IED Unit 5: Autodesk

Using Autodesk to model complex parts, diagrams, and assemblies


One of the biggest tools that we’ll learn to use in our course this year is Autodesk Inventor Professional.  This software – and others just like it – are used in the engineering field to design and create 3-dimensional models just like with our puzzle cube.  The great thing about Autodesk is it lets us make very precise and complex shapes, and then even see them working together.  Our serious work with Autodesk this semester will focus on:

  • Modeling with sketches, extrusions, holes, fillets, and chamfers
  • Modeling with geometric constraints
  • Using Autodesk to estimate the properties of objects
  • Creating assemblies with various constraints

The Autodesk skills that we work on here will give you all the tools you need to design your own custom 3-dimensional parts. In our class you’ll get to design a few specific projects, but you’ll also be able to use this to design cool things of your choice. This unit will have three main parts:

  1. STEP 1: Complete the tutorials on creating simple sketches, extrusions, and other basic Autodesk functions – these are what you’ll use most when creating your 3-dimensional models.
  2. STEP 2: Complete the tutorial on geometric constraints and object properties.
  3. STEP 3: Use Autodesk and a caliper to model every part of your chosen Automoblox car – including the wheels and tires, windshield, axles, and main body blocks.  When they’re all finished, follow the tutorial to assemble your car in Autodesk!

When you’re done with this unit, you’ll be an Autodesk Master!  Autodesk has a lot of tools built into it, and the only way to get really good at them is to practice.  This unit is all about practicing Autodesk and using the tools to create a precise copy of an Automoblox car.


(10 pts) About 1 day

Since we’ve already done some simple things in Autodesk, this first part just gets us back into the program.  We’ll re-introduce sketches and extrusions, and then practice making holes, fillets, and chamfers.  Together, these are the tools that will make our Autodesk life much simpler!


(10 pts) About 1 day

In addition to the basic construction parts, we can also use constraints to help define our sketches and shapes.  In this part of the unit you’ll do some simple constraints to explore the tools.  You’ll also get to look at the properties of different objects and see what Autodesk can do for us!


(50 pts) About 6 days

This will be one of the toughest challenges of the semester, and usually takes students at least 2 weeks!  Here, you’ll choose an Automoblox model car.  Then, you’ll use a caliper to find measurements on each piece and recreate the piece part-by-part in Autodesk.  When you’re done, you’ll have a bunch of individual part files that can be assembled into the complete car!

Part 1: Autodesk Basics

Revisit the basics of sketching and extrusion, and look at other Autodesk tools

Autodesk Reference

To get started with more difficult 3-dimensional models, we need to get learn the basics of some key features in Autodesk.  We’ll start by reviewing what it takes to make a good sketch, and the options we have to extrude those sketches.  Next we’ll get a chance to see how the hole, fillet, and chamfer tools work to make special modifications to an Autodesk part.  By combining these different tools, you’ll be able to make almost any Autodesk part!


  Watch the presentation on sketches and extrusions and take some careful notes

 Watch the video about holes, fillets, and chamfers and take a page of careful notes

Complete the Autodesk Basics tutorial and build the Part Cube

 Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your notes and your correct Part Cube

Sketches & Extrusions

Holes, Fillets & Chamfers

Sketch Plane Cube Tutorial

What’s Due In Part 1: Autodesk Basics

  • Sketch & Extrusion Notes
  • Hole, Fillet, Chamfer Notes
  • Part Cube Tutorial
  • Mr. Benshoof’s Confirmation


Here’s what’s due in Part 1: Autodesk Basics

  1. Notes on sketches and extrusions in Autodesk
  2. Detailed notes on holes, fillets, and chamfers in Autodesk
  3. Build the Part Cube following the video tutorial
  4. Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your notes and Part Cube


Part 2: Constraints & Properties

Look at how to geometrically constrain your model and generate part properties

Autodesk Reference

Geometric Constraint Practice

Now that we’ve looked at the details of creating Autodesk parts, we want to give ourselves a new tool for refining those parts.  Geometric constraints help make your sketches more precise, and can also help you build your sketches and models more quickly.  In this part, you’ll complete some notes and a tutorial about the various constraints available in Autodesk.  Then, we’ll take a moment to look at the iProperties tab in Autodesk and see how this can help us understand the geometry of complex parts.


 Watch the video on geometric constraints and take a page of notes in your engineering notebook

 Complete the Geometric Constraints tutorial and print your result

 Complete the iProperties tutorial using the Part Cube

 Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your notes and tutorials

Geometric Constraints

Geometric Constraints Tutorial


iProperties Tutorial

What’s Due In Part 2: Constraints & Properties

  • Geometric Constraints Notes
  • Geometric Constraints Tutorial
  • iProperties Tutorial
  • Benshoof’s Check-off

Here’s what’s due in Part 2: Constraints & Properties

  1. Watch the Geometric Constraints video and take detailed notes in your engineering notebook
  2. Complete the Geometric Constraints Tutorial and print your result
  3. Complete the iProperties Tutorial using your Part Cube
  4. Benshoof’s check-off of your completed tutorials

Part 3: Automoblox Re-Creation

Re-create your Automoblox car in Autodesk

Autodesk Reference

One of the jobs of engineers is to reverse-engineer products that have already been made.  Next semester we will look in more detail at what reverse engineering entails, but right now we get to focus on the re-building of a complex object: an Automoblox Car.  In this last part of the unit, your job is to carefully measure and create every part from your Automoblox car.  When you’re finished, you’ll be able to create an assembly of the car right in Autodesk!


 Review the Automoblox Re-Creation overview and briefly sketch your Automoblox car; be sure to include a list of all the parts that need to be modeled.

 Create Autodesk parts of each piece from your Automoblox car.

 Follow the Tutorial to create a complete assembly of your car in Autodesk.

 Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your Autodesk parts and final assembly.

Example Body Block Build

Example Wheel Build

Example Automoblox Windshield

Example Automoblox Assembly

What’s Due In Part 3: Automoblox Re-Creation

  • Sketch & Plan
  • Autodesk Parts
  • Autodesk Assembly
  • Mr. Benshoof’s Confirmation

Here’s what’s due in Part 3: Automoblox Re-Creation

  1. Make a concept sketch of your Automoblox car and list the parts that need to be modeled
  2.  Create every piece as an individual Autodesk part and save them each as .ipt files
  3. Follow the tutorial to create an assembly of your Automoblox car
  4. Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your Autodesk parts and assembly

Double Check: Unit Expectations

Check what you need to have completed by the unit deadline

The purpose of this unit is to give you more tools to use in Autodesk Inventor Professional, and to get you thinking about the different ways to create parts.  The Automoblox cars give a great example of all the different modeling techniques in Autodesk. Taking the time to carefully measure and recreate the Automoblox parts will give us good practice at reverse engineering.  Finally, putting all the parts of the Automoblox car back together as an assembly in Autodesk will demonstrate all the ways that assemblies can attach pieces together.  By the end, you should be pretty comfortable with Autodesk!

 Engineering Notebook:

(Part 1) You should have taken detailed notes on sketches, extrusions, holes, chamfers, and fillets.

(Part 2) You should have taken good notes on geometric constraints and iProperties

(Part 3) You should have made a nice concept sketch of your Automoblox car and listed the different parts that need to be modeled


 Building & Making:

(Part 1) You should have completed the Autodesk Basics tutorial and the Part Cube

(Part 2) You should have completed the geometric constraints tutorial

(Part 2) You should have completed the iProperties tutorial

 (Part 3) You should have modeled every part of your Automoblox car and created the full assembly in Autodesk

 Checkpoints & Quizzes:

(Part 1) Mr. Benshoof should have checked-off your notes and Part Cube

(Part 2) Mr. Benshoof should have confirmed your tutorials

(Part 3) Mr. Benshoof should have confirmed your Autodesk parts and assembly