The Secrets of Lofting | Get Smart with Inventor Part Modelling 03

Secrets of Lofting | Get Smart with Inventor Part Modeling 03

Click her to read post 02 of this series, we found out when we should create a swept shape, and when we need to move on to the Loft command.

In this post, we’ll learn the Secrets of Lofting and how to get the best out of the loft command in Autodesk Inventor.

An example of a lofted shape in Autodesk Inventor

A Lofted shape

What does the Loft command do?

The Loft command creates a shape that is a smooth transition between two or more profiles.

Because the loft command can ‘warp’ the surface that it creates, we can set boundary conditions to maintain curvature continuity (Click here to read Part 01 for a definition of curvature continuity).

What is the difference between a Guide Rail and a Centreline?

A guide rail is doing the same job as a profile. The shape that we create is being ‘pulled’ toward the guide rails. We can have as many guide rails as we need.

A centreline behaves in a very similar way to a Sweep path. ASM will create intermediate profiles which will be perpendicular to the centreline. The profiles will follow the path, instead of being ‘pulled’ toward it.

Examples lofting with guide rail and lofting with centerline in Autodesk Inventor

Lofting with Guide Rail Vs Lofting with Centerline

When would I use a Centreline loft, instead of Guide rails?

A centreline loft with a pair of profiles will give you a naturally smooth transition. If you are struggling to get what you need from a rail loft, try centreline instead.

When SHOULDN’T I use a Loft?

Lofts can be created from sketches, faces, and points as inputs, but they are limited to a minimum of two profiles.

What if we want to create a surface using only one input? Maybe it’s time to learn about Patch?

What’s the difference between a Loft and a Patch? | Get Smart with Inventor Part Modelling 04

Click this link for part four of ‘Get Smart with Inventor Part Modelling,’ in which we will take a closer look at how Autodesk Inventor’s 3D modeling tools work under the hood, and you’ll learn when to use the Loft command and when to use the Patch command.

This blog post is based on an Autodesk University class, originally by Jake Fowler and later updated by Inderjeet Wilkhu and Paul Munford. You can watch a recording of the class, and download a handout that goes with this presentation from the Autodesk University website here:
Autodesk University Online: The Inventor 7 Deadly Sins of 3D Part Modeling

Paul Munford Author of 'Get smart with Inventor Part modelling'

Paul Munford

Paul Munford is a laugher, dreamer, raconteur, CAD geek and Industry Marketing Manager for Autodesk in the UK. Paul's background in manufacturing items for the construction industry gives him a foot in digital prototyping and a foot in Building Information Modeling (BIM). Paul was a speaker at Autodesk University for the first time in 2012, and he says it's the most fun anyone can have with 250 other people in the room.

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