Standards and Templates – Best Practice

So in over the past couple of weeks, I’ve tried to write a number of posts and I kept getting way too deep into each subject. My problem stemmed from the fact we haven’t discussed standards and templates yet. In my opinion the use of standards and templates is the single largest contributing factor to making a good set of drawings, quickly, that accurate and concise and precise.

To start, let’s be clear on what defines standards and templates. Any Inventor file can be used as template file. The only requirement is that they are place in your template folder so that they are on the list in the Create New File window. A standard is different. Standards are simply way of working that you repeat every time that condition is encountered. Many times standards are included in your template files, but not always. For now I won’t be including national or international standards – these will come up in a future discussion.

Let’s consider the following example. You are working on a design for your employer, managed by a specific project manager. The design is large machine that does something. It is manufactured primarily from structural steel shapes, cut to length, and welded together. Some parts are purchased, while other are fabricated.

Here’s a list of some of the items you could include in your template files.

  • Company name
  • Project name
  • project number
  • project manager
  • Parameters for Length, Width, and Thickness
  • Pre-selected material for steel
  • Pre-modeled block using the Length, Width, and Thickness parameters
  • Component manufacturer, part number, other ordering information

So if items like these are included in every file, in a consistent manner, they become part of template, but also part of your standard. Other items, that are often standards within companies can not really be included. Items like:

  • All round holes are created using the Hole feature rather than round extrusions
  • Specific tolerance for dimensions controlled by your manufacturing equipment
  • Fully constrained sketches
  • All work features are on or off
  • All suppressed features are removed
  • All holes are in standard drill increments
  • No broken constraints

Over the coming months I will pick individual ideas from the lists, for further discussion, showing you how to implement these into your standards and templates, and reduce your design time, while improving your design quality.