Autodesk Inventor 2009 Frame Generator (Solutions from Synergis Tutorial)

29 Sep, 2008 By: Bob Reid

Populate your parts and material lists to combine like frame members and total lengths.

Editor's note: This tutorial courtesy of Synergis.

When teaching the Autodesk Inventor: Creating Frames Open Doors class, one of the most common questions asked by students is: How do I populate the Parts List and Material List to combine like frame members and total lengths?

In this tutorial, I will walk you through an example. Keep in mind that many companies have their own standards, as far as what properties are used within the Parts List and Material List. I will show the main properties that are needed to accomplish this task.

In the following picture, I have created a frame using standard square tubing and c-channel. Create or use an existing frame by following this step-by-step procedure:




  • Click on Bill of Materials in the Assembly panel or from the Tools drop-down menu.


  • Enable the Structured tab in the BOM dialog box.


  • Left-click the first row that lists the first frame member, hold Shift button down, select the last frame member, click the last member list, and click Create Expression.




  • In the Property Expression field, delete the current text, enter the following expression: =<Stock Number>-<G_L>


  • This expression is created in order to achieve the member's stock number and length value.


  • Click Renumber Items to renumber the new part numbers.


  • Click Done to close the Bill of Materials dialog box.


  • Open any frame member, go to File / iProperties / Project Tab / Review for the newly created function.



Document Your Frame:

  • Open an IDW or DWG. Create your required views of your frame.


  • Click on Parts List from the Drawing Annotation panel, select a view, and place the Parts list on the drawing.


  • Edit the Parts List according to your company standards. Ensure that the following Properties are included within the Selected Properties: Stock Number, Item QTY, and G_L. The G_L Property can be created by clicking on New Property and adding it within the Column Chooser dialog box.


  • Click Group Settings: Make the First Key - Stock Number, Second Key - G_L, Third Key - Item QTY, Check Display Items 1,2,3. Click OK.




  • Click Renumber Items.


  • Right-click on Item QTY Column Header, left-click on Format Column. Heading Box should read ITEM QTY. Click on Substitution Tab. Click on Enable Value Substitution, On the drop-down When Exits, Use Value of, choose ITEM QTY. On the dropdown When Rows Are Merged, Value Used Is, select First Value.


  • Click OK.


  • Click OK to close the Parts List dialog box.


  • Click Parts List from the Drawing Annotation panel, Select Material List (ANSI) from the Standard Inventor Tool Bar dropdown menu.


  • Click OK and place the Material List on the drawing.


  • Right-click Material List, and left-click Edit Parts List. (Editing Material List)


  • Include in the Material List the following properties: TOTAL QTY, Stock Number, For Items, Description, and Material. Include any other company standard properties that are required.


  • If the units of Total QTY need to be changed, format the column and change the units accordingly.