Autodesk is giving users a year-long extension to tap free software, continuing its technology preview of Inventor LT for another full year.
Announced last May, Inventor LT was initially released as a free download from the Autodesk Labs site, with a license to run through May 2008. At the time, Autodesk said it would eventually sell the software for around $999. Inventor LT is a streamlined version of Inventor, offering users the ability to create, edit and share 3D models in a variety of 3D file formats. Unlike the full Inventor package, however, Inventor LT only works on parts as opposed to assemblies.
“Inventor LT looks and works just like Inventor and offers all of the 3D modeling capabilities,” says Sam Antos, Autodesk’s product manager for Inventor LT. “We were hearing from our customers in the manufacturing supply chain about a need for a cost-effective solution to deal with parts.”
By offering Inventor LT as a technology preview, engineering teams gain access to software that can facilitate collaboration in the supply chain and enable them to participate in digital prototyping workflows without having to invest in costly software. In turn, Autodesk gets valuable feedback from the market on its technology while also giving engineering teams a taste of its software with the hopes they’ll eventually upgrade to the full Inventor version.
The new technology preview edition of Inventor LT, available in May, will be based on Inventor 2009, which ships this month. Among the new capabilities are enhancements for sketching ideas more quickly and transferring them to 3D along with drawing and viewing improvements and 64-bit support.
Antos says the new version of Inventor LT will be available for free through May 2009. He says it is too soon to tell if Autodesk will eventually charge for subsequent versions.