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Tag Archives: Inventor

Doing It’s Part – Inventor Part Modeling 2018

Part Modeling 2018

Autodesk Inventor 2018 is here (read more here) and is chalk full of updates, enhancements, tweaks, and other goodies. Part Modeling 2018 got the biggest piece of the update pie, with some of the most significant updates within this year’s Inventor release

3D Annotation

The concept of documenting and detailing the 3D model is not a new concept. The idea is to forgo 2D drawings and replace them with the 3D model containing all the dimensions and annotations required to manufacture the component.

In the 2012-2013 time period, Autodesk toyed with the idea with the 3DA add-in for Inventor (was available on Autodesk Labs). Autodesk was excited but found a collective “meh” from the intended audience based on the feature set presented to them. No one really jumped up and down with excitement, Autodesk didn’t get the warm and fuzzies, and development was put on hold…. drum roll… until now!

Inventor 2018 contains Model Based Definition workflows to generate 3D Annotations within the Part Modeling 2018 environment.

We’ll be covering this in a “deep-dive” coming up later this month.

Sheet Metal

What’s the very first thing just about everybody said when Autodesk added multi-body sheet metal support? Can I have different styles and thicknesses per body?

The answer before 2018 was NO. Well, that is no longer the case as Inventor 2018 now supports multiple thicknesses and styles.

Inventor 2018 Sheet Metal Rule

The unique style is set with the Face, Contour Flange, Lofted Flange, and/or Contour Roll. Within these dialogs, disable Follow Defaults and select the desired rule.

You can also right-click a solid body within the browser and select the desired Sheet Metal Rule.


Extrude Enhancements

The new Distance from Face extents option within Part Modeling 2018 is phenomenal when you want to use one central sketch to build multiple features at different starting locations.

Inventor 2018 Extrude Distance-From-Face

With this new feature, you specify the starting face or workplane and the desired distance.


Hole Enhancements

With Simple Holes use the new symmetric option to extrude the hole in two directions. The Hole dialog termination buttons now match the Extrude dialog, providing consistency and easier identification.

Inventor 2018 Hole Termination Updates

Spotface holes support zero bore depths, which is useful for termination faces on a body.

Inventor 2018 Hole Updates

Utilize the new Extend Start feature to extend the hole to the first place of intersection… aka remove the slivers or pieces of geometry not cleaned properly by the hole.


Partial Chamfers

With the new Partial option generate Chamfers that bevel only part of an edge. Using the Partial settings specify the chamfer based on a combination of the starting point, ending point, and chamfer distance. The Driven Dimension Type sets the value being driven by what you specify for the other two options.

Inventor 2018 Partial Chamfer


Other Updates

Within the Parameters dialog, the new Consumed by column shows the features using the parameter.

Inventor-2018 Parameters Consumed By

Trim Surface contains an Apply button, making it so you can continue to trim surfaces without exiting the command.

Inventor 2018 Trim Surface Apply




Feature Image by Miguel Salgado

Have You Seen What’s New In Inventor 2018?

Inventor 2018

“Inventor 2018 is built for the continually evolving needs of the modern design and engineering professional.”

Evolution of the Aardvark

Evolution of the Aardvark by T. Michael Keesey

Autodesk continues the trend started with Inventor 2017, which is improving and enhancing existing functionality.

I will admit to initially being a bit disappointed when I read the “what’s new” and the limited new features. It’s kind of like getting socks Christmas morning, but then discovering they are sweat wicking, liquid cooled, infrared heated, and Bluetooth enabled so that they can adjust the temperature based on the weather forecast…. disappointment turns quickly into excitement!

After using this version for a while, I have really come to love many of the enhancements and tweaks. The browser enhancements alone are worth the update as is the new 3D annotation workflow.

Inventor 2018 = 2017 + R2 + R3 + R4

For those moving to 2018 from a version older than 2017, start by reviewing our posts detailing the new features in Inventor 2017 as well as the mid-year subscription R2 and R3 releases.

Autodesk Inventor 2017 What’s New Summary

Autodesk Inventor 2017 R2

How Inventor 2017 Rocks with R3!

The List of Inventor 2018

Here’s a quick rundown of the new and improved areas within Inventor 2018.


General Enhancements

  • Productivity and Performance Enhancements
  • Browser Enhancements
  • Measure Enhancements
  • Sorting Enhancements
  • General Enhancements


  • Model-Based Definition
  • Sheet Metal Updates
  • Extrude Enhancements
  • Hole Enhancements
  • Chamfer Enhancements


  • Assembly Open Enhancements
  • Shrinkwrap and BIM Content Enhancements


  • Drawing Open Enhancements
  • Drawing support for Mesh Objects
  • Text Annotation Enhancement
  • Export to PDF Drawing Enhancement


  • AnyCAD and Translator Enhancements
  • DWG Underlay Enhancements


  • AnyCAD for Inventor
  • Presentation Enhancements

Inventor 2018 Performance Improvements

Inventor 2018 improves the performance across the board. This includes Zooming in & out using the minimum frame rate. It is a minor enhancement but has a big payoff in the terms of performance.

Assembly performance got some loving in the form of reduced open times – specifically with a nested file structure – and faster selection and highlighting (express and full mode).

For easier access to Express mode (assemblies), it is now selectable directly within the Open dialog. The Open Assembly dialog is rearranged for easier access to features and information.



For drawings, enjoy these performance improvements:

  • Faster drawing view hidden line computation
  • Quicker Move, Pan, and Rotate Views
  • Faster drawing view creation, preview, edit view, and change view rep
  • Improvements to 2D graphic rendering for sketches, drawing views, and DWG Underlays
  • Faster component selection in drawings
  • Faster raster view rendering
  • With deferred drawings, Defer Updates is now available within the right-click context menu
  • Added View Preview (glasses) to the View dialog (bounding box vs. full preview)

Inventor 2018 introduces a view update delay so that as you edit the view scale the view doesn’t start to update with each number entered.

If Inventor cannot generate the full drawing preview within 3-seconds a progress bar now displays. By clicking Cancel, the preview option is disabled and a bounding box preview is shown instead.

The Open Drawing dialog now provides a drop-down for easier access to Defer Update. Similar to the Assembly Open dialog, this dialog is rearranged for easier and more consistant access to the tools and information.

Inventor 2018 Drawing Open Dialog

Mini-toolbars no longer show by default for Extrude, Revolve, Fillet, Shell, Face Draft, Chamfer, and Joint. To re-enable (if you use them), use the Mini-toolbar option within the User Interface panel on the View tab of the ribbon.

Inventor 2018 Mini Toolbars


CATIA R6 – V5-6R2016 is now available for import.

Inventor 2017 R4 introduces the ability to place newer versions of Inventor part and assembly files. This means, for example, that you can reference Inventor 2018 files within Inventor 2017 via AnyCAD. This also means you will be able to reference Inventor 2019 data within Inventor 2018.

DWG Underlays are now placeable directly into an assembly, without going into a part file first. The right-click menu on the DWG Underlay within the assembly browser now matches the features to the menu within a part. This includes Delete, Translate, Redefine, Visibility, and Layer Visibility.

Right-clicking on a DWG Underlay within the browser (part or assembly) now includes an Open in AutoCAD option to open the Underlay directly within AutoCAD.

DWG Underlay sketch geometry now automatically projects, similar to how model edges and other features do when creating a sketch.

Joints now align correctly to the Underlay geometry, which didn’t always occur within Inventor 2017.


The Simplify tab has been retired and merged into the Simplification panel on the Assembly tab.

Inventor 2018 Simplification Panel

The Shrinkwrap tools are enhanced with more control, an improved user interface, and an improved workflow. The workflow is identical whether starting with Shrinkwrap from the Simplification panel or by creating a new shrinkwrapped Level of Detail.

Inventor 2018 Shrinkwrap Dialog Tabs

The Shrinkwrap dialog now contains three tabs:

  • Components for document type information like the representations and the tools for removing components. This includes the toggle to switch to viewing the included or excluded components.
  • Use Features tab to remove or preserve features
  • The Create tab contains the file related information, the style, and other settings

Other Goodies

Presentations (IPN) now support surfaces. This includes window selection, applies tweaks to surface bodies, and using surfaces to orient the tweak triad.

Drawings views now support Mesh objects.

Inventor 2018 Mesh Drawing Views

You can now add a border to text using the Text Border option.

Inventor 2018 Text Border

Based on an Ideastation submission, PDF Drawing export settings are now persistent across sessions. This includes the sheet range and the new option Display Published File in Viewer.

Inventor 2018 PDF Options

Part Modeling Updates and Model Based Definition

The enhancements to part modeling are covered in detail in these posts:

Inventor 2018 Part Modeling Enhancements

Model Based Definition Now within Inventor (Coming Soon!)

In Review

Whew! As you can see, even though Inventor is lacking new features, the list of enhancements, updates, and tweaks within Inventor 2018 is quite extensive. The highlights for me is easily the browser enhancements, Model-Based Definition, the updates to the Part Modeling tools, and the performance improvements. I’m sure many will love the changes to DWG Underlays and the ability to place them straight into an assembly.

All I can say is its time to dive in and get going!


Feature Image by Miguel Salgado from Unsplash

A lesson from history… the Death of Inventor and the Move to Fusion 360

Inventor’s Death?

Is Inventor’s death a real possibility? How could Autodesk kill a product that is a market leader, is used by thousands of people, and has a strong (loyal) community of users? They definitely can and have done so before.

Mechanical Desktop

Picture this. It is 1999 and the so-called midrange modelers are now the dominate players in the 3D modeling market. Autodesk’s Mechanical Desktop, the new-to-the-market SOLIDWORKS, SolidEdge, and others were really changing the playing field. No longer were the old-boys club of ProEngineer, Catia, and Unigraphics ruling the roost. No longer did you have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to do 3D modeling. For most organizations, you could be very proficient spending just between $5000 and $10,000.

MDT 4 Box Shot

As already mentioned, the main 3D mechanical modeling system for Autodesk at the time was Mechanical Desktop (MDT). MDT was based on AutoCAD, acquired technology, and internally developed features.

When I entered the workforce in 1998 it was for an Autodesk reseller. MDT was an easy sell. It was an Autodesk product and existing AutoCAD customers could upgrade to MDT for a significantly less amount than buying SOLIDWORKS or SolidEdge.

In addition to costing less, as it was based on AutoCAD. We would show existing customers that they could continue to use their AutoCAD templates, borders, title blocks, layer schemes, block (symbol) libraries, and the icing-on-the-cake easily move their 2D drawings to 3D parametric models. Since it was based on AutoCAD, MDT’s detailing and annotation tools were easily the best in the market. I might even argue that there is no system today that provides the same level of flexibility to detail, as well as MDT could.

MDT 2004

Add it all up and selling MDT was as much of a slam dunk as you could have…. well, at least for existing Autodesk customers.

The next versions of Mechanical Desktop, based on AutoCAD R14 and 2000, brought along significant new features, functionality, and workflows.

But then something happened….(dramatic pause)…. Autodesk released Inventor (gasp)!

A New Beginning… Autodesk Inventor

Autodesk passed on the opportunity to purchase SOLIDWORKS as they were secretly working on their own “modern” system. This product, codenamed Rubicon, would go on to become the Autodesk Inventor we all know and love.


New Beginning by Scott Robinson

Autodesk recognized they were seriously handcuffed developing on top of AutoCAD. They knew they needed something built from the ground up, focussed solely on mechanical 3D modeling for manufacturing.

As easy as it was to sell MDT to existing Autodesk customers, it was almost impossible to sell to non-Autodesk customers. As it was based on AutoCAD it seemed adequated and difficult to use, especially compared to the likes of SOLIDWORKS and SolidEdge. In addition, MDT was actually cumbersome to use plus it lacked some of the advanced bells-and-whistles as its competitors.

Autodesk Drops the Ball

What was a bit scary at the time for resellers, now seems a bit humorous. Autodesk so badly read the market and stumbled out of the gate with Inventor.

Autodesk touted Inventor as the “ProE Killer“. This was at a pre-Creo time, where ProEngineer was still king of the market. Autodesk sold hard on Inventor’s adaptivity, its large modeling database, its ease-of-use, and modern “clean” user interface.

The message from Autodesk to its resellers was to continue pushing MDT on the existing customer base and aim high by selling Inventor to the ProE, Catia, UG, and Ideas users.

As you can imagine things fell apart quickly. Autodesk Inventor, as a release 1, lacked features to really complete. Although Autodesk worked hard by ramping up the releases quickly there was no way Inventor could compete with ProE, UG, and the high-end modelers. A ProE killer it was not.

Inventor 1.0 could not import 2D DWG nor could it import MDT 3D models. Since Autodesk was looking elsewhere, they did not think it was important to include AutoCAD with Inventor. They didn’t want to murky the waters.

As much as the Autodesk customer base liked MDT they immediately felt betrayed and many pissed off that Autodesk was introducing a new product. The way Autodesk marketed and promoted Inventor and almost instantly ignored MDT, made customers start to question the life of MDT. It didn’t help that the quantity of new features in MDT quickly started to dwindle. The writing was on the wall.

Inventor Rebirth and the Struggles for MDT Users

Fast forward two years (say 2001ish) and Autodesk did an 180 when they realized they missed the boat. They first started including AutoCAD with your Inventor purchase. Then soon after started including MDT. This correlated with Inventor’s new abilities to import both 2D AutoCAD drawings and 3D MDT models.  They decided to leave the old-boys club alone and focus on their existing customer base and the other mid-range modelers.

The problem was it was not always such an easy task for MDT users to make the switch. Sure, you could import your existing MDT models and for the most part, it did a really good job. However, many organizations had processes and workflows (like data management) in place that worked with AutoCAD and MDT but could not work with Inventor without a significant investment. Also, MDT could annotate and detail well, while Inventor really lacked in this area.

death - a self portrait

Death – A Self Portrait by Liz Kcer

MDT 6 was the last release to include new features of significance and MDT immediately went into maintenance mode (although this was never made official at the time). Autodesk continued to rev bump MDT but the only new features were whatever was new in AutoCAD. Eventually, they made the decision and officially killed MDT. Now MDT users HAD to make the switch.

Autodesk Fusion 360

Now we fast forward to 2014. Inventor, which was once touted as cutting edge and the future of modeling, is now the grizzled veteran. Autodesk has sold Inventor into thousands of companies and it has a very large and very loyal user community.

However, Autodesk has decided to dive into “the cloud” and other new bleeding-edge technology head first. Their existing product has too much history to be adopted to the cloud, so they have introduced a new product. This new product is developed from the ground up to utilize things like the cloud to its advantage. This new product, Fusion 360, quickly becomes Autodesk’s poster child. Fusion is arguably Autodesk’s most marketed products. All sounds too familiar, doesn’t it?

All sounds too familiar, doesn’t it?

What’s Old is New Again… or is it What was New is Now Old Again?

Inventor’s Death must be upon us, right? That’s the view of many people.

During the Autodesk Keynote, there was very little on Inventor (or Revit, or Civil 3D, or AutoCAD, or any desktop product). It was clearly apparent that Fusion 360 has the bling, the bam, and all the swagger. Walk around the AU exhibit hall and again it is all about Fusion and the customers who are using Fusion.

Inventor along with all of Autodesk’s desktop software is going to disappear. The writing is clearly on the wall. However, I don’t think it is going to happen as quickly as what some are predicting.

Things are much different this time compared to the introduction of Inventor. I think Autodesk learned their lesson last time and will not let history repeat itself (let us all hope at least).

First, Autodesk is not aiming pie-in-the sky with Fusion. Currently, Fusion 360 is aimed at individuals, hobbyists, start-ups, and smaller companies. This is currently much different market than Inventors. Secondly, Fusion is not aimed at “killing” any one system… it is the killer of all of them! (sorry, couldn’t resist)

I also truly feel Autodesk recognizes the value they have with their Inventor product and the significance of the large and very loyal customer base. Inventor’s Death does not feel imminent as Autodesk appears to be in no rush to move us Inventor users into Fusion 360.

Inventor Still has a Heart Beat

At Autodesk Univerity, I heard Carl Bass (Autodesk’s CEO) twice publically commit to Inventor having 5 to 10 years to go.  He did say however that we will start to see it become more focused, especially in areas of its strengths like industrial machinery design. He also did not say that Autodesk would be actively developing it during its entire “life” either.

Autodesk is also maintaining a substantial development team on Inventor. In fact, they just added to it by moving the Vault development team within the Inventor group. The Inventor beta program is the envy of all the other Autodesk product groups, and even non-Autodesk developers. We’ve seen two Inventor 2017 subscription releases providing strong feature enhancements. What I’ve seen upcoming for Inventor 2018 is very promising.

Let’s Get This Rolling!

I would love to start using Fusion 360 in my day-job, especially for conceptual design…. but I don’t (at least for now). Why? Numerous reasons, the biggest being the lacking detailing tools and the inability to get the data into Vault, attached to items, and sent to our ERP system when the conceptual model is ready for production.

Why did it take MDT users so long to move into Inventor? Because it was all-or-nothing. You could tinker with Inventor but could not seriously use it with the lack of integration with existing processes.

Autodesk has already provided access to Fusion 360 to Inventor users in the form of it being included with the Product Design Suite / Collection. However, if Autodesk wants Inventor users to start moving to Fusion 360 now, they should make it easy for them to utilize Fusion data within Inventor. Then the Inventor user can use Fusion 360 where it makes sense, yet still incorporate the data in with their existing processes.

STEP 1 – Connected AnyCAD for Fusion 360 Data

Think about it, I’ve got countless assemblies, parts, components, drawings, and a content library of hardware that I’ve spent a significant amount of time developing. I’ve also got well-established processes.

So step 1 should be an easy and eloquent means to associatively use Fusion 360 data within Inventor.  No more exporting to STEP and non-associatively attaching / importing into Inventor. Let’s get Inventor connected to A360 so that I can associatively place Fusion models into my Inventor assemblies. As the Fusion design changes, it would update within the Inventor assembly. I would call this Connected AnyCAD as it combines the AnyCAD workflow and the Connected Design.

It is probably too late for this for Inventor 2018, so let’s get this in for the Inventor 2018 R1 update.

Autodesk would then expand on this to include Fusion multi-body support. I want to open the Fusion design in Inventor as multi-body parts. I don’t expect to modify them within Inventor, perhaps just add features, but I want the ability to use the Make Components feature to generate parts and build the assemblies. You could then detail those parts within the much more robust drawing environment and generate the required Bill of Materials. And I can place the assembly further up the hierarchy. Again it is all associative meaning that it changes in Fusion it changes in Inventor.

Step 2 – A360 Data Management within Vault

If I place a Fusion 360 model into Inventor I want this link tracked within Vault. I envision a system where clicking on the file within Vault opens a window into A360 in which I can preview the file. It should lock the file within A360 only allowing editing once the file is checked-out. It’ll be a somewhat unique scenario where that actual data does not reside on the local server, but in the cloud, yet Vault is still managing its lifecycle. I’m ok with this being a Vault Pro only feature, as really the true goal is linking it to an item so that it can be pushed in PLM or ERP systems.

It’ll be a somewhat unique scenario where that actual data does not reside on the local server, but in the cloud, yet Vault is still managing its lifecycle. Or perhaps its shared ownership between Vault and Fusion Lifecycle.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Inventor’s Death is coming but I don’t think its time to proclaim the sky is falling.

We still have years of Inventor usage in front of us. However, you would be foolish to not keep an eye on Fusion 360 and even go one more step of trying it out. Fusion 360 is included within the Product Design Collection and is free for individuals. You have no excuse to start using it now to prepare yourself for the inevitable.


Feature Image “Cemetary” by Karoly Lorentey

How Inventor 2017 Rocks with R3!

Inventor 2017.3

Inventor 2017.3 is here, delivering fixes, updates, and feature enhancements. Just like R2, this is only available for subscription customers.

R3 piggybacks on the updates provided in Inventor 2017 R2. No new functionality, but time-saving enhancements. Some of these updates will make you question how you ever lived without them.


  • Measure Enhancements
  • Crossing window selecting of closed profiles
  • 3D PDF enhancement

Want to restart the Measure command? Just click in the graphics windows. Wishing for dual units (Foot – Architectural)? Your wish is granted.

Inventor 2017 R3 Dual Units on Measure

How about using a crossing window to select multiple (closed) profiles? Boom… you can now. This is integrated into extrude, revolve, sweep, coil, chamfer, and fillet.

Inventor 2017 R3 Crossing for Features

3D PDF creation is “significantly” faster and supports View Representation colour overrides.


  • Easier tangency selection
  • Redefinable projected sketch references
  • Auto Project enhancements
  • New Look At App Option updates
  • 3D Sketch mini-toolbar
  • Convert Sketch text to geometry

Inventor 2017 R2 introduced the double-click-select-tangent-faces workflow. Inventor 2017.3 expands this workflow into the sketch Project Geometry feature. With Project Geometry active, double-click a face or edge and all tangent connected objects are selected and projected.

Projected References are no longer lost when you redefine the sketch plane. This applies to all types including projected, cut edge, and cross-part reference.

Inventor 2017 R3 Redefine Sketch

When dimensioning or adding constraints, selecting a plane perpendicular to the sketch is now projected automatically. Previously you had to manually project the plane.

The Application Options (Sketch tab) expands the “Look at sketch plane on sketch creation” setting. The new options provide the ability to now toggle the option separately for part and assembly documents.

Inventor 2017 R3 Application Options

The 3D Sketch environment got a bit of loving with the introduction of mini-toolbars. This brings the user interface (UI) up to par with the other part modeling environments.

Got text in a sketch and wish it was sketched geometry instead? Well, have no fear, Inventor 2017.3 provides a new right-click Convert to Geometry feature. This new feature converts text to sketch geometry like lines and arcs. The converted geometry is NOT associative to the original text.

Inventor 2017 R3 Convert Text

Analyze Interference

Analyze Interference provides many new enhancements. This includes the new Treat subassemblies as components option which when enabled ignores the interferences within sub-assemblies.

The results continue to show information about each interference but now includes options to filter the results by interference type. Interference can be ignored (or un-ignored) by right-clicking on it within the list. This also includes an option to ignore all interference volumes equal to or smaller than the selected interference.

Inventor 2017 R3 Interference Updates

A tooltip appears on mismatched threads, highlighting four interference types: misaligned, non-matching thread designation, mismatched left / right threads, and non-matching thread lengths.

If you copy the results, the interference type is included in a new Note column.


Guided Tutorial Author

You now have the ability to publish your own tutorials, sharing them privately within your firm or publically to whoever wants to use them. [I’m going to do a deep dive into this at a later time]


BIM Content

Inventor has had Building Information Modeling (BIM) features built into it for quite a few releases.

Inventor 2017 R3 provides a new workflow to prepare your Inventor models for use as BIM Content via Configurator 360.

Autodesk Revit uses the OmniClass 2006 product classifications and codes, so Inventor’s OmniClass selections have been expanded to the same.



Feature image R3 by daniel zimmel

Inventor Sheetmetal Corner Seams (A Quick Tip)

Inventor Sheetmetal Corner Seams

A while ago I did a series of posts on Inventor Sheetmetal, including a specific “deep dive” into using Corner Seams. I ran into a scenario the other day that at first had me stumped, but when I remembered the power of the Corner Seam, the challenge proved to be a piece of cake for Inventor!

Here’s a simplified version of the scenario. The part was created within the context of an assembly and disjointed sheetmetal faces were established to create the basis of the part.

Inventor Corner Seams Scenario

The problem is that because of how the faces overlap you can not use the Bend to connect the faces. This is where the Corner Seams saves the day. It “preps” the edges for the application of the bends.

Inventor Corner Seams Prep

With the Corner Seam applied, the Bend now works between the edges. This completes the part

Inventor Corner Seams Apply the Bend

A short post, but hopefully helps someone else struggling in the same scenario.




Feature Image PROJlhopgood Sackboy’s Corner

Autodesk Inventor 2017 R2

Autodesk Inventor 2017 R2

The first subscription-only update for Inventor 2017 has been released.

What’s New? Unlike the Inventor 2016 mid-year releases, this one is not focused on new functionality, but a collection of enhancements, improvements, and updates to just about every environment. I’m only highlighting what I feel are the significant updates, you can read the entire list of changes here.

Your first reaction might be disappointment, why? The 2016 mid-year releases set the bar so high with the introduction of the Shape Generator, the embedding of ForceEffect, and the new A360 Connected design review, that this update might just seem ho-hum. I’m happy with the enhancements, and we should all be… there is a lot put into this update and it’s focused on productivity and making our (Inventor) lives better.


  • Measure Improvements
  • Model Browser enhancements
  • Workflow Enhancements

A checkmark now appears next to the default measure precision. The precision is also now persistent across sessions meaning you can set it and forget it.

INV2017R2 - Measure Checkmark

The browser has been updated to provide better clarity. Lines are shown to aid in the display of the model hierarchy, there is now a bigger difference between expanded and collapsed states, and it is much easier to navigate the hierarchy. This might seem like a minor change, but its amazing how much easier it makes navigating the browser.

INV2017R2 - BrowserEnhancements

Use Alt + R to launch the Relationships dialog when a feature is selected in the browser. This was an idea from the Inventor Ideastation.

Sketches now maintain their properties when exported to an AutoCAD DWG.

The Undo / Redo now functions like the other Autodesk products in that you can use the drop-down to quickly undo / redo a group of actions. This was an idea from the Inventor Ideastation.

INV2017R2 - Undo_Redo_Updates



  • New Menu Options for Make Part & Make Components
  • Tangent feature selection enhancements

From the browser or graphics window select sketch blocks, solid bodies, or surface bodies and select Make Part or Make Component from the right-click context menu.

INV2017R2 - MakePartComponent

With Inventor 2017 R2 double-clicking a face or edge selects all faces or edges tangent to each other. After selecting multiple faces right-click and pick Select Tangencies to select all the faces tangent. Anything to make it easier to select a group of objects is always a winner in my books.

Inventor2017R2 - Select Tangencies


A long time coming, we finally get Mirror and Copy enhancements.

  1. Prior to Inventor 2017 R2 relationships were automatically applied to the mirrored or copied components, now within R2 you decide if you want the relationships applied.
  2. A new option grounds the resulting components of the mirror or copy operation.
  3. When mirroring you can select Origin planes directly within the Mirror Components dialog.

Inventor2017R2 - Mirror Enhancements


  • Quickly Customize Properties for Imported CAD Files with the New Property Mapping Tool
  • DWG Underlay Now Fully Supports AutoCAD Mechanical Geometry

When attaching CATIA, Creo, NX, STEP, or Solidworks files as reference models use the new standalone Property Mapping Utility to map properties from the 3rd party CAD data to Inventor iProperties. This means the 3rd party CAD data will automatically import during attachment, meaning no more manual entry.

INV2017 R2 - AnyCAD Property Mapping

As the mapping is stored in XML files it will be consistent and automatically set each time you attach the data. This also means you can create as many mappings as required. Take for example you receive Solidworks data from two different sources, each who use the properties differently, no problem, just create two XML files and set the mapping as required.

INV2017 R2 - Import Design Data

The Property Mapping tool is standalone, meaning in addition to launching it from within Inventor it is also its own menu item in the Start Menu.


  • Reorder Attached Balloons with the new Sort Balloons Context Menu Option
  • Specify a Hatch Pattern as SOLID
  • Enhancements to Revision Tables and Parts Lists Exported Excel Formats
  • Improvements to Deferring Updates on a Drawing
  • Save Time Printing Multiple Drawings with Auto-Size to Drawing Sheet Size [Task Scheduler]
  • Align Multiple Center Marks in a Drawing to the Selected Edge

Yes, you read that right… we can finally after all this time finally apply actual SOLID hatch patterns… whoop, whoop… no longer do I need to set the scale so small that the ANSI hatch pattern just appears as solid. [This was a long time ideastation suggestion]

INV2017 R2 - Solid Hatch

When you collect balloons onto a single leader the new Sort Balloons now sorts the balloons numerically. Great little cleanup tool. My wish, how about picking Sort Balloons a second time and it sorts it in the opposite order?

INV 2017 R2 - Sort Balloons

Another implemented IdeaStation suggestion is the ability to align multiple select Center Marks. [I haven’t counted, but there has to be a least a dozen ideastation suggestions implemented with this update]

INV2017 R2 - Align Multi Center Marks

Presentation Enhancements

  • New Create Presentation options
  • Multiple Action Editing
  • Edit the Duration of Multiple Actions:
  • Local/World Direction
  • Publish Images with a Transparent Background
  • Performance Improvements for Presentations

Directly within the Assembly / Weldment browser, you can create a new presentation by right-clicking on the top-level node and selecting Create Presentation. The second option is pressing Alt + P. This is another suggestion from the Inventor Ideastation.

INV2017 R2 - Create Presentation


Multiple areas with the Presentation environment have received performance improvements. This includes trail & component selection, deleting tweaks & storyboards, and creating storyboards from previous storyboards.

The Auto Explode feature has been removed. Hopefully, you didn’t rely on it. I for one never used it as it usually ended up creating more cleanup work for me then just creating the tweaks manually myself.

Mesh components are now supported within Presentations and are treated just as other solids.

The Presentation environment went under quite the overhaul with Inventor 2017 and let’s be honest, for as good as the changes are there were a couple annoying workflow limitations. One of the biggest has been addressed with this update in that you can now modify multiple actions at one time.

Within the timeline select multiple actions by pressing Ctrl as you make your selections, then drag and drop the actions to the desired location. You can drag and drop the actions before or after existing tweaks and it will maintain the relationship between the actions with different start / end times. You can also drag the end to adjust the duration (length) of the actions.

With multiple actions selected, right-click, and from the contextual menu select:

INV2017 R2 - Timeline Multi Right Click

  • Edit Time to set the specific duration
  • Align Start Time or Align End Time to align the start / end positions
  • All Before, All After, and Group to select all actions occurring before or after the selected action or playhead position.

When editing multiple Opacity actions at one time all selected components will get the same opacity value.


Inventor 2017 Service Pack 1

This also includes all the updates contained within Service Pack 1 for Inventor 2017. If you are not on subscription then I would still highly recommend installing SP1.


In Summary

This is an update that I think will have something for everyone as it touches just about every standard environment. As it doesn’t introduce any new functionality do not wait until you pass go, just deploy it now, and start enjoying the increased productivity.


Feature Image Airplane Wing with Jet Engines at the Airport by Viktor Hanacek

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