Introduction: Animate an Exploded View in Inventor

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A really quick way to make sure what you're designing fits together is to make an assembly sequence animation or an exploded diagram. This diagram pulls all the components out of your assembly then shows how they go back together. Since we were connecting 3d printed parts, to waterjet cut aluminum, to machined aluminum, and then to electronics and more 3d printed parts we wanted to make sure our tolerances were large enough and the parts could go together easily.

Step 1: Setting Up Your Inventor File

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The first step to making an exploded animation is to prep your inventor file. Make sure that your inventor model is completely 'Constrained'. Even if you've added joints you will need to add in constraints to show how the model can come apart. In the 'Assemble' workspace choose the Constraint option. Add in constraints to the different components you would like to be exploded.

We wanted to show how all of the housings are mounted onto the central spin and how the ribs attached to the other side of the spine so we constrained each component individually to the spine.

Step 2: Start the Explosion (presentation)

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Explosion diagrams happen in an entirely different type of file, you will need to go up to File>new then go all the way down to the bottom to the 'presentation' widget.

It will open into a black space.

Hit the "create view" button in the upper left. If you have the assembly you want to explode already open then the dropdown will automatically populate. Hit the "manual" button for the explosion.

Hit okay and your assembly will load, you can now position your view just like you would in the model workspace

Step 3: Explode a Component

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Now it's time to start blowing that thing apart!

Select the "Tweak" button from the top.

First Select a face to be your UCS for motion.

Second Select the component(s) you want to move.

Third select the direction and click+drag the component out to it's exploded position.

Step 4: Exploded Assemblies in Sequence

Picture of Exploded Assemblies in Sequence

Once you have exploded a single component you can explode components in sequence and in assembly. If you keep the tweak window open and select then move components the explosions will stack. If you close the tweak after a move then the next tweak will not stack and will be part of a new move.

Step 5: Animate Your Explosion

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The last step is to animate that explosion!

Hit the animate tab then hit the play arrow to preview the animation.

If you do not like the order the parts are coming together then hit the '>>' to open the advanced options. Here you can move the part order around.

Hit reset, after each move then play to preview your changes.

When you are happy with the order, hit reset then hit the red record button to save the animation.

And that's it, you've got your animation!

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Bio: Smith|Allen is a design firm based in Oakland California. Our work is interdisciplinary in focus bringing design, innovation, and novel concepts to bear on ... More »
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