Our company specializes in manufacturing engineering and layouts, and we are to the point where we are beginning to lean heavily on the 3D modeling of Inventor and the various product suites that we have on subscription. However, in this process of switching over to 3D for all of our design work, we have noticed a bit of disconnect between the 3D world of Inventor (in particular Factory Design Suite) and the 2D world of AutoCAD. What was so attractive about the Factory Design Suite was the ability to lay out an entire facility using provided factory assets along with the our designs coming out of Inventor. We were also very excited about how the assets were also in 2D and how we could blow out our own "user assets" to be used in 2D. We figured that this would streamline what we are already doing and elevate Factory Design to being an invaluable asset. As we have gotten further into the Factory Design Package, we have noticed a few things that would really be helpful for what we are currently doing that would make the transition from 3D to 2D much MUCH easier:
1) The ability to assign 2D assets, upon creation, to a specified NCS (National CAD Standard) layer
2) The ability to assign NCS layers from within the an Inventor dwg
3) The ability to assign NCS layers from within an assembly file to specific parts and subassemblies
All of our clients need these files in usable CAD format, which makes it neccessary to go from Inventro to AutoCAD. (We have found that just sending Invetor files, exported as AutoCAD dwg's, is messy, with no blocks, and roughly a billion tiny little lines... I may be exaggerating) We are currently creating levels of detail in our Factory Design Assemblies that eventually act as our layers in CAD. We are creating 1:1 drawings of our layouts in Inventor and doing a save as into AutoCAD dwg format for each level of detail (ex. a "fire protection" level of detail, an "electrical" level of detail, an "equipment" level of detail, etc.) We then use these AutoCAD drawings as xrefs and assign layers then. This works fine if your are only doing it once, but when going through the design process of updating and reviewing with clients, it becomes extremely tedious and takes a painful amount of time to continually refresh all of these levels of details and resave them into AutoCAD format, only to have to refresh them (the xrefs) once again in your AutoCAD model space. If I were to be able to assign layers in Inventor, it would most definitely streamline this process. Any thoughts or suggestions on how to improve our workflow would be appreciated along with any support or fixes for the items listed above.
Going from 2D to 3D in Factory Desing is amazing with the use of assets and the "Auto-place 3D Assets", but then returning to 2D, where quite a bit of work is still done, seams to be a bit lackluster.
You have some very good feedback here. To ensure that it's seen by the product developers, you might want to copy/paste it in the Product Feedback page here: http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=
You really should check out 2013's workspace sync with AutoCAD.
Our company has also recently ventured into the world of plant designs from inventor to autocad. We have been playing with the 2013 version and like the new features but have the same problem. How can you map objects in inventor so they can be on set layers when displayed in your 2d autocad file. This seems to be the only hangup up we have so far.
Does anyone have any ideas or work around for this problem.
I tried editing the refernce file from within autocad and was succesful at putting the model on layers, but the next time you sync from inventor it overrides the layers and defaults to the 3d layers imbedded into Inventor somewhere.
I'm not a guru on modified coding, but would it be possible to remap those default layers to something new within the code.
We have been in discussions with some members of Autodesk, and the layering issues/desires mentioned in first post are currently in backlog and will be in a future release. We are currently working in 2012 b/c we haven't had the time to migrate our Vault server yet. From my understanding, 2013 plays better with AutoCAD, but you still loose layers. For now though, our office has produced a bit of a work around that I think could help you.
If you set up your master assembly in Inventor to have levels of detail for all of the layers you are hoping to create, you can then create a standard Inventor dwg for each of these levels of detail. These Inventor dwg's will then autoupdate once you make changes and reopen them. Once you have these drawings set up, do a "File", "Save Copy As" and save them as an AutoCAD dwg and within the "Options" dialogue box, set the file version as AutoCAD 2010 Drawing and click "Next". Then, within the "Exporting Options" set the "Data Scaling" as "Full Scale (1:1) - Model Space". Click "Finish". Once you have done this for all of the dwg's, you can then bring them all into your AutoCAD dwg and set the xrefs' layers. When updating/refreshing these xref's then, you do not lose your layering. It actually works pretty well if implementing Vault. We have a separate CAD guy, so I just have to let him know that I have updated the dwg's and all he has to do is refresh from Vault and he still has all of his layering. Hope this helps.
We are pushing to move into this same arena at my work, using the Factory Design Suite. This post if very timely as we are about to start test piloting and are developing our processes. I am currently using just plain Inventor to do compartment (name for rooms on ships) layouts and found this post trying to figure out how to get my layers set when I drop the layout to 2D for our production folks.
PLEASE Autodesk, we need a layer translator or something in Inventor to make this an extremely useful tool.
I am not confident that the Object oriented Inventor can make a good translation to Autocad, but I have a suggestion to at least get layers into the output.
Hope this helps or gets you going in a direction that you can make use of.
Thanks Lynden. Some of that will help but my biggest problem is that many of my objects are all the same linetype. They get separated in AutoCAD by color and lineweight, thus the different layers. Depending on who is dropping from the model, they made need pipes to be a heavy lineweight while electrical equipment is a thin lineweight to that their discipline objects stand out from the rest. Likewise the other disciplines would be doing the same with their equipment. Right now, we do not dimension or label in Inventor, it would all be done in AutoCAD after the drop. This is a new thing for us so we are trying to learn how everything works as we develop our in-house process. Getting items to their respective CAD Standards layers quickly is one of our biggest challenges we can see right now. If that process winds up taking so much time that we have negated the time saved by doing the modeling it takes us right back to where we started.
Right now, pretty much every line that comes over into the 2D drawing is on the Visible layer and we have to separate those out before we turn it over to production and the customer.
It seems like ACADm might be a possible workaround to get you there and maybe run a dws file on the standards, but I can't seem to get the exporter to recognize I have ACADm on my machine...from the wikihelp: A little help Autodesk?
If AutoCAD Mechanical is installed on your computer, you can set options to save the drawing in a format that uses AutoCAD Mechanical capabilities.
Part references are created according to the following rules:
Click Save or Save AsSave Copy As, and select an AutoCAD Mechanical file, and select AutoCAD Drawing (.dwg) as the file type. Click Options. In the DWG File Export Options dialog box, ensure Create AutoCAD Mechanical file is selected, and then click Next.
Top Level Assembly
Creates a parts list containing the top-level components in the assembly. The parts list does not show components in subassemblies.
Creates a parts list containing all parts in the assembly. The parts list does not show subassemblies, only the parts in the subassemblies.
Create Layer Groups
Creates a layer group for each component in the parts list. Check the box to create the layer groups. Clear the check box to omit the layer groups.
Select Available Fields From:
Selects the group of properties to display for selection. Click the arrow, and then select from the list.
Lists the properties available for part reference attributes in the AutoCAD drawing. To add a column, select a property in the list, and then click Add to move it to the Selected Properties box. To display other choices, use Select Available Fields From to select another group of properties.
Lists the properties that appear as part reference attributes in the AutoCAD drawing. To remove an item from the list, highlight it, and then click Remove to move it to the Available Properties box.
NoteThere must be at least one property in the selected list.
Adds the highlighted property in the Available Properties list to the Selected Properties list.
Removes the highlighted property from the Available Properties list.
Moves the highlighted item in the Selected Properties list up in the box.
Moves the highlighted item in the Selected Properties list down in the box.