It looks like we have spent unnecessarily much money for our Inventor licenses – Autodesk now gives Inventor for free. Well, not full Inventor but an almost full one.
The labs.autodesk.com server now offers “Inventor LT” preview for free download. Autodesk Inventor LT seems to be based on Inventor 2008. But some important functions of Inventor 2008 are not present in the LT version – 3D modelling, sheetmetal, standard parts library and Vault. Also you won’t be able to install add-on applications. But still you can create and edit 3D models, convert file formats, make 3D renderings, create and process genuine DWG format drawings.
There are some other free 3D CAD applications but they are far from being based on an established technology and standard file formats – so this free Inventor is a very generous offering by Autodesk (for limited time).
The only drawback for me is that Inventor LT seems to be available only in a predefined list of countries (Italy not included).