27 Apr 2011

Autodesk Inventor 2012 What's New

The Autodesk Inventor 2012 release comes with a few surprises in product selection as well as some enhancements to the interface of Inventor.

You can tell from the above image of the Inventor offerings that 3 are missing from the lineup. The 2012 product line will not be offering the Routed Systems, Simulation or Tooling as separate packages. Instead existing customers will be upgraded to Professional in lieu of the change.

There will be no loss of functionality, just all rolled into the Professional version. This is a logical move considering the new Suites Autodesk is introducing such as the Autodesk Product Design Suite Standard, Premium, and Ultimate.

General Enhancements and Interface

The two largest updates to the interface involve productivity and graphic realism. The Marking Menu with Mouse Gestures from Inventor Fusion and Inventor Publisher R1 has made its way into the standard Inventor interface with the added benefit of full customization of the commands that appear in the radial menu. Mouse Gestures are also possible with quick click flicks of the mouse in the desired direction.

The other enhancement is the additon of Ray Tracing to the Realistic and Monochromatic Visual Styles. This gives the software the power that only Showcase users had before to visualize their models. See below for further details.

Part Modeling Enhancements

There are a lot of little updates all over Part Modeling including Sweeps (edge as a path), Face Draft (added Parting Line draft), Boss (create additional features), Rib (complete overhaul), part level view represenations and enhanced Mini-Toolbars. See below for further details.

Drawing Environment

At first glance, Rotating Drawing Views with Sketches, Origin Marks for Ordinate Dimension Sets, but the Change Veiw Orientation and High Speed Drawing Views is where you see the development really pay off. Inventor, much like the majority of other 3D modelers being single core somewhat limits what can be done with beefy CAD machines. With High Speed Drawing Views you get to place one view, it will show a Raster image and while it is loading you can place another view and another, and then start doing other things while it is processing. See below for further details.


The interoperability for import of CAD models has been updated as well as the inclusion of the 2011 Subscription Advantage Pack Rhino file translator. The standard AutoCAD import has also been given some streamlining in the use of importing the data into Inventor as a Solid Part or as 2D Line Work depending on what is in the DWG.

The BIM Exchange (formally the AEC Exchange) has been updated to include the use of Connectors and the Omni Class Table (this is a foreign word phrase to most manufacturers but deals with Architecture Classification). Some other enhancements here are in the use of Connectors, such as those used in iPart/iAssemblies, Connector promotion in assembly structure, and better linking to Revit type properties.

iLogic Enhancements

Two important things to mention here; the Wizard to Copy iLogic Designs, and the Custom User Interface Forms. The first one was a part of the 2011 Subscription Advantage Pack and allows users to copy iLogic designs with or without the iLogic rules attached and really starts to mimic the Copy Design inside Autodesk Vault. This can also be used on documents that do not include any iLogic rules for just a more traditional Copy Design. The second enhancement is for basic input boxes for iLogic rules (including drag and drop for the builder). This is a big move for the iLogic user, but realistically, most advanced iLogic users want the control only a full blown .dll will give them and that still requires some advanced coding.


In the Automatic Joint tool (Dynamic Simulation ), turning off the Automatic Recognition would always delete automatically created ones, in 2012 it will prompt you to keep them. The Stress Analysis has some improvements in the Frame Analysis for Probes, Continuous Load and the Sign Convention has been changed so that Frame Analysis\FEA are the same.

Updates to geometry healing and meshing operations have also been done to accommodate more complex designs that involve many surfaces and tight tolerances.


An ECO Materials assistant has been added as a new Environment to check the sustainability of a design.


The list of enhancements here is vast to say the least, but focuses on all aspects of the Injection Mold process from using multiple processors in some aspects to faster more efficient Mold Base Tools.  Many enhancements to the Core/Cavity work flow are also prevalent.

Additional information

  • Faster (2x) product start up time
  • Splash screen start up is 3x faster compared to Win7 64bit
  • Common settings across products in a suite
  • Improved support for restricted Window user profiles
  • Application options (.xml) can get set for multiple users

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