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Another shape that we see frequently in AutoCAD drawings are polygons. A polygon is a shape where each of the sides is the same length. Much like a hexagon or an octagon or a square. In this lesson, we are going to learn how to quickly create shapes like the ones we see on screen. Each of these shapes was created using the Polygon command and it's important to note that the steps used to create a polygon are virtually identical to the steps used to create a circle, that's because every polygon is based on an imaginary circle. If I pan the drawing over, we can see how a circle could be used to create each of these shapes.
So when we create a polygon, AutoCAD is going to want a Center Point and a Radius. There is only one more thing we need to think about, is the polygon we are creating, inscribed or circumscribed? Since AutoCAD is using a circle to create the polygon, it needs to know, if the polygon falls on the outside or inside of the imaginary circle. The method we choose depends on how the polygon is dimensioned. If the polygon is dimensioned to the corners, it's considered inscribed because it would fall on the inside of the circle. If the polygon is dimensioned to the faces, it's considered circumscribed because it would fall on the outside of the circle.
Let's try and create a couple of polygons. I am going to pan that drawing over. Let's zoom in a little bit. On my screen, I have an example of a small socket wrench. This happens to be a metric drawing by the way. So each unit equals 1 millimeter. I am going to zoom in a little bit closer on this bottom portion and you could see, I have a drawing of a standard 12mm socket, complete with a view of each end. Let's see if we can use the Polygon command to replicate each of these End Views. We will start with the one on the left. To launch the Polygon command, I am going to come up to the Draw panel, I will click this fly-out to expand the panel, and I will launch the command right here.
Now AutoCAD needs the number of sides. In this case, I will type 6 and hit Enter and remember that when we create a Polygon, it's just like creating a circle. So AutoCAD wants this center location. That would be the center of this circle and is this polygon inscribed or circumscribed? Well in this case, the distance that I am given is from face-to-face. So this must be a circumscribed polygon. Finally, what's the radius of the imaginary circle? Well, I know 12 is the diameter of the circle, so my radius much be 6. Alright, let's create the polygon in this End View.
I am going to expand the Draw panel and I will re-launch the Polygon command. I will enter 4 for my number of sides and hit Enter, where its' the center of my polygon and when you use my Running Object Snap, click, this circle to find the Center and this polygon inscribed or circumscribed. In this case the diameter of this circle that I am given, represents the distance from corner to corner. So this is an inscribed polygon. In fact this dimensioned circle even illustrates that the polygon is on the inside. Finally, what's the radius of the circle? Well if the diameter is 9, my radius must be 4.5, Enter.
As you can see using the Polygon command is a much more efficient way of creating these shapes than using the standard Line command. Once you understand the meaning behind inscribed and circumscribed, you could easily create any polygon you can imagine.
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