When it comes to naming the industrial business niches that make use of 2D/3D CAD software, seldom those one come across the thriving business of furniture making on that list. I use the term “thriving business” because at one time or the other, the CEO of one of the biggest furniture manufacturing companies was once the richest man in the world. In addition to Mr. Chei Janxin massive wealth, economies such as that of some Asian countries basically rely on the production of furniture as their main source of income.
So it came as no surprise when AutoCAD capitalized on the furniture industry by re-releasing the Inventor in 2011 as a CAD software designed to primarily provide for the design needs of furniture makers.
A Review of the AutoCAD Inventor
The Inventor which was first developed in 1999 was primarily an AutoCAD 2D drafting tool which could be used to design simple models encompassing the architectural, engineering and furniture industries niche. And it wasn’t until mid-2000, that Autodesk devised a product vision for it to become a drafting tool for the furniture industry.
The inventor provides users with an intuitive user interface and tools customized for handling the design of model components and assembling these components to create a functional model. Its unique features makes simulation, stress analysis, friction analysis amongst others, easy to access or quantify.
The Functions of the AutoCAD Inventor
Integrated Motion Simulation: the Inventor CAD software can be used to carry out product simulation test in other to observe how a product functions under different conditions. This is done by imputing hypothetical driven load size/figure, friction characteristics and elasticity figures into a workspace. A test simulation will then be initiated to observe how these imputed forces and characteristics may affect a designed product.
Stress Analysis: As stated above, the effects of different parameters such as weights, friction and tension can be tested with the use of the Inventor to simulate the pressure exerted by these parameters on a product. This helps furniture designers identify high stress areas, the possibility of bulking and unwanted vibrations when pressure is applied to a product.
Data Interoperability: the inventor can be said to be the ultimate file exchange tool in AutoCAD’s list of CAD software applications. The Inventor is equipped with the ability to exchange data with most major CAD drafting tools and Building Information Models used by designers. It swaps files with; SolidWorks, CATIA V5, Pro/Engineer, Parasolid, Granite, all Autodesk’s CAD tools and many more. Users of the Inventor can finally publish their designs in PDF, SAT, JT and STL file formats which support or can be used by 3D printing machines.
It’s Learning Curve
Unlike your average advanced 3D modeling software, the time and effort needed to become proficient in the use of the Autodesk Inventor is quite manageable. This is due to its simplified user interface, and the large amount of tutorials both on and offline that beginners can engage to aid the learning process. Therefore, in terms of “learning ease”, the Inventor can be said to be on step ahead of other CAD software tools.
The Benefits of Using Autodesk Inventor in Furniture Design
Every year, Autodesk organizes a CAD award for recognizing the furniture industries that best epitomizes the use of the Inventor to carry out designs. Therefore I shall borrow some of the stated benefits outlined by Ellis Furniture—the winner of Autodesk’s 2012 prized award.
- Cuts marketing time by approximately 50 percent: according to Ellis CEO, the use of the inventor to design prototypes drastically reduces the time a sales representative may require to convince potential buyers to purchase or issue a commission for a product.
- It is also famously know for reducing drafting errors while working with designing different products.
- It also simplifies a presentation process and helps furniture designers communicate easily with customers.
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