Inventor In-Depth: Shortcuts to Customize Design Layout

11 Jan, 2006 By: Kevin Schneider Cadalyst

Use sheet formats to save time creating drawings

If you've used Autodesk Inventor for some time, you may find that you have developed your own workflow for laying out drawings. For example, I like to start with B- or C-size sheets whenever I can. I usually use three views and an isometric, and over the years I have developed a customized standard with dimension, text, symbol, balloon, parts list and custom block (that is, sketch symbols).

Autodesk Inventor makes it easy to reuse your preferred sheets with pre-defined view layouts. These special sheets are called formats. A format includes sheet size, a border, tile block and pre-defined, named views. To use a format, you simply create a template with your format activated. Any time you start a new drawing, you will be prompted for the model you want to use, and Inventor generates the views automatically.

Sheet Layout
Begin by creating a new drawing. You are going to need a 3D model, part or assembly -- it doesn't matter which you choose -- to use to lay out the views you want to save in your format. I typically use one of my active projects.

1. Change the sheet size to the size you use most frequently.

2. Complete the sheet layout by placing the title block and border that you want to use (figure 1).

Figure 1. Place the title block and border you want to save as a standard format.

Define Views
To define views, start the Base View command.

1. Browse to any part. From the Orientation pane, choose the front view orientation as the first view. It's most likely this will present the desired orientation for any model you may use in the future (figure 2).

Figure 2. Choose the base view that will be presented first by your format template.

2. Set any options that you like to use frequently (figure 3). For example, I turn on Tangent Edges and use fixed View Justification. This concludes placement of the base view.

Figure 3. Select view options that you use frequently for inclusion in the format template.

3. Next, project and arrange any orthographic views you may want on the sheet, such as side, top and isometric views (figure 4).

Figure 4. Add orthographic views to the sheet.

Save the Sheet as a Format
Now you're ready to save your sheet as a format template.

1. In the browser, right-click on the sheet and select Create Format from the Context menu (figure 5).


Figure 5. Choose Create Sheet Format to save your template, and it will appear in the browser window.

2. Give your new format a name. In this example, I've called the format Inventor.

3. Save the drawing to your template directory.

Use the Template for New Drawings
Start the New File command and select your new template (figure 6). When the template opens, the program prompts you to choose a model to use in your drawing. You can use any part, assembly or presentation. Click OK and open a new sheet that's complete with the views, borders and title blocks already created.


Figure 6. Select your preferred format to start new work in your template.

Continue your drawing by re-using your feature dimensions and automatic centerlines. To save time and effort creating new drawings, you can create several formats incorporating different sheet sizes, as well as the views, borders and blocks you prefer. You'll find it takes less time to finish shop drawings than when you start with a blank screen or use only 2D tools.

About the Author: Kevin Schneider

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