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In AutoCAD 2011 New Features, instructor Jeff Bartels highlights productivity and creativity enhancing additions to the AutoCAD toolset. This course covers improved functions for selecting and creating geometry, updated modification tools for hatches and polylines, simplified parametric constraint tools, and the new dynamic surface modeling techniques for creating complex shapes. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this lesson, we're going to create a wheel for our wagon. Fortunately, since all four wheels are the same, we only need to create one. When we're constructing the wheel, we're going to learn how AutoCAD tries to stay one step ahead of us by anticipating what we need. We'll also learn how to convert a group of surfaces into a solid object. On my screen, I have the cross sectional geometry that represents my wheel. This geometry was drawn from a top view. If I click the top view hot spot on my ViewCube, that's a little bit easier to see.
I'm going to click Undo to put my view back the way it was, and I am going to zoom in a little bit. Let's work with this closed polyline first. I would like to revolve this shape around this cyan axis to produce the plastic center of my wheel. To revolve my polyline, I'm going to move up to the Create panel and launch the Revolve command. I will then select my polyline and hit Enter. I would like my axis of revolution defined by the endpoint right here and the endpoint here.
As I'm revolving this, remember this is a closed polyline, so what type of object should I be getting? Well, typically, I would get a solid. Let's finish the revolution. I am going to type 360 and hit Enter, so I can do a full revolution, and if I hover over this, we can see that I've created a surface. Why is this? Well, AutoCAD is trying to anticipate what I want. I'm going to click Undo. Let's launch the Revolve command again and this time we'll take a closer look. Notice in the command line, there is a new Mode setting.
This is what controls what we're going to get, a surface or a solid. Here is how it works. By default if we revolve, extrude, sweep or loft a closed object and our Surface tab is current, we'll create a surface. If we use the same commands when our Solid tab is current, we'll create a solid. If I don't want to let AutoCAD make the determination for me, I can always right-click and select Mode and I can manually make the choice myself. In this case, I do want the surface, so I'm going to select that.
I'll select my object and hit Enter, and then I will select my two endpoints to define my axis and I'll enter 360 for a full revolution. Next, I would like to revolve the section lines that represent the steel portion of the wheel. Before I do that, I want to turn on a layer. I'm going to type LA and hit Enter to bring up my Layers Properties Manager. I would like to set my wheel_steel layer current. One way I can do that is by double-clicking the layer name. We're going to be using the Layer Properties Manager frequently in this lesson.
So I'm going to right-click on this bar, and I am going to select Anchor Left so this guy stays on my screen. Now the reason I set that layer current is because when I revolve this geometry, my surface is going to be created on the current layer. I'm going to launch the Revolve command again and I will select these two entities and hit Enter. Then I will select the endpoint here and the endpoint here for my axis. I'll pull this around and I'll enter 360. There we go.
As I back up and orbit this, we can see our wheel is starting to take shape. The last thing I have to do is the tire. Once again, I'm going to set another layer current. So I will hover over the left side of my screen to open up the Layer Properties Manager. I'm going to double-click wheel_ tire to set that layer current. I will move away and let the Manager collapse. I will launch the Revolve command again. This time, I'll select the line work that represents the tire and hit Enter.
Now, let me orbit this a little bit, there we go. Now my endpoints are little easier to see. I will define my axis by this endpoint and this one. I'll pull this around and once again, we'll enter an angle of 360. There we go. That looks pretty good. Currently, this tire is a surface and the tread portion of the tire is smooth. Maybe I would like to add some tread to this tire. In order to do that, I would like to convert this tire surface into a solid. Let's try that.
Let me orbit this back around, and I would like to turn some layers off such that I can get some things out of my way. I'm going to go back to the Layer Manager. Let's turn off the surface_section layer. I'm going to turn off the wheel_plastic, which is the center of the wheel, and we'll also turn off the steel portion of the wheel. There we go. That leaves us with pretty much just the tire geometry there. Now, this surface is obviously open on the inside. To convert this into a solid, I need to make it watertight.
So, I'm going to go to the View tab, and in the Coordinates panel, I'm going to click the UCS flyout and I'm going to set my UCS to Right side. This aligns my coordinate system such that it's parallel to the circular edge. Let me orbit this just a little bit more. Now, I'm going to go to the Home tab and I'm going to create a circle. I would like to draw my circle from the Shift+Right-click, Center of this edge. Now be careful. If you're not careful where you pick, you may get the wrong center point.
I'm going to make sure I put my cursor right on this edge and click. Notice that the circle that I'm creating is oriented properly in this view. I would like to define the radius of my circle by Shift+Right-clicking. I'll select Nearest. I'll select this edge. Basically, I've just traced the circular edge of that tire. Now we'll go back to the Surface tab. I'm going to launch the Extrude command. And what do I want to extrude? I'm going to hit L for last. That will select the last object that I created, which was that circle.
I'm going to hit Enter to finish my selection and now I can extrude this geometry. Now to close up this surface, you know how high should I take and extrude this, you know what? It really doesn't matter. I'm going to pull this out farther than I would have to, and I'm going to enter a value of 6. There we go! That's obviously more surface than what I need to close up my tire surface. Let's look at a new command. In the Edit panel, I've got an option right here called Surface Sculpt. I can use this to convert a group of surfaces that produce a closed volume into a solid object.
So I will select this surface and this one. When I hit Enter, AutoCAD finds the closed volume and converts that into a solid. I'm going to orbit this around a little bit more. Let's go back to our Layer Manager, and I'm going to turn on this layer called surface_revolve. If I zoom in, we can see I've got some circles drawn here. I'm going to use these to produce the tread in my tire. So let's back up a little bit. I'm going to revolve these circles around the outside. So let's launch the Revolve command.
Now I want this to be a solid. So I'm going to right-click and select Mode. Let's guarantee that we're creating solids. I'll make a window selection around my circles and hit Enter. Then I will select the endpoint here for the first point on my axis, the endpoint here for the second point, pull these around, and I'll enter an angle of 360. Let's zoom in a little bit. Now, this is pretty good, but I'd like to subtract these guys from the tire to create the indented shape of the tread.
So I'm going to go to the Solid tab, and in the Boolean panel I'm going to select Subtract. I will select the overall tire object and hit Enter. Then I will select each small tread object that I would like to subtract and hit Enter. There we go. As you can see, that volume was removed from my solid. I'm going to orbit this back around a little bit. We'll center it on screen. Let's go back to the Layer Manager and I'm going to turn on all of my wheel layers.
I'm going to turn off the surface layers, because they only contain 2D geometry. There we go. The last thing I want to do is set my UCS back to its original position. I can do that by clicking the small menu under the ViewCube and selecting WCS for World Coordinate System. Now that our geometry is finished, let's save it. I'm going to go the application menu and click Save As. We're going to save this drawing inside the exercise files folder, inside the finished_parts directory. I'm going to call this 03_wheel_finished.
I'll click Save. This completes the geometry of our wheel. In this lesson, we learned that if we revolve, extrude, sweep or loft closed geometry, we can control whether we want to create a solid or a surface. We also learned that a group of surfaces that produce a closed volume can be converted into a solid using the Surface Sculpt tool.
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