Autodesk Inventor is a 3D CAD software program focused on product development processes, and is often used for 3D mechanical design, simulation, visualization and documentation. Inventor is the Autodesk solution for prototyping and it offers the possibility to design and build models in less time.
This software is widely used for professionals who use 3D printing and it’s constantly improved and updated with new features.
Today we would like to introduce you to this 3D program, explain how to prepare your 3D files to 3D print them with Autodesk Inventor and highlight some of its main features.
How to 3D print with Autodesk Inventor
There are three different methods to 3D print your files with Autodesk Inventor, depending on the printer technology that you are using.
Option 1: Export your files for 3D printing
If you print your models with a professional 3D printing service like i.materialise, you need to export your files to a supported 3D file format. This is the best option if you are looking for a professional and high-quality finish for your models.
When you have your 3D designs ready, you can export them to an .STL file and upload it to the i.materialise online platform. These are the 3D file formats supported by our platform for uploading your designs.
- How to export your files to 3D print with Autodesk Inventor:
- Click the I button
- Select Export
- Select CAD format
- How to save the files to 3D print with Autodesk Inventor:
- Select STL as the file type in the Save As dialog box
- Click on the options button
- Select the type of file (Binary or ASCII 3)
- Select units
- Choose the resolution (number of triangles describing the geometry)
- Click OK
- Click Preview to verify your selection
- Toggle mesh view to see vertices and ensure that they match the expectations for resolution
Option2: Use Inventor’s 3D printing environment
Since its 2016 version, Inventor includes a 3D printing environment that allows designers to 3D print their models easily, as part of the creation process. This option is more suitable for those who print at home or at work with small FDM 3D printers
The 3D printing environment of Autodesk Inventor provides more control over the export process of the 3D files and allows functions like editing, orientation changes and scaling without affecting the native file.
The main advantage of this environment is that it includes preset printers and it’s also possible to add new customized ones. The build spaces will give the users a sense of scale and allow them to optimize the orientation of the parts inside a specific build volume, before exporting the STL format.
The Autodesk 3D Printing environment also allows other functions: edit, move, set orientation, direct edit and export to STL.
Option 3: Use Autodesk Print Studio
Another option to 3D print your files with Autodesk Inventor is the Autodesk Print Studio, a print preparation software that heals, prepares and prints 3D models. It is linked to Autodesk cloud storage and file sharing A360.
Once the Print Studio is installed, Inventor will launch it from the 3D print environment and place the model into the build space.
The software will show the necessary steps to verify and print the model, shown in a timeline progression to intuitively prepare the files to 3D print: Import, Layout, Repair, Support, Preview and Export.
As mentioned, the first option is the best if you are looking for a professional finish for your models and prototypes. 3D printing from the 3D printing environment or the 3D Print Studio is an easier approach, and more suitable if you are printing with small home printers.
Main Features of Autodesk Inventor
Design and Validate Products Digitally
Autodesk Inventor software products include a parametric design environment that allows the development of initial concept sketches and models. Inventor software automates the advanced geometry creation of intelligent components so users can rapidly build and refine digital prototypes.
The Inventor product line includes easy-to-use and integrated part and assembly-level motion simulation and stress analysis functionality. By simulating stress, deflection, and motion, you can optimize and validate your design under real-world conditions, before the product or part is ever printed.
Design Communication in Workgroups
With Inventor it is possible to associate engineering change orders before manufacturing by generating documentation directly from a 3D digital prototype. Inventor offers an accurate output of production-ready drawings directly from the 3D model. Inventor product bundles also include software for 2D mechanical drafting tools.
This software is tightly integrated with Autodesk data management applications, making it a good option for an easy and secure exchange of design data. It facilitates collaboration between designs and manufacturing workgroups: different teams can manage and track all components of a digital prototype with the Design Review software. The product configurations will offer specific levels of functionality to fit different design needs.
What’s more, Inventors AnyCAD technology allows data to be brought in from different sources and native formats maintaining the links to the original data at the same time.
With Autodesk Inventor software it’s possible and easy to integrate AutoCAD® and 3D data into a single digital model to create a virtual representation of the final product. The software will provide direct reading and writing of native DWG™ files, so there’s no risk of inaccurate translations.
Autodesk Illustrator works with a subscription system but you can get a free trial for 30 days to start designing and printing your models.
This software is used by professional 3D designers and engineers but there are many different options for 3D design and 3D printing software, for beginners and advanced users: discover them in our 3D printing tutorials.
When you have exported your 3D files from Autodesk Inventor, it’s possible to print them with i.materialise by uploading them onto our platform.
Autodesk 3D Printing
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