Inventor Best Practice – Parameters

Imagine this scenario…

A local manufacturer has contracted you (or your manager has asked you) to make an engineering change to a product that is several years old. You have never seen the real product, only the designs and a few photos. The original designer is long gone, and there are no design notes available – only the CAD files. You open their files expecting a quick and easy edit only to find the Parameters have their stock names…d1, d2, d3,…d274. Which parameter controls the overall length? The mounting bolt location and pattern can’t change, which parameters are they?

You spend hours studying the model. You try many trial and error tweaks – some correctly and some not so correctly.
Why is this so difficult? There must be a better way!

One of the best practice ideas I have ever heard is to name parameters. The feature exists in every 3D modeling package I have used. Simple identification – such as “OAL” for the Overall Length, or “MountHolePitch” to show the mounting hole pitch saves huge amounts of time when it comes time for future editing.

Naming parameters is dead simple in Inventor. There are a few different of ways to carry out the task. Here’s a couple of the easiest.

  • Anytime you are creating a dimension or adding a value, simply enter the parameter name = value. This will automatically rename the parameter to the name you entered.
  • Open the parameters list, and edit the parameter names in the list. I find this is a bit clumsy, since you need to know the default name (d3, d4, etc) for the parameter you want to name.

Naming parameters takes a bit of time, and may slow your creative processes a bit, but it is time well spent when you have you have to edit the model.

The moral of the story:

Always name your parameters You might be the unfortunate person editing the files later!

Do you know other ways to name parameters in Inventor?
Have you found a work flow that work well for you that you would like to share?
Please post your comments.