Circular Pattern in Autodesk Inventor
In this tutorial you will learn to how to use the Circular Pattern tool to create array of an element and then Extrude them all at once. This tutorial is designed to help you save time when same element is to be placed around an object or point. I am using Autodesk Inventor 2009 version.
Lets open an empty document to work with, go to:
File -> New -> Default -> Standard.ipt
Standard.ipt is a blank parts file, what we are doing is creating a part that can be used later in an assembly.
Now, lets draw a circle in this document. Look on the left side, “2D Sketch Panel”, there you will find the “Center Point Circle”.
Click once on the center of the drawing area, this will be our center point of the circle, then move up until you see a circle big enough to work with and click again to finish the circle.
It should look like this:
Now press Esc key when so Inventor knows we are done using this tool.
Let’s turn this circle into a cylinder shape by using the Extrude tool, if you already know how to do this, you can skip this step.
Press on “Return” on the top toolbar, this will change the drawing mode from 2D to 3D.
From the top toolbar, click on the “Orbit” tool and rotate your circle just slightly enough about 45 degrees.
Now click on the “Extrude” tool from the “Part Features” on the left.
The Extrude menu will appear on your screen, simply click on the circle once and it will select the circle as the object to be extruded, then hit Enter. It should look somthing like this:
From the Extrude menu, change the distance to 0.5 in, by default it was set on 1 in. Below that, there are 3 Extrude option, this indicates which direction to Extrude,
we will select the middle option which will Extrude toward the back of our circle which is what we want that way it is easier to work with the axis later. Click OK to apply the changes and finish the Extrude option.
Now that we have a 3D cylinder, lets create the Array of circles using Circular Pattern. Right click over the circle’s face and it should bring out a menu, from there select the “New Sketch”.
This will take us back to the 2D sketch and basically we are defining a new sketch on the circle’s surface.
From how this looks, it may be a little hard to work with so lets bring the drawing to FRONT surface that way we can go ahead and draw again. It is a bit hard to read
sometimes but I am sure you’ll get used to it in no time, go ahead and click the FRONT label on the 3D orientation box which is located on the top right hand side.
Select the Center Point Circle tool like we did before and draw a small circle like the one below. Its on the upper portion of the drawing inside the big circle we had from before.
Lets go ahead and create a circular pattern (array) of this circle inside of the big circle, the idea is to draw this circle 8 times around but if we do it one by one,
we’ll have to figure out the exact distance for each one and spend way too much time, by using the Pattern tool, this can be done much faster. From the left menu, select the
Circular Patter tool.
Now click on the small circle we have just created, when you mouseover, it will change color, once clicked, press ENTER to lock this down so the Circular Patter knows this is our Geometry that we will array in pattern.
Now if you look at the Circular Patter tool, Geometry arrow is no longer selected but the next arrow is selected, now we will define the center of our circle, click on the center of the big circle.
Once the middle of the big circle is clicked, this defines our center point of array, the drawing will change to reflect 6 circles around it by default. You can change this number to 8,
and should immediately see 8 circles inside arrayed based on your original circle. Press OK when done.
Now you have 8 circles inside of the big cylinder circles. Right click anywhere on the sketch and select “Finish Sketch” or press the Esc key.
Now the left menu should be on the 3D mode as that’s where we were before. Select the Extrude tool. Then click inside of all 8 small circles we just made using the Pattern tool.
You’ll see that the distance is set to 0.5 in which is what we last used, change that to 0.25 and leave everything else as we want it to Extrude upward on top of the cylinder.
Then simply click OK and use the Orbit tool to change your 3D orientation, it should look somthing like this:
I used the gold material above on the first picture shown and then used the built in render function to crate a life like structure. I’ll leave that topic for another day. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial.
You can download the Inventor file used in this tutorial by right clicking HERE and ‘SAVE TARGET AS’, this is Inventor 2009 file.