Autodesk Inventory Tutorial

We are a rookie team and are having a difficult time learning how to use Autodesk. :ahh: Does anyone have a whitepaper or link to a good tutorial website? We tried the video’s on the Autodesk site but they do not show how to create using the parts list. We are used to Lego CAD from FLL - and that was how we were planning on using this tool - by manipulating the parts list - not drawing the specific elements. Can anyone help?

Thank you.

Umm, the Virtual Kit of Parts is available through Autodesk Streamline. There are some built in tutorials if you go to the Help menu of Inventor. There are also some Inventor 10 tutorials on Streamline.

The power of inventor is that you can model almost anything you can think of. You are not limited to a certain set of parts. You design the parts.

Hopefully this heps.

I’m not exactly sure what you mean buy parts list. Could you explain that?

Inventor has a great set of tutorials built in. Just go to “help” and then “tutorials”. Try working your way through them in order, and you should have basic proficiency in no time.

Thanks - we will give the tutorials in the help another try. Do you know, does the software need to be “activated” before you get the full tutorials? The two students assigned are telling me that the tutorials were no help?

In LegoCad there was a set of parts (bricks, rods, pegs, etc.) that you would click on and then drag into place. This seems to be more true to CAD - however, the mentor that we have who has CAD experience has no idea how to use the software and suggested I find a better tutorial. I will have to try and learn this myself so I can teach the other two. Keep your fingers crossed.

As a past user of LEGO cad and a current user of Inventor, I understand the transitional confusion here. I think that it stems from the fact that in Lego, since there are a limited set of parts to choose from, almost all of them are premodeled, allowing you to just drag-and-drop them into an assembly.
In Inventor, since the set of parts is only as limited as the machining and design skills of your team (or in the real world, your company.) Instead of pulling parts from a list, as you would in LegoCad, you have to create them, just as the mechanically oriented memberss of your team have to physically create them. The only exception to this rule is the Kit of Parts (the FIRST supplied kit that you received at your kickoff event) which is available in the form of the Virtual Kit of Parts at and any Inventor models that Ed Sparks (my own personal hero) has donated to the FIRST community through his website, These parts are premade and can be dragged and dropped into an assembly file.
Also at is the area to post your entry files to FIRST, and some video tutorials which I found more helpful than the ones packaged with Inventor.

Sorry to be long-winded, hope I helped.

I was also in your situation, worked through the tutorials and gained proficiency enough to teach students the basics. I worked through the tutorials that came with Inventor. Basically you need to learn 2d sketching and 2d constraints. Then, learn the 3d tools to create 3d parts from the sketches. Then, bring parts into an assembly and constrain them. FYI, constraints are rules imposed that define how lines in 2d drawings and 3d parts relate to one another - parallel, perpindicular, tangent, etc. Finally, 3d parts and assemblies can be put into drawings that will communicate information to machinists or assemblers. There is much more that Inventor has to offer but the aforementioned skill are prerequisite to learning more. I find Inventor to be challenging and a lot of fun!

Here are a couple of links: cad/autocad/tutorials/tutorials.asp Workshops/Inventor_Tutorial_Xcat.pdf

Just Google “Inventor tutorials”. Unfortunately, many of the results will assume basic knowledge of Inventor. Another good site is:

Lots of tutorials, although more advanced and lots of links. Just ask any questions on this forum. While I am not an expert, I will be happy to help if I can.



I have been searching, and this seems to be the best tutorial so far that i have seen. Its strean video and is easy to follow:
Autodesk Inventor (many versions) Tutorials

Yopu have to buy though.
Their free one that i am currently using is
Autodesk Inventor 8 Tutorial

THANK YOU EVERYONE!!! This is a huge help and will at least get these rookies moving. Their final design for the award may not be the prettiest - but at least it will have much learning behind it.


First, start off with a standard.ipt file (part file) The main tools you need to learn in inventor are lines, circles, dimensions, extrude, and constraint. With these basic tools, you can do most anything. Make a sketch using lines. Make sure it is a closed shape. Put a “general dimension” between a couple of the lines. Make the sketch 3D by using “extrude” (press E on the keyboard). Make sure you click your sketch when it is highlighted to select it to extrude. Enter the distance you wish to extrude and click OK. Select a face and make a new sketch. Draw a circle. Extrude again, except this time click the other button that gives the “extrude cut”. Press okay. You have just learned the key skills to making parts in Inventor. Now save your part.

Now make a new file, but this time, standard.iam (assembly) Click the place component tool. Browse to where you saved the part and select it. Click okay. Click the mouse to place it in your assembly. Move the mouse to a new location, and click it again. You now have two of the same part in your assembly. Press escape on the keyboard.

Click the “Constraint” tool. Select one face of the part. Then select a face of the other part. Then click Apply and then Cancel (or maybe it is Okay or something like that). The parts should now be touching on those faces. You have just made a constraint. This is the basic element to making assemblies.

Let us know if you have trouble with any of that. :slight_smile:

I have used these tutorials from TEDCF publishing personal and can attest to their effectiveness. In the span of two weeks of evenings I was able to teach myself to a proficient level. I am very productive at modeling components.

Additionally, If you go to the student teacher link and fill in the information and let them know you are with a FIRST team they will give you a link to order at a nice discount. Our team in conjunction with our regional senior mentor were able to negotiate some nice bulk pricing. I’m not sure if it is still in effect. However, the educational discount is significant.

Finally, don’t scrimp and buy just one. The materials are excellent and it is worth the money plus the savings from buying the package with all the disks. They all have value.

Good Luck!

I think one of the most important skills in Inventor, and any modeling software, is proficiency with constraints.

A good CAD jockey is one who lets constraints do the work for him. I am always amazed by how quickly and easily my instructor can sketch out complex geometry in a sloppy manner, and then using a handful of constraints force it into just the shape he wants. And then, by changing only a few dimensions, he can quickly change sizes and such as the design entails.

By comparison, my designs are clumsy. They take a long time to sketch because I am still clinging to my AutoCAD practices of making the correct geometry by tracing off lines and dimensioning every single line. Even worse, by the time I do get the shape I want, changing it requires almost as much work as creating it in the first place! I could liken it to using comments in programming. A poorly commented program is one that only one person can use, and is difficult to change. A well commented program can be modifyed and improved upon 5 years from now.

This extends equally into the 3d realm, and I believe that the more practice one has making properly constrained sketches, the better your assemblies and features become.

The more I properly use constraints, the easier my life becomes with Inventor. Once you get some basic proficiency with Inventor, experiment with constraints on a sketch. Learn how to quickly and easily turn those green lines black! My rule of thumb is that every time I think “theres got to be a better way to do this” there is, and I need to open up that help file.

My strong advice is to spend plenty of time in 2d sketch mode. When you feel you have that down pat (and it is not just AutoCAD), you will probably have a much easier time with 3d stuff.

-Andy A.


I strongly agree with all your good words of advice. Constraints are very important. I, however, disagree with the naming of “constraints”. I prefer to call them “relationships”. The constraints (relationships) define how elements of a sketch relate to one another and how the resulting part relates with other parts (adaptivity). When parts and assemblies are adaptive, it is so much easier - and fun - to explore a variety of design configurations. For me, this is the true power of CAD.



That’s some excellent advice Andy. I have used various CAD programs over the past 20+ years and Inventor is one of the most user-friendly tools I have seen. It also has tremendous power for a desktop package. Your point about sketching a “rough shape” is especially important, and often difficult for new modelers to grasp. Sometimes you have to force yourself to sketch the rough shape “wrong” so you can go back and define the constraints (relationships/controls) that you really want.

To all the novice modelers out there - Good Luck! If you don’t have access to formal training you should definitely work through some basic tutorials (within Inventor help and/or other sources). After that practice is your best teacher. I would suggest picking out common objects around the shop/classroom (start SIMPLE) and trying to model them for practice. One additional tip - keep your sketches as simple as possible (fewest features defined) and add additional sketches to the part to define additional features.

I’ll also add one more tidbit-

Proper Filemanagment! The number of separate files you will end up dealing with can be overwhelming. Use the project feature of inventor. It can be a little restrictive at first (not being able to switch projects on the fly, for instance). The benefit is no unresolved links when you go to move that assembly to a new computer.

Pick a naming scheme for your files and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to have long filenames either! The more descriptive they can be the easier it will be for you and your teammates to work. It’s no fun opening 3 different files to find the right part just because all the names where ‘part1.ipt, part2.ipt, part3.ipt’ and you couldn’t remember which one you worked on last night. The important thing is consistency.

I try to keep track of major changes with Rev Letters. If I feel a design has changed significantly, I’ll start a new project and copy the files in there. This keeps the last revision intact in case I need to compare the two.
So Rev_A_Bearing_Pocket_plate.ipt might 2 weeks later be Rev_E_bearing_pocket_plate.ipt. I’ll keep a .txt file with each rev that keeps track of major changes like a version history for a program. The easier you can make working on the project the more people can help and then quicker things get done.

-Andy A.