Content Center is Inventor’s built-in library of mostly smaller, generic parts based on international standards. It contains 3D models of nuts, bolts, springs, pipe, valves, and other items. If you dont require material properties or colors, they can be used as-is in some instances such as the self tapping screw example below…
Lets say I am designing a new gizmo, and I needed a Cross Recessed Flat Countersunk Head tapping Screw – Type BF – Type 1 – Metric, I would click on the icon to the right, and the dialog below would pop up. When the part is located as is shown below, I would double click on the highlighted item…
..which would bring me to this dialog where I can finalize my selection…
…which gives me as many of the selected item as I need. The ghosted screw on the upper left has not been placed yet, if I left click, there will be a new screw at the location of the click –or, I can right click and choose “Done“….
The parts are now shown in the part browser as being a part of my design, and they will show up in the bill of materials. But unfortunately, you have no idea if the part is even made, and if so, by whom? Which relegates the stock content center to use as a library of place holders until the real parts and suppliers can be found.
In the real world, when companies start using Inventor, one of the first things they generally do is start to build their own library based on the actual parts they use. You cannot go very far without doing so. And one of the biggest headaches for woodworkers is that there is very little content on the web, and nothing generic in Inventor. You literally need to start from scratch.
What I want to do is get the ball rolling by getting at least a few of the most popular screw sizes into a library that woodworkers can download and install. A generic Euro style hinge and drawer guides would help as well until manufacturers get onboard and start doing this themselves.
The image below shows what would display in iProperties (detailed information about the part) for a McFeely #6 x 3/4″ Black Oxide Coated Truss Head Screw that was sold by National Screw Supply.
Getting screws into content center will be relatively easy. Hinges and other items may be a bit harder depending on whether the manufacturers have 3D models or not. Time will tell…
I’ll leave you with an example from my library that was made as an iPart. They are very similar to parts placed in the Content Center, and can indeed be placed there, but in my case they stored in a vendor folder.
The part is a McFeely’s Round Washer Head Screw. You will see in the part browser to the left in the image (click to enlarge), that I use eight different versions of this particular screw (one of my favorites). As shown, it is a #10 x 3″, and you can see the other versions available. Double clicking on any version will change the screw to that version.
When I place this part it is by selecting the family which is Round Washer Head Screw, which brings up a dialog that lets me choose from all available versions as shown below (I only made the ones I stock due to time constraints). If you look in the part browser, almost all of the hardware shown had to be custom made.
The x-ray like image below is one of the corners on this same table that shows all of the hardware and joinery that comes into play in that small area. It clearly shows the impotance of having acurate models as the slightest mistake could have a screw come through a running matched apron part, ruining all four.
As I get them (or make them), I’ll place the Libraries in the DIM Download section.
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