I have a secret that I cannot keep anymore. I am sorry I kept this to myself for so long so here goes. I LOVE Multi Body Modeling in Inventor 2010. There I said it. Now share with me the love. This Autodesk ground up technology was incorporated into the 2010 release of Inventor and my productivity has never been higher with Static Master Designs (Skeletal Modeling, Top Down Models, Master Models, or whatever you want to call it).
Alternate Video for Blocked YouTube users: Vimeo Link
Let me break down the past for you quick. In Inventor 2009 and previous I would have to manage a Master part that contained my design information (iProperties, Parameters, etc) as well as some rudimentary modeling features or surfaces. Then I would have to create new part files, exit my sketch, use my Derived Component Command, select the file I wanted, choose the information to bring across, and then using the basic design elements create a piece of my design from the derived part. Next open an assembly, insert the part at the origin and either ground it or constrain to the Assembly Origin planes. Wash, rinse, repeat for every part of the design. Here is a overview chart of some Top Down Design methods:
Sometimes this would be 20 parts other times it would be 200 depending on the project. I am currently doing a design in 2009 that has 350 parts derived from a single Master Model. The enormous power of this design method is that a change to the original part can affect many others without tedious opening, modifying, and double checking. A 40 project can become 20. 8 hours of rework can become 8 minutes. 200 constraints can become 0 since the parts all reference the same origin and if assembled together can just be grounded to the origin of the first placement. I cannot begin to tell you the relief and performance benefit of avoiding constraints altogether.
Flash forward to Inventor 2010. In that release a couple new methods were introduced. One of them being Multi Body Solids. The other of my Inventor mistresses, Layout Design, we will learn about another day. Multi Body Solids allow me to create all my parts in context of the single file and then have the software automatically delegate out to an assembly, ground them to the origin of assembly, create the part files (along with custom naming and template selection), dump parameters all without ever starting the Derive Component command or manually creating a new part. Essentially taking all the extra steps out of what should be a fluid design process and not some Inventor User elitist mantra.
Take a look at the video showcasing the methods to go about creating a Multi Body Top Down Design. If you like what you see, or if you have questions feel free to contact us for training in one of our Advanced Training classes or I can answer some general questions here in the comments of this post. Also if you use this technology, post what you use it for and how you share the love of Multi Body with me.