Do Your Fasteners Need a Different ID? (Avatech Tricks Tutorial)

30 Jun, 2007 By: John Hackney

Creating a Custom Content Center library in Autodesk Inventor.

Often companies require a different name for Inventor Content Center fasteners to appear in the assembly browser as well as in the drawing parts list. This article describes the process for modifying a custom library to display a different file name, part number and a custom property called a bin number.

Preliminary Work
Before we can accomplish our goals, let's finish some preliminary tasks. These tasks are:

  • creating a Custom Library (read/write) using the ADMS Vault Manager and assign Content Center Editor rights to individuals who will modify this custom library;
  • assigning the Custom Library to the working Inventor Project File; and
  • using the Content Center Editor, copy an existing fastener library into the Custom Library just created.

Changing the Family Identity
Using the Inventor Content Center Editor, select the custom library from the Library View drop-down list. Navigate to the copied library you want to customize.

Content Center Editor.

Right-click on the library copy and select Family Properties. Change the Family Name to whatever you wish to appear in the Inventor Browser along with the file name. The changes to the description appear in the matching iProperty field. Click Apply to submit your changes.

Family Properties.

Modify Standard iProperties
Right-click on the library copy and select Family Table. Select iProperties Columns Only from the filter drop-down. Next, modify the File Name and Part Number columns.

Family Table.

Right-click on the File Name column header and select Column Properties to show the column editor. The expression used to form the file name is deleted and replaced with the string shown. Select the values within the brackets by clicking the three dots at the end of the line and then double-clicking on the desired parameter. Use the ampersand symbol (&) to append additional values. Any value that you type from the keyboard must be entered inside parentheses. Note that the spaces added in the typed text provide correct file-name formatting. For example, this expression configures the file name to read M6 SHCS X 25 LG.

Under Column Properties, click to select parameters.

Click OK to update the Family Table. Check the new file name to confirm it is formatted correctly; edit if necessary.

Right-click on the File Name column header again and select the expression you just configured. Copy the value to the clipboard to use in the custom expression for the Part Number column.

Right-click on the Part Number column and select Custom Properties to display the Column Properties dialog. Select the Expression checkbox and paste the same expression used in the File Name into the expression field. If you want different value, compose it as described before.

Click OK to update the Family Table view.

Select Expression checkbox and paste clipboard value from the file name expression.

Add a Custom Column
Select the column beside where you want the custom iProperty column to be created. Click on the Add Column in the Family Table menu.


The Column Properties dialog box for the Custom Column will open. Enter the fields as shown below. Note that the two fields cannot contain spaces. The Custom Properties Name appears under the Custom tab in the iProperty dialog.

Be sure these two fields don't contain spaces.

Click OK to create the custom column in the Family Table. Next, enter the custom Bin Number for each screw. In the table below, all screws except M6 and M8 are deleted so the table is smaller than the one copied. It's recommended that you delete any screws that will probably never be used to create a smaller database.

Click OK to publish your changes to the Custom Library. You will receive a confirmation for the Content Center Editor that the publishing process was a success.


Test the Custom Library
Open an Inventor assembly and select Place from Content Center either from the Assembly panel or the right-click dialog box.


To set your filters to show just your custom content, select the Company and Standards previously entered in your custom library Family Properties.

Select the correct filters.

After placing a screw in your assembly, the browser now shows the Family Name appended to the screw description. The iProperties Project tab shows the custom Part Number and Description.

The iProperties Custom Tab shows the bin number.

The iProperties Custom Tab shows the bin number.

You can easily configure these values to appear in your drawing Parts List.

You can easily configure these values to appear in your drawing Parts List.

Parts List.

About the Author: John Hackney

John Hackney

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