Thursday, February 23, 2012




Autodesk Inventor is a feature-based parametric modelling application. Inventor is said to be feature based because each modification that is made to a component is regarded as a feature. So in a design workflow for a component, you would most likely make use of extrusion, swept, lofted, revolved, threaded, hole, rib, fillet, shell, and chamfer features . If you are also experienced with surface modelling, you would likely use features like sculpt, thicken, patch, and trim. Learn more about Inventor in the Lesson: What is Inventor?

There are three types of features in Inventor, namely:

  1. Sketched Features,
  2. Placed Features, and
  3. Work Features.


At the end of this lesson, the reader should be able to:

  1. Explain the following: sketched features, placed features, and work features.
  2. Differentiate between sketched featues, placed features, and work features.


Sketched Features are those features that are built, or constructed from 2D or 3D sketches. A sketched feature is always the starting feature when you want begin a new part. The first sketched feature that is added to a part is called the "base feature." Sketched features can be used during standard part modelling, surface modelling, and plastic part modelling. The table below shows some examples of sketched features.

# Type of Modelling Examples of Sketched Features
1. Standard part modelling Extrusion, Revolution, Sweep, Loft, Emboss, Rib, and Coil.
2. Surface modelling Extrusionsrf, Revolutionsrf, Sweepsrf, and Loftsrf.
3. Plastic part modelling Grill, and Rest.

Sketched features always require visible sketches. Visible sketches are those sketches that can be seen on the Graphics Area. They should not be consumed by other features. If you have a sketch that is consumed by another feature, simply share the sketch to make it visible and available for use by other sketched features. Consumed sketches are those sketches that have been used to create sketched features. A consumed sketch is always located under the sketch feature in the model browser.

Sketch1 consumed by Extrusion1

Sketched features can be located on the Create and Plastic Parts panel of the Model tab of a part environment.

create and plastic parts panels


Placed features are those features that do not strictly require sketches for their creation. They are mostly used for modifying (or adding features) to an existing the model - the reason they are called "Modifying Tools." Examples of placed features are Hole, Fillet, Chamfer, Shell, Draft, Thread, Split, and Combine features for modifying standard part models, and Thicken/Offset, Stitch, Sculpt, Patch, and Trim for modifying surface models.

Placed features are located on the Modify and Surface panels of the Model tab of a part environment.

modify and surface panels


Work features are modeling aids. From the first sketch to the last feature of your model, work features are used to aid the modeling process. And as the design becomes more complex, you will need the help of work features to find your way out! These work features can be used for creating sketches, for constraining of components in the assembly environment, for feature termination (in both part and assembly designs), and for creating other work features.

There are three types of work features in Autodesk Inventor, namely:

  1. Work planes;
  2. Work axes; and
  3. Work points.

There are about four lessons dedicated to work features. Please check them out below:

Using and Understanding Work Planes in Autodesk Inventor

Using and Understanding Work Axes in Autodesk Inventor

Using and Understanding Work Points in Autodesk Inventor

Using and Understanding Grounded Work Point in Autodesk Inventor


I hope you learnt a lot from this lesson. If you have any questions, please drop a comment, and I will answer ASAP. Thank you.