Don’t take Inventor for granted

If you are on Twitter you may recognize the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems referring to frustrations and complaints that are only experienced by privileged individuals in wealthy countries, typically used to make light of trivial inconveniences.

If you are an Autodesk Inventor user, you may be able to identify with this similar hashtag… #FirstWorldCADProblems. I thought I might have been the 1st to use the hashtag, but apparently not.

What I’m really referring to are the features within Inventor that make your life easy and that you may take for granted. This came up to light today when a friend of mine emailed me his latest PTC Creo gripe. He’s trying to change the bill of materials (parts list) on a drawing for a glue item to “A/R” meaning “as required”.

His email to me:

Trying to change a bom from qty 1 to a/r for glue. I have not fixed it yet but found this link and read it shaking my head soo much my neck hurts.
As i remember… Inventor you click the bom and type A/R right?

This is giving me grey hair.

So I click on the link and read this “fantastically easy way” to customize an item quantity in a bill of materials:


Thanks for the link. I’ve read through it, and I now have a BOM that properly reflects what I want! AR shown in the BOM’s quantity column for my bulk item.

I may have overstated some details for doing this…

The way I put AR in the quantity column is to change the report symbol in the repeat region for the column from rpt.qty to rpt.rel.User Defined, then enter “quantity” (without quotation marks) in the Symbol Text window that pops up.

Then enter/create a repeat region relation in the Relations editor pop up window for the repeat region (mouse picks: Repeat Region, Relations, select/digitize BOM repeat region):


IF asm_mbr_type == “BULK ITEM”

quantity = “AR”


quantity = rpt_qty


After hitting the OK button on the Relations editor window to close it, toggle the Switch Symbols button. If all goes well, AR will now be in the quantity column for the Bulk Item(s) in your assembly.

You need to use the Bulk Item template by creating a part within the assembly and selecting the Bulk Item template.

Thanks again!


After reading all that, all I can say is “what in the what???” Marty sure does know his stuff when it comes to PTC Creo.

Although, not as ideal as one would really want… in Inventor you can simply edit a drawing parts list qty field by typing in “A/R” over the default quantity value. Now if you could do this sort of thing within the assembly model and add bulk items like glue, my life really would be much easier than it is now and I could go on living in peace an harmony.

So with that… if you have any first world CAD problems you want to share, please Tweet with the hashtag #FirstWorldCADProblems or use it on Facebook or Google+. You can also post a comment to this blog post.

Also, if you have a better way to handle bulk items in Inventor… please let me know. I’m “starving” for more information and am desperate for help! *snicker*




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1 comment

  1. There sure is

    Have you checked Curtis’s ilogic rule:

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