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.

Select the MDT file you wish to place, then select the Options button at the bottom of the dialog box to make sure the Import option is selected. This setting can be made permanent in the Inventor Application Options under the Drawing tab, Non-Inventor DWG File settings. Select Open to place the part in the assembly.

The files located in the MDT original drawings folder, my MDT folder, are not used after placing in the assembly and can be deleted. The files in the proxy path are used by the assembly and must be retained in order to avoid the Resolve Link dialog box. If you are using the Vault, the original MDT file and the matching proxy Inventor Part file are automatically placed in the mapped folder structure.

Even though the file cannot be edited, all Inventor assembly commands function normally with the file. These functions include constraints, joints, measure, project geometry for new part creation, etc.

How to Make a MDT Inventor Part Editable

If you right-click on an assembly part placed by the above method, you will find that you cannot edit or open it. This is not because it is a library part, but because of the way Inventor imported the MDT file. You can, however, make the part editable by the following process.

Copy the file from the proxy path (in my case, MDT Parts) to any folder within your Inventor project file workspace. This removes it from a library status, allowing you to save your changes. Open the part in Inventor from the workspace. You will notice the 3D Model tab panels in Inventor are grayed out, indicating it is still not editable. Click on the Manage tab and select Make Part. Select the solid body from the browser and configure the dialog box to suit your needs. In my case, I am only creating a new editable part and not placing it into an assembly.

The new part is still a solid body, but it is fully editable, allowing the addition of new features. You also can edit it using a variety of commands. The surface command Delete Face can be used to remove holes, fillets, and chamfers. A little hint: Check the Heal option to get your desired results. The Boundary Patch tool and Sculpt can be used to accomplish the same process. The Move Face command can be used to move existing features to new locations. You can use the Copy Object tool to capture the solid into a surface body or move it into the Repaired Environment to use other editing functions. Inventor Fusion is the tool of choice for these operations, but since it is now an Autodesk Cloud–based application, not all designers will have access to it.

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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 - 4:41am
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 - 7:00pm
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 - 5:53pm
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.

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