What’s my best learning path to get started with Inventor CAM?

Over the last few years, ASCENT has released learning guides aimed to help users get started with the milling functionality in Autodesk Inventor CAM. Initially, we covered 2D milling only, and that guide has now expanded to cover both 2D and 3D milling functionality. The biggest question I get about this book is…

 “I am new to Inventor. Will this guide teach me everything I need to know?”

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a straight Yes or No. I need to ask you one further question, and that answer will help me guide you to what standard Inventor functionality you should learn prior to learning CAM.

“Will you be creating your own models in Inventor, or will you simply have to add toolpaths to the model?”

Answer 1: “I will be given a model and just have to create the milling toolpaths.”

The Autodesk Inventor CAM: Milling Fundamentals learning guide is perfect for you. It is solely focused on learning the Inventor CAM add-in. It assumes that you are not building or having to make modifications/edits to the Inventor models. It starts with an overview of the interface, and then chapter 2 jumps straight into defining your setup. In the remainder of the seven chapters, you learn about 2D roughing and finishing, drilling, and 3D milling toolpaths with lots of practice exercise and files to work on along the way.

Answer 2: “I won’t have to create my own models, but I may have to make small modifications or edits to the part files.”

If you think that you will be having to make changes to models, you should really consider learning the content presented in the Autodesk Inventor: Fundamentals for CAM Users learning guide first. This guide is a simplified version of our five-day Introduction to Solid Modeling guide and is designed for users who would only be using the CAM tool and would only need the basics of Inventor modeling skills. It skips assembly, drawing, and more advanced modeling that CAM users likely won’t need.

Answer 3: “I plan on using Inventor for the design through to manufacturing.”

In this case, you really should start your learning path with the Introduction to Solid Modeling guide. This will provide you with a strong foundation in part modeling, assembly design, and drawing documentation. Once you have mastered these skills, you will be all ready to jump into CAM with our Milling Fundamentals learning guide. As previously mentioned, this covers 2D roughing and finishing, drilling, and 3D milling toolpaths.


Please keep in mind that the focus in all ASCENT learning guides is on how to use the software. It is highly recommended that you have a good understanding of the CNC milling process and understand toolpath strategies prior to using the Milling Fundamentals guide as the focus in this guide is how to set up toolpaths in the Inventor CAM software.

I hope that this helps direct you to the content that you will need. Please let us know if you have any questions.

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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