Cabinet Configurator Tutorial for Inventor 2013 – Plan Sketch – 1

Cabinet Configurator Tutorial – Post 01 Image A - Cabinet Configurator Plan SketchIn the last installment of this Cabinet Configurator Tutorial for Inventor 2013, we completed the Side Elevation sketch which described pretty much everything there is to see when slicing through the cabinet vertically through its center (whether or not the element is actually sliced through). This next sketch will show the elements that are possible horizontally.

Because we are creating a Cabinet Configurator, there needs to be options built into the sketches. The Side Elevation sketch was easy in that regard as any options will likely be expressed merely as a different material thickness that can be controlled with a parameter and some iLogic code. The face frame configurations will created on their own sketches because it would be foolish to represent that many configurations within the Side Elevation sketch alone—a pile of lines atop other lines is a recipe for failure.  

The first thing we need to do is create a plane for our new sketch. We will use the Plane on Point method to create the plane on the top of the front most line that describes the face frame… 

Cabinet Configurator Tutorial – Post 01 Image 01 - Create a Plane on Point

Rename the new plane Cab Top Plane, then create a new sketch on it by getting the Create 2D Sketch tool from the Sketch Panel on the 3D Model Tab, and clicking on the plane. Name the new sketch Plan, then shut off the visibility of the plane you created a bit earlier by right clicking it in the canvas and choosing Visibility from the Marking Menu… 

Cabinet Configurator Tutorial – Post 01 Image 02 - Shut off the visibility of the work plane

Switch to the RIGHT view, and get the Project Geometry tool from the Draw Panel on the Sketch Tab. Use your mouse wheel or 3D Mouse to navigate along the topmost horizontal line in the Side Elevation sketch, and project the end points (watch for the red dot, or wait for the drop-down and choose Point) of every vertical line that touches the top line…



 When you have projected all seven points, right click in the canvas and choose OK from the Marking Menu (or hit escape on your keyboard or 3D Mouse). Now we need to remove some clutter. Right click on the Side Elevation in the Browser and choose Dimension Visibility to remove the checkmark and shut off the dimensions…



In the image below, I have switched Color Scheme from Presentation with a 1 color (white) Background to Presentation with a Gradient Background. The projected points are yellow in the Presentation Color Scheme, and don’t show up so well on a white background.



Tools Tab > Options Panel > Applications Option Icon > Colors Tab > Background Dropdown. When done, close the dialog and click the Sketch Tab to get back to the right environment.

Now switch to a TOP view and draw a horizontal line somewhere in front of the cabinet (Z+)…

Cabinet Configurator Tutorial – Post 01 Image 05 - Draw the front line of the face frame

…then draw an angled line like the one shown below, while holding down the Ctrl key. Holding down the Ctrl key while drawing a line forces Inventor to not add any constraints. It’s not real important at this point, but later on when there are other angled lines, Inventor will try to add parallel or perpendicular constraints to them, which would be a bad thing as this line needs to remain free to move within the angular constraints fed to it via it’s parameter –which itself will be driven by iLogic Code

Cabinet Configurator Tutorial – Post 01 Image 06 - Add the angled lines

…now draw a similar line on the other side of the horizontal line, but this time, when you see the dashed line going across to the endpoint of the first line, click, then continue the sketch over to the end of the first line…

Cabinet Configurator Tutorial – Post 01 Image 07 - Sketch the left angled line


Cabinet Configurator Tutorial – Post 01 Image 08 - Look for the paralell glyph



Release the Ctrl key for this horizontal line, and watch for the parallel glyph before connecting to the first line…



 Cabinet Configurator Tutorial – Post 01 Image 09 - Add the new parameters

 Create two parameters called Face_Frame_Right_Angle and Face_Frame_Left_Angle. After you type in the name, click in the Unit/Type column to the right, and change the type to Angularity. Enter 45 in the Equation column (Inventor will add the deg part), then click Done.


Cabinet Configurator Tutorial – Post 01 Image 10 - Nice, neat parameters




Add the angle parameters just created on their respective sides. Notice that all of the face frame related parameters are located in a group in the Parameter List dialog due to their naming…





Now position your model so you can see what you are doing, and attach the plan representation of the face frame to the projected points from the elevation version…


That’ll do it for this installment of this Cabinet Configurator Tutorial for Inventor 2013.



3 thoughts on “Cabinet Configurator Tutorial for Inventor 2013 – Plan Sketch – 1”

  1. Hi Mark, Great stuff. Following along with this tutorial and gone through your other tutorials (Shaker table, iDoor and iDrawer etc). Would like to consolidate what I've learnt (skeletal modeling method, iLogic) by going through a project myself but I am not in the furniture/woodworking industry so I have no design experience within the field and no access to plans. After browsing the web I see there is a book by a Robert Lang "Shop drawings for craftsmans furniture 27 Stickley designs". Have you come across the book? If so, are the plans within sufficient to create a 3D model as per the skeletal modeling method? If not, any recommendations for another book?

    1. Hi William,

      I haven’t come across that particular book, but I think that any measured shop drawing would work –Authentic Gustav Stickley pieces as the bock purports to contain being all the better. You can’t go wrong with any Craftsman design in my opinion, but Stickley is my favorite. I would give it a shot (after reading a few reviews).

      On another note, the ODP now has an empty (very hard to get that first post) Forum where anything can be posted (within reason of course) where you can ask furniture questions. You are also welcome to guest post on the main site –a small blogtorial on your progress with the Stickley project would be cool.

      At any rate, giver a shot, and keep everyone up-to-date on your progress.


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