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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.
Well the next stage in our project involves putting all the parts together. In this lesson, we are going to assemble our components into one large composite model. On my screen, I have drawing called assembly.dwg and I've already set up this drawing such that the environment is ready to create the photorealistic rendering. In fact, if I pan this over a little bit you can see some of the light sources that I have added to this file. So the environment is ready is go, all we have to do is add the components. To insert my first part, I am going to click the Insert tab on the ribbon, then I am going to come down to the Block panel and click the Insert icon.
Since I am going to be inserting a drawing, I'll click the Browse button and then I am going to navigate into the finished_parts directory. This is where we saved all of our finished components. I am going to select the wagonBody first and I'll click Open and then I am going to make sure that all of these settings are unchecked. Each part that we created was produced at the appropriate coordinates. So none of these settings is necessary. One box I do want to check is this Explode box. This will ensure that the components I bring in are individual surfaces and solids and not blocks.
Blocks don't render. So make sure this box is checked. Let's click OK and when I do, you can see my wagon body drops right into the drawing. Let's insert our next component. I'll click the Insert icon. I'll select Browse. This time, I'll select the wheel assembly, I'll click Open and OK to drop that into the drawing. Let's go back to Insert > Browse. This time I'll select the rearBracket. I'll click Open and OK.
We'll use the exact same workflow to insert the rest of the components. This time I'll select the frontAxle, and I'll click OK. Let's go right back in, I'll click Browse and I'll grab the rearAxle this time. We'll drop that into the drawing. Let's go into the folder one more time. We'll select axleMount. Let's click Open and OK. Now some of the parts take a little bit longer to insert than others. Be patient, they will drop into the file.
I am going to go back to Insert. Let's jump in again. I'll grab the handle this time. We've only got a couple of parts left. This time, I'll grab the socket. We'll place that in the file, and finally we'll grab the last component the wheelCap. Let's click Open and OK to place that. Let's orbit the geometry a little bit. It looks like everything came together nicely. The assembly is obviously not finished.
I still have to add some more wheels and another bracket. To finish the assembly, I am going to click the View tab on the ribbon, and then I am going to open up this Visual Style menu, and I'll select X-Ray. This way we can see through our geometry. Next I would like to go to a front view so I am going to click the front view hot spot on my View cube. I will then zoom in on my assembly. Using this front view will make it much easier to select the wheel and the wheel cap geometry. I'll start my selection by clicking in this lower left corner and then I'll pull up and create a window selection around the geometry.
I'll click to finish my selection. Then I am going to go to the Home tab. I'll launch the Copy command. Let's orbit the drawing a little bit, and I am going to zoom in and I'd like to pick this geometry up from the center of the end of this axle. If you have any running object snap set, it's important to turn those off. I am going to come down and turn mine off right now. Whenever we're moving geometry in 3D space, it's always best to grab the object snaps manually.
That way we're certain of the coordinate we are grabbing. Now I'd like to pick this up from the Shift+right-click. I'll select Center, and I'll place my cursor on the edge of the end of the axle here. Let me click to grab that coordinate and we'll then back up. Let's orbit the drawing a little bit so I have a better view of that other axle. I'll zoom in, we'll get a little bit closer, and I'll place this to the Shift+right-click, Center, and I'll place my cursor at the end of that axle.
You can see the object snap pop up. Let me click right there to place the wheel. When I am finished, I'll hit Escape. Let's back up and we'll orbit this around. That looks very good. Now let's add the remaining wheels and the rear bracket to the other side. Once again I am going to go back to our front view to make my selection easier. Let's zoom in. I am going to zoom out just a touch. We'll center this on screen. I am going to make same window selection around the wheel and the wheel cap.
Then I am going to click right here and make a crossing selection such that I can grab these two parts of that bracket. Then I am going to zoom in a little bit and I am going to click right here and I am going to make a window selection and try and grab that planar surface on the top of the bracket. Now that I am finished with my selection, let's go to a top view. I can click this small triangle on the top of my ViewCube to get there. And I am going to copy these components using the Mirror command. I can access Mirror by opening up the Modify panel.
I'll select the tool right here, and the first point on my mirror line will Shift+right-click, I'll select the midpoint of the back of the wagon and the second point on my mirror line will be Shift+right-click. I'll select midpoint of this front edge. And then I'll hit Enter because I don't want to erase the source objects. Now let's zoom in. It looks like we missed a piece. Even though I thought we selected that, it looks like we've missed it.
Now in the big scheme of things that probably wouldn't show up in the rendering but if we do want move that part over, let me show you how we can do it. Make sure your Selection Cycling is turned on. I am going to click right here over the top of that planar surface and I will select it from the menu. Now that that guy is selected, let's do Mirror again. I'll go right back into the Mirror command. I'll Shift+right-click and select the midpoint of the back, and I'll Shift+right-click, select the midpoint of the front, and when I am finished, I'll hit Enter. There we go.
That looks much better. Now since we are going to be taking a picture of this geometry, let's pose it in a more natural position. To do that I am going to go to our right side view. Let's click that hotspot on the ViewCube. Then I'll zoom in. What I'd like to do is rotate this handle and the extension back slightly. To do that I am going to go to the View tab on the ribbon and in the Coordinates panel, I am going to open up this UCS menu and I'll select a right side UCS. Whenever we rotate geometry, it rotates around the Z axis.
So my rotation will be much easier having my UCS on this right side plane. Let's go to the Home tab and I'll launch the Rotate command. I am going to make crossing window to select the geometry of the handle and the extension. And I'll zoom in and I'll make crossing window to select the socket. When I am finished selecting objects, I'll right-click and I'd like to rotate this geometry around the, Shift+right- click, center point right here and as I rotate this, I get a warning.
remember the surfaces that we created were associative to geometry. When I rotate this it's telling me its going to lose the association. That's fine. I am going click Continue and I am going to enter a rotation angle of -11. Let's back up a little bit and take a look. That looks better. While I am in this view, I am going to open up the Layer panel and I am going to click the Layer Lock tool, and then I am going to select my axle_mount layer such that layer is locked.
This geometry will no longer move. I'd like to make one more rotation before we're finished. First let's put our UCS back where it was. To do that I'll click the flyout under the ViewCube and I'll select World Coordinate System. Then we'll go to a top view of our wagon. Let's zoom in on this front geometry. I'd like to rotate the axle and the wheels on the front of the wagon. To do that I'll launch the Rotate command. I am going to make a nice big window selection.
This selects all of the geometry except for the axle_mount because we locked that. Now that I am done with my selection, I'll right-click and I'd like to rotate these entities from the center point. Let's zoom in and I'll place my cursor on any off these arcs to grab the center. Once again, I get another warning that I am going to lose associativity. That's fine. I'll click Continue, and I am going to rotate this geometry 26 degrees and I'll hit Enter. There we go.
Let's orbit this up and take a look. That's looks much more natural. Now that my assembly is complete and it's more naturally positioned, let's click the View flyout. We'll select the Rendered View. This gives us an idea of what the final image is going to look like. And just as a test, let's click the Render tab and then we'll launch the Render command by clicking the icon. Now depending on the speed of your computer, it may take a little while for your rendering to get started because AutoCAD has to calculate all of the shadows. There we go.
Now that my rendering is complete, I have got a very idea of what my final image is going to look like. I am going to click the X to close this render window and then I am going to save this assembly because we are going to use it later when we start applying materials. To do that, I am going to click the application menu. I'll click Save As. Let's save this in the exercise files folder inside the finished_parts directory. I am going to call this drawing assembly_finished and I'll click Save.
Now that our final assembly is finished, we are well on our way to creating a photorealistic rendering. Over the next few lessons, we'll learn how to create and apply custom materials to our model.
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