by Luke Davenport
Interesting one this…
How can I bring an image file into Inventor and extrude it?
You’ll probably be aware that you can bring a image into an Inventor sketch and create a decal of it, but this obviously won’t allow you to extrude any shapes contained in your image.
What we need to do is convert an image to dwg lines, and for that we can use an Autodesk product called Raster Design. If you’re an Inventor user you probably have not heard of it - it allows the conversion of a raster image (like a bitmap or jpeg – pixels, not vector lines) inside AutoCAD to dwg curves that can be imported into Inventor. And if you have installed the Product Design Suite or the Factory Design Suite 2014 then you have this on your PC already! So I have educated myself a little on this bit of kit, and in a outrageous bid to achieve the most company logos in a single blog post, here goes!
(Disclaimer: As mentioned I am NOT an AutoCAD or Raster Design expert – this is simply a method I found that worked quite well for this scenario!)
1) Starting point – PDF Cadline logo (or JPEG etc…)
2) Insert image into AutoCAD 2014 as shown: (Raster Tools, Insert – select the ‘Quick Insert’ option to avoid getting bogged down with options).
3) Make image ‘Bitonal’ (black and white) if it isn’t already
4) Now your image may perhaps look something like this (poorly defined edges)
5) If so – select ‘Bitonal Filters’ – then enter ‘i’ (to select the whole image)
6) Then use one of the filters to help clean the image up. I found the ‘Separate’ filter with 2 passes to be ideal for removing the speckled edges.
7) Then we need to invert (negative) the image colours – use the INVERT command.
8) Now we are ready to trace the outline. Set your options as shown here:
9) And then use the ‘Polyline Follower’ tool to trace along the boundary edges of your shape/logo. Make sure to type ‘a’ each time before you start selecting points, which allows you to manually select the points. It will probably be easiest to refer to the video to see this part in action. Right click and hit ‘Enter’ every time you want to finish one section before starting another.
10) Then try using the PEDIT command (polyline edit) and select ‘Spline’ if your lines are a little jagged.This will convert them to a spline.
11) Then select the lines you have created, hit CTRL+C to copy, open up an Inventor sketch and hit CTRL+V to paste. Then you can use the lines however you wish inside Inventor.
So there we have it. It is somewhat of a manual process still, to be sure, but it only took me about 5 minutes to get my Cadline logo into Inventor. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I’ll be posting an alternative way of doing this in my next blog, so stick around.
Watch the video for this by clicking on the picture at the top of the blog.