A tool that is commonly underused in Inventor is the iProperties tool. iProperties are accessible in any Inventor part and assembly. The purpose of this tool is to fill out important attributes or metadata that pertains to your model. There are multiple ways to populate iProperties. Depending on how simple or complex the attribute needs to be, it will change the method in which you populate it. The three methods we will be going over are “hard coding”, exporting parameter, and iLogic using multiple parameters.
Take a look at the Autodesk Virtual Academy on the topic:
How to populate Inventor iProperties
The first method is “hard coding”…
… even though we are not doing any type of coding in this method. The reason behind it is that when we populate any fields in the iProperties window, it will never change values. To “hard code” a parameter value, open the iProperties window and in any field in that window. Then, type in “=” first and type in any value. Below the description says “3 Drawer Dresser, 2 Bookshelves” which will describe what type of configuration this model will be.
Once you click out of the text box, the ”=” will disappear and an “fx” symbol will appear on the right indicating that the property is driven by a function or input. To make changes to the iProperty field, press on the “fx” and the “=” will reappear indicating that the field can be modified.
The reason why I like to call it the “hard coding” method is because this way, there is no intelligence behind the iProperty. What that means is that the iProperty field never changes regardless of any modification you make to your part or assembly. Some people reading this will know that technically if you are doing this “hard coding” method, the “=” is not necessary. That is true. Technically, you do not need to have that “=” sign there. Personally, I found it easier to have the “=” sign there because when populating the iProperty fields, I can tell exactly which one has been modified by the “fx” symbol that appears.
Populate iProperties by exporting parameters from the model
This jumps us into the next method that we will be going over to populate iProperties which will be using parameters from the model and pushing those values to the iProperty dialogue. The easiest way to do so is by exporting any non-text value parameter in your parameter list and then pushing it in the iProperty form. In the parameter list for your mode, there is a checkbox that allows you to export any parameter that you choose.
Once you are done exporting the parameters, go back into your iProperties form. Once you choose the text box that you want to input the property for, you will have to begin it with the “=”. Missing this step will prevent the parameter property from appearing in the text box. After the “=” sign you can go ahead and input your parameter, but you will have to format it like “<Parameter Name>”.
If I wanted to base my part number off the height and width parameter, we can input it as “<Height><Width>” and that will make the values for “Height” and “Width” appear. In our case, you will see that the part number came in as “82,000 in18.000 in”. You can manipulate the formatting of the input by right-clicking on the parameter in the parameter list and selecting the “Custom Property Format.” In the window that appears, you can manipulate what the output looks like.
Within your iProperty form, you can manipulate the text box to be more descriptive.
In the image below, you can see that some characters are added to make the part number more descriptive.
Like we said with this current method, you can not use text value parameters in your iProperties. The only way to do that is by using a bit of iLogic. By pressing on the iProperty snippets on the left side of your iLogic form, it will give you the snippet of code you will need to populate the correct iProperty field.
In this case, there is not a premade iProperty field that I want for my need. If you run into that issue as well, we can map those values to the “Custom” tab on the iProperty window. In the image below, the text value parameter that we used in the model, “Series”, is what we want to put in the custom tab for the iProperties. Beneath the custom iProperty that we created, we can also push normal parameters like we did when exporting parameters.
Last was to populate iProperties is using multiple parameters
The last way to create iProperties is in cases where you want your iProperty to be extremely unique. You will not always need it to be unique, but in cases such as part number or stock number, making it extremely unique will prevent you from having duplicate numbers. In the image below, we are pushing multiple parameters as well as some extra texts.
Taking the time to update your iProperties really benefits you when you get into the drawing creation phase. At KETIV we see a big push in drawing automation with customers wanting a fast way of creating different views of models while at the same time creating an accurate Bill of Material, BOM for short. How does iProperties tie into that you might ask? All the iProperty fields that you fill out in the part or assembly can be added as a column to the BOM making it more descriptive and accurate. With drawing automation and filling in the iProperty fields, we can generate an accurate parts list as well as an accurate quote. This allows customers to not have to worry about over-ordering or under ordering parts as well as being able to get quotes out to customers quicker.
All of this at the end of the day allows your company to be more productive and efficient which will lead to growth in the business. If you did not have a chance to watch the live AVA on this topic, click to see the recording of that AVA on our KETIV YouTube Page. With any additional interest or questions on this topic, feel free to reach out to us here at KETIV, and we will be glad to guide you in the correct direction.