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Join Jeff Bartels as he covers the most important features of this industry-standard drafting and design application in AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training. This course begins with a tour of AutoCAD's interface and the tools used to create basic shapes. It then focuses on the methods used to modify and refine geometry while emphasizing accuracy and good habits to build a solid design foundation. The course covers using layers, line types, and colors to organize a drawing file and explains how to efficiently annotate a design and prepare it for final output. Throughout the title, Jeff shares industry techniques used in production and reinforces concepts using practical examples. Exercise files are included with the course.
Creating manual copies of our entities can be tedious, especially if the copies also need to be rotated. In this lesson, we're going to learn how to use the Array command to copy our geometry into a rotated pattern. On my screen, I have a simple drawing of a round table and a chair. Let's say I'd like to create some copies of this chair around the outside of the table. Well, if I was to do this manually, it would be very tedious. I'd have to copy this chair into each location, and then I'd also have to rotate it to face the table. Instead, I'm going to use the Array command to create all of my copies in a single step.
Array is located in the Modify panel of the Ribbon. The icon is right here. I click to launch the tool. It brings up the Array dialog box. This is where I get access to all of the settings that I'll use to build my Array. Notice, there are two types, the Rectangular and the Polar Array. We're going to look at the Polar Array right now. Polar Array allows us to create copies of our entities in a rotational pattern. I'm going to click Select objects, and then I'll select the object I'd like to copy. In this case, it's the chair.
Then I'll right-click. Now let's take care of the center point. The center point is the point at which I will be copying my objects around. I can enter a Coordinate here. I can enter an X and a Y value, or if I click this icon, I can pick a point on screen. I happened to have a running object snap set for center, so I'm going to select the center of this circle. Now let's take a look at the total number of items, how many objects do I want when I'm done? Currently, this is set to 4. I'm going to leave that alone for right now.
Angle to fill, 360, this means I am creating my copies around a full 360 degrees circle. On the right side of this dialog box, I can see a rough preview of what my Array is going to look like. If I was to make a change, for instance, I will change my Angle to fill to 90, and I'll press Tab to accept that value. We can see the preview change over here. I'm going to change this back to 360. Then I'll come down and click Preview. This looks pretty good.
Take a look at my command Line. Notice, we're in Preview Mode right now. That means if I like the Array, I can right-click to accept it, or if I want to make a change, I can press the Esc key to bring back the settings. Now, I think we can fit a few more chairs around this table. I'm going to set my Total number of items to 6, and I'll click Preview. That looks a little better. I'm going to right-click to accept my Array. I'm sure you'll agree that making copies this way is much faster than doing them manually. Now that we understand the workflow behind the Polar Array, let's try and use it in a practical example.
I'm going to pan the drawing over. On my screen, I have a finished drawing of a motorcycle sprocket, and I also have an unfinished version. At first glance, it might appear like this sprocket would be complicated to draw. But, in fact, the only geometry that we really need is this geometry that we see on the left side. The rest of this part can be completed using Polar Array. Let's take a look at these holes first. In the finished example, it looks like I need five sets. So, I'm going to launch the Array command. This will be a Polar Array.
I'll click Select objects, and I'll make a window selection around these circles, and right-click. I will then select the center point of my Array. That will be the center of this circle. Total number of items will be 5. I'll leave this at a full 360 degrees, and I'll click Preview. That looks perfect! I'll right-click to accept the Array. Finally, let's take care of the teeth. This finished sprocket has 42 teeth. As you can see, I've already worked out the geometry, and I've created a single tooth and a single gap.
If my calculations are correct, we should be able to create 42 teeth around this part, and they should all meet seamlessly end-to-end. I'm going to re-launch the Array command. I'll click Select objects and I'll window this geometry. Then I'll right-click. I'll select the center point of my Array, the center of this circle. Total number of items will be 42. Let's click Preview. Everything looks really good! I'm going to right-click to accept the Array. Keep your eyes open for objects that fall into a rotational pattern.
A Polar Array can save you a lot of time over creating manual copies.
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