Unit 4 Lesson Plan: Introduction to Autodesk Inventor


Unit 4 Lesson Plan: Introduction to Autodesk Inventor

Grade Level:



9th Grade General Math & Science


Concepts Addressed:

In this unit, students will get an introduction to Autodesk Inventor. They will get an overview of the different ways engineers use Autodesk Inventor and then learn specific ways they can use Inventor to help design and build VEX robots.

Learning Objectives:

  •          The students will be able to create 3D models using Autodesk Inventor
  •          The students will be able to animate 3D models
  •          The students will be able to render 3D models


STEM Connections:

Students will be using the software and math formulas to create and animate their 3D VEX models.

Materials Needed:

  •          Unit Guide
  •          Internet Access
  •          Dictionaries
  •          VEX Robotics Kit
  •          Online Resources
  •          Computer with Autodesk Inventor


Key Terminology:


Day to Day Lesson Plan:


Lesson 1:

Introduce the unit with an overview of Computer Aided Design (CAD). Students will familiarize themselves with the basic commands and navigation of Autodesk Inventor. These tutorials are meant as an overview, and the student is not expected to duplicate the work being done in the videos. This first set of videos is also a great refresher if the student has not used the software in a little while. The following videos should be reviewed in Unit 4.2:

1.       Primary Environment

2.       UI Navigation 1

3.       UI Navigation 2

4.       Graphics Window Display

5.       Navigation Controls

Note - If the student is already familiar with Autodesk Inventor, have them demonstrate the basics and move on to Lesson 3.


Lesson 2:

Students will continue to review the basics of Inventor. Encourage students to assist each other in learning the software. They should review the following videos in Unit 4.2:

1.       Project Files

2.       Creating Assemblies 1

3.       Creating Assemblies 2

4.       Viewing Assemblies

5.       Visualization


Lesson 3:

Students will start using Inventor to create the Clawbot model in Unit 4.3. The Overview video will give them an idea of what is expected of them in this project. The files required for this activity must be downloaded, and data sets in Imperial and Metric units are available.  Metric equivalents are given throughout the text.  Find the files in Unit 4.3, located after Video 1 in the text.

The data sets provided will work for Inventor version 2013 onward.  Download and unzip these files and save them into a new project folder called ‘Clawbot.’ 

Students should watch the following videos in Unit 4.3 to learn how to start their CAD project:

  •          Overview
  •          Video 1: Review the Robot Model
  •          Video 2: Start a New Assembly
  •          Video 3: Complete the Base Frame


Lesson 4:

Students should watch the following videos in Unit 4.3 to learn how to virtually assemble the chassis and begin the Clawbot drivetrain:

  •          Video 4: Add Standard Parts to the Assembly
  •          Video 5: Assemble Bearing Flats and Rivets
  •          Video 6: Assemble the Driveshaft and Collar


Lesson 5:

Students should watch the following videos in Unit 4.3 to learn how to complete the drivetrain:

  •          Video 7: Assemble a Wheel
  •          Video 8: Create a Wheel Subassembly


Lesson 6:

Students should watch the following videos in Unit 4.3 to learn how to align gears and assemble the gear box for the arm:

  •          Video 9: Align the Gears
  •          Video 10: Assemble the Claw Arm Drivetrain


Lesson 7:

Students should watch the following videos in Unit 4.3 to add the Cortex microcontroller, check motion of gears and wheels, assemble the Claw arm, and finish the assembly of the Clawbot:

  •          Video 11: Add the Cortex Microcontroller
  •          Video 12: Assemble the Claw Arm
  •          Video 13: Complete the Robot Assembly


Lesson 8:

Students should watch video 14 in Unit 4.3 to learn how to use Inventor Studio. They will render an image of the Clawbot as well as an animation of the Clawbot.

  •          Video 14: Render and Animate the Robot
  •          Summary Video

Students then watch the Summary video and reflect on what they have accomplished in their engineering notebook.


Engineering Notebook “Seed Questions”:

1.       Which items in the classroom require 3D modeling software in order to be designed and manufactured?

2.       Which types of engineers use CAD and how do they use it for their day to day job?

3.       Why do designers create virtual models?

4.       What is the benefit to designers of being able to animate an assembly?

5.       What would a designer use a rendered image of a design for?