have an arrow to the right of the button, known as a flyout. See Figure 1-24. These buttons work the same as other toolbar buttons. To use the flyout, select the arrow next to the button. This opens the other options associated with the button. In most cases, when you pick a flyout option, the selected button becomes active and is displayed on the toolbar on the top level of the flyout, hiding the rest of the buttons.

tool buttons: Buttons in a toolbar, each with a specific icon, that activate a tool or option. flyout: A button that presents additional, related tool buttons, much like a cascading menu.

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The Inventor Standard Toolbar

Additional Toolbars Additional Inventor toolbars are available and can be displayed in the Inventor window. These toolbars are usually application- or task-specific. For more information on displaying and using toolbars, go to the Student Web site (www.g-wlearning.com/CAD/InventorApps2009) and select Chapter 1 in the Chapter Materials drop-down list. In the Supplemental Material section, select Additional Toolbars.

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Using the Panel Bar


The panel bar, shown in Figure 1-25, provides a list of design tools available for creating sketches, models, and drawings, depending on the specific work environment. Only the tools and options used for creating parts are available in the panel bar while you are working on a part. The specific tools displayed in the panel bar change as you move from one design stage to another. For example, only sketch tools are available while you are working on a part in sketch mode. When you finish the sketch, the Part Features panel bar appears. In addition, only tools that can be used in the current design stage are available for selection; all others are shaded. Click on the current panel bar title, such as 2D Sketch Panel, or right-click on or beside any of the panel bar tools to display a shortcut menu of options. Select a panel bar mode from the shortcut menu to change manually from one list of options to another. By default, the panel bar displays each tool with both an icon and the name of the tool, as shown in Figure 1-25A. This helps you to recognize tools when you first begin to work with Inventor. Deselect the Display Text with Icons option from the shortcut menu to display only tool buttons. This is helpful if you want a smaller panel bar display, allowing for a larger graphics window. See Figure 1-25B.
When AutoCAD is configured to display a screen menu, the commands appear in a separate screen.

panel bar: A panel-like window that appears by default on the left side of the Inventor graphics window. Panel bars are the primary location for accessing design tools.

However, accessing tools from a shortcut or pull-down menu, toolbar, or the panel bar can offer advantages over typing at the keyboard. One benefit is that you do not need to memorize tool aliases and combinations. As an Inventor user, you decide which tool selection technique works best for you. A combination of tool selection methods often proves most effective.
When AutoCAD is configured to display a screen menu, the commands appear in a separate screen.

NOTE
Even though you may choose not to access tools by typing keyboard shortcuts, you must still enter certain values at the keyboard. For example, you may have to enter the diameter of a circle using the keyboard.

Type
E

A tool or option that is accessible by typing is presented as a graphic in the margin of this textbook, like the example shown in the margin. The graphic in this example represents the process of pressing the E key on the keyboard to activate the Extrude tool.

NOTE
The panel bar can be moved and resized, and it can be docked or float in the graphics window.
Panel
Part Features

PROFESSIONAL TIP
Pressing the [Esc] key is a fast and easy way to exit a tool. The [Delete] key is a quick way to remove an item, and may be the only way to delete certain selections or settings from a dialog box. Press the [Enter] key or space bar to access the previously selected tool.

A tool or option accessible from the panel bar is presented as a graphic in the margin of this textbook, like the example shown in the margin. The graphic in this example represents the process of picking the Extrude button from the Part Features panel bar to activate the Extrude tool.

Extrude

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An alternative method to access some Inventor tools and options is to type a keyboard character or combination of characters. For example, press the [Ctrl] and [S] keys, a combination identified in this textbook as [Ctrl]+[S], to activate the Save tool. Figure 1-25.
AThe panel bar displayed with names to aid in identifying tools. BThe panel bar with the Display
Text with Icons

Using the Browser Bar


browser bar (browser): A panel that displays all the items in the current model or drawing.

option deselected to conserve screen space.

The browser bar, or browser, provides a historical reference of model design and drafting. See Figure 1-26. The number and type of items available in the browser varies depending on the current model type, work environment, and design stage. For example, a browser shown when a part file is open typically displays the name of the file and an icon on top, followed by the Origin folder and all of the origin options, followed by individual sketches and features. End of Part displays last, unless it has been moved. An item in the browser is active when all other items are shown with a gray background.
When AutoCAD is configured to display a screen menu, the commands appear in a separate screen.

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Keyboard Shortcuts

Character Keys and Key Combinations Many individual character key and key combination shortcuts are available for accessing Inventor tools and options. For a list of keyboard shortcuts, go to the Student Web site (www.g-wlearning.com/CAD/InventorApps2009) and select Chapter 1 in the Chapter Materials drop-down list. In the Supplemental Material section, select Character Keys and Key Combinations.

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NOTE
Items in the browser are listed in the order they were created or inserted, although it is possible in some cases to drag and drop browser items up or down in the list.

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Figure 1-26.
The browser bar contains information regarding the objects in a model or drawing. The browser in this figure is associated with a part file that contains two sketched features and a placed feature.

The Origin folder contains planes, axes, and a center point to position and orient geometry

The items on the right side of the status bar include a coordinate display field or sketch constraint information, number of occurrences in the document, number of open documents, memory usage, and a link to the Communication Center. Status bar items appropriate to basic Inventor functions are described when applicable throughout this textbook.

Parent node Pick to collapse the branch Pick to expand the branch
dialog box: A window-like part of the user interface that contains various kinds of information and settings.

Using Dialog Boxes


Pick any menu selection or button displaying an ellipsis () to activate a dialog box. See Figure 1-28. The cursor is used to set variables and select items in a dialog box. In addition, many dialog boxes include images, previews, or other methods to help you select appropriate options. When you pick a button in a dialog box that is followed by an ellipsis, another dialog box appears. You must make a selection from the second dialog box before you can return to the original dialog box. A button with an arrow icon requires you to make a selection in the drawing area. Figure 1-28.

Child node

Many of the items displayed in the browser are arranged in a tree structure, which contains parent nodes and child nodes. A sketched feature is an example of a parent node. The sketch from which the feature was created is the associated child node. The Origin folder is another example of a parent node. To display child nodes, pick the Expand button (+ symbol) to the left of the object name or right-click on the object name and select Expand All Children. To hide child nodes, pick the Collapse button ( symbol) to the left of the object name or right-click on the object name and select Collapse All Children.
When AutoCAD is configured to display a screen menu, the commands appear in a separate screen.

parent node: An item in the tree structure, similar to a folder, that is associated with subordinate child nodes. child node: Subordinate nodes that create, are associated with, or are consumed by a parent node item.

Pick a menu option or tool button that includes an ellipsis () to display a dialog box.
Ellipsis indicates a dialog box is available Drop-down list This dialog box appears when Print... is picked

NOTE
The browser can be moved and resized, and it can be docked or float in the graphics window.

Check box Radio button Edit box Command button

Using the Status Bar


The status bar is located along the bottom of the Inventor window. See Figure 1-27. The status bar is divided into panes that display and control a variety of drawing aids and tools. The left side of the status bar provides information about a tool option by displaying a help string. For example, if you highlight New... in the File pull-down menu, the help string in the status bar is Create a new document. When you access the Line tool to sketch a line, the help string is Select start of line, drag off endpoint for tangent arc. Figure 1-27.
The status bar displayed when a part file is open.
Sketch resources Help string Number of open documents Displays memory usage Pick to access the Communication Center

help string: A short text description of what happens if you select a tool or option over which the cursor is hovering; or, if a tool is selected, a prompt indicating the appropriate action.

Tabs

Preview box

Number of occurrences

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Managing Multiple Documents


multiple document interface: An interface that allows you to have several documents or document views open at the same time. Also called multiple design interface.

Features of Dialog Boxes Dialog boxes contain many of the same features found in other interface items, including icons, text, buttons, and flyouts. For more information about these features, go to the Student Web site (www.g-wlearning. com/CAD/InventorApps2009) and select Chapter 1 in the Chapter Materials drop-down list. In the Supplemental Material section, select Features of Dialog Boxes.

Identifying Tooltips
Many buttons found in toolbars, the panel bar, and dialog boxes provide tooltips to help you understand and recognize the button. Figure 1-29 shows the tooltip for the Open button on the Inventor Standard toolbar. The tooltip tells you that the button you see activates the Open tool.
tooltip: A small text box that displays when you hover over a button, giving information about the function of the button.

Exercise 1-6
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Access the Student Web site (www.g-wlearning.com/CAD/InventorApps2009), select Chapter 1 from the Chapter Materials drop-down list, and select and complete Exercise 1-6.

You can use individual file Window Control pull-down menus and the Windows pull-down menu to manage the multiple document interface. The Window Control pull-down menu for an Inventor file is accessed by picking the Inventor file icon. If the file window is maximized, the Window Control pull-down menu is located to the left of the pull-down menu bar. If the file window is restored or minimized, the Window Control pull-down menu is located in the graphics window to the left of the file menu bar. The menu options available when you select a file icon function much like program window control menu options. However, when you restore, move, size, minimize, maximize, or close a file window, the operation affects only the file window, not the entire program. The Next option allows you to toggle among multiple open files. The Window pull-down menu, shown in Figure 1-30, contains options for controlling the multiple document interface. Pick the New Window option to create a new window for the active file. Additional windows enable you to have several design views open and accessible at once. The Cascade option arranges all windows in a cascading fashion. See Figure 1-31A. The Arrange All option arranges all windows in a way that shows each window in its entirety. See Figure 1-31B. The names of all currently open documents are displayed at the bottom of the Window pull-down menu. Refer again to Figure 1-30. The file name with a check mark next to it is currently the active window. To make a different window active, pick its file name.

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Exercise 1-7
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Using the Customize Dialog Box The Customize dialog box is a basic tool for customizing the Inventor interface. It can be used to define settings for the work environment, toolbars, and tools. For more information on using the Customize dialog box, go to the Student Web site (www.g-wlearning.com/CAD/InventorApps2009) and select Chapter 1 in the Chapter Materials drop-down list. In the Supplemental Material section, select Using the Customize Dialog Box.

Access the Student Web site (www.g-wlearning.com/CAD/InventorApps2009), select Chapter 1 from the Chapter Materials drop-down list, and select and complete Exercise 1-7.

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Figure 1-30.
Use the Window pull-down menu to create a new window, position the current windows, and view the list of open files. A check appears next to the active file.

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Figure 1-29.
Place the cursor over a button to reveal the button name as a tooltip.

Currently active document

Currently open documents

Tooltip for the Open button

This window was created when the New Window option was selected while Frame.ipt was active

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Figure 1-31.
Positioning windows in Inventor using the Cascade option (A), and the Arrange All option (B).

Figure 1-32.
The General tab of the Application Options dialog box. This dialog box controls many general, file, and environment-specific program settings.
Pick a tab to access specific application options

Pick to apply options before closing

Controlling Application Options


Application options are located in the Application Options dialog box. See Figure 1-32. To display this dialog box, select Application Options from the Tools pull-down menu. Application options are general program settings and preferences and are not specific to any particular file. However, many application options do help configure specific work environments, as well as design and drafting tasks. For example, options in the Sketch tab of the Application Options dialog box control functions specific to preparing sketches.
Menu Browser
Tools > Application Options

Application options control an extensive number of Inventor functions. For example, the User name text box on the General tab, shown in Figure 1-32, is used to redefine your username, which is used in multiple applications to indicate who has worked on a file. Another example in the General tab is the Start-up action check box. When selected, this check box allows you to choose to display the Open dialog box, display the New File dialog box, or immediately begin a new file using a selected template when you launch Inventor. As you learn Inventor, you will become familiar with many application options, and you may need to adjust the settings to fit your needs. You should explore the Application Options dialog box and learn to recognize the purpose and usefulness of each option. This textbook focuses on the default application options. Specific options are covered only if they require adjustment in order to improve productivity, accomplish certain tasks, accommodate design and drafting standards, or require explanation for basic Inventor applications. These options are described when applicable throughout this textbook.

Exercise 1-8
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Access the Student Web site (www.g-wlearning.com/CAD/InventorApps2009), select Chapter 1 from the Chapter Materials drop-down list, and select and complete Exercise 1-8.
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Getting Help
Inventor includes an extensive help file system that provides learning resources and can be used to receive answers to questions. You can select from a variety of help tools in the Help pull-down menu, including links that open the Autodesk Inventor Help dialog box, Inventor and Vault tutorials, the New Features Workshop, and other learning tools. The Help button, next to the Help pull-down menu, opens the Autodesk Inventor Help dialog box. See Figure 1-33. The help file system is similar to other Windowsbased help files. It allows you to further explore areas of Inventor and receive answers to any questions you may encounter. You can also access the Autodesk Inventor Help dialog box by selecting Help Topics from the Help pull-down menu, pressing the [F1] key; or picking the Help button on numerous dialog boxes, the panel bar, or the browser. Picking a Help button in a dialog box opens the Autodesk Inventor Help dialog box with information specific to the content of the dialog box. Figure 1-33.
The Autodesk Inventor Help dialog box contains several tools to help you understand various areas of Inventor.
Type keywords to display matching help topics Access help information organized in a book-like format with expandable chapters Search for specific words and phrases Define and display help topics as favorites

Chapter Test
Answer the following questions. Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper or go to the Student Web site (www.g-wlearning.com/CAD/InventorApps2009), select the correct chapter from the Chapter Materials drop-down list, and complete the electronic chapter test. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. Define parts in the context of the Inventor software. Describe the basic use of part files and specify the part file extension. What is an assembly? What name is given to an assembly in which parts are fixed together with welds? What are components? Identify the basic use of assembly files and specify the assembly file extension. Explain the relationship between assemblies and subassemblies. What name is given to the connection graphics between components that show how each component fits into an assembly? What are tweaks? Describe the basic use of presentation files and specify the presentation file extension. What is the purpose of a drawing in Inventor? Describe the basic use of drawing files and provide two possible file extensions for these files. What is parametric solid modeling? In the context of solid modeling, what is a parameter? Why is the parametric concept referred to as intelligence? What is the purpose of a database in Inventor? What are constraints? Describe the basic function of a sketch. Define the term placed feature and identify at least three examples of objects that can be placed features. Describe the basic function of work features. What is a feature pattern? What dialog box appears by default when you start Inventor? What are templates, and what are they used to create? Define interface and identify at least two items that are included in a typical computer interface. What is the Inventor graphical user interface (GUI), and what does it include? What does it mean when an interface item is floating? Describe the appearance of a docked interface item. What is the purpose of a multiple document interface? Which dialog box in Inventor allows you to control general program settings and preferences that are not specific to a particular model or file, and how can you access this dialog box? How can you access the extensive Inventor help file system and learning resources?
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Problems
Launch Inventor and complete the activities described in each problem. When you are finished, continue working with Inventor or exit if necessary. 1. Perform the following tasks: A. Begin a new Inventor file of your choice. B. Explore the Inventor pull-down menu system by picking any of the menu titles and moving the cursor down and up through the menu options. C. Pick the File pull-down menu and highlight the New... option. Notice the help string displayed in the status bar. D. Pick the Open... option on the File pull-down menu to display the Open dialog box. E. Pick the Cancel button to close the Open dialog box. F. Explore cascading submenus by highlighting the Toolbar option on the View pull-down menu. G. Press the [Esc] key or pick outside of the menu to close the View pulldown menu. 2. Perform the following tasks: A. Begin a new Inventor part file and explore the default part interface. B. Close the part file without saving. C. Begin a new Inventor assembly file and explore the default assembly interface. D. Close the assembly file without saving. E. Begin a new Inventor drawing file and explore the default drawing interface. F. Close the drawing file without saving. G. Begin a new Inventor presentation file and explore the default presentation interface. H. Close the presentation file without saving. 3. Perform the following tasks: A. Open blade_main.ipt from the following folder: Autodesk/Inventor 2009/Samples/
Models/Assemblies/Scissors/ Components
Basic

Medium

Advanced

Advanced

Advanced Basic

5. Write a brief description of the Inventor interface. Include answers to the following questions: What is an interface? What are the primary Inventor interface items, and how do they function? Reflect on the concept of a computer software interface. Are some of the Inventor interface items similar to those in other programs you have used? Submit a hard copy of your description to your drafting instructor or supervisor. 6. Write a short description of each of the four Inventor file types. Include information about file extensions and the circumstances in which each file type should be used. Reflect on the capabilities of Inventor. How is Inventor similar and different from other CADD programs you may have used? Submit a hard copy of your description to your drafting instructor or supervisor. 7. Write a brief report on each part model element and the importance of constraints and parametric associations in parametric solid modeling. Reflect on your understanding of parametric modeling, and describe your experience with working in parametric situations. Submit a hard copy of your report to your drafting instructor or supervisor. 8. Create a new part file and draw a freehand sketch of the standard Inventor screen display. Label each of the screen areas and the interface items described in this chapter.

Medium

Drawing Problems - Chapter 1

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Locate and explore the panel bar. B. Pick the panel bar title, Part Features, and deselect the Display Text with Icons option. Observe the changes in the panel bar. Pick the panel bar title again and select Display Text with Icons to show the text once again. C. Locate and explore the default browser. D. Drag the End of Part indicator up and above Sketch4 and notice the changes. E. Pick the Expand [+] button to the left of the Origin folder to expand all children. F. Right-click on the Origin folder and select Collapse All Children. G. Close blade_main.ipt without saving. 4. Perform the following tasks: A. Begin a new Inventor part file. B. Locate and explore the Inventor Standard toolbar. C. Select Toolbars > Inventor Precise Input to open the Inventor Precise Input toolbar, and dock the toolbar by double-clicking its name. D. Place the cursor over several toolbar buttons and observe the tooltip and help strings provided. E. Pick one of the flyout buttons located in the Inventor Standard toolbar, select one of the flyout options to initiate a tool, and modify the flyout button displayed.

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