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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.
Whenever you have duplicated geometry in a drawing, it's a good idea to convert that geometry into a block. Generally speaking, a block is a group of geometry that has been given a name. In this lesson we are going to learn how to create a block. On my screen I have a civil engineering example. This is a drawing of a proposed commercial site plan. Just for a second, let's assume we are a landscape architect and we would like to insert some trees into this drawing. Now I have already created my first tree over here to this side. Let's zoom in, this geometry represents a shade tree and it has 25 foot diameter.
Now currently it is a bunch of individual segments and I am sure you would agree, it would be very time consuming to redraw one of these at each location where I would like a shade tree in the drawing. Likewise I don't want to copy this geometry to each position, because I could end up with literally thousands of individual entities in this file. Instead, I am going to convert this geometry into a block. To do that I will move up to the Block panel and I will click the Create icon, and in the Block Definition dialog box, I will start by giving my block a name, I'll call this Shade Tree, and then in the Base Point group, I will click the Pick Point button and I will select the base point for this block.
This is the insertion point or the point at which I will be holding the block when I insert it into the drawing. Now the most logical location would be the center of this circle. In the Objects area, I am going to click the Select Objects button, and then I will select the geometry that I would like to be a part of my block, and I will right click. Let's move this dialog box over a little bit. Finally what do I want to do with this geometry? Do I want to keep it as it is? Do I want to convert this into the first inserted block or do I want to delete the geometry? I am going to leave this set to Delete, because I really don't need this geometry anymore.
If I wanted the geometry back, I could always insert the block. Finally I will come down and click OK. And as you can see the block has been created and my geometry has been deleted. Now I don't need this dimension anymore, so I will launch my Erase command, I will select this and right-click. Let's zoom out, we will pan back over to the parking lot, and we will insert our first shade tree. To do that I will move up to the Block panel and click the Insert button. Here is the Shade Tree that I just created, and as far as the questions go, I would like to specify the insertion point on screen and I will leave the Scale and the Rotation unchecked.
I will click OK, and I am going to place my Shade Tree right here. Having this geometry as a block makes it easier to move, copy, or manipulate in this drawing. For instance, if I needed another tree, I could insert another or I could create a copy of this one. I am going to launch the copy command. I will select my tree, AutoCAD treats it as a single entity, I will right click, and I will pick this up from the insertion point of the block, and I will place a copy here, I will put one here, place one here and over here.
When I am finished, I will press Esc. Blocks can be used for trees, manholes, fire hydrants, labels, plumbing fixtures, pretty much anytime you have multiple instances of the same geometry. it's a good idea to create a block. Alright, let's create another block, and this time we will take it to another level. I am going to open up the Layer Control and I am going to turn on a Layer that I have been hiding from you. We will turn on layer alt-tree, and I will zoom in on this geometry over here to the right. This line work represents another tree symbol that you might see in a landscape architect's drawing.
This one was created with a diameter of one foot and we will use this diameter to our advantage in just a second. Let's convert this geometry into a block. I will click to Create button and give my block a name. We will say, this geometry is going to represent an Ornamental Tree. I will then click Pick Point, and specify my insertion point. I am going to select the center of this circle. Then I will click Select Objects and I will select the geometry that comprises my block, and I will right -click and once again I am going to delete this geometry.
You know, there is another important setting in this box, right over here, it's called Scale uniformly. I am going to make sure that this box is checked. We will talk more about this setting in just a little bit. I will click OK to finish my block and my geometry has been deleted, so I am going to erase this unnecessary dimension. Let's zoom out and pan back over to the parking lot and I will insert my first Ornamental Tree. I will launch the insert command, and I will select Ornamental Tree from the block name menu. Now when I place this in the drawing, I want AutoCAD to ask me for an insertion point and in this case, I also want AutoCAD to ask me for Scale.
I will click OK and I would like to place my tree right here. Notice AutoCAD is asking for a scale factor. Let's say this tree shade has 15 foot diameter. So I am going to type 15 for my scale and I will press Enter. Remember that that original geometry had a diameter of 1, so 15x1 = 15. Let's insert another, I will click OK, and I will place my tree here, maybe this one should have a diameter of 10 feet, so I will type 10 for my scale and press Enter. You know what, if I wanted to I could click Insert, and I could tell AutoCAD don't even ask me for a scale, I am going to hard code the scale right here.
I am going to insert a tree with a 7 foot diameter. Remember that Scale uniformly button that was checked when we created this block, that's what controls these settings right here. Because it was set to Scale uniformly, I am able to control the scale using this one value. If Scale uniformly was unchecked when this block was created, I would have to independently set the scale for the length, width and height of this block. I will move down and click OK, and then I will place my block right here. As long as we are here, what if I'd like to make changes to these Ornamental Trees? If I select this tree and come over to the property changer, right down here in the Geometry group, I can see its Scale is set to 15.
So this tree must have a 15 foot diameter. Well, maybe it was supposed to be 20 feet, so all I have to do is change the value to 20 and the tree updates automatically. Why stop there, maybe I would like to update all of the ornamental trees at one time. If I make a crossing window and select these and come over to the Property Changer, I can see AutoCAD found three blocks, I am going to come down to Scale inside the geometry group. Right now this says VARIES. I am going to set all of these to have 15 foot diameter and as you can see, having this geometry as a block makes it very flexible.
Anytime you have geometry that's repeated throughout your drawing, it's wise to consider converting that geometry into a block. Blocks are faster to insert, easier to manage and they will keep your file sizes much smaller.
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