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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.
Another fundamental shape we need to create from time to time is the ellipse. An ellipse is similar to a circle except that it has two different diameters. In this lesson, we'll explore how to use the Ellipse command. On my screen, I have an example of an ellipse. Note that an ellipse is defined using a major and minor axis. Generally speaking, these dimensions represent the two differing diameters. If an ellipse is drawn from the center, these measurements are considered the Major and Minor radius. Now, there are essentially two methods of drawing an ellipse. The method you choose depends on where you want to start from. Do you want to start drawing from the center or do you want to start from the endpoint of the major axis? Let's pan the drawing over a little bit. The Ellipse command can be found in the Draw panel of the Ribbon. If you open the flyout, you can see the two creation methods: Center and Axis End. Let's see if we can recreate this existing ellipse using the Center method.
I'll click to define the center point. I will then lock my ortho. I'll do that by pressing F8. I will then pull to the left. And since I'm drawing this from the center, I will be entering the Major radius. In this case, the Major axis measures 96 inches, so the Major radius must be 48 inches. This is an architectural example. I will then pull up or down and define the Minor radius. In this case the Minor radius must be 24, because the Minor axis measures 48. Now that we have a general understanding of how to use this tool, let's try it out in a practical example. I'm going to zoom out, and we'll pan the drawing up, and I'll center this geometry on the screen.
Down here I've got an architectural example. This is a drawing of a small public restroom. I'll start by zooming in on the northwest corner, and I'll pan this down a little. Over here, I need to create an ellipse to finish this toilet symbol. In this situation, I'm going to create the ellipse by using the Axis End option. So I will open the menu, choose Axis End. I would like to start the ellipse from the midpoint of the tank. And since my ortho is locked, I will pull to the right and enter my Major axis dimension. I'll type 21, press Enter. Then since I am pulling this from the center point, I will enter the Minor radius dimension.
That would be nine, since the Minor axis measures eighteen. Let's pan the drawing over, and I'll zoom in a little bit closer. Over here, I need to create one more ellipse to finish the basins in this countertop. In this situation, I'm going to create the ellipse using the Center option. To specify the center of the ellipse, I'm going to use temporary tracking, so I'll type TK and press Enter. I will then snap to the front corner of the counter, and I'll pull to the right a distance of 8-3/4", Enter. I will then pull down 14-1/4", Enter.
Now that I'm where I want to be, I'll hit Enter again to resume the Ellipse command. And since I'm drawing this from the center, I'll be using the Major and Minor radius. I'll start by pulling down a distance of ten, since the Major axis is twenty, and then I'll pull to the right or left a distance of seven since the Minor axis measures fourteen. Now that I'm finished, I'll zoom out and center this geometry onscreen. Back in the paper- and-pencil days, drawing an ellipse was not easy. It usually involved sifting through a stack of plastic templates to find the right size. Now that we're constructing our geometry in a virtual environment, it's nice to know that we can create elliptical shapes as fast as we can enter the dimensions.
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