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Viewing 3D objects with Isometric View in AutoCAD

Ben RichardsonThis is a guest post by Ben Richardson. Ben is director of Acuity Training, a UK based IT training business. Acuity Training focuses on high quality classroom-based IT applications training including AutoCAD (of course!), Adobe and Microsoft.

You can’t succeed in 3D drawing without learning how to view your model from various angles. In this tutorial, you will become familiar with AutoCAD’s Isometric views, learning to move and alter AutoCAD objects in 3D. You will do this by creating a simple 3D representation of a door and manipulating it to suit your needs. It isn’t an exact model but will give you the experience you need to create more precise 3D models.unit

1) Specify settings

Before we start, you need to make sure your settings are identical to mine for the tutorial to work.

We’ll be working in inches. If you customarily work in the metric system, type DWGUNITS on the command line and type 1, for inches.

Type UNITS and in the Units dialog box, under Length, Type, choose Architectural and click OK.

To specify the Snap and Grid settings, right-click the Gridmode button on the Status bar and choose Grid Settings.

Snap and Grid should both be on, set to 6″, as you see on the right. Click OK to close the dialog box. Continue reading Viewing 3D objects with Isometric View in AutoCAD

Combine or subtract 2D shapes to create custom shapes

Sometimes you need to create a 2D profile that is a combination of the basic geometrical shapes that AutoCAD creates. While you might be able to use the PLINE command to create what you want, in some cases, 2 other methods may be easier.

Subtract shapes with the SUBTRACT command

For example, let’s say that you want to create this profile.

autocad-tips-region-custom-shapes-1

Depending on the information you have about the radius of the circle and length of its inset, it might be easier for you to start with these objects:

autocad-tips-region-custom-shapes-2

Here is one way to get the result you want: Continue reading Combine or subtract 2D shapes to create custom shapes

Working with linetype scales

Simple linetypes allow you to apply a repeating series of dashes, dots, and spaces to your objects. Complex linetypes can also include text or shapes.

Recently, a reader said that his linetype was defined as dash-dot but displayed as a continuous linetype. If you have this situation, zoom in and see if you can see the dots and dashes.

If you find that the linetype patterns in your drawing are too long or short, the line might look continuous. How often the pattern is repeated is affected by three factors:

  1. The linetype definition itself
  2. The global linetype scale
  3. The object linetype scale

1. Use a different linetype definition

autocad-tips-linetype-scales-1One choice is to change the linetype. A number of linetypes come in short, medium, and long variations, such as Dashedx2, Dashed, and Dashed2, as you see here.

Note: If you use ISO linetypes, the pattern definitions are much longer than the other linetype definitions, so you may need to make adjustments to the linetype scale.

2. Change the global linetype scale

Another choice is to change the global linetype scale, which affects all noncontinuous linetypes in your drawing. AutoCAD  multiplies the linetype definition by the global linetype scale to calculate the length of each repetition of the linetype:

  • Linetype scales larger than 1 result in longer sections — and fewer repetitions of the linetype definition
  • Linetype scales less than 1 result in shorter sections — and more repetitions of the linetype definition

Here you see 3 versions of a drawing with linetypes at linetype scales of 0.5, 1, and 2. As you can see, a scale of 2 is too large and a scale of 0.5 is too small. A scale of 1 is just right.

autocad-tips-linetype-scales-2a

When you draw, you just want to be able to distinguish the linetype both when you can see the entire drawing on the screen and when you zoom in close. The main reason to scale linetypes is for plotting. A linetype scale that works for a drawing of a house while you’re drawing may look continuous when you plot it at a scale factor of 1 = 192.

When plotting, first try the plotting scale factor for the linetype scale. If that doesn’t give you the results you want, try 1/4 or 1/2 of the scale factor — in the 1 = 192 example, you could try a linetype scale of 96 or 48.

To change the linetype scale, click the Linetype drop-down list in the Properties panel of the Home tab and choose Other to open the Linetype Manager. Click Show Details if the lower portion of the dialog box isn’t displayed.

In the Global Scale Factor text box, type the scale factor that you want. Click OK. The drawing regenerates, changing the scale of every noncontinuous linetype in the drawing.

autocad-tips-linetype-scales-3

Tip: The global linetype scale is stored in the LTSCALE system variable. You can change the linetype scale by typing ltscale on the command line and typing a scale.

3. Change the object linetype scale

Sometimes you may want the linetype spacing to be different for just 1 or 2 objects. Maybe an object is too small to show the linetype clearly.

To change the linetype scale, open the Linetype Manager. Click Show Details if necessary and in the Current Object Scale text box, type the scale factor you want. Click OK. Now all objects that you draw use the current object linetype scale. When you’re done drawing objects at that linetype scale, remember to change the linetype scale back to 1.

Tip: The current object linetype scale is held in the CELTSCALE system variable. You can also change the current object linetype scale by typing celtscale on the command line and typing a scale.

If you have also set the global linetype scale to a value other than 1, AutoCAD multiplies the 2  linetype scales. So if you have a global linetype scale of 12 and a current object linetype scale of 0.5, objects you draw will have a linetype scale of 6.

To change an existing object’s linetype scale, select the object and open the Properties palette. Click Linetype Scale and then type the new linetype scale. This linetype scale affects only the selected object. It does not affect the global linetype scale.

Have linetype scales frustrated you? Do you have any tips you can share? Leave a comment! And please use the Share buttons to share this with your colleagues.

 

Tutorial: Create a 3D model

This is a guest post by Andreea Georgiana. She is a CAD enthusiast who likes using the power of Computer Aided Design to create cool useful designs, from conception to 3D printing. She has a 21-day AutoCAD course at tutorial45.com.

She says, “Being able to use Computer Aided Design software to bring your ideas to life is one of the things I totally disagree only engineers should be able to do. With the numerous advantages of being able to move past the level of a 3D model to actually having the model 3D printed, anyone should consider learning at least the basics of modifying a CAD model.

“As a CAD hobbyist, wife and mother, I have found many cases where a customized solution designed myself has solved a problem in the exact manner I wanted, thanks to the power of CAD and 3D printing. You can find some free tutorials here.”

 

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Before I start, here are 2D and 3D images of the model you’ll draw in this tutorial,

autocad-tips-draw-3d-model-1a

autocad-tips-draw-3d-model-1b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Tutorial: Create a 3D model

3D AutoCAD Tutorial: Create a 3D piston

This is a guest post by Viktor Rask, founder of CAD Mode and author of the e-book 101 CAD Exercises – Learn & Improve Your Skills. He is a mechanical engineer (BSc.) with a passion for CAD and 3D! He also loves to help others grow.

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autocad-tips-3d-piston-final-1When I first started to learn CAD a few years back, I had a major problem with my learning process. I couldn’t find any exercise material. I searched and searched but couldn’t find anything useful. I decided to create the 101 CAD Exercises book to help others speed up their learning process and make it more hands-on and fun. If you want more exercises like this, you can get them here. (The exercises are 2D and 3D drawings without instructions so that they are not specific to AutoCAD.)

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a piston using 3D geometry in AutoCAD. To do this you will use the 2D drafting and annotations and the 3D features. I assume that you are already a bit familiar with the basic 2D drawing commands such as LINE, CIRCLE, TRIM, etc. The final model should look something like this in 3D.

Here are the 2D drawings:

autocad-tips-piston-final-2D

Remember that using gridmode (F9) and snapmode (F7) can be helpful between drawing tasks. For this exercise, I’ve been using AutoCAD 2017 but it will work with previous versions as well as other CAD software. Your commands and shortcuts might differ with other versions, though. The dimensions that are used in this exercise are originally metric but since it’s all proportional you can use the same values but with imperial units instead. I’ve decided to keep the measurements unitless for this exact reason.

  1. Start a new drawing in AutoCAD.
  2. Draw a circle with a diameter of 60 and place its center on the origin (0,0).
  3. Draw a horizontal line that starts at the origin and a length of 23. This line will be used as a reference length for the next step.

autocad-tips-circle-line-2

  1. Draw a rectangle using the RECTANG command as shown on the right side of the image below, using the endpoint of the line as a guide to place the rectangle. The dimensions of the rectangle don’t need to be exact but they must exceed the circle perimeter as we use it as a cutter. Then mirror the rectangle using the start point of the line (or the center of the circle) for the mirror line. Remember to erase the reference line that you used to create the rectangle.

autocad-tips-3d-piston-cutter-3

  1. Now draw a concentric smaller circle with a diameter of 52. Also, draw a vertical line 19 units to the right of the center of the circles as shown below and mirror it. As with the rectangles, the lines need to exceed the circle perimeter.

autocad-tips-lines-4

  1. Now use the TRIM command and use the vertical lines as edges to trim the inner circle. Resize the 2 vertical lines so that they end at the top and bottom arcs. Then use the JOIN command to make the following shape in the center.

autocad-tips-trim-5

  1. Click the gear (Workspace Switching) icon on the bottom right of the screen and choose 3D Basics instead of Drafting and Annotation. Also choose a 3D viewpoint so you aren’t looking at plan view.
  1. Now use the EXTRUDE command to extrude the shapes to make a 3D model. The Z dimensions (shown below) are 40 units for the rectangles, 44 units for the central shape,  and100 units for the circle. This image is using the X-ray visual style.

autocad-tips-extrude-6

  1. Now start the SUBTRACT command and subtract every shape from the main cylinder. Remember that first you must select the main cylinder, press Enter and then select the objects you want to subtract from it. You might need to change your viewpoint or visual style, especially to subtract the central shape. Now you should have a model looking like this:

autocad-tips-subtract-7

  1. Now you should go back to the 2D Drawing and Annotation and return to a top 3D view such as SE Isometric if necessary. Draw a concentric circle with a diameter of 52 and a rectangle (using the RECTANG command) with a height of 7.5 and one of its sides on the x-axis as shown in the image. The length of the rectangle should exceed the cylinder diameter, which is 60.

autoad-tips-line-circle-8

  1. You can isolate (hide) the main body by right-clicking on it and choosing Hide or Isolate>Hide. Then use the COPY command to create two more circles, 44 units and 100 units in the z-direction. After this, delete the base circle. Go back to the 3D Basics workspace.

autocad-tips-3-circles-9

  1. Use the EXTRUDE command on the 2 circles; the lower circle should be 42 units upwards and the circle on top should be 10 units downwards. Then use the REVOLVE command on the rectangle to make another cylinder. Specify the X axis as the axis of revolution and use the default 360° revolution.

autocad-tips-revolve-10

  1. Now right-click and end object isolation (Unhide). Using the MOVE command, bring the thin cylinder 20 units upwards in the Z-direction and move it towards the main body of the piston so that it extends on both sides.

autocad-tips-move-11

 

  1. Now subtract the 3 cyllinders from the main body. You can use the Bottom view for easier access.
  1. In the 2D Drawing & Annotations workspace, draw a concentric circle with a diameter of 20 units. Use the EXTRUDE command to create a cylinder that is higher than the main body.  Then subtract it from the main body.

autocad-tips-subtract-12

  1. Now use the CHAMFEREDGE command pick the outer edge of the top face of the cylinder, press Enter and type d to give it a distance from the edge. Choose 1 unit as the distance and then press Enter. You must enter the distance twice to give it the same distance from both edges.
  1. Start the FILLETEDGE command and then pick the inner edge of the top face of the cylinder, press Enter, and type r to give the fillet a radius. Choose 1 unit as the radius and press Enter.

autocad-tips-subtract-cylinder-13

  1. Next task is to fillet the side faces. Use the same command as in the previous step.

autocad-tips-fillet-14

  1. We will now create the ring pockets on the piston’s outer wall. Use the TORUS command. Set the center of the torus to the origin (0,0) and then use 60 units as the diameter and 3 units as the thickness. Make three copies of the torus (using the COPY command) with the following values in the z-direction: 76, 83 and 90 units.

autocad-tips-rings-16

You should delete the first torus. Remember that you can isolate (hide) the main body for this step.

  1. Finally, subtract the tori (plural of torus) from the main body. You should now have a 3D model that looks like the one at the beginning of this post.

For more drawings that you can use to practice your skills, be sure to check out my book!

If you have any questions you can also email me at viktor@cadmode.com and I’ll do my best to help you out.

Do you have any tips to help make this tutorial easier? Did you find this tutorial helpful? Leave a comment! And please share the knowledge using the Share buttons below!

Slim down your drawings with the PURGE command

autocad-tips-purge-2Are your drawings bloated for no obvious reason? When you insert a block, is there a long list of blocks that aren’t in the drawing? Ditto for layers?

Oversized drawings load more slowly, take up more storage space, and take longer to save.

Then you need the PURGE command!

Yes, you want slim drawings

Definitions of blocks, layers, styles, and more that aren’t actually used in the drawing make it slow and cumbersome. The PURGE command finds named components that aren’t used and lets you delete them. In a complicated drawing, there can be dozens or even hundreds of unused layers, blocks, text styles, dimension styles, and more.

To start the PURGE command, choose Application Button, Drawing Utilities, Purge or just type purge on the command line. The Purge dialog box opens. Components that have unused items have a plus sign next to them. In this figure, you can see that there are unused blocks, dimension styles, layers, and linetypes. You can expand these items to see what you can purge.

autocad-tips-purge-1

 

Specify PURGE settings

Continue reading Slim down your drawings with the PURGE command

Making an animated walkthrough video in AutoCAD

JP_600x600This is a guest blog post by Jaiprakash Pandey, who is a CAD Corporate Trainer specializing in AutoCAD, CATIA and other CAD software’s. He is an Autodesk AutoCAD Certified professional and an Autodesk expert elite. He is a regular contributor to AUGI World magazine and he has also developed AutoCAD video courses for pluralsight, his own platform SourceCAD, and other E-Learning businesses. Explore more AutoCAD tutorials on his blog, SourceCAD.

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With AutoCAD, you can create a short animated walkthrough video of your architectural model that can help you in presenting your ideas in a more creative way. Using short animated walkthroughs you can simply convey a lot of information without using many tools or drawings and even a non-technical person will be able to understand your design ideas.

Here’s an example walkthrough video. Continue reading Making an animated walkthrough video in AutoCAD

How to create multicolored lines in AutoCAD

khwaja IbrahimThis is a guest post by Khwaja Ibrahim. He is a Mechanical Engineer by profession and a CAD Engineer from Pakistan. His services range from designing for 3D Printing, Sheet Metal, Injection Molding and Manufacturing processes to providing Photo-Realistic Rendered Images.

He gets the utmost satisfaction in bringing ideas to life allowing him to demonstrate his creativity, designing and imaginative skills. As you can see, he also writes tutorials. This one is from 12CAD.com


By default design, AutoCAD’s line is a single entity. This singularity of the line allows it to be treated as a simple drawing element without the leverage of more complex types. However, for those of you who may require such a feature, there is a way other than grouping different colored lines into one.

As said, by default the line is a simple element hence to replicate functionality not built-in, we need to setup the proper environment before we proceed with the actual development. See the below screenshots for a step by step explanation of the prerequisites of sawing multicolored lines.

Preparation

Step 1: Command: MLSTYLE. Use the command MLSTYLE to access the Multi-Style menu. When you press enter, the dialogue box should open up.

Step 2: View current profiles

2cropped

By default a “Standard” profile is defined for regular line drawing. This is also set to the current profile in selection. At any time, this one profile will be available if there are no other. Create a new profile as shown below.3croppedStep 3: Create a new Multi-Style profile Continue reading How to create multicolored lines in AutoCAD

What’s new in AutoCAD 2017

This year, I’m going to do something a little simpler–show you Autodesk’s video on 2017 new features and then list them.

Smart centerlines and center marks

They’re easier to create and edit.

AutoCAD 360 Pro mobile app

Continue reading What’s new in AutoCAD 2017

Create objects with transparency in your AutoCAD drawing

AutoCAD 2011 introduced the transparency property for objects. Transparency gives you the opportunity to create presentation-ready drawings. You can draw an object that is up to 90% transparent. Here you see some trees filled with a 60%-transparent solid fill.

 

Transparency in AutoCAD 2011
As with other object properties, you should use the Layer Properties Manager to create a layer and specify the transparency as a layer property. Here you see a red layer that is 75% transparent.
autocad-tips-transparency-1
autocad-tips-transparency-3Transparency is pretty useless for the line that delineates an object, but is quite useful for a solid fill hatch or a gradient. Here you see the effect of a red 75%-transparent layer on top of an opaque blue layer. The result is purple at the point of overlap.

 

 

To create an object with a partially transparent solid fill, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Layer Properties Manager (the LAYER command).
  2. Click the New Layer button and name the layer.
  3. In the Color column for that layer, click the color swatch and choose a color.
  4. Click in the Transparency column for that layer to open the Layer Transparency dialog box and type a value between 0 (completely opaque, the default) and 90 (mostly transparent). Then click OK.
  5. Make any other changes that you want to the layer’s specifications and close or collapse the Layer Properties Manager.
  6. From the Home tab> Layers panel< Layer drop-down list, choose the new layer to make it current. (You can also do this after the next step.)
  7. Draw a closed object.
  8. Choose Home tab> Draw panel> Hatch.
  9. In the Pattern panel, choose Solid.
  10. At the Pick internal point or [Select objects/seTtings]: prompt, pick inside your closed object.
  11. Press Enter to accept the solid fill and end the command.

Do you use transparency in your drawings? Why or why not?