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Since we are getting into the topic of plotting, it's important to take a minute and talk about Lineweights. Our Lineweight setting controls the thickness of the line work when it's printed on paper. In this lesson, we are going to learn how to set Lineweights. On my screen, I have a mechanical example, and this drawing is essentially finished, but before I print it, I would like to visit the Layer Properties Manager. Let's pan this over, and then I will open the Manager. And notice that all of the layers in this drawing are currently set to a Lineweight of default.
That means when I print this drawing, all of the lines are going to have the same thickness. Now, typically we use Lineweights to emphasize the important parts of our drawing. For instance, I would the geometry of my part to plot using a heavier Lineweight than my dimensions. And I would like my dimensions to plot using a heavier Lineweight than my center lines. So let's change some of these weights. To do that, I will reopen the Manager, and I will come down and select one of these Lineweight settings, and using this dialog box, I can select from any of these other thicknesses.
Now, here is my problem, I don't know the thickness of the default Lineweight, so how do I know if I am picking something heavier or thinner than what I already have? Second of all, this drawing was set to be Decimal Inches, and AutoCAD is showing me these Lineweights using Millimeters. I am going to click Cancel and let's see if we can get some answers to these questions. I am going to visit the Options dialog box. I will right-click and select Options from the menu. Then I will set the User Preferences tab Current, and I will come down and click the Lineweight Settings button.
This is where we can get our answers. Notice that AutoCAD is defaulting to Millimeters for the Lineweights. If I want, I can select Inches to see the Inches equivalents of these weights. Now, Millimeters has always been the default measurement, so I am going to set this back the way it was. And notice that the default Lineweight measures 0.25 Millimeters. If I wanted to, I could open this flyout and select a different default measurement. I am going to leave this setting alone, for right now at least we know what the default width is.
Since I haven't made any changes, I am going to click Cancel and then Cancel to close these dialog boxes. Let's reopen the Layer Properties Manager, and I am going to start by setting a printed Lineweight for my part geometry. Now, my geometry is on three different layers, so I am going to select the trigger layer, then I will hold my Ctrl key and select the controller layer and then the buttons layer. By holding Ctrl, I'm able to select more than one layer at a time. Then I will come down to the Lineweight Setting and click, and I am going to give my part geometry a plotted line thickness of .6 Millimeters, and I will click OK.
Now, I would like the dimensions to plot a little bit thinner than the part, so I will select the dimensions layer and I will give this a Lineweight of .20. Finally, I would like my center lines to be a little thinner than the dimensions, so I will select that layer and I will give this a Lineweight of .13 millimeters. I am not concerned about the Lineweight of the Defpoints layer, because that layer won't plot anyway. And I am not concerned about the Lineweight for layer 0, there is no geometry on that layer.
I am going to move off of the palette and let it collapse. And I will center this geometry. And to see the Lineweights in action, let's take a look at a Plot Preview. I will launch the Plot command, then I will select my Printer, I am going to use the DWG To PDF virtual printer. I am going to go with and 8. 50 x 11.00 Inch size sheet. I will define my plottable area using a Window. I will click to the upper left, and then I will come down and click to the lower right.
I would like to center my plot on the paper and then I will turn off the Fit to paper setting, and let's see if this will fit on the sheet at a scale of 1:1. It looks like that will work nicely. As you can see, I am using the monochrome pens. Let's come down and click Preview. Notice that you can see the Lineweights as they will appear on the final plot. Creative use of Lineweights is a great way to create visual interest and draw attention to specific areas of your drawing.
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