This posting is a little off-topic of the API but I thought I would show you a little of how I use Inventor at home. I do some woodworking and use Inventor to design my woodworking projects. I agonize over the design and worry about every cut. Being able to fully design every piece and see how they fit together before making any saw dust is a huge help. Here are some pictures of my latest project, a Murphy bed.
The bed in the up position. (click to see full size in new window)
The bed in the down position. (click to see full size in new window)
The real thing. (click to see full size in new window)
Inventor worked great for the initial design. Where it fell short was in the process of going from that design to a set of working drawings. The biggest issue was determining the stock I would need and how to cut the pieces from that stock. Admittedly this is mostly a woodworking specific problem and not something Inventor was designed for. The method I ended up using was to create an assembly for each type of wood. For example, I had one assembly for all 3/4" oak plywood, and another for all 3/4" solid oak. In each assembly I have a sketch that contains one or more rectangles that represent the stock. I inserted each part into the correct assembly and manually positioned them within the stock. Below is a screen shot of one of these assemblies.
Laying out the boards on the stock.
I made drawings of these assemblies to use in the shop. These drawings, an assembly drawing containing the parts list and a few more detail drawings, and I was ready to start cutting.
I plan to write an add-in to help automate the stock layout process. I have the intial design but it will be a long-term project.
I purchased the bed mechanism and plans from Rockler Woodworking. Their overall design is very good and the hardware functions great. The goal of their plan was to make a bed that works and the construction being as easy as possible. I didn't like some of what they did to make the construction easier so I made some changes. The majority of the wood in their plan is just plywood with iron-on edge banding. I used solid wood to cover the edges of the sides and made rail and stile panels for the front doors. I chose baltic birch for the bed frame and left the edges exposed. They also had a lot of screwed butt joints in their design. Instead I used a combination of dovetails, biscuits, and pocket screws so none of the fasteners are visible.