Guide A Basic Guide to Autodesk Inventor

GingerOfOz

no wario
.
.
Joined
Dec 16, 2016
Messages
1,043
Likes
2,354
Location
The Oregon Wildlands
Portables
3
Autodesk Inventor is a really great CAD tool - once you know how to use it. It has hundreds of different tools and abilities, but in reality there are only like 5 that you normally use and maybe a dozen that are sometimes useful. This guide is here to show the tools I use to make a case. This guide will not walk you through every single tool, but it'll show everything that you should need to make a pretty part.

Getting Ready:
Odds are that you'll need to get your hands on the software. One of the awesome things about Inventor is the fact that it's free if you're a student. (Autodesk will only charge you for the software if you design something with their software that goes on to make a lot of money. So just don't mass produce your case and you'll be fine.) If you're not a student, you might want to find some different software because Autodesk is pretty pricey. To download it, go here.

Follow the installation process and open it up. Click on the top left corner that says "New" and select "Part". You are now ready to design!

2D Sketching:
3D design works by designing a 2D part, and then extruding it. To start a 2D sketch, click the "Start 2D Sketch" button in the top left, and then click a plane to start designing on.
Basic Start.png

There are a lot of tools at the top. I've gone ahead and broken down the toolbar into two halves and I'll point out the stuff we care about.

2017-05-25 (3).png

This is the left half of the toolbar. Line, Circle, Arc, and Rectangle all have those little drop-down bars that let you pick other shapes as well. Use them to make the shape that you want.

The 2D fillet tool is handy for making curves.

The copy and move tool are also useful. They let you copy and move shapes that you've made. I probably just blew your mind.

2017-05-25 (4).png


Moving on to the right half. The mirror tool is a life saver when making vents. You have to draw a line to reflect across to use it, but it makes it so you only have to tediously design and dimension one side of a complex vent. (Those vent holes were made with the "slot" tool by the way. It's under "rectangle".)
Mirror.png

Speaking of dimensions, the dimension tool is also really useful. Use it often to make sure your holes and extrusions are the right size.

The next thing that we really care about is the 4x3 box with 12 different tools. All of these have different applications and uses, but the ones I use most is "equal" (bottom right) and "lock" (top right). I use the rest sporadically, but I would hover over each of them to get a feeling for what they can do.

When you are all done with the sketch, go ahead and hit the "Finish Sketch" button. This will bring you back to the 3D design area.

Those are the basics for 2D design. I made this quick sketch in about 15 seconds with the "line" and "fillet" tool, and now I'll show you the ropes of 3D functions.
2D Fillet.png


3D Functions
Now we need to make your part into something that actually exists. We do this with the "extrude" tool. Click on extrude, and then the surface you want to raise (assuming it doesn't automatically figure out what you want).
Extrude Show.png

Enter how deep you want your part to be. Ta da! It's 3D now!
Big Extrude.png

Want to curve that part? Use the fillet tool again, but this time the 3D one. Select where you want the fillet and how big you want your curve to be. Perfect.
Big Fillet.png

Now assuming you want to be able to put stuff inside of you case, you're going to want to make the inside hollow. We use the "shell" tool for this. Click on the shell tool, and now select the BOTTOM of your case. If you pick a different face, your shell won't turn out like you want it to! The dimension you put in is how thick your case will be. I would recommend not going lower that 0.08, but you can get away with 0.05 on some printers. Now it's hollow!
Shell.png
Shell Big.png
Finished  shell.png

Now that you've got the basic shape for your case, the next step is to start making holes for buttons and such. To do this, hit the "Start 2D Sketch" button again. This will let you start a new sketch where you can make a new hole. I went ahead and designed a DPad by dimensioning two parts of it and using the "equal" tool to make it look (kind of) like a Dpad.
Garbage Dpad.png
Equal DPad.png
Finished Dpad.png

The process is the same for making ABXY holes, or a gap for your screen, or pretty much anything else. The one exception is that when you extrude, you should hit that drop-down bar that pops up. This opens up more extrude options, and one of these is to "cut". This is what you should use to make holes and gaps.
Extrude Describe.png

(To cut, just make sure what is highlighted blue in this picture is highlighted blue on yours.)

If you have more than one hole in a sketch, then just Ctrl+Click to hit more than one.

This is a pretty basic guide, but I hope this showed enough to get you going. I plan to come back through and add more pictures on my home computer where it's easier. If you need more help or if something in here isn't as descriptive as it could be, just let me know!

Also, MAKE YOUR HOLES BIGGER THAN THE ACTUAL BUTTONS!!!!! For me, I'd make each hole or gap .15 inches bigger than the actual button, or else it WILL NOT FIT!!!

Rev1 - 25-May-2017 First Draft
Rev2 - 25-May-2017 Added more pictures, minor edits
 
Last edited:

fibbef

Wizardry V Completer
.
Joined
Nov 10, 2016
Messages
578
Likes
1,532
Portables
3
Nice tut. Makes CAD seem a bit less daunting. Can you please show how to add screwposts to the inside of the case?
 

GingerOfOz

no wario
.
.
Joined
Dec 16, 2016
Messages
1,043
Likes
2,354
Location
The Oregon Wildlands
Portables
3
Can you please show how to add screwposts to the inside of the case?
I'll add that in the next week or so. I'm pretty rusty on screws in Inventor because I haven't done it in 2 years. You basically make a cylinder that you extrude out on the inside of your case, make another cylinder that burrows into it, and then uses the "thread" tool to make your threads the correct size for your screw. The "thread" tool has a bazillion and a half options and I don't remember what's important, so I'll get back to that next week since I'm working with designing screw posts on a school project.

How would you design a shape for the GC x or y buttons since they are nonstandard shapes? How do you make sure it matches the button?
That's a good question. I hadn't thought about that. For an X/Y button I'd use the "slot" tool. (It's under rectangle in 2D design) You can make a curved slot off of a center-point or by using 3 different points. Below is a picture of one I just made using that tool.

upload_2017-5-25_16-5-44.png

(You can use the "Text" tool in 2D design to put letters on your design!)

Clearly, it isn't a perfect X/Y button (It's too curvy) but I could tweak the dimensions and arc angles until it looks right. As for how you know if it's the right size, you kind of can't with weirdly shaped things like that. You can get dimensions from a caliper, but from there it's mostly just guess and check. Just make the slot bigger than it needs to be, so that if your angles are off by a little bit the button will still fit.

Thank you for the suggestions!
 

fibbef

Wizardry V Completer
.
Joined
Nov 10, 2016
Messages
578
Likes
1,532
Portables
3
Is there any way to import images or shapes into the software and use that as your basis in 2D drawing mode? That way if you had an X button template, you could import that, extrude into a 3D shape, and be done in about 30 seconds.

Or barring that, is it possible to import an image that you can "trace" around in 2D mode? That way you know you have the shape as accurate as possible.
 

GingerOfOz

no wario
.
.
Joined
Dec 16, 2016
Messages
1,043
Likes
2,354
Location
The Oregon Wildlands
Portables
3
Is there any way to import images or shapes into the software and use that as your basis in 2D drawing mode? That way if you had an X button template, you could import that, extrude into a 3D shape, and be done in about 30 seconds.

Or barring that, is it possible to import an image that you can "trace" around in 2D mode? That way you know you have the shape as accurate as possible.
Or, even better, I just found .stl files of all GameCube buttons on ThingVerse. With inventor, rather than select a new "part", you can select "assembly". This allows you to put parts together to see if they would connect correctly in real life.

I haven't worked much with .stl files, but you could also probably get the dimensions off of that file and see how they made it. Then you would just need to modify the dimensions a bit to make it bigger.
 

Doom

Modelrater
.
.
.
Estmemed Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2016
Messages
654
Likes
1,486
Portables
Always 1/2
Great work so far. When everything is finished I would like to convert this into a front page article. We'll have to see how that works out with the BB2.0 setup, or I can always just toss it up there and attach your name as the author lol.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2017
Messages
10
Likes
8
I watched gman's wiiboy advanced video, and he used 3ds sliders. What's the slider Hole's diameter?
 

GingerOfOz

no wario
.
.
Joined
Dec 16, 2016
Messages
1,043
Likes
2,354
Location
The Oregon Wildlands
Portables
3
11.5 mm. (Thanks Aurelio!)
 
Joined
Dec 29, 2016
Messages
38
Likes
21
I haven't read a word of your tut and just scanned all the way down but i already know reading this will be a good one fam. <3
 
Top