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Compatiblity of Inventor with other design programs??

Compatiblity of Inventor with other design programs??

Compatiblity of Inventor with other design programs??

We are looking to buy a reasonably priced 3D drawing package to do our own in house design and draughting work.  Products that we are interested in designing vary from plastic parts to machinery.  Currently all 3D design work is done outside and so the drawing packages used vary between the diferent big names.
What we would like is to be able to modify these existing 3D drawings (usually in stp and igs format) with our own sources as well as start creating new ones.
Can anyone suggest if this is possible, if it is going to require tons of time to alter the drawings to our system and if inventor would be a suitable package?  We have tried it out and at least for creating drawings, it seems to be ok.
Thanks for your help.

RE: Compatiblity of Inventor with other design programs??


Inventor doesn't seem to be very friendly at opening other CAD formats although it should open iges.  unfortunately it doesn't give you the option of modifying the existing features since the iges file is brought in as a dumb solid.  SolidWorks has the ability to open alot more different file types than Inventor and it can also get back some of the features.  You may want to look into it.

RE: Compatiblity of Inventor with other design programs??

Best format to import to Inventor would be .sat or .step rather than iges.

RE: Compatiblity of Inventor with other design programs??

I have to disagree with BillRND and his evaluation of Inventor in opening other file formats. I have personally opened several different file formats with Inventro. It opens all the industry standard file formats. This includes Step, Iges, SAT,,Pro/E, as well as DWG and DXF. SW will open a couple of ther file formats but they are not the ones that most people use. With any file format they all come in as dumb solids. You can then modify the created solid but yes the history from the original solid is lost. Again this is all common with all 3D pacakages. The ability to get some of the features recreated is always through the use of some add on software.

Use the software that you feel most comfortable with, They will all accomplish what you are looking for. I comes down to the most bang for you buck.

RE: Compatiblity of Inventor with other design programs??

One thing that users of all MCAD packages can look forward to is a unified 3D modeling file format which is currently "in the oven"... PTC, Autodesk and (strewth, I can't remember if it was UG or Dassault, but I think UG) are apparently coming to an agreement to use a standardised 3D file format for transfer which will, with any luck, allow basic parametric relationships to be handed around.

We'll see...


RE: Compatiblity of Inventor with other design programs??

drobbi is right, Inventor can open sat and step files, BUT be careful if you are creating large assemblies and modifing these files.  

Before I started here, they were using Autocad 3D and thought they'd convert everything into sat files.  When changes came around they modified parts which made the parts files huge, crash frequently and prevented drawings from going precise.

We went on a hunt to eliminate as many sat files as possible.  We had to redraw many of our parts and fix assemblies, but it's worth it as things are alot quicker now.  

Another hint that Inventor can't handle sat files too well; the library has changed from sat files in 5.3 to Inventor files in 6.  Something tells me that Autodesk caught on.

My advice, if you're importing external files, be careful of Inventor.

RE: Compatiblity of Inventor with other design programs??

I think drobbi is way off base here.  SolidWorks can open ALL major CAD formats including Step, IGES, Pro/E, Solid Edge and Inventor files directly.  Inventor does not open as many file formats.  Also, SolidWorks also has the ability to add features to "dumb" solids without the use of any add-in product.  I hate to sound like a SolidWorks fanatic but facts are facts and if you go head to head, SolidWorks opens more formats than Inventor.  Period.

RE: Compatiblity of Inventor with other design programs??


Inventor also allows you to add features to "dumb solids" without the use to 3rd party add ins.  You can perform all of the normal operations (extrude, revolve) to add or remove material from the dumb solid, you just can't access the history tree or feature list (hence it becomes "dumb").  I can't comment on a comparison of how many file formats they can open as I haven't seen solidworks since a demo of 98.

Are you saying that solidworks can open an *.ipt without need for me to export to another file format?  If so excellent.



RE: Compatiblity of Inventor with other design programs??

Hi sstrik,

Yes, SolidWorks can open an *.ipt file directly.  The point I was trying to make in regards to dumb solids is that not only does SW bring in more file types but it also has the ability to add the history back in.  Of course you can also add more features but the key is being able to modify what is already there.

RE: Compatiblity of Inventor with other design programs??

  Calling me off base is a little harsh without gathering  all your facts. If you read my post it says that Solidworks can open "more" types of CAD formats but alot of these are hardly used in the mid range market. Your statement of SW opening "ipt" files is correct as long as they are IV release 5 or earlier. This is a file format that is 18 months (3 releases) out of date. I don't think this piece of information is very helpful when it doesn't include present release. A similar issue is faced with Pro/E files. FYI, Inventor has the same issues.

You also stated that SW can add history back in. What you forgot to tell people is that this is an add on package from SW. If you don't buy their Office Suite then you don't have this feature. Of course you get more when you spend more. FYI there is a similar product available with IV (for a price as well).

What you failed to grasp from my first post is that all packages will do the same things with the same types of file formats. Unfortunately CAD manuafacturers don't want to play well with each other. This leaves the cad user with a dilema when having to share information with others. In my original post I finished by stating use the software that your most comfortable with. I still maintain this stand and that the best way of determining the correct software is try it for yourself and then decided.


RE: Compatiblity of Inventor with other design programs??

We currently use IV 6 and receive STEP files exported from UG from one of our molding vendors.  EVERY time we try to import, there are problems - crashing, invalid surfaces, etc.  We have a person here that has a copy of SW (from his consulting days) that is able to import the same files successfully each time.

It is rather disappointing to have to spend so much time, unsuccessfully, with IV and see SW do the deed without a problem.

(oh, and no add-ons were used)... if only I were still using SW...

Air cooled, belt fed, gas operated machine gun firing from the open-bolt position

RE: Compatiblity of Inventor with other design programs??

I hate the Search functionality being down... but this looks as good a place as any to ask this.

What file format is preferred in Inventor to exchange surface model geometry with?  Is it .SAT or .STEP?  I see both as top contenders.

I have to send some surface models to an Inventor user (not sure what version), and I am using SW03.  Any clairification would be nice (like AP203 or AP214).

Wanna Tip? FAQ731-376
"Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities."

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