Using Solids from Autodesk Inventor with SMA (Tutorial)

How to import and analyze 3D solids from Autodesk Inventor using Solid Model Analyzer (SMA)

Importing 3D Solids from Inventor®

In this tutorial, you will learn how to import and analyze 3D solids from Autodesk Inventor using the Solid Model Analyzer features available in Toolbox.

  1. Create or open a Microvellum project and open a room.
  2. The Solid Model Analyzer features will only work if you are in a project.
  3. On the Quick Access Toolbar in the upper left corner of the CAD design screen, click the button with the Microvellum icon (File), Import/Other Formats. 
    1. Alternatively, type “IMPORT” at the command line. 

    2. Fig. 01 – Import Command Access


  4. Click the Files of Type dropdown, and select the file format of the file you are importing. 

  5. Fig. 02 – Select File Type


  6. Since this section focuses on an Inventor solid model, select and navigate to the Inventor (.iam, .ipt) file. 
    1. Inventor solid models contain files of two types. 
      1. IPT = the solid model files for individual parts of the complete assembly.
      2. IAM = the solid model file for the complete assembly. 
  7. Once you have selected the IAM file, click Open. 
  8. You will receive the following messages, select OK and Close respectively. 

  9. Fig. 03 - Non-Associative Solid Bodies Info



    Fig. 04 – AutoCAD Processing Message Box


  10. Right-click the Import Job Complete button in the lower right corner of the Toolbox UI and select Insert. The solid(s) will be automatically inserted into the drawing. 

  11. Fig. 05 - Import Job Complete - Insert


Analyzing 3D Solids

  1. If the model is oriented incorrectly, and you want to see the model correctly oriented in model space: 
    1. Enter 3DROTATE at the command prompt. 
    2. Select a point on the model for the base point of the rotation. 
    3. Click on the colored axis ring on the rotation icon that represents the direction you want the model to rotate. 
    4. Enter the rotation angle in degrees, usually a value of 90. 

    5. Fig. 06 - Select Colored Ring to Specify Rotation Axis, and Enter Angle


  2. Next, EXPLODE the model to convert the model to block references. 
  3. EXPLODE the model a second time to convert the block references to actual solids. 
  4. Your model is then ready to be analyzed using the Solid Model Analyzer (SMA). 
    1. Click the Solid Modeling tab in Toolbox. 
    2. Click the Solid Model Analyzer. 
  5. Draw a selection window around all the solid parts to be included in the new product and wait for the processing to complete. This can take from a few seconds to a minute or two, depending on the complexity of the 3D model. 
    1. Select the desired material each time the program asks you. You will see the material thickness in the header area of the material selection box. 
  6. Select a point for Toolbox to draw the newly created product. 
    1. Any parts that contain errors will be drawn in red. Usually, these are caused by a failure to completely explode the model to actual solids before solid analyzation, or by a solid model part size/material thickness conflict. 

At this point, the product is ready for any additional engineering that might be required, saved to your product library for future use, or  processed to create the manufacturing data.


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