How To Get DWG Solids From Inventor?

This is related to my previous post on how to get DWG solids into Inventor. Obviously, Autodesk thinks that Inventor users will only spit out 2D drawings from their parts and assemblies and hand them over to AutoCAD users. That’s why you cannot save to DWG when you working with a part or assembly. I find it funny that Inventor allows you to save parts and assemblies to a CATIA V5 or Pro/ENGINEER file but not to an AutoCAD DWG file. So much for 3D in AutoCAD and 100% compatibility between AutoCAD and Inventor.

However, there is a rather obscure workaround. Inventor comes with an add-in called AEC Exchange which is actually an Inventor-Revit Interoperability add-in. You can find it in the Environments tab. If it is not there, its probably because the add-in is not loaded. To load the add-in invoke the Add-in Manager (Environments -> Add-ins), select AEC Exchange from the list of available add-ins and check the Loaded/Unloaded box. You may also want to check the Load On Startup box so that you AEC Exchange starts up automatically.

Start AEC Exchange and click on Save As DWG Solids in the AEC Exchange tab.

You will be prompted to enter a DWG file name. However, you cannot choose the version of DWG. Inventor 2010 will always create an AutoCAD 2010 DWG file. If you want to work with someone using a lower version of AutoCAD, you can use the ACIS SAT route – export a SAT file from Inventor and import it into AutoCAD using the ACISIN command.

Seeing the way Autodesk has architected their 3D data exchange system between AutoCAD and Inventor, maybe I should write DWG import and export add-ins for Inventor that do things more smoothly. The irony is that I would need to use the ODA’s DWGdirect SDK to make that happen.

Now that would be really interesting, wouldn’t it?

  • R. Paul Waddington

    Beginning at the introduction of Inventor Autodesk has deliberately made it difficult for users to share AutoCAD and Inventor solids.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with what can be done, it’s that Autodesk DO NOT want it to happen. It ALL to do with marketing and nothing to do with what is best for customers. We regularly NEED to share solid files in both directions and do so several ways – at un-necessary cost.

    Autodesk will persist in its stupidity for as long as customers are too lazy to make the noises necessary!

  • R. Paul Waddington

    Beginning at the introduction of Inventor Autodesk has deliberately made it difficult for users to share AutoCAD and Inventor solids.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with what can be done, it’s that Autodesk DO NOT want it to happen. It ALL to do with marketing and nothing to do with what is best for customers. We regularly NEED to share solid files in both directions and do so several ways – at un-necessary cost.

    Autodesk will persist in its stupidity for as long as customers are too lazy to make the noises necessary!

  • Norm C.

    One thing I find odd is you can’t import a STEP file in AutoCAD. It’s only either ACIS or IGES (which is surfaces only, as AutoCAD doesn’t offer automatic conversion to solid like most MCAD packages do).

    But you used to be able to open STEP files in Mechanical Desktop, which has finally been discontinued, i.e. no longer provided with Inventor as of v2010…

    I guess this is all part of the plan to push people to Inventor. πŸ˜‰

    (yes, the mention of MDT is a wink to Mr. R. Paul Waddington πŸ˜‰

  • One thing I find odd is you can’t import a STEP file in AutoCAD. It’s only either ACIS or IGES (which is surfaces only, as AutoCAD doesn’t offer automatic conversion to solid like most MCAD packages do).

    But you used to be able to open STEP files in Mechanical Desktop, which has finally been discontinued, i.e. no longer provided with Inventor as of v2010…

    I guess this is all part of the plan to push people to Inventor. πŸ˜‰

    (yes, the mention of MDT is a wink to Mr. R. Paul Waddington πŸ˜‰

  • Feel the same about this, it is possible trough AEC and then only since inv 2010 but the most important is that you can’t bring over the data from the model as well, parameter Iprop, custum prop etc.
    Al this should be convert or even better linked to the attributes and fill up the parts list in ACAD / mech. When autodesk is making big noise about data managenment etc….. start with the beginning I would say

  • Feel the same about this, it is possible trough AEC and then only since inv 2010 but the most important is that you can’t bring over the data from the model as well, parameter Iprop, custum prop etc.
    Al this should be convert or even better linked to the attributes and fill up the parts list in ACAD / mech. When autodesk is making big noise about data managenment etc….. start with the beginning I would say

  • Norm,

    Earlier releases of AutoCAD could import IGES as well. They subsequently moved it to MDT. SYCODE does offer IGES and STEP import plug-ins for AutoCAD. As of now solids in IGES and STEP files are imported into AutoCAD as wireframe only. But we are working on importing them as true 3D solids. We hope to release updates soon.

  • Norm,

    Earlier releases of AutoCAD could import IGES as well. They subsequently moved it to MDT. SYCODE does offer IGES and STEP import plug-ins for AutoCAD. As of now solids in IGES and STEP files are imported into AutoCAD as wireframe only. But we are working on importing them as true 3D solids. We hope to release updates soon.

  • Joris,

    I have been in this data exchange business long enough to know that most of the noise of interoperability by CAD vendors is only marketing and also serves to hide their real intentions. Proprietary file formats have been, are being and will continue to be used to put users in positions that they ought not be. I believe that this problem can be solved only by legislation and nothing else.

  • Joris,

    I have been in this data exchange business long enough to know that most of the noise of interoperability by CAD vendors is only marketing and also serves to hide their real intentions. Proprietary file formats have been, are being and will continue to be used to put users in positions that they ought not be. I believe that this problem can be solved only by legislation and nothing else.

  • ob1966

    Using Inventor .ipt and .iam works just fine (i.e. associatively linked) if you use ACAD-Mechanical with Inventor link. I think that's what ADSK wants you to use for IV/ACAD interoperability. I'll let you all speculate as to the reasons why.

  • Kyle

    in acad, hit insert, you can drop step files in.