Importing Autodesk Inventor Files
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Application menu Import Select File To Import dialog Files Of Type Autodesk Inventor (*.IPT, *.IAM)

IPT and IAM are the native Autodesk Inventor® file formats for parts (IPT) and assemblies (IAM). You can import both file formats into 3ds Max Design.

Note New in Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2011 is the ability to import Inventor files as Body Objects. This allows geometry in the ACIS solids format to remain in that format while in 3ds Max Design. To output this format, use the SAT exporter.

The components of models that you import into 3ds Max Design retain their object naming as assigned in Autodesk Inventor and can be brought in either as editable meshes or Body Objects. Once imported, you can edit the model just as you would any other type of object that you construct. You can apply modifiers, alter materials, add lighting and cameras, create animations, and so on.

Requirements and Limitations

Limitations of the Inventor Import feature are as follows:

Material Handling

Materials and material assignments made to the original Inventor model are retained and imported along with the geometry. Materials are imported as Architectural materials or if a single object has several materials assigned to it, they are imported as a Multi/Sub-Object material.


To import an IAM or IPT file:

  1. Choose Application menu Import.
  2. Choose Autodesk Inventor in the Files Of Type list.
  3. Specify a file name to import.
  4. Set options in the Autodesk Inventor File Import dialog.
    TipTo retain the solid-geometry format from Inventor, set the Import As option to Body Objects and follow the procedures in SAT Files.


Import As group

Import As

Choose the format in which the Inventor file is imported:

  • Body ObjectsImports the Inventor file in the Body Objects format also used when importing SAT files, which retains all ACIS solids information. To save these objects as solids, use the SAT exporter.
  • MeshesImports the Inventor file as editable mesh objects. Use the Mesh Resolution setting (see following) to determine the fineness or coarseness of the imported mesh.

Assembly Options group

Reference Duplicate Parts

When on, the importer treats duplicate parts in the Inventor file as references of each other.

Create Layers by Material

Generates layer information based on incoming materials. All objects sharing a material will be placed on the same layer.

Add Object Name to Material

When importing materials, uses the imported material name as part of the object name.

Merge/Replace Options group

Merge/Replace Option

Choose how the importer treats current scene contents:

  • Merge With Current SceneIncoming geometry is merged with any existing geometry in the scene. This setting is useful for combining components from separate files into a single scene.
  • Completely Replace Current SceneThe imported data completely replaces any existing geometry in the current scene. If the current scene has not been saved, you are given the opportunity to save the scene before proceeding with the import process. This is the default choice.

Material Options group

Import Inventor Materials

When on, all Inventor materials and texture maps are translated and imported into the scene. When off, no materials are imported with the model.

Assign Material IDs

Lets you control whether material IDs are assigned to objects that are imported from Inventor. You can assign different materials to different surfaces of the same object while working in Inventor. When these objects are imported to 3ds Max Design, material IDs are assigned to the faces of single objects to which multiple materials are applied.

For example, say you've created a single object that represents a knob with a threaded shaft and you've applied a black, plastic material to the knob and a silver, metal material to the threaded shaft. If Assign Material IDs is on when you import the model into 3ds Max Design, the imported faces that have the plastic material are assigned material ID #1 and the faces that have the metal material are assigned material ID #2. If you choose to try different materials while working in 3ds Max Design, you can quickly make sub-object selections based on the material IDs or apply a Multi/Sub-Object material that contains materials that correspond to the IDs assigned to the faces.

Mesh Resolution group

Mesh Resolution

When importing as meshes, this slider lets you determine the degree of refinement applied to the mesh objects. When set to 0 (zero), the geometry is imported as it appears in Autodesk Inventor. When set less than zero, the mesh is optimized with fewer faces, thus reducing detail. If the mesh resolution is set higher than zero, the mesh is tessellated with more faces, providing greater detail.

The Mesh Resolution slider is always set to 0 when you initiate an import.

Left: Mesh Resolution=–7.

Center: Mesh Resolution=0.

Right: Mesh Resolution=+7.

NoteThe option to adjust mesh resolution is available only for models imported from Autodesk Inventor 10 or later.

Inventor File Vertical Direction group

This option determines the model's orientation upon import. You can choose which axis of the Inventor model is vertical.

Inventor File Vertical Direction

Choose the axis option:

  • X AxisThe X axis of the model, as seen in Inventor, is rotated so it is vertical when the model is imported.
  • Y AxisThe model is imported with the Y axis oriented as the vertical axis.
  • Z AxisThe imported model is rotated so its Z axis is the vertical axis.