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In AutoCAD 2011 New Features, instructor Jeff Bartels highlights productivity and creativity enhancing additions to the AutoCAD toolset. This course covers improved functions for selecting and creating geometry, updated modification tools for hatches and polylines, simplified parametric constraint tools, and the new dynamic surface modeling techniques for creating complex shapes. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this lesson we're going to create the wheel cap for our wagon. After creating the part, we'll look at some of the new Surface Analysis tools that are available in AutoCAD 2011. On my screen I have some polyline geometry. I'm going to orbit my drawing a little bit, so you can see its context in 3D space. Generally speaking, I've drawn one half of the cross section of my wheel cap, and I've also drawn my axis of revolution. I would like to revolve this geometry around this axis. Before I do that, I'm going to move up and click the NURBS Creation toggle.
I want to turn that off, because I don't want to create a NURBS surface right now. Now that that's taken care of, I'll launch the Revolve command. I'll select my polyline and hit Enter. I will then select this endpoint and this endpoint to define my axis of revolution, and I'll enter a value of 360. Let's back up a little bit. As I orbit this around, we can see that that one revolution essentially finished my part. Let's center this on screen, and I'm going to turn off this section line work.
We don't need to see this any more. So I'm going to open up the Layer Properties Manager and we'll turn off this layer called Surface_Section. Let's take a look at the new Surface Analysis tools. We can find those in the Analysis panel of our ribbon. Now, mine happens to be creeping off the side of my screen. To make this a little bit easier to see, I'm going to click-and-hold on this panel name, and I'll drag this out in the model space and release. Surface Analysis is used to inspect our surfaces using gradient colors and patterns, such that we can easily identify things like curvature, continuity and draft angles.
We have three types of analysis that we can run, Zebra, Curvature and Draft. Let's look at Zebra first. I'll create my analysis by launching the command. I'll select my surface and I'll hit Enter. The Zebra analysis projects these parallel lines over the surface. These lines allow us to analyze the continuity or the transition between surfaces. The sharper the difference in the lines, the sharper the edges between surfaces. Let me also mention that these analysis tools only work when you're using a Visual Style.
They won't show up if you're viewing your geometry in wireframe. To turn off the analysis, I will relaunch the command, right-click, and select Turn off from the menu. Let's do a curvature analysis. To do that, I'll select Curvature from the panel. I'll select my surface and hit Enter. The curvature analysis displays a color gradient over the surface. The gradient shows us the high and low areas of curvature. The areas of maximum curvature will appear green, and areas that meet the definition of minimum curvature will appear blue.
Let's try a draft analysis. I'll click the Draft icon. I'll select my surface and hit Enter. Notice I didn't have to turn off the curvature analysis before I ran draft. Essentially, one will replace the other. The Draft analysis also displays a gradient over the surface. This tool is used to determine if a model has adequate draft between a part and its mold. The maximum draft angle will appear red, and the minimum draft angle appears blue.
To turn off the analysis, I'll click the Draft icon again. Right-click and select Turn off from the menu. I'm going to pan the drawing over a little bit to give myself some room. Let's look at some of the options that are available for each analysis type. I'll click Analysis Options from the panel. This brings up my Analysis Options dialog box. This dialog box contains three tabs, one for each analysis method. On the tab are settings I can use to adjust the appearance of the analysis.
Each tab also has a button that I can use to apply the analysis if necessary. I'm going to click this icon and then select my surface and hit Enter to apply the Zebra analysis. Now that it's active, I can use this slider to change my stripe direction. I can also adjust things like the type of stripe, the size and the color. Likewise, I can clear the analysis by clicking this button. Let's take a look at curvature. I'll click the icon, and we'll apply a curvature analysis again.
Under Color Mapping, I can change my Display style from Gaussian to Mean, to Maximum and Minimum radius. I'm going to set this back to Gaussian. The values that we see here control my maximum curvature value and my minimum curvature value. Right now, anything that meets this minimum curvature value will appear blue. That's why there's no blue showing up on my surface, because nothing meets that minimum curvature value. If I was to change this to something like 0.5, now we can see blue showing up on my model.
Let's clear the analysis and we'll take a look at draft angle. Once again, I'll apply this to my surface and hit Enter. Under Color Mapping, I have two settings. These control my maximum and minimum draft angle. As an example, I'm going to change my maximum angle to 1. Notice the change in the appearance, and that AutoCAD adjusted this central number to keep it halfway between the angle settings. Now that I'm finished, I'm going to clear my analysis and I'll click OK to close the dialog box. Finally, I'll hover over this panel and I'll click the icon in the upper right corner to return it to my ribbon.
Let's center this on screen. Since the part is finished, let's save it, so we can use it later in our final assembly. To save this drawing, I'll click the application menu and select Save As. We'll save this in the Exercise Files folder inside the Finished_Parts directory, and we'll call this wheelCap_finished, and I'll click Save. This completes the geometry for our final component, the wheel cap. In this lesson, we learned that AutoCAD allows us to analyze our surface models to identify surface continuity, curvature and draft angles.
The Analysis tools can be turned on and off whenever they're needed, and we can customize many of their settings.
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