I used to spend most of my waking hours creating Inventor drawings during certain stages of projects, a few years back. Thankfully, those days are over, now that I’m working for a reseller, and I don’t spend nearly as much time in the drawing environment anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the environment, but I’m sure monotony sets in for anyone who does hundreds of drawings a year in any package. Having said all that, I sure wish some of the new drawing features that Autodesk have put into the 2016 release, were available back then, as they would have made things just that little bit easier.
Let’s get straight into it.
Creating a new Drawing:
You have been able to open a model file, RMB in the browser and select “OpenDrawing” for the last few releases. That was useful, but the drawing had to have been created first. What you can do now, is get the model into the orientation and configuration (view / positional reps) in the modelling environment, and then RMB on the filename in the browser and then select “Create Drawing View.” This automatically teleports you into the drawing environment, and leaves you at the view placement stage, with all the relevant settings pre-configured. Small detail, but a nice touch.
This is the area which has had the biggest overhaul in the 2016 release. View placement is much more streamlined than it used to be, and gives far more control. On base view placement, a manipulator pops up which allows you to move, scale, and generate new views. A nifty addition is the inclusion of a View Cube, which allows you to rotate the base view, and all the projected views will also rotate to suit. A nifty trick with the scaling, is that you can hold the CTRL key while you drag the arrow, to avoid it “snapping” to standard scales. This is useful if you don’t use scales on your drawings and want to simply adjust the size of the view for the best fit.
There have been a number of improvements to ballooning, including a really handy “Align to Edge” option, the ability to use a sketched symbol as your ballon shape, and a window selection to align balloons. There is also supposed to be an improvement to the “Auto Balloon” placement, but I have not had a lot of success getting it to give better results. The leaders don’t cross over each other as much anymore, but the placement of the arrowheads doesn’t seem very neat or logical.
The little details:
- Sketch creation behaviour is more consistent between drawings and models now. What I mean by that, is you can now click the “Start Sketch” command in a drawing first, and then decide which view or sheet you want to sketch on. You used to have to pick the view first, which was frustrating.
- One thing that used to annoy me, was that a section view would section nuts and bolts, and other fasteners by default, and you would have to go through and manually remove them from the section participation. This is now fixed, and they are not sectioned by default.
- A lot of small incremental improvements have been made to leaders, sketched symbols. One of note, is you now have the ability to define a shared “Sketched Symbol” library so that your custom symbols can be shared across your team. I really hope Autodesk do this for Sketch Blocks next!
- It was pointed out to me that there is currently an issue with editing a Section-view definition sketch. If you RMB the section line in the view, and then select “Edit Sketch” it actually takes you to a new sketch, not the one you want to edit. The workaround is to RMB the sketch entry in the browser, and then edit it from there.
- If you’re creating a drawing of an .ipn, and want to use a saved view. It’s not immediately obvious to find that option anymore, as it has been moved. In the new View Creation dialog, while placing a view of the .ipn, RMB the View Cube and then select “Saved View” to access your saved .ipn view.
- Often users will need to place a view with a custom orientation. In previous releases you could achieve this via a button in the Drawing View dialog. Now it’s stashed away in the View Cube context menu.
All in all, I think these new features and enhancements should add up to realise some time savings for Inventor users who create a lot of drawings.
Now, back to playing with T-splines!