March 25, 2013

Posted on March 25, 2013 by Robert Reid, Manufacturing Solutions Engineer:

Replace Model Reference is a feature that was introduced in the Autodesk Inventor 2011 release. This feature allows the end user to dramatically speed up the production of drawings of similar parts by replacing the base model in the drawing, allowing Inventor to recreate all views for the new model.

The Workflow for Replace Model Reference is as Follows:

  1. On the ribbon, click Manage tab, Modify panel, Replace Model Reference.
  2. The Replace Model Reference dialog box opens and lists all the top-level model references contained in the drawing.
  3. Click the reference model to replace. The Select new model command enables, so you can browse for a new model to replace the original model reference.

Note: You can replace a model only with the same type of model. Replace IPT with IPT, IAM with IAM, and IPN with IPN.

When you select a view that does not include a flat pattern, that view is deleted. Similarly, when a presentation does not contain the same explosion name as the original file, the model is deleted.

Example of a step-by-step workflow to use the Replace Model Reference Feature:

Design Scenario:

You are designing 2 components of a machine that are complex in nature, but very similar in design! You need to create both Part Models along with 2 matching drawings.

The example below will be 2 Roll Journals for a Plastic Sheet Extrusion Application where the journals are almost identical in design, except that one is longer for the mounting of a Helical Gear. You have spent a fair amount of time in the Design of the first Journal, and its corresponding drawing. You now need to duplicate the first Journal, and create its corresponding drawing. So in the end, you now have 2 part models which are almost identical, and each has its own drawing

1)     I have Created the First Part Model of the “Left Journal”:

2)     I then take that First Part Model of the Journal, “Save Copy As” and rename it.  Modify the New Journal as required, to create the Second Journal:

NOTE: YOU MUST DO EITHER A “SAVE AS” or “SAVE COPY AS” or the feature will not work!!!

3)     I have made all the part modifications that are required to create the new “Right Journal”:

4)     The next step is the creation of the drawing for the first “Left Journal”:

5)     “Save As” on the initial drawing you have just created:

6)     Rename your new drawing, in this case, “Right Journal”:

7)     You now have a new drawing of the Right Journal, but it is still linked back to the original “Left Journal” Part Model.  We can see this in our Model Browser:


8)     Next, is where we do the actual “Replace Model Reference” to link the new part, Right Journal to our Production Drawing. Click on the Manage Tab:

On the Modify Panel, click “Replace Model Reference”
The Replace Model Reference dialogue box will open:
9)     At this point, we need to now link the new Right Journal. First, we need to click on the Left Journal #1, this IS the model we are replacing. After clicking on the Left Journal.ipt, we now click to open the folder #2:
Browse to the new Part, the Right Journal, click Open:
Click Yes, this is telling you that a new model is replacing the old:

Click OK in the Replace Model Reference dialogue box.

And utilizing the Retrieve and Arrange Tools, You now have a new production drawing:

This has saved our clients more man-hours than we can count.  I hope it helps you keep designing instead of updating.

You can also take a look at my past posts on Inventor Design Accelerators for more time saving features in use:

Robert Reid graduated from Middlesex College in New Jersey with a Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. With over 25 years of Industrial Machine Design, including Wire Drawing Machinery, Plastic Processing Machinery, & Packaging Machinery, Robert has held various positions within the workforce, including, Manager of Engineering; Sheet Extrusion Dept, Manager of Engineering, Chief Design Engineer. He is currently an Autodesk Inventor Certified Expert.

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