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Sunday, December 09, 2012

A Quick Tip on Positioning Section Lines in Autodesk Inventor

“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose”
George Carlin

Creating section views with Autodesk Inventor.  It's not a difficult thing.  But there is a trick I sometimes use that I think is worth sharing on how to position the section line. 

The most common way, is to choose one of the projected construction elements.  This will grab things like the center or quadrant of a circle, a midpoint of a line, or a vertex where two lines meet.  This probably covers nearly all cases of what most users need to do.

The construction element

But what if there's a case where a section line needs to be placed a certain distance from the edge, and no convenient point exists?

First, place a section line on the view, but don't let it constrain to anything.  I like to place the section line completely off the view geometry to make good and sure I don't pick a point by mistake.

Placing the section line "off the geometry".

Now with the view placed (it looks like a projected view right now), right click on the section line, and choose "Edit".

The section view completed off the geometry

Now to edit the placed view

Now the sketch the section line lives on becomes active, and it can be positioned using constraints and dimensions, just like any sketch.  One important thing to note.  Make sure to use the "Project Geometry" tool to project geometry off the view.  Otherwise it can't be picked.

Use project, constrain, and dimension to position the section line.

Once the geometry is projected, it can be constrained and dimensioned like any sketch!

The completed section view

Do you have  a place this might be helpful!  Drop a comment!

And naturally, here is the accompanying video!


  1. Anonymous12:40 AM

    This technique can be really useful when making jogged section lines

  2. Anonymous5:11 PM

    Can the origin point or work plane be projected into a sketch?

    1. If you're referring to the origin of the part the sketch is associated to, it should be possible. You'll have to include the work plane, point, etc first.

  3. The section line seems to be contrained to a center of a circle - I want te stretch it outside this circle - have you a suggestion?

    1. If you constrain using the ghost line" method (which you should be able to see in the video, you can stretch the line whereever you want.
      You can also use the same method to acquire the quadrant of a line.
      Another thought would be to constrain the midpoint of the line, which should also allow the line to be stretched.
      Hope this helps!