Import Mechanical Desktop Drawings Directly into Inventor 2014

21 Aug, 2013 By: John Hackney

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Try this new method to import your Autodesk Mechanical Desktop part files into an Autodesk Inventor assembly model.

Editor's note: This tutorial courtesy of IMAGINiT Technologies.

Many companies started out in 3D design using Autodesk Mechanical Desktop (MDT), but since the software was discontinued in 2009, these files have generally not been used. As designers moved to Autodesk Inventor, there were ways in import MDT files using either their original MDT 2009 software or the Autodesk MDT version for Inventor. When Inventor 2013 arrived, however, this MDT version was not supported for importing files.

Now with the release of Inventor 2014, Autodesk has provided a method to import MDT part files directly into an Inventor assembly model. The part file is added to the assembly as a solid body linked to the original MDT file. It is important to note that the MDT features are not translated into the new part.

To get started, you must modify your Inventor project file. A library entry must be added pointing to the folder containing the original MDT files. You can label it as you desire. Once it's created, right-click on this entry, select Add Proxy Path, and point this to a folder location for the Inventor MDT converted files. If you are using an Inventor Vault project file, these two paths must be outside the project workspace.

The final project file entries will look like the screenshot below. (Of course, your folder names may vary.)

Placing the MDT file into your Inventor assembly is very similar to the process for placing any standard part. Select the Place Component command from the Assembly Ribbon tab or from the right-click menu. In the Place Component dialog box, select the library folder containing the original MDT files.

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About the Author: John Hackney

John Hackney

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Re: Import Mechanical Desktop Drawings Directly into I...
by: Anthony_Harris
August 29, 2013 - 5:41am
Hi John I did what you said but Inventor gave me the following message. MDT Data Import: problems encountered while executing this command. String resource could not be loaded (and is missing?) for id 5dc1 (error 0). Translation API error. Regards Anthony I would really appreciate it if you could help me because we have hundreds of MDT parts and we cant use them
Re: Import Mechanical Desktop Drawings Directly into I...
by: john.hackney
September 6, 2013 - 8:00pm
Anthony, I cannot tell what is going on directly from your error message. Please send me one of your problems files to
Re: Import Mechanical Desktop Drawings Directly into I...
by: Joe3duser
December 5, 2014 - 6:53pm
This worked absolutely perfectly. Thank you very much. One note... you will not be able to edit the files after creation (sketches, properties, etc.) so if you want to change the part, you'll have to create a new part, derive from the translated file, break the link to the original and make changes from there. Thanks again.