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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 handle for our wagon. While constructing this part, we're going to learn how to create a new surface by offsetting an existing one. And we'll also learn how to create a surface using a network of curves. On my screen I've some geometry. I'm going to orbit my drawing a little bit so that you can see how this geometry is oriented in 3D space. Generally speaking, I've drawn the bottom front edge of the handle, and I've created some line work here that represents the shape of the top of the handle.
I'm going to start by launching the Extrude command. I'll select this edge and hit Enter and I'm going to extrude this back a distance of 1. Let's orbit this around. Now I'd like to represent the thickness of the handle. To do that I'm going to offset this surface. To offset a surface we're going to come up to the Create panel, launch the Offset tool. I will then select my surface and hit Enter, and take a look at these arrows. These are showing us the direction of the offset.
Currently these are incorrect. I'd like to make my offset to the inside. To get access to the Offset Settings, I'm going to right-click. My settings are right here. I can use the Flip direction option to change the direction of my offset. As long as we are here, notice this. If I wanted to, I could create an offset to both sides, or I could offset this surface and create a solid object, much like using the Thicken command. I'm going to select Flip direction, and then I'll enter the distance of my offset, 0.17, and I'll hit Enter.
If I tip this up, you can easily see my new offset surface. Now these are little hard to tell apart, since they're the same color. So I'm going to select my new surface and hit Ctrl+1 on my keyboard to bring up the Property Changer, and in the Color area here, I'm going to set his color to red. When I'm finished, I'll close the Property Changer and I'll hit Escape to deselect. Let's zoom in on the surfaces. At this point I don't need my section lines anymore, so I'm going to go to Layer Properties Manager.
Let's turn off this layer called Surface_ Section and we'll return to the drawing. The next thing I'd like to do is close up the edges between these surfaces. To do that I'm going to use the Blend tool. I'll launch Blend and then I'll select the edges on this red surface, and hit Enter. I will then select the edges on the white surface and hit Enter, and I would like my blend to have nice square corners. So I'm going to click CONtinuity, and I'll set both of my edges to G0.
When I'm finished, I'll hit Enter. Let's orbit this around. We'll close up the other side. Once again, I'll launch Blend. I'll select the edges of my surface and hit Enter. I will then select the edges of the other surface and hit Enter. And I will set the CONtinuity of both edges to G0. When I'm finished I'll hit Enter. We'll orbit this back around. Let's backup a little bit.
Now let's look at this geometry. I've created these curves to define the shape of the top of the handle. Let me orbit this a little bit. This curved geometry was created using elliptical arcs and splines. To use this geometry to define a surface, I'm going to use the Network tool. Network can be found in the Create panel of our ribbon. I'll launch the command. I'm going to orbit this so these are a little easier to select. And what we do is select our curves going in one direction first and hit Enter, and then select the curves running in the other direction. When finished hit Enter.
Using the Network tool is a lot like using the Loft command, except we are selecting sections running in two directions. Let's zoom in a little. I'm going to open up the Layer Properties Manager. Let's turn off this layer called Surface _NetworkTOP and we'll turn on the layer called Surface_NetworkBOT this time. On this layer, I have geometry that represents the shape of the bottom half of the handle. Once again, I'm going to launch the Network tool. I'll select my curves in the first direction, and I'll hit Enter.
Now I'd like to select the curves running in the other direction. Before I select my curves running in the other direction, I would like to use the edge of this first surface as a curve. When we create a surface using the Network tool, our curves can be simple line work, like what I've been selecting. We can also use the edge of an existing surface or the edge of an existing solid object. To use the edge of this surface as a curve, I'm going to hold my Ctrl key and click to select it. I'll then release the Ctrl key.
I'll select the spline, and then I'll hold my Ctrl key and I'll select this edge. When I'm finished I'll hit Enter. And as I orbit this around you can see that I've created a network surface that ties perfectly to our original network surface. Let's go back to Layer Properties Manager and I'm going to turn off the layer called Surface_NetworkBOT and we'll return to the drawing. Now let's tie these two objects together. To do that I'm going to use the Blend tool. I'll launch Blend.
I'll select these two edges and hit Enter. Let's orbit this down, and I'll select these four edges and hit Enter. Now while I'm still in Preview mode, I'm going to orbit this around. Notice that it doesn't look the best. I've got a large bulge on the side. I'm going to select CONtinuity and I'd like my first edge continuity, which is the edge up here, to be G0 and I'll set the CONtinuity for the second edge to be G2.
When I'm finished I'll hit Enter. There we go. That's a much nicer transition. Let's do the other side. Once again, I'll launch the Blend tool. I'll select these two edges and hit Enter. We'll orbit this up, and I will select these edges and hit Enter. Just like before, I'll go to CONtinuity and I'll set my first edge to G0 and the second edge to G2 and I'll hit Enter.
Now we probably don't have to have this surface stay red anymore. I'm going to click to select it. I'll hit Ctrl+1 to bring the Property Changer back and I'll change its Color property back to ByLayer. When I'm finished, I'll close the Property Changer and I'll hit Escape to deselect. We have one more thing we have to do. we have to create the handle extension. Let's go back to the Layer Properties Manager, and we'll turn on one more layer. Let's turn on the Solid_Extrude layer. I'll tip this up a little bit.
We can see this circle and this path. This represents the geometry I'd like to use to create the handle extension. I'd like this to be a solid extrusion. So I'm going to zoom back in. I'll launch the Extrude command and then I'll right-click and select Mode and then I'll select Solid from the menu. I'll select my circle. Now even though it didn't highlight on screen, I can see in the command line that it was found. I'll hit Enter and I don't want this to be a straight extrusion so I'm going to right-click and select Path, and I'll select this path.
Let's back up and take a look. That looks all right. I'm going to zoom back in on the handle. We'll center that on screen. Finally, we'll go back to Layer Properties Manager. We'll turn off the Solid_Extrude layer, and then we'll save this part so we can use it later in our final assembly. I'm going to click the application menu. We'll click Save As. We're going to save this in the Exercise Files folder inside the Finished_Parts directory and I'm going to call this 08_Handle_Finished.
This completes the geometry for the handle. In this lesson we learned that it's possible to offset surface objects. We can offset them to either side or both sides if we want. We also learned that a surface can be created using a network of curves. These curves can include line work, the edges of other surfaces, or even the edges of solid objects.
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