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Friday, April 05, 2013

Working for the Weekend & Going to the (Content) Library

“A library is a repository of medicine for the mind”
Greek proverb 

I'm occasionally asked where additional content center libraries can be found for Autodesk Inventor's Frame Generator, and it seems those are not easy things to come by.

I suspect that's because of the time involved in creating them, once someone invest the time to make one, they're reluctant to just give them away.   But do I know for sure?  No. I don't.

But a few weeks ago, I was walking the virtual isles of the file sharing site GrabCAD, and low and behold, what do I find?  Inventor Content Center Libraries for 8020 extrusion!  The files were created and uploaded by Stan Wile, and he deserves a big thanks for sharing the work he's created.

A sample of the extrusions use to create a frame. I've turned off one of the extrusions for clarity

The files are in *idcl (Inventor Desktop Content Library) format, and here's how they can be made available to your installation of Autodesk Inventor 2013.  Once those files are downloaded, it's time to get started.

First go to Tools>Application Options>Content Center Tab, and find the location where the Desktop Content Center is located.

The Content Library locations.

Now go to this location, and paste the *.idcl files into this location.  The other Desktop Content Libraries will be here.

The 8020 library placed into the Desktop Content Center location

But there are a couple of more steps before everything is ready to go.

The libraries have to be made available to the project using the libraries.  To start this step, go to the Application icon (I call this the "Big I"), and choose Manage>Projects

Navigating to the project file location

Once the Projects dialog box appears, click on the "Configure Content Center" icon at the lower right of the dialog box, just above the "Done" button.

Configuring the Content Center Libraries
Another dialog box comes up and the library can be added to this project by checking the box next to the 8020 library.

Adding the library to the project

Now, the 8020 extrusions can be used just like any frame generator component.

Using the new extrusions

If you want to download and add these extrusions to your own installation of Inventor, you can download them from GrabCAD by clicking here.  Yes, there is a membership required, but once you get into GrabCAD, I think you'll like a lot of the things it has to offer.

Also, if you're using a version of Inventor earlier than 2013, all is not lost.  Stan has also provided the 3D models of the profiles, which can be used to create your own Content Library by using the instructions at the Autodesk link here.

A Final Note

The libraries provided are for Inventor's Desktop Content.  If you're using Autodesk Vault, and wish to move the files to the Vault Content Center Libraries.  They can be transferred by using the Library Transfer Guide to be placed into the Vault Content Center Library.

Accessing the Library Transfer Guide


  1. Great post Jonathan. Where can I fond out more about the *idcl format and how to model/produce files for this method of Content Centre addition?

    1. Brendan, I did some posts a while back on publishing to content center. Here's the link to part 4. It should step you back to the other parts as well.

  2. Yay. Someone used my library. That was hotel time put to good use.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I'm sure a lot more people than just I used it! :)