I think there are a couple of persona's that check out the Autodesk Inventor trial version. The most obvious are people evaluating 3D as part of a plan to move from 2D drafting. Most likely the person is new to 3D, or had some experience with 3D in AutoCAD or other 3D apps. Either way, the person is trying to evaluate it and figures a 30 day trial ought to do the trick. Groovy, fantastic, sweet lets get started. But before you do, here are three important things to think about - free advice if you will.
Step one. Forget everything you think you know about 3D CAD, and don't try modeling a part within the first hour. I know many of you aren't going to agree with this, but here is my theory - stay with me. Too many people try to make the 3D modeler that they are learning work like the last one they used. Trust me I don't care if you are working on Inventor, or any of the others this strategy will only lead to frustration. Yes they share the same fundamental principles, but the workflows are all very much different. You will do yourself well to learn first how the application presents commands, interacts with you through prompts, dialog boxes, or menu selections. Savvy?
Step Two. Learn how to navigate in the modeler. Most people new to 3D don't have the luxury of a 3D mouse so you have to figure out how to zoom, pan, and rotate using the commands that are native to the application. Inventor utilizes the roller wheel on your mouse for all of those commands and can be run transparently, meaning that you can be active in a command and till zoom, pan, rotate without canceling the command. You'd be surprised how many new users have a difficult time with this process. Spend time moving around an existing model - open one of the sample files and get yourself oriented. If you watch guys that have been at 3D for a while, you'll see that navigating in a model is second nature, and it makes a big difference.
Step three. Anyone is going to figure out sketching and basic 3D features like extrude, hole, fillet, chamfer. Those are easy. But before you get too crazy spend as much time as you need learning how to create and manipulate Work Planes, Work Points, and Work Axis. Once you have mastered Work Planes you have mastered 3D modeling, points and axis I don't use as much, but planes are the key to the 3D modeling universe in my mind, Use the default origin planes as much as possible and try and orient your base feature at the origin.
To me those are the three key fundamentals to 3D modeling. I'm working a very long and very in-depth tutorial series that is going to cover everything from fundamentals through to doing your first analysis intended for people that just received a trial version of Inventor. Most of my readers I think are long in the tooth users and I'm interested in your take on what are the most important things for new users to Inventor to learn - and don't be shy. I'll be sure to give credit to those that come up with the best ones, and of course point and laugh at those that aren't so important... [grin] You know I'm joking...
Back to more work on the airplane - WiFi is the bomb, yo.