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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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