I have been using inventor since its inception, and was one of the first beta testers when I had a group of cad operator designers working under me on a machine build project. At the time we were using Mechanical Desktop and were amazed at how that product assisted us in getting fits between the various sections right. We were sceptical about Inventor, but agreed to try two seats just to see what would it could do, and if it was better than MD.
As it turns out it wasn’t. Well it wasn’t at that time, but mainly due to glitches, and poor performance on assemblies. We would wait hours for a large assembly to load. But for parts and small assemblies, it was outstanding. The intuitive design interface just blew us away. We griped about the lack of ability to work on curved surfaces, making a plane tangent to a curved surface wasn’t a couple of clicks it was nearly impossible.
We decided to stick with it because we all saw the potential, and because we knew that AutoDesk was committed to making this a flagship product.
Now I am using Inventor Professional Suite in my own practice, and let me tell you, it is a joy to work with. Most things are very intuitive, and I hardly ever have to refer to documentation to do something.
The simulation tools allow you to make presentations that customers can understand and can offer feedback on progress and approvals quicker than ever. Projects move faster, and you are able to complete projects in a more timely fashion.
This design tool does not replace good design judgment and certainly does not replace the skill that is required to make good designs. What does for a good designer though, is to enhance the skills in putting the design to paper in powerful ways that wouldn’t be possible to do by hand in the same time scale. For today’s designer it is like a tool on steroids.