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Defining units of measure

From: AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training

Video: Defining units of measure

Up to this point we have been referring to our distances as units. Now are these units inches, millimeters or feet? Let's take a second and discuss how we can assign a real world unit of measurement to our drawing. I am going to start by creating a line segment. Let me come up and click my Line icon and then I am going to come out into my Model space area and I am going to pick one point on my screen and I am just going to pull at some arbitrary angle and I am going to type in a distance of 1 and hit Enter. Now that I am done with the command I am going to hit my Escape key to cancel out. I just created a line segment that's 1 unit long.

Defining units of measure

Up to this point we have been referring to our distances as units. Now are these units inches, millimeters or feet? Let's take a second and discuss how we can assign a real world unit of measurement to our drawing. I am going to start by creating a line segment. Let me come up and click my Line icon and then I am going to come out into my Model space area and I am going to pick one point on my screen and I am just going to pull at some arbitrary angle and I am going to type in a distance of 1 and hit Enter. Now that I am done with the command I am going to hit my Escape key to cancel out. I just created a line segment that's 1 unit long.

Now what does that unit represent. Well that unit represents whatever unit of measurement I want it to represent. You see when we create a drawing in AutoCAD what would be the most convenient unit of measurement for me to use to create my drawing and then that's what we set our drawing to. Let me give you an example. I am going to open a drawing. I am going to come up and click my Open icon and we are going to go one of the Exercise Files folder and we are going to Chapter 4, Defining Our Units, and then I am going to grab this first drawing, Units basketball, and we will open it up on screen.

Now this is a drawing of a basketball. Now the typical diameter of an NBA Basketball is 9.39 inches, so when I created this drawing I asked myself what would be the most convenient unit of measurement for me to use to produce this drawing. Well if one unit equaled 1 inch that would be very convenient because then I can just draw a circle with a diameter of 9.39. So in this drawing every unit equals 1 inch. Let me open another drawing. I am going to come up to my Open icon and click. Let's open up under the Chapter 4 folder.

We will grab this second drawing. Units basketball court and click Open. Now when I created this drawing I asked myself the same question. What would be the most convenient unit of measurement for me to use to create this drawing? Well if 1 unit equaled 1 foot that would be very convenient because then as I drew my line in this direction I can just type in 94. If I drew my line in this direction, I can just type in 50 so in this drawing every unit equals 1 foot. Now there are industry standard conventions. I don't want you to think that I get up every morning and I just draft something in millimeters and draft something in inches.

If you are a civil engineer or a surveyor your drawings will be set such that 1 unit equals 1 foot. That is an industry standard. If you are an architect your drawing will always be set such that 1 unit equals 1 inch. If you draft using metric units, your units will probably be set to millimeters or centimeters. Let me close these drawing and I click the x to close this drawing. We will click the x to close this one and we return to our single unit line. Now where can I apply my unit of measure to this drawing? I can do that through the Format pulldown so I am going to come up to the Formats menu and then click and then I am going to come down and select Units.

This will bring up my Units dialog box on the screen. Right here in the Insertion scale area this is where I am declaring to the world my unit of measure that I am using for this drawing. If I click the dropdown, we can see that we have several choices available. More often than not we will be using the units at the top of the list, unless you are building the Death Star or something quite large you probably won't be touching the units now at the bottom. For right now I am going to set this to Inches. This means that every unit in my drawing represents 1 inch. Also notice that this is in the Insertion scale area and it says Units to scale in certain content.

That means if my buddy next door is doing a metric drawing and he happens to set his units to millimeters if I was to insert his drawing into my drawing AutoCAD will automatically do the units conversion such that his geometry comes in at the appropriate size. Let's look at the top of the dialog box. Up here I have got a Length area and an Angle area. This controls how AutoCAD lists our geometry. If I was to ask AutoCAD how long is this line or how long is this arc, AutoCAD will tell me the length using decimal inches to a precision of 4 decimal spaces.

Now we can list our geometry more accurate if we wish. We can go from the even integer all the way up to 8 spaces to the right of the decimal. Likewise we don't have to use the decimal type for our length. If I click the dropdown, I have several other choices. The two that are used most often are Architectural and Decimal. If you are a mechanical drafter or a civil engineer or surveyor, you will be using the Decimal type because you will want your distances given in decimal values. If you are an architect you will set this to Architectural and then your distances will be given using fractional values.

So let me set this back to Decimal. We will try it out. As it's set-up right now if I was to list my line segment, AutoCAD will give me the length of the line in decimal inches to four spaces to the right of the Decimal. Let me click OK to get out of the dialog and let's try that. To list my line I am going to go to my Tools pulldown and I am going to select Inquiry, List. I can use the List command to query my geometry so AutoCAD is asking me to select objects. I am going to come down and click on this entity and then I am going to right-click to finish the selection and in my AutoCAD Text Window I get a whole bunch of information that really means nothing to us right now except for this area right here.

Notice that I am getting the length of the line in decimal. It happens to be 1 inch long and the distance is given to me using 4 decimal spaces. Let me close my Text Window. Let's go back into the Units dialog. I am going to go back to Format, Units. In addition to controlling how AutoCAD lists our length, we can also control how AutoCAD lists our angles. Currently it's set to decimal degrees. If I click the dropdown I also have the choice of Degrees, Minutes, Seconds, Grads, Radians or Surveyor's Units. Let me leave this at Decimal Degrees.

I can also control the precision of how AutoCAD lists my angles. Let me click the dropdown. Everywhere from even integer all the way down to 8 spaces to the right of the decimal. Let me click to get out. As we leave this dialog box we can remember that for this drawing every 1 unit represents 1 inch. AutoCAD by nature is flexible enough to allow you to draft using whatever unit of measurement is most convenient for you and whether you like drafting in inches, millimeters, feet or something else entirely, you can always find whatever you need in the Units dialog box.

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This video is part of

Image for AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training
AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training

87 video lessons · 9528 viewers

Jeff Bartels
Author

 
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  1. 3m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. Introduction to AutoCAD
      1m 28s
    3. Using the exercise files
      51s
  2. 23m 3s
    1. Modelspace
      2m 19s
    2. Toolbars
      3m 22s
    3. Pulldowns
      3m 36s
    4. AutoCAD's command line
      1m 44s
    5. Dockable palettes
      3m 21s
    6. The Status bar
      2m 58s
    7. Saving your workspace
      2m 10s
    8. Essential settings
      3m 33s
  3. 19m 1s
    1. Opening an AutoCAD drawing
      3m 0s
    2. Mouse functions
      2m 1s
    3. Zooming, panning, and regen
      5m 10s
    4. The multiple-document environment
      3m 23s
    5. Saving your work
      2m 32s
    6. Using templates
      2m 55s
  4. 16m 32s
    1. The Line command
      3m 16s
    2. ORTHO and POLAR modes
      5m 44s
    3. The Circle command
      3m 26s
    4. The Heads-Up display
      4m 6s
  5. 15m 48s
    1. Defining units of measure
      6m 12s
    2. Drafting with architectural units
      5m 0s
    3. Drafting with metric units
      4m 36s
  6. 20m 49s
    1. Cartesian coordinates
      5m 48s
    2. Object snaps
      10m 27s
    3. Automating object snaps
      4m 34s
  7. 23m 26s
    1. Rectangle
      4m 20s
    2. Ellipse
      5m 58s
    3. Hatch
      8m 33s
    4. Polygon
      4m 35s
  8. 23m 19s
    1. Move and Copy
      6m 43s
    2. Rotate
      5m 4s
    3. Offset
      6m 1s
    4. Erase
      2m 5s
    5. Undo and Redo
      3m 26s
  9. 12m 34s
    1. Windows and crossing windows
      4m 48s
    2. Removing from selections
      3m 42s
    3. Using key-ins
      4m 4s
  10. 1h 4m
    1. Trim and Extend
      6m 53s
    2. Fillet
      5m 1s
    3. Chamfer
      6m 35s
    4. Array
      8m 1s
    5. Mirror
      6m 52s
    6. Stretch
      5m 49s
    7. Scale
      5m 17s
    8. Grips
      7m 37s
    9. Explode
      4m 16s
    10. Polyline edit
      7m 46s
  11. 26m 0s
    1. Layers
      3m 30s
    2. The Layer Properties Manager
      9m 6s
    3. Layer control
      4m 29s
    4. The ByLayer property
      5m 26s
    5. The Layer Previous command
      3m 29s
  12. 43m 5s
    1. Single-line text
      3m 46s
    2. Text justification
      7m 2s
    3. Text styles
      7m 30s
    4. Multi-line text
      6m 28s
    5. Editing
      3m 24s
    6. Bulleted and numbered lists
      4m 5s
    7. Symbols
      6m 17s
    8. Spell-checking
      4m 33s
  13. 28m 58s
    1. Creating dimensions
      8m 35s
    2. Dimension styles
      6m 40s
    3. Callouts
      6m 40s
    4. Tweaking dimensions
      7m 3s
  14. 14m 48s
    1. The Distance command
      4m 15s
    2. The Property Changer
      6m 30s
    3. The Quick Calculator
      4m 3s
  15. 25m 8s
    1. Creating and inserting blocks
      10m 15s
    2. Using blocks
      5m 46s
    3. Modifying blocks
      4m 9s
    4. Building your library
      4m 58s
  16. 48m 29s
    1. Quick plots
      6m 40s
    2. Selecting a pen table
      5m 35s
    3. Layouts pt. 1: Choosing paper
      3m 21s
    4. Layouts pt. 2: Inserting a title block
      3m 11s
    5. Layouts pt. 3: Cutting a viewport
      6m 17s
    6. Layouts pt. 4: Reusing layouts
      4m 14s
    7. Scale factors
      3m 58s
    8. Sizing modelspace text
      7m 15s
    9. Sizing modelspace dimensions
      4m 47s
    10. Sizing linetypes
      3m 11s
  17. 9m 57s
    1. Drawing compatibility
      3m 4s
    2. E-transmitting
      3m 10s
    3. Saving to the Design Web format
      3m 43s
  18. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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