I’ve spent the last few months since it shipped working with Inventor on a wee modelling project to dig into the latest release of Autodesk‘s flagship product. While our role as a magazine is to get readers up to speed with not only what’s in these systems, it’s also to give them a use case. While this corner of internet’s been mildly abuzz with talk of how direct modelling is the next big thing, one of the things you don’t often see is a use case.
Fusion has been tagged with that Direct Modelling flag, but looking at a couple of workflows, it’s clear that it holds much more than just pushpulldragdropsurface. One of those in the Form Editing tool. This allows you to grab a geometry and edit control points on the edges to create the form you require. For those that are used to tools with heavy surface modelling, this might seem pretty basic, but for those that are new to surfacing, it’s worth exploring.
Working through this makes me think that the conversation about what the best modelling method (see the comments) is, direct vs history vs parametric vs whatever, is just a bit redundant. What matters is how quickly you can get a job done and, yes, how quickly you can update a model when that inevitable change request comes in (or you realized you’ve dropped a bollock). While the Inventor/Inventor Fusion workflow isn’t ideal (this should be in a single system – that’s coming I’m sure), it shows that you can mix and match technologies. Considering how long it would take to effect that kind of geometric modelling change using a standard history-based system, you’d have to create multiple workplanes, multiple sketches and multiple features. With this, you edit it and snap, it’s done.
I’m also aware that for those users who are surfacing aware, this looks like a joke. If you’ve dug into Alias, the ISDX tools in Pro/E, in fact, the likes of Catia or NX, it’s pretty standard fare. Which is perhaps the point. This isn’t anything new. it’s just that a new, much wider range of users are now getting access to these types of tools. Complex surfacing is growing. Even the most innocuous components today need to be styled. At least everyone’s starting to get the tools to do it quickly and efficiently.
And they say 3d design tools got mature and there’s nothing interesting happening. My arse did it. It’s getting more fascinating than ever before. So what I want to know is how many people are using these tools. What do existing users of Inventor make of the 2012 release? What’s the highlights? I’m curious in case I’ve missed anything out. Hit the comments if you fancy..