Sometimes creating components requires that we create more complex shapes that have an organic curved profile to them. Sometime the profile changes from one end to another. Today we’ll take a quick look at how one can use Autodesk Inventor Professional to create a simply loft using a few interesting looking profiles. Our end result should look something like this.
Step 1) Open Inventor and choose the New button to open an existing template. Choose the Standard.ipt template.
Step 2) Our lofted feature is going to follow a path, so what we’ll need to do first is create a sketch of the path our loft is going to follow. We first select ‘Create 2D Sketch’ from the Model Tab, and choosing the Spline option, we’ll create a curved line, and the click on the Finish Sketch button.
Step 3) In order to complete the loft, we need at least two profiles, one on the end, and one at the start. The profiles also need to be drawn in a certain way. To create these profile sketches, we’ll begin by creating some work planes.
In your Model tab, access the Work Features panel and under the Plane options choose ‘Normal to Curve at Point’.
Start creating work planes at each point you created within your spline sketch by hovering over the various points you used to create your spline and double clicking. You should start to see a number of work planes appear, one after another in the Model Browser.
4) Now that we have some work planes in our part file, add sketches for the profile using the planes you’ve just created. You can get creative as you like as far as geometry goes, just so long as your profiles are closed loops. For this demo, I’m going to start with a circle on one end, followed by a triangle, followed by a square, adding another line segment for every plane.
5) The Loft…with a new sketch on each new work plane, we’re ready to create our lofted feature.Select the Loft tool from the Create panel in the Model tab. A dialog box will appear prompting you to select the sketch. Select the sketches in order, and watch the shapes from your sketches start to connect to one another, and Inventor calculates the changes for you from the profile geometry. When you have selected all of your profiles, click OK to complete the Loft feature.
In your Model Browser, select all the work planes by holding down the Ctrl key and right clicking. Uncheck Visibility and you will see your new form clearly.
I also changed the Material on mine to Red (Chili), but that’s pretty bold. At any time, you can come back to your Model Browser, expand the Loft Feature and select sketches to edit until you are happy with your loft, you should now be able to take this part file into Autodesk Fusion from Inventor…but that’s a topic for another day! Have fun, and thanks for reading!