When creating a design you inevitably will come to a stage where you need to test that nothing will break too badly. The Product Design and Manufacturing Collections has Inventor Nastran which allows a myriad of simulations to be run from within Inventor.
When you perform a simulation with Inventor Nastran, a common misconception is that the CAD model is suitable for running a simulation. In any simulation you have to try and simplify the model down to a level where the FEA does not take forever to run but also gives you a solution that is accurate.
The 3 types of mesh you can create to run simulations are either a solid, line or surface. The solid mesh takes the longest to run but is necessary if the shape is complex. If you have a long profile with the profile consistent throughout the length of the profile, you can use a line mesh. If the length of the shape is at a greater proportion vs the thickness then you can use a shell element.
Nastran is great at combining all of these elements together and that’s what makes it a great simulation package. If you are able to create surface meshes to analyse the model do not use a solid mesh. This drives up the amount of contact points and faces and will take forever to output a result.
When creating these surfaces it is a good idea NOT to use the mid surface command especially if the model will change. I have see the model fall over too many times to suggest this workflow.
It might seem like it will take longer but I suggest creating a surface model from scratch or by converting your CAD model to a surface model using the surfacing tools that are present inside Inventor or even Fusion 360 to make you rmodel ready for the Nastran environment.