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April 2017 - Mechanical Engineering

Autodesk Inventor 2018: What is new and why should you upgrade?

With the additional tools released for Inventor throughout the 2017 cycle and the vast improvements in 2018, Autodesk have started to modernise and make Inventor a much more Professional Grade CAD system.


Over the last 2 releases we have seen enhancements in the connectivity of Inventor with the introduction of the AnyCAD functionality; allowing models from 3rd parties to be directly utilised within our designs.  Inventor enabled AnyCAD to work with STEP files in Inventor 2017, saving significant time, simplifying the data management workflows and allowing better collaboration with customers and suppliers.  This alone was a major reason that customers chose to upgrade to 2017.

Below is a summary of the main key features of the 2018 release. Over 50 requested enhancements have made it into Inventor 2018 since March 2016.


Do you want to upgrade your software to version 2018? Contact us.


1. Professional-Grade Design Enhancements

Model Based Definition (MBD) is A powerful new set of tools for adding annotations, 3D Geometric Dimensions & Tolerancing, and other manufacturing information directly to a 3D part.  For some customers, this starts the long-awaited journey of dispensing with 2D drawings.  For those that will continue with 2D drawings these annotations will populate through as well as showing on 3D PDFs.  For customers using CNC machining, the output of STEP AP242 format will include this tolerance information allowing a toleranced model to be directly loaded into the CAM software.



Multi-Body Sheet MetalContinuing the enhancements of this area of Inventor, users can now set multiple thicknesses of material for each solid body.  This significantly enhances the current workflow to allow a much more seamless design process.

Performance. Autodesk have taken a long hard look at Inventor and said we can do that quicker!  In 2018 they have.  This is the first iteration of speed improvements with more on their way in later releases.  Everything should be faster, but the larger the model the better the improvements.  During initial testing, Symetri found that large models were working at upto 4x the speed.  But that speed is nothing compared to the speed improvements for View creation and manipulation where we have seen anything upto 10x enhancement on Inventor 2017.  For anyone working with large models this improvement alone should make Inventor 2018 a must to install.



2. Expanded Interoperability

Autodesk 2017.4 and 2018 releases allow Anycad to give users backwards compatibility


Inventor 2017 R4 was released alongside Inventor 2018.  These releases allow AnyCAD to give users backwards compatibility.  Ie, 2017.4 can open files created in 2018 (not in Inventor LT).

On top of this 2018 has seen further enhancements in its compatibility with improvements in Mesh, STL and OBJ file reuse within designs.  Inventor also works better with other Autodesk applications with direct publishing of Revit (.rfa and IFC file types) as well as dwg underlay improvements.   Later updates to Inventor 2018 and next years Inventor 2019 are expected to expand on this again.


 3. The Inventor Experience

Measure workflows. The Inventor measure tools and workflows have been greatly simplified and improved to enhance productivity.  This involved a redesign of the measure utility, more visibility in the graphics window on selections and more feedback on selections.

BIM Enhancements. Autodesk have recognised that users are creating more BIM ready content than ever before.  Inventor 2018 has enhanced and expanded its utilities to help with this.  The Inventor to RFA workflow incorporated a new shrink-wrap workflow to aid with creating simplified designs ready for Revit.


Browsers. The browser panel has been enhanced with new search capabilities and filters allowing users to find their way around their data quickly.  The new browser is also tab based with each tab being dockable.  This allows users to show all the information they want wherever works best for them; be it model data, Vault or iLogic rules.


Part Enhancements. There have been several improvements in part functionality within 2018.

  • Users can extrude starting offset from a face
  • New partial chamfers option
  • Holes:
    • Extended holes start (my favourite option) – Removes remaining flesh above a hole
    • Zero bore depth spotface
    • Bi-directional drilling
  • Parameters – making design and iLogic easier:
    • New filter by feature
    • New consumed by column
  • iLogic Security options 


Do you want to upgrade your software to version 2018? Contact us.

Pictures and videos are courtesy of Autodesk Inc.