AnyCAD – Speaking the same CAD language

In an era of global business, and disparate functions spread across the world, it’s not rare to find departments utilising a variety of different design tools which still need to be able to communicate / interact with one another. AnyCAD has been available in Autodesk  Inventor since 2016. AnyCAD consolidates the import process for any other CAD file format that Inventor can translate into Inventor data, and means that the other CAD files can be associatively imported into Inventor.

Previously the only way various file / software formats could be compared and utilised would be to find a neutral file format to share data between divisions. With this in mind any changes to the source data would require potentially major rework.


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Solving this issue is AnyCAD, which enables you to work associatively with other 3D CAD systems without file translation, eliminating translation issues and the need to re-constrain parts and assemblies when updates happen. Inventor effectively treats these files as though they were Inventor files.

When updates happen to the original model, Inventor automatically updates and so does all of your downstream data from drawing to presentation files and BOMs.

AnyCAD – Why is this type of technology important?

Regular design challenges can be experienced when it comes to data interoperability and collaboration.

Challenges like:

  • Working with multiple CAD systems
  • Translation issues
  • Designs not updating automatically
  • Leveraging legacy 2D data

So how has AnyCAD improved the process?

In a typical design workflow, once the vendor or customer has sent a non-native CAD model, you will then begin to translate the file, save as .ipt, or .iam and insert it into assembly. You will then be required to use the translated file as a reference and apply constraints.

Here is where the problem starts:

The vendor or customer then sends an updated model, where you once again translate the file and re-insert into the assembly. You then have to manually fix all references and recreate all constraints, creating more work and potential delays.

AnyCAD on the other-hand provides an associative connection with other 3D CAD applications directly to Inventor without file translation. This includes models from most major CAD systems, including Catia, SolidWorks, NX, PTC Creo, Pro Engineer, Alias, and AutoCAD, and also the generic STEP format.

AnyCAD also helps solve your interoperability problems. When the vendor or customer sends an updated model, Autodesk Inventor notifies you that the file needs to be updated in the assembly. You then simply select update and all references and constraints are maintained.

With AnyCAD technology and DWG underlay you can associatively leverage your legacy 2D data. You can easily transition your designs to 3D without having to start from scratch.

AnyCAD technology eliminates the need to translate data and performs manual overrides. These workflows improve productivity for your overall design process allowing you to exceed deadlines and get your products to market first.

Autodesk has since continued to develop the AnyCAD functionality in Inventor and in the 2018 release, users can now use AnyCAD workflows to leverage Inventor 2018 parts and assemblies into Inventor 2017 designs.

For more information about AnyCAD and gaining access the latest version of Inventor or the Product Design and Manufacturing Collection contact us

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