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Autodesk Inventor Tips & Tricks

Custom User Coordinates in Autodesk Inventor
By David Melvin, PE, TEDCF Publishing

Custom UCS (User Coordinate Systems) are a fast and powerful way of creating work planes and work axes.  If you've ever had a difficult time creating the work plane or work axis you want, you might try using a custom UCS.

First I'll show you how to create a custom UCS, and then I'll explain how it can be used.

Start by opening a part file and add a couple of features similar to the image below.

Click the UCS command in the Work Features panel of the 3D Model tab.

The next step is to define the orientation of the coordinate system.  This process is similar to selecting geometry to create a work plane.

The first step is to select a node to define the origin.

You can enter absolute offset values from the origin of the part in the Heads Up Display, but it's easier to select a node.

The next step is to select a node defining the direction of the X axis. This step is important because it's the founding step that controls the orientation of all the axes.  You'll see why in just a minute.

The next step is to select a node to define the direction of the Y axes.

Now I can explain why the node defining the X direction is important. The coordinates on the UCS follow the Right Hand Rule.  So if you place your right hand along the X axis so that you can close your fingers in the Y direction, your thumb will point in the Z direction. As you can see from the image above, the Z axis points upward.  If you switch the nodes, selecting the left node for the X axis and the right node for the Y axis, the Z axis will point downward.

So how is a custom UCS useful?

If you look in the browser you'll see the UCS you just created.  Expand it, and you can see all the work planes and works axes you've added. These work features can be used to create new sketches for new features. In some cases, depending on the geometry of the part, it can be time consuming to create just the work feature you need. Now that you know how to create a custom UCS you might find that it's faster and easier to create a UCS.

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