Unwrapping a Part in Inventor

Autodesk has recently included functionality that enables you to generate a flat surface from a selected face or faces on your part models. This can be done using the Unwrap command located on the Create panel. The command allows you to create a flattened surface representing your model geometry. It can also come in handy in a sheet metal model when you cannot flatten with the Unfold or sheet metal Flat Pattern commands. 



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Here’s how to create an unwrapped surface: 

  1. Select the (Unwrap) command on the Create panel. 

  1. Select one or more faces to unwrap. Consider enabling the Auto Face Chain option to  
    auto-select all tangent faces. A preview of the surface is displayed. 

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  • The surface preview displays a surface mesh and heat map, as shown in the middle image above. The color gradient on the preview helps identify areas of low (blue) or high (red) deformation and tension. The yellow lines identify edges.  

  1. Use the alignment settings, as needed, to redefine the default alignment of the new surface. 

  • The alignment vertex is set by default by assigning the vertex nearest to the face you selected. The assigned vertex is aligned with the model’s center point (0,0,0). To change the vertex, activate the field, click , and select a new vertex on the model geometry that is being unwrapped. 

  • Use the Alignment options to change the placement plane of the unwrapped surface. The options include aligning to the face that was selected for unwrapping on the model (), the XY plane (), the XZ plane (), or the YZ plane (). If aligning to any of the planes, you can select on the gizmo that appears on the vertex to drag or rotate the surface on the plane, as needed. 

  1. In the Behavior area, define the following, if required. (These options are not required but can be defined to refine the result.) Only one of the Linear Result or Rigid Result options can be used in an unwrap operation.  

  • Activate the Linear Result field to select edge(s) on the exterior of the face to remain straight. 

  • Activate the Rigid Result field to select exterior edge(s) that will not unwrap. 

  1. Enable or disable the Merge Result Body option, as required. With it enabled, the resulting unwrapped surface will be generated as a single body. With it disabled, all faces that were selected for the operation will generate as separate surface bodies that are stitched together. 

  1. Click OK to complete the feature. 

Once the unwrap feature is completed, the unwrapped geometry is displayed as a standard surface and is listed in the Surface Bodies node in the Model browser. 


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I hope this explanation is helpful to you! ASCENT covers this learning content (with an exercise on this new feature) in Chapter 2, Advanced Sketching and Modeling Tools in the Autodesk Inventor: Advanced Part Modeling learning guide.  

About the Author

Jennifer MacMillan

Manager – Learning Content Development<br><br>Trained in Instructional Design, Jennifer uses her skills to develop instructor-led and web-based training products as well as knowledge profiling tools. Jennifer has achieved the Autodesk Certified Professional certification for Inventor and is also recognized as an Autodesk Certified Instructor (ACI). She enjoys teaching the training courses that she authors and is also very skilled in providing technical support to end-users. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree as well as a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Dalhousie University.

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