Most of Autodesk Inventor user’s appreciate the functionality of the Multi body parts in their work flow.

Autodesk have taken this incredible feature to a whole new level. They have now made this possible inside the SHEET METAL ENVIRONMENT!!! How amazing is that????

So what I’m going to do is go through the General workflow of using this incredible functionality. Most of you are probably wondering, “How on earth will you create the Flat Pattern of these sheet metal parts with multiple sheet metal bodies?”. Well don’t worry we will get there in the next post.

But before we get start here, are some Multi-Body Sheet metal details as well as some new sheet metal features.

The New solid body option is now available in:

  • Face
  • Contour Flange
  • Contour Roll
  • Lofted Flange
  • Split

Multi-Body workflow is in the following features

  • Flange, Corner Hem, Bend
  • Cut, Fold, Rip, Punch

General Sheet Metal Improvements

Zero bend radius has been added to:

  • Face
  • Bend
  • Flange
  • Contour Roll
  • Lofted Flange
  • Hem
  • Fold

Punch Tool

The quantity of punch tool instances is added to the PunchTool dialog box, Geometry tab

Inventor 2016 Punch Tool

Thickness detection

When you convert a part to sheet metal, you are now prompted to select a base face. This pick allows Inventor to measure the material thickness for you. After you select a face, the Sheet Metal Defaults dialog box appears. The measured thickness is displayed in the Thickness value box. Click OK to accept the measured thickness value.

Inventor sheet metal defaults

Ok so back to the example…

So start by opening a standard sheet metal part template (nothing new there). And now think about what awesome sheet metal component you want to create (preferably something with more than one sheet metal part). For simplicity ill create a Two Body part.

You might notice 2 extra icons in the sheet metal menu, under the flat pattern section.

Inventor 2016 sheet metal

They are the “Make Part” and “Make Components”, these will be explained as we go through the example in the next post.

  • Next create the first part of your multi-body sheet metal part as you would have in the past.

I’m just going to create a simple box that has a similar box bolted to the top of it, just to keep things simple and quick. The image below is my first body, you will notice there is now a “Solid Bodies” folder in the browser with a single part in it.

inventor solid bodies

Now what I’m going to do is offset a work plane to get the top height of the overall model. I’m going to ok that height and create a sketch on that plane and project and recreate a rectangle the same dimensions as the bottom.

inventor solid bodies 2

inventor solid bodies 1

Now we going to use the face tool to create the face in sheet metal, you will see there are more options, including the “New Body” and “Join” button like in the multi-body part environment.

inventor join solid bodies

When selected to create a new body it reacts just as the normal multi-body part does, it adds a solid to the “Solid Bodies” folder and the two “Parts” are now separate.

inventor join solid bodies 2

You can now carry on working on which ever “Part” you want, as if they were separate part files. The Benefit is that you can now use the parts together in the same way as the normal multi-body parts. So I’m going to finish the top part and then put in holes that will reference each other so if you change one, the other will update (like MAGIC, but not really).

inventor join solid bodies 3

Now when it comes to using the cut command, the body that the sketch is on is automatically selected as a body when you select the sketch profiles. If you want to cut through the other body as well (which I do), you just select the other body and set the extents to “All”.

inventor join solid bodies 4

And that is us for now, view the following blog for when it comes to creating the separate parts as well as the flat patterns.