Effective iPart Editing in Autodesk Inventor

12 May, 2010 By: John Hackney

Avatech Tricks Tutorial: Adding features or altering parameters after authoring an iPart calls for the Editing Scope function.

Editor's note: This tutorial courtesy of Avatech Solutions.

The process of authoring an iPart is easy if you take the time to model your Inventor part, add and name all desired features, and name all parametric dimensions. You simply finish these steps, select "Create iPart," and the iPart table is automatically created. Add a few unique rows, set an index key, and you're done. But this is not a perfect world, and someone will probably ask you to add or remove a feature, or edit parameters and dimensions. That's when this trick will come in handy.

I will assume you have an iPart completed, and you need to edit it. First we must modify the ribbon a bit to gain access to the commands we will be using. Inventor locates the Edit Scope commands on the ribbon in the Assembly environment, but not in the Part environment.

Open the iPart you will be editing, and select the tab where you wish to add the three commands. In this example, I have chosen the Tools tab. Right-click on the ribbon and select Customize User Commands.

Select the commands Edit Factory Scope, Edit Member Scope, and iPart/iAssembly Author one at time, and select Add to create your own User Command panel. Select OK and you will have your new panel in place on the ribbon. Remember, you can drag the panel to any position on the ribbon, or drag it off of the ribbon to maintain its visibility when other tabs are activated.

The iPart/iAssembly Author icon is the same as clicking the right mouse button on the iPart table in the browser and selecting Edit Table. The Edit Member Scope and Edit Factory Scope icons are toggles that determine whether edits to the model are applied to the entire iPart factory or to a single member (active row) of the factory. The term Edit has some conditions that must be considered when making changes. For example, redefining geometry and applying new dimensions will affect all members regardless of the selected scope, but removing a feature will affect all or individual members depending on the scope setting.


Below is a table that summarizes some editing conditions and the effect each scope setting has on the iPart author table (there are a few more I will not cover due to complexity). Please note, while editing the iPart table, the Undo and Redo commands affect iPart member changes.

Add Features

The iPart we are using is a segmented cutting wheel, with the objective of creating cutting wheels with 4, 6, 8, and 10 blade segments. During the addition of a drive hole in the side of the blade (below, left) with Edit Member Scope selected, the parameters Hole_Dia and Drive_Hole_Location were created (center), and the feature was named Drive_Hole in the browser (right).

The addition of the drive hole with the same parameters but with Edit Factory Scope selected created the feature in all members. The iPart table shows no additional parameter columns. If you need to change the parameters for each part, you will need to add the parameter columns to the table manually.

Deleting Features

The deletion of the drive hole from the side of the blade with Edit Member Scope selected will only suppress the feature in the active iPart member. If the iPart table does not contain a suppression column for the feature Drive_Hole, it will be created. The member will be marked Suppress and all the other members will be marked Compute. 


If the drive hole is deleted with Edit Factory Scope selected, the feature and the feature sketch (if desired) are deleted from the model. If the iPart table has a suppression column before the deletion, it is will not be removed automatically, but can be deleted manually if desired. The suppression column does not affect the table but should be removed to avoid confusion.

Modify Existing Features

Editing the existing dimensions of a feature consumed sketch will automatically add the parameter column to the iPart table and change the value for the current member only, regardless of the scope setting.

Adding new sketch geometry or new dimensions will also affect all members regardless of the scope setting.

Editing an applied feature size, such as the bore chamfer, will modify only the active member if Edit Member Scope is selected and if it does not exist already, will add the parameter column to the iPart table. If Edit Factory Scope is selected, a change to an applied feature will affect all of the members in the iPart table and will not add a parameter column.


About the Author: John Hackney

John Hackney

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