Using Autodesk Inventor Pro

1 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT use an adult technology to design a 3D view of their wind turbine.

Big Idea

Mechanical engineers all over the world use AutoDesk Inventor Pro for 3D designs. Students learn how to create a wind turbine blade using this adult technology.


5 minutes

This lesson is to be used with my Designing a Wind Turbine Blade lesson to create 3D models. It is not intended to be a stand alone lesson. Thanks for understanding. 

Opening the Program

10 minutes

AutoDesk Inventor Pro is a Microsoft product and can only be used on machines using the Microsoft interface. There are programs for loading Microsoft products on Macs. See your technology experts for more information. 

After downloading the software to the computer, the student will open the program.  In the movie below I review the opening procedures and in the second movie, I explain how to open a part. 




The next movie I have embedded twice. In the first half, the emphasis is on opening a part. Take a look at the movie below to open a part. You can watch the ribbon and browser here or in the next section. 



Introducing the Ribbon and the Browser

10 minutes

In this session my strategy is to teach the "look" of the program. I teach the parts that students can see fro their computers. I deliberately teach the Ribbon and the panel boxes and tabs on the ribbon. I explain that Microsoft programs typically put the important panels and tabs on the upper left side of the interface. 

I discuss the ribbon and browser in the second part of the video below. This is the same movie that included making a part. I embedded it twice to give emphasis to the teaching of the ribbon and browser. 

Making a Hockey Puck

15 minutes

Students need to practice a shape before diving into the wind turbine blade. I use a strategy called Watch and Do. They will be modeling my behavior.

In the first movie I show how to draw and dimension the circle that will eventually become a hockey puck. 


To make the 3D design, Autodesk uses an Extrude tool. In the movie below I am extruding the hockey puck. 


To end the lesson, the students make a hole in the hockey puck. The movie below shows how to make a hole. The hole can be moved and they have fun making Swiss cheese. 


It is wonderful how I can create the movies in which everything works out well. How many times does this happen in class? Never. There are always technical problems and what we call "knucklehead" issues. I teach a lesson for the students on troubleshooting. In the movie below I'm showing some trouble shooting hints. 

Using the Drawing Tools

15 minutes

I show the drawing tools and use a strategy called Watch and Do. I ask them to take baby steps. I model the behavior and then I give the students the opportunity to work at their own computer. I have the students create several shapes including a rectangle, circle, and polygons. I show the arc drawing tool and the spline tool. 

I start with the drawing and dimensioning tools. I ask the students to create a line and dimension it. this way they have the correct dimensions for their wind turbine blade. 



In the video below I demonstrate how to draw a rectangle, dimension the shape, and use the Shell tool. 



In this video I show you how to draw an arc. Many students like to use the arc in their designs. 


Most of the students like to use the spline tool for their wind turbine blades.  In the movie below I show the spline tool. 


Although the students do not use typically polygons, they like the polygon tool and I've had some creative enhancements. The movie below explains the polygon tool. 

Dimensioning and Extruding

15 minutes

After drawing the blade, I show students how to make the 3D model. In the movie below I am using the Extrude panel. 

Color and Materials

5 minutes

Finally I show the students how to use the color wheel and the material choices in the program. This is one of the students' favorite times. They can personalize their design with color. 


Create a Wind Turbine Blade

15 minutes

The students have had lots of practice and now can create a 3D drawing of their wind turbine blade.

In this video, I show them how to save and create a .pdf file so they can print their design.