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AutoCAD is a computer-aided drafting and design program that is the industry standard for a wide variety of 2D and 3D work. AutoCAD 2008 features several improvements over previous versions, but the core functionality and workflows have remained consistent for years. Users who have any of the more recent editions of the software will find AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training to be a valuable resource. Instructor Jeff Bartels has taught and used AutoCAD for a decade, and in this course he focuses on the difficult to master concepts that matter most to professional AutoCAD users. Exercise files accompany the course.
Sometimes making manual copies of our entities can be tedious especially if our copies have to fall into a rectangular or rotational pattern. The Array command was created to quickly make patterned copies of our selected objects. Let's take a look at the Array command. I'm going to come up and click my Open icon. We are going to open a drawing. Let's look inside the Chapter 9 folder within the Exercise Files directory. And I'm going to come down to the number 4 drawing ,which is our Array Demo. I will highlight this guy and click Open. Now what we see on our screen is a typical high school classroom.
It's not completely typical because it doesn't have any desks in it yet. Well, it does have one desk. When I zoom in down here we do have one standard high school desk. Let me backup a little bit. Now my goal is to fill this room with desks and if I was to use the traditional Copy command it would be extremely tedious because I would have to select my desk and then I would have to know each subsequent location where I needed to place a copy. Instead since I know my copies need to fall into a rectangular pattern of rows and columns I'm going to use the Array command.
To create an array I'm going to come over to my Modify toolbar and select the Array icon. This will bring up my Array dialog. From here I can select my type of array. There are actually two types. We are going to look at rectangular first. So that guy is selected that's good. Let's come over and click our Select objects button. This is where we identify what we would like to array. Let me click. AutoCAD is asking me to select objects I will select my desk and then I will right-click to finish the selection. Now that I have identified my objects I can now select the number of rows and columns I would like to create.
I'm going to speculate. I'm going to try 5 rows and I'm going to click in my Columns field to set that when I do watch my little preview area. When I click in the Columns field, notice my preview is dynamic. It's a little pseudo preview to give me an idea of what my array is going to look like. Let me set my columns to 5. That will do. Now I'm going to come down to my Offset distance in direction area. This is where I can set my distance between my rows and columns. Let me click in the Row offset area and I am going to attempt a distance of 5 feet.
Now this is an architectural drawing so I have to use my apostrophe, 5 feet. Now the distance that I give is not the walking distance between my rows. This is a center to center distance. Let me set my Column offset to 5 feet. Now that I think I have this set pretty good I'm going to come down and click my Preview button and we will take a look at our array. When I select Preview I'm now in the preview mode of the command.
My little Array dialog here is kind of in my way. Let me click and drag this guy up a little so we can look at our copies. Now this doesn't look too bad. It looks like I have a little bit of extra space between my rows. I think I could maybe fit one more row of desks in this classroom. So since we are in the Preview mode I can either accept my array as it is. I can click my Cancel button and quit altogether or I can select Modify and make changes. I'm going to click Modify and let's make a change.
I'm going to reduce my Row offset. Let me set this to 4 feet to put these desks a little closer together and now I'm going to change my number of rows to 6. Once again I'm going to come down and click Preview and let's take a look. Let me move my Array dialog out of the way and yes ,that looks a lot better. I'm now able to fit 30 desks in this classroom as opposed to only 25. So this is exactly what I want. I'm going to click Accept to finish the Array command.
Let's look at the other type of array we can make. I'm going to zoom in on the teacher's desk. From here I can see a drawing of a gear. Now my arcs are a little bit broken down. Let me do a quick Regen. I'm going to come up to my View pull- down and select Regen to cleanup my arcs. Now I have a finished gear on the left side and I have just enough geometry to create another gear on the right side. This gear is a perfect opportunity for us to use the other option of Array and that is the Polar Array or a rotational copy.
Let's start by creating an array of this hole. I need four holes on the inside of this gear, so I'm going to copy this circle around the center of the gear to create four holes. I'm going to do that by using the Array command. Once again I'm going to come over to my Modify toolbar and click on the Array icon. This time I'm going to do a Polar Array. When I select the Polar Array option notice that my dialog changes to different settings because it's a different type of copy.
I'm going to come over and click Select objects and let's grab this circle. I will select the circle and then I will right-click. Now center point, at what point would I like to create my rotational copies around? Well, I don't know what the coordinate is so I'm going to come over and click this Pick Center Point button. This will allow me to select a coordinate on screen. Now I have a running Object Snap set for center point so I'm going to move my cursor in and I'm going to get my cursor close to that circle and click to grab the center of that circle.
Now number of items. Four is perfect. Notice it says the total number of items, not number of copies. So I want four holes when I'm done and my angle to fill is set to 360 degrees. We can see the preview on the side. I can enter any angle I wish for instance if I highlight this and set it to 90. Let me click on another field and let's take a look at our preview. Notice I would be creating a rotational copy four items within a 90 degree angle. Let me set this back to 360.
Let's click Preview and take a look. Perfect. That's exactly what I need. I'm going to click the Accept button to keep it. Now let's finish the teeth. If I look at the finished gear on the left side I can see that this guy has 30 teeth. I can see that based on this call out. Now if I zoom in on my geometry I can see that I have created just enough line work to produce one tooth and what I'm going to do is I'm going to array that tooth around the outside of the gear 30 times.
This will be much faster as I'm trying to draw each tooth by end. Let's complete the gear by using the Array command. I'm going to come over to my Modify toolbar and click the Array icon. Once again it's going to be a Polar Array. Let me select objects. I'm going to zoom in and click this line, this line, this line and this line. Those are the objects that I would like to array. Let me right-click to finish the selection. Center point, I'm going to click my Pick Center Point button and I would like to create my array around the center of this circle so all I have to do is put AutoCAD's cursor on the circle and click.
Now total number of items 30 and I would like those 30 items copied around a full 360 degree angle. Once again I'm going to click Preview. Perfect. That's exactly what I want. Let me click Accept. We will backup and that gear is finished. Always keep your eyes open for a chance to use the Array command. If you can train yourself to recognize rectangular and rotational patterns you can save yourself a lot of time by not having to do a bunch of tedious copying.
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