Types of workpieces and materials

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The Autodesk Inventor Part is a non-divisible item which is regarded as a unit in the specification. If you look at the furniture part you can see that it is, in essence, a composite item consisting of a variety of predesigned items glued to one another, further referred to as workpieces. In the figure below you can see that the part consists of a board workpiece glued with two veneer workpieces, and edges covered with edge band workpieces. The modeling of each workpiece, as separate part, is a time-consuming factor in the construction process, thus after assigning materials to the part, the Woodwork for Inventor add-on interprets the data of the latter part and subdivides the part into specific workpieces constituting the part.


Structure of the Part

Structure of the Part





Each Woodwork for Inventor part has one required Fill Workpiece and can have extra optional Cover Workpieces. Each workpiece, in turn, is produced from a selected material. Thus a part can consists of:


1. Fill workpiece

2. Additional cover workpieces


In the Autodesk Inventor environment, the constructor creates geometry for furniture parts. Using Woodwork for Inventor tools, the constructor can assign a fill material to the part and indicate which surfaces of the part should be covered by different cover materials. When generating reports containing information about such a part, the system automatically breaks down this information into required workpieces containing relevant materials. For example, a cut shelf can only consist of a single workpiece, i. e. board type material. If the edge of the shelf is covered with a band, it means that such a part consists of two workpieces: board workpiece and edge band workpiece. Depending on the part geometry, material grain direction and oversizes, workpieces have length, width and height automatically calculated by the Woodwork for Inventor add-on which are used in generating data in reports and calculating required quantities of materials. One exception applies in this case: the amount of paint required to cover a surface is calculated in terms of surface area and thickness of the layer of paint. It is important to note that the part size and the size of the workpiece from which the part is produced, may differ (see Part and blank size calculations section).


The fill material is usually a solid piece of material, e. g. chipboard or solid wood. However, in the production of wooden products, there are situations where a fill workpiece of the part can be composed from other workpieces. There are two cases in Woodwork for Inventor where a fill workpiece is not a solid piece of material:


1. Multilayer board

2. Composite part


A multilayer board is produced by the manufacturer by gluing several layers together using different boards. If necessary, such a “sandwich” can be covered with a veneer or paint. This “sandwich” is later cut into separate parts, thus Woodwork for Inventor considers such a multilayer board as a material and not a workpiece. The composition of such a material is described in the Woodwork for Inventor material database, using the multilayer board constructor.


Composite workpieces. A furniture part can be produced in several stages. First stage includes manufacturing of parts which are then glued together or otherwise attached to one another to form a single workpiece. Such a workpiece can be subjected to additional processing, e. g. calibration, drilling, edge-banding or painting, in this way creating the end form of the part. In Woodwork for Inventor such parts are referred to as composite parts. It is considered that such a part consists of a composite workpiece which is made from two separate parts.



Composite Part

Composite Part



Such a part is designed by deriving a part assembly (Autodesk Inventor Derive Component command). If the derived assembly consists of Woodwork for Inventor parts, the system itself automatically recognizes such a situation and generates relevant data about the part workpiece consisting of the parts that have their own respective workpieces.




Each workpiece is made from a certain material. As mentioned above, Woodwork for Inventor uses certain material types which are classified into:


Fills: materials that provide the form for the part after processing them during the manufacturing process. Examples include solid wood or chipboard, etc.
Covers:  materials that can be used to cover the parts made from the fill material. Examples include veneer, edge band, etc.


When generating manufacturing information, it is important to estimate the materials assigned to parts during the design process. For instance, you have to know how many square meters of one or another board are required to manufacture a designed cabinet, or how many cubic meters of wood are required to manufacture staircase. From the examples above, we can see that we can classify materials based on the method for calculating and presenting them in reports, i. e. the unit of measurement of the material can be volume, area, length, or units.


Fills have the following material types:
Solid: estimated in units of volume, m³
Board: estimated in units of area, m²
Laminated Board
Multilayer Board
Rod: estimated in units of length, m
Desktop: estimated in units of length, m


Covers use the following material types:
Veneer: estimated in units of area, m²
Edge Band: estimated in units of length, m
Paint: estimated in units of area, m²



Below you will find detailed information about each type of material.


Solid Wood - calculated in cubic units. An example of such a material is a fragment of a staircase handrail.


Solid Wood

Solid Wood



Board - calculated in square units. These materials are classified into the following sub-groups:


Board - an example of such a material is chipboard or glass.
Laminated  Board - it is the most popular material in the production of cabinet furniture. This type of material offers a variety of color solutions, thus Woodwork for Inventor can link such type of material with a range of colors on the palette basis. For more information about palettes, click here.


Laminated Board

Laminated Board



Multilayer Board - boards that are usually produced by a furniture manufacturer. Such boards are produced for the purpose of obtaining parts of non-standard thickness. Purchased boards are glued into a multilayer board of non-standard thickness. Woodwork for Inventor offers an option of describing such boards in the material database. Later, when generating BOM specifications, these specifications show that a part workpiece consists of other ‘elementary’ board workpieces, and based on relevant data required quantities of materials are calculated.



Multilayer Board

Multilayer Board




Rod - calculated in units of length. Rods are used in the production of various frame components, e. g. aluminum profile doors. Meanwhile, wood profiles can be used in the construction of different façade frames for buildings.



A typical structure consisting of wood, plastic and aluminum rods (profiles)

A typical structure consisting of wood, plastic and aluminum rods (profiles)



Desktop - calculated in units of length. Examples include kitchen tabletops.


Unit - calculated in units. Units, as a rule, are products purchased by a manufacturer to create a complete piece furniture. These may include screws, hinges, metal legs, etc. Woodwork for Inventor treats all Purchased-type Autodesk Inventor components as products calculated in terms of units.


Below you will find detailed information about each type of cover:


Veneer - calculated in units of area. These include wood veneers and various films which are used as additional coating applied to a part. Currently, Woodwork for Inventor allows the user to assign a veneer type cover only to cylindrical and flat surfaces.
Edge Band - calculated in units of length. An edge band is only applied to board-type parts and for edge covering.
Paint - calculated in units of area to be covered with paint.


Cover can only applied to a part to which a fill has already been assigned. Speaking about materials in terms of Autodesk Inventor categories, a fill material can be assigned to a Part and it corresponds to the concept of Autodesk Inventor material. Meanwhile, a cover material can be assigned to a Face and it corresponds to Autodesk Inventor Appearance assignment to a respective part face.