Design Notes (Lite)

New!The Design Notes add-in for Inventor is no longer in beta. The released version 1.0 has been renamed “Design Notes (Lite) for Inventor”. This version will remain “donation-ware”. Please, please, please keep the feedback coming. This is necessary to keep me motivated enough to make any necessary bug fixes and enhancements.

Anyone who installed the beta version should uninstall it from your add/remove control panel before installing this released version.
You can download from here:

Anyone wishing to be notified of bug fixes, new versions, etc should fill out the download request form. Otherwise, use the direct link to the file. At  minumum, post a comment so I know if you like it or not.

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Design Notes for Inventor (BETA)

I’m happy to share with you the first version of what I’m calling, “Design Notes”. This add-in for Inventor 11+ is a history based note tool that will record engineering notes, tasks and other information related to the Inventor file. The tool adds a new button to all document environments that looks like this:


Clicking the button will open the ‘Design Notes’ tool where you will be able to add notes to the file. Each note is tagged with the date and author. The author name is derived from the username field set in Inventors application options.


The application also provides a means to email (and print) the notes to your standard email application:


The email can then be edited to include additional information releated to the note:


As you can also see from the above screenshots, each time you rename the file or perform a save-as operation the application will record this as a system note. This can be useful for tracking the history of a file regardless of what the file is called.

This application will install on both 32bit and 64bit systems running Inventor 11 or higher. Still to be tested on the new ribbon interface, but if anyone wants to provide feedback on this aspect please send me an email. The application can be downloaded from this websites ‘CAD Tools‘ menu. This beta version will expire on 04/01/2009 . Currently free… (for now).

Please send me feedback via the comments form on this page: Enjoy!

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DWF for the iPhone?

iPhoneSitting here typing this post on my iPhone got me thinking. Why can’t Autodesk come out with Design Review for the iPhone so I can view and markup DWF’s on the go. I did a search of the discussion forums and found this post: Not surprisingly, Autodesk has some issues with Apple’s SDK license agreement for the iPhone as does some other well known developers.

The post suggests using Project Freewheel at to view your DWF’s. I got a “Directory Listing Denied” error message when visiting the site. I was able to visit the normal site on Safari and the DWF loaded. However, the controls are very small and hard to pick. I was able to zoom and pan fairly easy using the normal iPhone gestures. Rotating did not work at all. I was able to get the rotation cube to appear but that was as far as it would work.  It would popup an “Action” button but do nothing.

I hope Autodesk can get this working, if not a full blown app. Then at least a fully functional freewheel. You never know when you want to look at your latest equipment design while listening to some “Rage Against The Machine”.

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Templates: A New Starting Point

Since today is inauguration day I thought it would be appropriate to post some useful information related to a good starting point for new files from within Inventor. Consider this as a method for a new beginning in Inventor. We all know about the default templates that come with Inventor for parts, assemblies, drawings, etc. Everyone that uses Inventor takes these files and customizes them to fit their companies standards in some way. These customizations could include standard title blocks for drawings, materials and colors for parts and other such modifications.

These templates appear in the new dialog box typically as shown below.

New File

These templates are a great way to drive conformity to your drafting standards but sometimes fall short of standardizing modeling technique. One method to do this and also shorten the workflow from file creation to being productive on a new design is to create starting point template files that expand on your preset template files. For example, you can create a sketch within a part mode that has a rectangle sketch started and save it as ‘Rectangle.ipt’ within your templates folder. Most parts usually start as a rectangle or a circle as their base starting point.



This will save some valuable keystrokes which translates to cost savings. Let’s just say you can save 1 minute per file on 10 new files a day, times 10 designers. That’s 100 minutes a day saved. If they all made $20.00/hr… that translates to roughly $1,600 cost savings a year just by making a few extra templates. Of course, you may have to spend the extra $1,600/year on coffee supplies.

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