Exchange Apps in Inventor 2013

June 16, 2012

One of the new features in Inventor 2013 is quite hidden and I have not read about it much in all the Inventor reviews. In fact it adds tens of new functions to Inventor. You just need to pick and install them. It is the Exchange Apps online store.

Exchange Apps is similar to Google Market. It contains plug-in applications that can be easily added to your Inventor installation. Some of them are commercial (trial versions only) but some of them are completely free. The installation process is very straightforward – you even don’t need to exit Inventor.

You can browse Exchange Apps even without Inventor – just open You can find some very insteresting apps there. I like e.g. the:

Try to find your favorite app in Exchange Apps.


System requirements for Inventor 2013

March 18, 2012

With an impending release of Autodesk Inventor 2013, here are the system requirements for this new version. From what I can see, they are quite similar to the previous version 2012 so there are no surprises this time:

  • Windows 7 (SP1) (32-bit or 64-bit) Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise edition (recommended; Win7-64 recommended for large assemblies), Windows XP Professional (SP3), or Windows XP Professional x64 Edition (SP2); no Vista!
  • Intel Pentium 4, 2 GHz or faster; Intel Xeon, Intel Core, AMD Athlon 64, or AMD Opteron or later processor
  • 2 GB RAM (min. 1 GB for Inventor LT; 8 GB for complex models – more than 1.000 parts)
  • Microsoft Direct3D 10 (recommended) or Direct3D 9 capable graphics card
  • 1,280 x 1,024 or higher screen resolution
  • Internet connection for web downloads and Subscription Aware access
  • Adobe® Flash® Player 10
  • Microsoft Mouse-compliant pointing device
  • Internet Explorer 6.x through 9
  • Excel 2003 through 2010 for iFeatures, iParts, iAssemblies, thread customization, and spreadsheet-driven designs
  • Microsoft .Net Framework 4.0

Autodesk Inventor 2013 free (for Mechanical users)

March 2, 2012

We have been informed that our AutoCAD Mechanical (with subscription) will be changed to Autodesk Product Design Suite 2013 this year – a gift similar to that from the last year. The Product Design Suite will include both AutoCAD Mechanical 2013 and Autodesk Inventor 2013! So we will get Inventor 2013 for free. This is a welcomed way for us to increase the number of Inventor seats without any investment.

Plus we get Autodesk Showcase (also part of the Suite) that seems to more and more a better and easier way to visualize 3D designs that using 3ds Max or Inventor Studio.

Thank you in advance, Autodesk!

Unexpected gift from Autodesk

June 12, 2011

Instead of the expected usual upgrade to Inventor 2012 (Inventor Professional in our case) we have received a box with many new AutoCAD application we haven’t used or bought before – just a free gift. Thank you, Autodesk.

The new Inventor Suite is called “Autodesk Product Design Suite Ultimate” and it contains: Inventor Professional, Alias Design, AutoCAD Mechanical, Autodesk Showcase, Vault, 3ds Max Design, SketchBook Designer, Autodesk Mudbox. From these, I like the most the 3ds Max Design as I have always tried to make compelling presentations of my 3D models and Max has much more options than Inventor Studio.

Not all applications from the Design Suite are localized. The installation is performed from a USB key, not from usual DVDs. You can choose which applications do you need to install. E.g. I have skipped the Mudbox software.

And, BTW – Inventor 2012 is great! I like the “gesture” menus.

Inventor and Solidworks compared – who is the winner?

August 5, 2010


I have received a PDF document with a deep comparison study performed by TechniCom Group. This study is dated August 2010 so it must have been done quite recently.

The TechniCom whitepaper compares Inventor Professional 2011 and Solidworks Premium 2010 in 15 functional areas (161 individual questions), using a group of experts for each software product.

As an Inventor user and as a participant of frequent disputes with my school-mate Sergio (he is a Solidworks fan) I am very proud that Inventor has won this comparison in astonishing 15 cases (of 15)!

They were comparing the functions included in the following packages, with no third party add-ins – i.e. Inventor 2011 Professional Suite with Inventor Fusion, Autodesk Vault for Workgroups, AutoCAD Electrical, Inventor Publisher, and Showcase vs. SolidWorks 2010 Premium, SolidWorks Workgroup PDM, SolidWorks PhotoView 360, and 3DVIA.

The 15 key areas included in the comparison were (and the point score for Inventor vs. SWX):

  1. Part Modeling (2.8 > 2.5)
  2. Assembly Modeling (3.1 > 3.0)
  3. Simulation (2.6 > 2.4)
  4. Mixed Modeling – parametric+direct (3.2 > 2.7)
  5. Plastic Part Design (3.6 > 2.3)
  6. Sheet Metal Design (2.9 > 2.8)
  7. Interoperability (3.4 > 2.6)
  8. Documentation/Drawings (2.2 > 1.8)
  9. Visualization (3.4 > 2.9)
  10. Design Automation (3.4 > 2.9)
  11. Mechanotronics (2.3 > 1.7)
  12. Mold Design (3.0 > 2.1)
  13. Routed Systems (3.0 > 2.1)
  14. BIM – Building Information Modeling (2.3 > 0.8)
  15. Data Management (3.0 > 2.7)

You preferences and weights for the individual areas may vary, so you can perform your own comparision, but this is what experts are saying.

Sergio, do you listen ? 🙂

Inventor file translators – overview

August 4, 2010

Autodesk Inventor is known for its open approach to foreign file formats. It includes translators for import and export of many popular file formats used in the mechanical industry – you don’t to buy any additional software to read and write STEP, IGES, Parasolid, Catia files, etc. Importing foreign 3D models is a rather common and frequent job – at least I do it almost daily.

Mark Flayler from Imaginit has published a clearly organized table of all translators available in the current versions of Inventor, including Inventor 2011. Download this PDF file from his blog.

Inventor 2011 with Fusion propulsion released

March 30, 2010

Inventor 2011

Inventor 2011

It’s here! The new Inventor 2011 has been released exactly one year and one day after the version 2010. The version 2011 looks like one of the bigger upgrades in the Inventor history – it is packed with very interesting new features.

I will mention some of the new functions which I most like.

If you have a good graphics card, you can work in a fully rendered 3D scene – all with shadows, bumps and reflections (see the picture above). Most editing operations can be performed with direct manipulations and small in-place menus which were probably taken from Alias. This has the potential for a single most productivity increase function in Inventor 2011. These direct manipulations do not mean the direct editing which is part of the Inventor Fusion – now included in Inventor 2011 and integrated into its part editor workflow. You can make smooth surface models with the NURBS editing functions of Alias Design for Inventor. Simulations now include frame constructions and mold forms. Inventor uses a common rendering material library with AutoCAD and Revit. You can work with CATIA V5 and V4 files in Inventor 2011. iLogic is a product configurator with very flexible functions for making similar models just by changing a couple of parameters.

You can find more new functions in the version 2011 in the What’s new document by Autodesk.