September 11, 2013

Posted on September 11, 2013 by Jim Swain, Synergis Project Manager, Manufacturing Solutions:
Inventor’s plastic part design tools simplify the creation of many types of features common to plastic parts.  We receive calls about the best way to use these tools all the time.  Last week, I was helping a customer with making grills, so I figured there might be more out there with questions on it too.
Normally I like to show everything in the newest version, but this client was requested to work in an older version.  As long as it is Inventor 2010 or above, this tip will work for you.  So let’s get started.
The Grill tool can be found in the tool bar:

This tool allows the easy creation of openings in part, such as might be used for a cooling fan. It uses a single sketch to define the various elements of the grill.
For this first example a simple inlet for a cooling fan will be created. It will have a rounded rectangular outline and several cross members.

The details of each element are specified on the various tabs in the Grill dialog box.  For this example only an outer boundary and inner ribs are needed.
Since this example is for a cooling vent it is important to check the size of the resulting opening, to see if there will be enough air flow.  The opening’s area can be checked by expanding the Grill dialog box.

A more complex grill will be made in this next example.  Again we start with a single sketch of all elements.
Then the Grill dialog box is used to define the various elements.
Boundary (Outer Border)

Island (inner border)

Rib (cross members)

Spar (cross members with a different size than the ribs)

Draft (taper on all elements)

Note that the Parting Element option is left unchecked. This will leave the parting line at the inside of the main body. See the Help for more information on this option.
Here is the resulting feature:

If you have any questions, contact us by phone (800.836.5440) or email.
Until next time,
Jim is Synergis’ Project Manager for Manufacturing Solutions and has been with Synergis since 1997.  Prior to joining Synergis he worked in the consumer electronics and automotive industries as a design engineer, a test engineer, and as a CAD administrator. He has also taught design classes at the college level. Jim’s broad knowledge base helps him to understand customers’ problems and offer appropriate solutions. Jim earned BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University. Jim is a certified Inventor Expert, having been in the first group of people to take and pass the Autodesk Inventor Certified Expert Exam at Autodesk University in 2003. He has also presented classes at Autodesk University since 2003. Email Jim with a question or request.
See Jim’s other posts:

Contact us, visit the Synergis website or subscribe to our blog.