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AutoCAD 2013 & AutoCAD LT 2013 Bible

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AutoCAD 2012 Bible

Create a custom UCS (User Coordinate System) in AutoCAD

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An excellent (and old) feature of AutoCAD is that you can define your own coordinate system:

The location of 0,0 The direction of the X axis The direction of the Y axis

A custom UCS is a common aid for 3D drawing. For example, if you’re drawing a peaked roof of a house, it’s [...]

Use spherical coordinates in 3D AutoCAD drawings

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Spherical coordinates are a way of specifying coordinates in 3D. Mostly, you use them with the LINE command. They’re good for finding a coordinate that you might use in a solid or surface. (I cover cylindrical coordinates, which are similar, here.)

Spherical coordinates have the format distance<angle<angle. An example would be 6<40<20. The 3 [...]

Use cylindrical coordinates in 3D AutoCAD drawings

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Cylindrical coordinates are a way of specifying coordinates in 3D. Mostly, you use them with the LINE command. They’re good for finding a coordinate that you might use in a solid or surface.

Cylindrical coordinates have the format distance<angle,distance. An example would be 6<40,4. The 3 parts of the coordinate are as follows:

First [...]

Automate the creation of details and sections on a layout

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The VIEWBASE command, new for AutoCAD 2012, automates the process of creating 2D views of 3D models. This command creates 2D view objects, which are a little like viewports, but actually a completely separate type of object. In fact, when you display a layout, the first thing you do is delete the default viewport [...]

Use AutoCAD’s VIEWBASE command to create 2D views of your 3D model

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Starting with AutoCAD 2012, you can use the VIEWBASE command to quickly create 2D views of your 3D model. These views are called view objects. The command prompts you to create views based on the default 3D views, such as Top, Front, SE Isometric, etc. You can choose a shading style, as well. It’s [...]

How to cut out a groove to fit a tongue in a 3D model with the INTERFERE command

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Bill Walker sent me the following tip.

Sometimes you need to cut out part of one 3D object to fit another object. For example, in tongue & grove construction, you need to cut out the groove to fit the tongue. You can make this process easy with an option of the INTERFERE command.

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3D viewing tips for AutoCAD

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When you work in 3D, you need ways to view your drawing quickly and effectively. Here are my best tips. What are yours? (Leave a comment!)

Transparent 3D Orbit: Shift + Mouse wheel. This is my all-time favorite 3D viewing tip. If you aren’t using this, you’re wasting time. It lets you easily drag [...]

Create 3D shapes with the 3D command

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AutoCAD’s surfaces have evolved over the years. First, you could add thickness to 2D objects. I’m not sure when that happened (let me know if you do), but it was in the mid-1980s, perhaps around Release 2.6. This is still the only type of 3D objects that AutoCAD LT can create.

Later (again, I’m [...]

Tutorial: Draw a 3D threaded bolt – video tutorial

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Some people prefer to learn from video, so I’ve created a video of a tutorial that I created on drawing a 3D threaded bolt. The video is 9 minutes long. You can find the text version at “Draw a 3D threaded bolt.”

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Extract data from objects in AutoCAD 2008 and later

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One of the new features in AutoCAD 2008 is data extraction. This might make you think of block attributes and data connectivity, but it combines features of both. It’s both simple and powerful.

You start with the new DATAEXTRACTION command, or by starting the TABLE command and choosing the From Object Data in the [...]