Is 2D drafting still relevant in today's design and manufacturing? The answer may be yes or no, depending on your procedures and technology, but for many of us, it will be somewhere in the middle. There is no need to select between 2D and 3D. We'd like to show you how to combine 2D drawing in AutoCAD and 3D parametric design in Inventor with some tips, methods, and procedures.
Maybe you're switching from one product to the next? Perhaps you're transitioning from AutoCAD to Inventor and want to reuse or recycle some of your AutoCAD work in Inventor? Perhaps you're working with colleagues who can only supply 2D information, which you need to transform to 3D? Is it possible that it's the other way around? Perhaps you operate entirely in 3D within Inventor, but your clients or customers require 2D drawings as a deliverable? Perhaps you want to maintain your survey drawings and site layouts in 2D but want to collaborate with 3D-modeled mechanical designs? There is a workflow to enable you use 2D and 3D design in whatever way you like.
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IDW vs. DWG: What's the Difference?
Did you know that AutoCAD can open Inventor designs directly? Autodesk Inventor was released in 1999 by Autodesk. It was decided to rebuild the rule book and create a brand-new drawing format for Inventor called.IDW when it was initially released. Customers quickly learned that Inventor needed to be able to open and work with AutoCAD data, therefore DWG was added as a drawing format. So, what exactly is the distinction between IDW and DWG?
IDW files are Inventor's native format. They are a tiny bit smaller in size and load a little faster. The disadvantage of IDW is that there are few programmes that can access or exchange IDW data.
DWG files are native to AutoCAD; the file size is slightly larger than IDW, and they may take a fraction of the time to open. The advantage of DWG is that it can be opened natively in Inventor and AutoCAD, and it is compatible with a wide range of other applications and Viewers.
What factors should I consider while selecting a file format? Use IDW if you never share data with anyone. If you ever need to share data with coworkers who use AutoCAD or one of the many other CAD programmes, DWG is widely accepted.
So, how do we use Inventor to create DWG files? Both IDW and DWG templates are included by default in Inventor. Simply choose the DWG template in Inventor to create a DWG file.
In Inventor, make DWG the default drawing type.
If you want to use DWG as your default format, simply pick it in the programme options:
Options (Panel) > Application Options > Tools (Tab) (Button)
Look for the Default Drawing Type drop-down beneath the Drawings tab in the application preferences window. You can also specify which version of the DWG file you want to use here.
The technique for creating drawings in Inventor utilising the AutoCAD DWG file format is the same as for IDW. Nothing is missing and there is no loss of functioning.
Simply close the drawing in Inventor and open it in AutoCAD to open it in AutoCAD. That's all there is to it.
So, now that we have our Inventor DWG in AutoCAD, what can we do with it? You'll see that when in AutoCAD, you can't edit the Inventor model. That's because only the drawing is in AutoCAD, not the Inventor design model. So, what other options do we have?
We can plot the drawing, take measurements, and add objects like revision clouds and notes, for example. This makes AutoCAD a terrific tool for anyone who wants to electronically evaluate our design but doesn't want to install or learn how to use Inventor merely to look at drawings.
But what if you require AutoCAD geometry in two dimensions? That's also a possibility, and we'll discuss it shortly.
Inventor Views can be inserted into AutoCAD drawings.
Although we can't directly change geometry in an Inventor DWG, we may reuse 2D views. Switch to model space after opening an Inventor DWG file in AutoCAD.
Gasp. There isn't anything to be found there. And that's perfectly fine. Inventor, unlike AutoCAD, provides a modelling environment independent from its drawing environment. It employs x-references to reference the model into the drawing, similar to how AutoCAD does.
However, if we visit the AutoCAD block palette, we can see that all of the model views developed in Inventor have been saved as AutoCAD blocks in AutoCAD. An Inventor DWG file is larger than an Inventor IDW file because it contains two sets of data: Inventor data and AutoCAD data.
We can now use the Inventor view as a block in AutoCAD model space. This could be useful in the layout of a facility or a job site, for example. In our 2D plan, we can include an AutoCAD block that replicates the footprint of our 3D model. If the Inventor model changes, all we have to do is access the DWG file in Inventor to update the drawing, then open it in AutoCAD to update the view block.
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Just keep in mind that if you copy and paste the view block into another drawing, the link will be broken, and the block will stop updating. If you require this methodology, we recommend looking at the Autodesk Factory design utilities.