Autodesk Inventor Tutorial Series – Lesson 1 – Introduction to CAD and Autodesk Inventor

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What is CAD?

CAD, or Computer Aided Design, is the use of computer software or systems to design parts and models. It is widely used in the engineering industry to produce designs and models for mechanical parts and structures. Engineers and designers use CAD software throughout the engineering process.

CAD Modeling
Animated image by By Nicola L.K. via Wikimedia Commons

Why do we need CAD?

Drafter at work
Manual drafting, By via Wikimedia Commons
 Historically, engineers and designers used manual drafting or drawing techniques to create a blueprints or visual designs for a part or system to be manufactured. These drawings are extremely detailed and highly trained professionals like architects and drafters with an eye for detail would work on these designs for an extended period of time to be able to produce the right specifications for design. As mechanical systems and structures got more complex, it was harder to find skilled drafters and the design process took a long time, delaying production of parts and structures. If mistakes were identified, or changes needed to be made, the entire drawing had to be drafted all over again.




Advantages of CAD

  • Computer Aided Design or CAD software gives us the ability to design the same parts and structures with the quality, accuracy and precision that is required for engineering and manufacturing.
  • The production process becomes faster as design can be completed on software.
  • Changes can be made easily on designs and mistakes can be fixed quickly.
  • Designers and engineers can work together to design parts and divide parts of system design among themselves.
  • They can also reuse elements from previous designs.


What is Autodesk Inventor?

Autodesk Inventor®  is a CAD software system used for 3D mechanical design, producing, validating, and documenting digital prototypes to design mechanical parts or structures.

As a digital prototyping tool, it allows you to build parts like a single gear, or parts of an engine, and then put them together and test how the entire system would fit together and function before you manufacture any actual parts.

Autodesk Inventor workflow

There are three major steps in using Autodesk Inventor to design your parts:

  • building parts,
  • assembling parts, and
  • documenting your designs with drawings.


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