Autodesk Inventor Basics: Navigating Part and Assembly Features
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Autodesk Inventor Basics: Navigating Part and Assembly Features

September 5, 2019

When modeling complex mechanical designs using Autodesk Inventor, it can be challenging to keep track of 3D features and their sketch and work feature dependencies. This brief blog covers the basics of the Model Browser tree, and how it presents itself in Part and Assembly work environments.


The Model Browser in Part creation environments consists of the 3D features that make up the Solid Body of a component. Each feature can be expanded into its 2D sketch dependencies or work feature dependencies, if applicable. The features are arranged by order of creation and often are dependent on the features that appear above. As such, deleting or modifying a feature high up on the Model Browser will affect all subsequent features, and the program will do its best to regenerate them to the new relationship. Notification icons appear next to features when a dependency relationship cannot be regenerated successfully.

In Part environments, the order of the features is particularly important when redefining dependencies such as sketches from a later feature being applied to an earlier feature. If a sketch appears lower in the browser than the feature you wish to use it in, you will not be able to use it due to a dependency loop.


An easy solution to this is reordering the features. However, that might not always work due to the sketch being dependent on a surface of an earlier feature. In that case, redefining the sketch from an origin plane might be the best solution.


In Assembly Mode, the Model Browser displays the relationships between components. Each component in an assembly will display any associated constraints. It is important to note that several instances of a single constraint will appear for every associated component and the constraint can be edited from any component’s location.


Like in Part Mode, error icons will appear next to constraints if a dependency is broken, or if the assembly is over-constrained. When a constraint is in “error”, it becomes inactive and the associated component can be moved in ways that violate the constraint.


The Model Browser is the quickest way to determine the stability of dependencies within your component or assembly. A well-organized set of features or constrained components will make it easier to go back and modify parts of the design without disrupting dependency relationships and “erroring out” all of the features that follow.


ZenTek Consultants provides training and services for Autodesk Inventor. Check our website for our latest class offerings.


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