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?