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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.
In the event you are creating a drawing using architectural measurements, it's important to know that AutoCAD requires those dimensions to be entered a specific way. In this lesson, we're going to learn how to construct geometry using architectural measurements. On my screen I have a drawing that represents a floor plan. This file is set up using the typical units and settings common to architectural work. We'll verify that. To do that, I'll open the application menu, I'll come down to Drawing Utilities, and I'll select Units. As you can see, my units are set to inches and my length type is set to Architectural so my measurements will be reported using fractional units. Let's close this.
Since this drawing is set up to be an architectural drawing, we can construct our geometry using feet and inches. Let's take a look at how it works. I'm going to zoom in on this pair of offices. I'll center this onscreen. I would like to recreate the geometry of this desk, file cabinet, and this desk lamp in the room next door. We'll start with the desk. I'm going to move up and launch the Line command, and I will pick a point close to the corner of the room. I will then come down and lock my Ortho, and I'll pull to the right, and I'll enter my measurement this way. Five feet-- I'm using the apostrophe symbol right next to the Enter key--four inches. I'm using the quote symbol also next to the Enter key. When I'm finished, I'll hit Enter. And you can see that AutoCAD recognizes the measurement is in feet and inches. I will then pull up and type 2'6," Enter.
I'll pull to the left, five feet, four inches, Enter. And rather than entering the final dimension, I'm going to come down and click Close to finish the desk. As you can see, entering your measurements using feet and inches is pretty straightforward. The only time this gets a little weird is when we have to enter fractional inches. Here's how we do that. I'm going to construct the file cabinet next. I'll launch my Line command, I'll pick a point right over here by the front of the desk, and I'm going to draw this one clockwise, so I'll pull up, and I'll type 2'3-1/4." We have to put the dash between the whole and the fractional inches; otherwise, AutoCAD looks at this as being 31 fourths, which obviously isn't correct.
I'm going to press Enter to accept this value. I will then pull to the right and type 1'8-3/4," Enter. I'll pull down, 2' 3-1/4", Enter. And then I'll come down and click Close to finish the file cabinet. At this point, you may be wondering if there are any shortcuts when it comes to entering architectural measurements. Well, there is one. You do not have to use the inch symbol when entering your measurements. This is because the drawing units are set to inches and that's what AutoCAD is expecting. To demonstrate that, I'm going to create this desk lamp. I'll do that by launching the Circle command. I'll click to place my center point, and then I will enter a radius of 6-5/16. Enter. So if the inch symbol is left off, AutoCAD assumes we're using inches. As you can see, once you understand how AutoCAD likes architectural measurements formatted, creating geometry using feet and inches is quite easy.
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