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I'm an Autocad user, and just at the point to change for Inventor. I heard good things about inventor but still have some questions...

1- Size of assembly: Our parts are quite simple (sheet metal, tubes, etc.) but our assemblies are huge; 10 000+ parts includings nuts and bolts... CAN INVENTOR HANDLE THIS? WHAT'S THE MAXIMUM?

2- Parametric functions: How do you evaluate them....good, so so, powerfull, convenient? Are they workable with Excell?

3- Odd shape: As we use to bend 4 meters long tubes we often produce irregular curves or shapes... IS THIS O.K. with INVENTOR?

4- Multi language drawings: As there is no layer, how do you manage with this issue? DO you save a copy of each drawings in each language ?

5- How INVENTOR does compare to PRO/E?



My experience has been the the number of parts doesn't affect performance as much as the complexity of the parts. If your parts are simple, IV can handle 10,000+. Coils (like springs), multiple surfaces (like fins on a motor), or large arrays (like an actual model of grating on a floor), will really bog the machine down.  

Parametric functions are awesome. Linking to Excel is easy and kind-of fun. Just edit the spreadsheet, hit update and you have a new part.

Odd shapes will depend on how you generate them and how precise they need to be. If you are just bending a tube, you would probably just sweep the tube cross section along a 3D sketch. Inventor has no problems doing this.

Never really looked into multi-language issue

Inventor is SO MUCH easier to use than Pro-E and nearly as capable. IMO

Do some of the tutorials with the CD and you have to check out all the awesome information and links at www.sdotson.com and www.cbliss.com (for tons of Inventor parts to share)

Most important thing when converting to Inventor....FORGET EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT AUTOCAD...Inventor is a different program completely and if you try to do something in Inventor the same way you would in autocad you will hate it.


We have been using Inventor for a couple of years now, designing Recreational vehicles, and have been experiencing more performance problems as our top level assemblies become more detailed. We do Steel tube structure, sheetmetal, and cabinetry right now and have about 2500-3000 unique parts. We can barely open the Top Level assembly now, and can't place any more larger assemblies into the model without running out of system memory.  Autodesk recommended that we discontinue our use of EXCEL spreadsheets to improve performance, which did not help enough. Our Memory problems are still not resolved and we have been working with Autodesk since December. Obviously you would not want to work in you top assembly model with everything shown, but I believe that you should be able to eventually make all parts visible at some time or another to see the complete assembly.  I have not used any of the high end CAD software, but from what I've heard Unigraphics, Pre/E, Catia etc are a little better at managing resources.
Inventor is very easy to learn and use and works very well with small to mediaum sized assemblies.
Also Don't forget about hardware upgrades.

Good Luck



If your assemblies are that large, I'd look elsewhere.  We're using Inventor on 5-7,000 part assemblies and the biggest problem is getting assembly drawings completed once you have the modeling done.  Inventor just crashes constantly when trying to detail stuff this big.  We've got great workstations with plenty of memory.  Unfortunately for me, I'm kinda locked into Inventor.....right now anyway.  If I were able to start over knowing what I know now, I think there are more complete alternatives.  Pro/e looks powerful to me (only had a in-house demo and played with an evaluation copy).  Drawback appears to be it's ease of use.  But it appears to have very good memory management capabilities for handling large assemblies.  UG also looks good but it's about four times the price.


You might want to investigate SolidEdge for larger assemblies. Not as user friendly as Inventor though. I believe SolidEdge has layer support. I have taken basic and Advanced Inventor training and found it to be lacking compared to SolidWorks and SolidEdge in assembly mode. I am currently looking at the 30 day full version demo of SolidEdge. SolidEdge may have better 2d support. We also have 1 seat of SolidWorks. SolidEdge about 1,000 more and training may be less available locally than Inventor or SolidWorks.



Thank you for all your answers...

May you be more accurate in your answers...(a little more, Ha! Ha!)

You talk about 3000 -5000 parts...  are they all different or there are some repeat.

Our system may have 1000 different parts but lot of repetition...is it still the same?  does it help??

simple design but large scale..




I recently sat through a 2 hour demo with a company that automates design for about $100k of custom engineering. They compared all the mid-range MCAD (SolidEdge, Inventor, SolidWorks). While they all claimed to handle large assemblies in the 10,000 part + range they found only SolidEdge handled assemblies of that size well and chose it as a core component of their product. With SolidWorks recent light assembly mode they are contemplating developing for it as well. I am concerned that you would be very disappointed with Inventor performance in the range you are talking about. Maybe a few versions down the road. I would encourage you to get 30 day demos of the products and do a lot of investigating before taking the leap. See if the resellers will give you actual customers as refernces handling assemblies in the part range you are discussing, especially Inventor.


Another thing that seems to help with assembly performance in Inventor is structuring into well grouped sub-assemblies and keeping adaptivity to a minimum. My last job had many sub assemblies of sub assemblies of subassemblies. The top assembly only had about 30-40 subs, and they would funnel down to the individual parts. Sometimes the structure was 20 steps deep, but I never had any issues.

Now I'm doing more stuff like plant design and piping, and it is difficult to add a lot of sub assembly stucture without adding significant adaptivity. Inventor seems to stuggle a lot more managing this type of project.
I've had good stability, but pretty slow performance when I take the project home to my old P3 with 512MB ram. 35 minutes to open a .idw is a little slow....I'm glad I have a good machine to use at work!

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