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AutoCAD Essentials is a multi-part series that takes a more modular approach to this massive program, used for everything from 2D and 3D CAD design, drafting, and modeling to architectural drawing and engineering projects. In this installment, author Jeff Bartels concentrates on the particulars of creating basic geometry in AutoCAD, including assigning imperial or metric units of measurement, using object snaps to control accuracy, and drawing and transforming basic lines and shapes. The last chapter in the course tests your newfound skills in a short project.
In order to start drawing in AutoCAD, the first fundamental skill we need to learn is how to draw lines. So in this lesson, we're going to take a look at the Line command. Let me mention that I have already created some geometry onscreen. This green rectangle represents a sandbox, if you will. This is to ensure that you and I are both drawing within the same sized area in model space. One more thing: in order to make sure that what you see on your screen matches what you see on my screen, take a look at the status bar settings at the bottom of my interface. Currently, I have all of these guys turned off, with the exception of Grid and Transparency.
If you would, make sure that you're setting match mine. To create a line, I'm going to move up to the Draw panel in the Ribbon and I'll click the icon. I can then look at the command line. This is where AutoCAD tells me what it needs to complete the command. Looking at this I'm going to pick my first point and then as I move my cursor, take a look at the line segment. This is called the rubber-band effect. I can pull this line out and click to define the end point. From here, I could click additional points onscreen. And from this point, I could continue to click additional points or take a look at the command line. Notice there's some additional suboptions down here between the brackets. Suboptions are additional functions that can be accessed within a running command. And there are three ways to select a sub-option. I'm going to show you all three methods and you can choose your favorite. The first way to launch a suboption is by typing the capitalized letter of the option.
For instance, if I wanted to back up one step or undo, I'll type U and hit Enter. Another way to access these options is by right-clicking. You'll find them right in the middle of the menu. I'll click Undo to back up one more segment. Probably the easiest way to access a suboption is by coming right down to the command line and selecting it from here. These guys act just like hyperlinks. I'm going to close my shape by selecting Close. Now, I'd like to create another line segment. To relaunch the Line command, I could move up and select the icon again or if I press my spacebar or Enter key, I can relaunch the previous command.
I'm going to pick a few more points here onscreen. And let's say that this particular location represents the end of my geometry. When I am finished with this geometry, I can move up and press the Escape key to let AutoCAD know I am finished with the command. Let's launch the command one more time. I'm going to pick my first point onscreen, and let's say I'd like to create a line segment that is ten units long. I'm going to pull my cursor over here to the right and I'll type 10 and press Enter. I just constructed a line segment ten units long in the direction in which I was pulling. I'm going to pull in this direction and type 3 and hit Enter to create a line segment 3 units long. Let's create one 7 units long in this direction. Maybe 5 units long in this direction, and when I'm finished, I'll come down and click Close.
As you can see, AutoCAD makes it fairly easy to construct line work, and the line work that we've created here is okay, but it's still fairly abstract. In our next lesson, we'll learn how to get even more control over the Line command, such that we can create geometry that has more dimensional value.
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