Inventor Tip: Documenting Your Part’s Design Intent in Inventor

Posted on March 1, 2017 by Synergis’ Application Consultant, Jim Swain

First off, this isn’t about making drawings. This is closer to adding comments to a program that you’re writing.

Second, this isn’t about using the Notebook in Inventor. This is about renaming things within Inventor part files so you can understand them better in the future.

Have you ever put something in a safe place, a place where you knew you wouldn’t forget about it? How well did that work for you? I am notorious in my family for panicking right before a birthday or such as I search for that perfect gift I bought a few months ago. Well, I don’t have a fix for that yet, but I do have a method I use to remind myself what my intent was and what I likely have to change.

Sketch Dimensions and Parameters

The quickest way to jump into this is to type a new parameter name when editing a sketch dimension’s value. The name must follow parameter naming syntax, which often boils down to not using spaces. Here I typed Width = 4. This renames the D0 dimension name to be Width and give it a value of 4 inches.

p1

I do the same for the other dimension, setting its name to be Height. Here is the Edit Dimension dialog box after I am done. The new name is shown in the title area.

p2

If you enter an incorrect equation the text will stay red. I usually run into this if I’ve put spaces in the name instead of using underscores. Another common typo of mine is having two decimal points when I am entering a value. Too much caffeine I guess.

The Parameters dialog box now looks like this:

p3

The same thing can be done with values entered in other dialog boxes. Here is the Extrude dialog box:

p4

Features

Speaking of features, I like to rename key features to make them easy to identify months or years from now.

Here, instead of leaving the feature just as Hole1, I rename it to match its function. To do this click on the name of the feature in the Browser, pause, then click again. Then type in the new name. (This is the same technique as renaming files in Windows Explorer.)

p5

Work Features

I use this same technique to rename work features, and especially work planes. It’s very easy to have a large number of work planes in a given part. And it can be very annoying to try and figure out what each one does a year later.

p6

What makes this even better is that when the part is used in an assembly the work plane name is shown in the assembly file’s Browser as well.

p7

Well, that’s it for now.

Until later,

Jim

 

 

 

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