The 3D parametric modeling is fundamental for those who work with Autodesk Inventor: the capabilities of the software go far beyond 3D modeling, but the models remain the basis of our project and all the advanced functions of the software. Deepening our knowledge helps us to automate our project as much as possible.
Parametric refers to using parameters to build and control the 3D model you are creating, as well as all of the drawing. As we have already written in a previous blog article entitled "Inventor: what are parameters?", By parameter we mean:
"An independent variable that governs the progress of a process, a curve, etc. parameter is each "value" that if we modify it changes other characteristic quantities accordingly".
We experience this since the first uses of Inventor, for example: when we dimension entities in a sketch, and then we change the dimension value, the sketch adjusts. The dimension itself has become a parameter.
Of course other entities related to the sketch also adapt; we see this every day even in simple examples like this:
We select a parametric dimension, for example length = 150
Let's change it from 150 to 200
The software previews the update of the sketch and the part changes with the new size.
The next step is to link the parameters to each other, as in this other simple example:
if in the value of the dimension instead of a number we insert an expression that calls another parameter, with a simple formula (width = length / 2).
Let’s modify the length parameter and we automatically preview the update of the sketch where the part has automatically changed in both dimensions.
Changing the parameters can be done both through the graphic interface (as done in the two previous examples) and through the table of parameters that we show below.
The real power of a parametric model comes from being able to link the parameters together, so as to guide all the geometry to a few main dimensions. Once you have a well-constrained and well-parameterized model, we can include rules and calculations that make the model itself a real parametric family that allows you to transform your initial project into the different variants that have been requested. As we will see with other blog articles, the parameters can be managed in an advanced way:
- from an excel folder linked to the model;
- by the iLogic rules;
- from the VBA module (Visual Basic Application Edition);
- from external programs or addins developed using the Inventor API;
Inventor parameterization is a great tool to decrease our work, but it can also become the key to making configurators and automating the production of models and drawings that represent variations of a project. But be careful, this does not mean that we must always look for the parameterization, but measure the use of the parameters in the correct way, completely constraining the sketches, placing the constraints in such a way that every variation follows the design intent, makes us obtain a more stable, more reliable and more comfortable model to modify.
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