How to Maximize Autodesk Inventor 9's Content Library, Part 1 of 2

14 Sep, 2004 By: Kevin Schneider

Organizing standard parts can increase team productivity

In product design today, as many as 80% of components are standard parts. Autodesk Inventor 9 Content Library helps you aggregate standard parts and share them easily with colleagues. To improve team productivity, you can easily customize the library to cut search times, add part sizes, remove parts families, modify folder structure, and add properties your company uses to build intelligence into designs.

The Autodesk Inventor 9 Content Library contains tens of thousands of parts in many international standards. These include:


  • Clevis pins
  • Drill bushings
  • Closing components
  • Nuts
  • Pins
  • Rivets
  • Screws and threaded bolts
  • Washers


Steel Shapes
  • Square/rectangular bars
  • Round bars
  • I, L, T, U, and Z shapes
  • Circular and hollow sections
  • Square/rectangular hollow sections


Shaft Parts
  • Adjusting rings
  • Roller bearings
  • Circlips
  • Seals
  • Keys
  • Locking elements
  • Shim rings

The Content Library eliminates the need to recreate needed components from vendor catalogs. The library comes with more standards than most companies need, and you can tailor it to reflect your needs to make it even more helpful.

Filter By Standard
You can configure the Content Library to show only the standards from which you normally select parts. To do this:


    Figure 1. Click on the last button, which looks like a funnel, for a list of standard content.
  1. Open a new Inventor Assembly document. In the browser, click on the Model drop-down panel at the top, and choose Library from the list of available browser panes.
  2. On the toolbar along the top of the Library browser, click on the last button, which looks like a funnel, to enable and disable standards in the Content Library (figure 1).
    Figure 2. Uncheck content to filter those standards out of searches.
  3. Simply uncheck any standards you don't want to see in the Content Library (figure 2). This makes it easier to find parts, eliminate standards you don't use, and improve search times when you use Content Library's search tools.

Make a Custom Library
Out of the box, the Autodesk Inventor Content Library is configured with one library source. A library source is the database that makes up all the various types, sizes, and properties of parts in a library.

You can create a library source of your own. The changes you can make -- and their benefits -- include:

  • Remove part families and sizes, for fine control over which parts you can use from the library.
  • Organize the library hierarchy in a way that makes sense to you.
  • Customize the properties of library parts, such as part number or material, for easier searching.
  • Return, if you wish, to the Autodesk Inventor Library to create a new custom library source.

Last but not least, you can share your custom library source easily with others.

  1. To create a library source of your own, begin by browsing to the Installation directory (C:\PROGRAM FILES\AUTODESK\INVENTOR 9\) and copying the entire Content directory to a location of your choice. I'll use the E:\ drive here as an example.
    Figure 3. Click the Configure button to create a custom library.
  2. Return to Autodesk Inventor, go to the Library browser pane, and click the Configure button at the bottom right (figure 3).
  3. In the top pane of the dialog box, remove the current library source called Local. Next, add a new library and name it. Here I'll use Kevin's Content.
  4. Browse to the location of the Content directory you copied in the step above. Inside the Content directory, select the LIBRARYINFO.XML file. Click the Refresh button to populate the library source data.
  5. In the Category pane, check all the parts families you want to make available in the Content Library (figure 4). Then click Save. You now have a custom library source you can edit.


Figure 4. Check the parts families to be added to your custom library.

Next month we'll use the custom library source to make major changes to the Content Library. We'll add new sizes, remove parts families, and add properties to existing parts.

Spending a little time customizing your libraries can yield significant returns. Fast, easy access to the parts your company uses most saves time and increases productivity.

About the Author: Kevin Schneider

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