Autodesk Inventor
Autodesk Inventor, developed by U.S.-based software company Autodesk
Autodesk, Inc. is an American multinational corporation that focuses on 3D design software for use in the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media and entertainment industries. The company was founded in 1982 by John Walker, a coauthor of the first versions of the company's...

, is 3D mechanical solid modeling
Solid modeling
Solid modeling is a consistent set of principles for mathematical and computer modeling of three dimensional solids. Solid modeling is distinguished from related areas of Geometric modeling and Computer graphics by its emphasis on physical fidelity...

 design software for creating 3D digital prototypes used in the design, visualization and simulation of products. Autodesk Inventor competes directly with SolidWorks
SolidWorks is a 3D mechanical CAD program that runs on Microsoft Windows and is being developed by Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp., a subsidiary of Dassault Systèmes, S. A. . SolidWorks is currently used by over 1.3 million engineers and designers at more than 130,000 companies worldwide...

 and SolidEdge and less directly with Creo Elements/Pro, CATIA
CATIA is a multi-platform CAD/CAM/CAE commercial software suite developed by the French company Dassault Systemes...

, and NX (Unigraphics)
NX (Unigraphics)
NX, also known as NX Unigraphics or usually just U-G, is an advanced CAD/CAM/CAE software package developed by Siemens PLM Software.It is used, among other tasks, for:* Design...


Autodesk Inventor uses ShapeManager
ShapeManager is a 3D geometric modeling kernel used by Autodesk Inventor and other Autodesk products. ShapeManager is derived from the ACIS geometric modeling kernel....

, their proprietary geometric modeling kernel
Geometric modeling kernel
A geometric modeling kernel is a 3D solid modeling software component used in computer-aided design packages. Examples include Romulus, Parasolid, ACIS, ShapeManager and Open CASCADE....


Integrated Motion Simulation and Assembly Stress Analysis

Inventor includes an integrated motion simulation and assembly stress analysis environment. Users can input driving loads, friction characteristics, and dynamic components, then run dynamic simulation tests to see how a product will work under real-world conditions. The simulation tools can help users optimize strength and weight, identify high-stress areas, identify and reduce unwanted vibrations, and size motors and actuators to reduce energy consumption. Finite element analysis (FEA) lets users validate component design by testing how parts perform under loads (using actual load information instead of estimates).

Inventor’s Parametric Studies and Optimization technology lets users modify design parameters from within the assembly stress environment and compare various design options, then update the 3D model with the optimized parameters.

Data Interoperability and Exchange

Inventor uses specific file formats for parts (IPT), assemblies (IAM), and drawing views (IDW or DWG). Files can be imported or exported in DWG
DWG is a binary file format used for storing two and three dimensional design data and metadata. It is the native format for several CAD packages including AutoCAD, IntelliCAD and Caddie. In addition, DWG is supported non-natively by many other CAD applications...

 format. Design Web Format
Design Web Format
Design Web Format is a secure file format developed by Autodesk for the efficient distribution and communication of rich design data to anyone who needs to view, review, or print design files...

 (DWF) is Autodesk’s preferred 2D/3D data interchange and review format.

Inventor includes a Building Information Modeling
Building Information Modeling
Building information modeling is the process of generating and managing building data during its life cycle.BIM involves representing a design as objects – vague and undefined, generic or product-specific, solid shapes or void-space oriented , that carry their geometry, relations and attributes...

 (BIM) Exchange tool, used to create and publish simplified 3D representations, intelligent connection points, and additional information in native file formats for AutoCAD MEP software. Users can export 3D geometry to AutoCAD Architecture, Revit-based software, and AutoCAD software, and exchange data with industrial design software such as Autodesk Alias Design. Inventor is also used to design mechatronic systems since it is interoperable with electrical software applications such as AutoCAD Electrical and Eplan.

Inventor can exchange data with applications such as CATIA V5, UGS, SolidWorks, and Pro/ENGINEER. Inventor supports direct import and export of CATIA V5, JT 6, JT 7, Parasolid, Granite, UG-NX, SolidWorks, Pro/E, and SAT files.

The Inventor Construction Environment provides fault-tolerant import of large STEP and IGES data sets. A quarantine holds entities containing geometric problems, such as surface slivers and mismatched boundary curves. Users can publish drawings as PDF files, publish 3D part and assembly models in SAT or JT formats, or create STL files for output to stereolithography
Stereolithography is an additive manufacturing technology for producing models, prototypes, patterns, and in some cases, production parts.-Technology description:...

 and 3D print machines.


The Autodesk Inventor product line includes the following software titles:
  • AutoCAD Inventor Suite 2011
  • AutoCAD Inventor Routed Systems Suite 2011
  • AutoCAD Inventor Tooling Suite 2011
  • AutoCAD Inventor Simulation Suite 2011
  • AutoCAD Inventor Professional Suite 2011

Feature Comparison at

Articles and reviews

Find reviews and articles about Inventor on the Autodesk website.

The code names of early releases were named after sports cars and SUVs, because of the love that division vice president Robert "Buzz" Koss has for high-performance vehicles.

Release dates and names

Official name Version Code name Date of release What's New
Inventor 1 Mustang September 20, 1999
Inventor 2 Thunderbird March 1, 2000
Inventor 3 Camaro August 1, 2000
Inventor 4 Corvette December 1, 2000
Inventor 5 Durango September 17, 2001
Inventor 5.3 Prowler January 30, 2002
Inventor 6 Viper October 15, 2002
Inventor 7 Wrangler April 18, 2003 New DWG Support for AutoCAD 2004, Autodesk® Express Viewer Compatibility, Large-Assembly Design Performance
Inventor 8 Cherokee October 15, 2003
Inventor 9 Crossfire July 15, 2004
Inventor 10 Freestyle April 6, 2005
Inventor 11 Faraday April 6, 2006
Inventor 2008 Goddard April 11, 2007
Inventor 2009 Tesla April 16, 2008 Frame Generator, Sheet Metal, skeletal modelling
Inventor 2010 Hopper February 27, 2009 The Ribbon, New FEA
Inventor 2011 Sikorsky March 26, 2010 Dynamic Input, Direct Manipulation, Assemble tool, Visualization, iCopy, iLogic
Inventor 2012 Brunel March 22, 2011 Provides easier ways to interact with 3D mechanical design data; new opportunities for sharing, accepting and updating CAD data regardless of source and complexity; and high-impact performance and productivity improvements for both users and IT departments

See also

  • Comparison of CAD editors for architecture, engineering and construction (AEC)
  • SolidWorks
    SolidWorks is a 3D mechanical CAD program that runs on Microsoft Windows and is being developed by Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp., a subsidiary of Dassault Systèmes, S. A. . SolidWorks is currently used by over 1.3 million engineers and designers at more than 130,000 companies worldwide...

  • SolidEdge

External links

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