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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.
At this point, you may think the only way to create a rectangle is by drawing four individual line segments. Fortunately, this is not the case. In this lesson, we'll look at the Rectangle command, a tool that creates rectangular shapes in essentially two clicks. To launch the Rectangle command, I'll click the icon in the Draw panel of the Ribbon. Now, to create a rectangle, AutoCAD really only wants to know the location of the opposite corners. For instance, I'll click to specify my first corner point and then I'll pull this out. Notice I'm getting the rubber-band effect. I will then click again to finish the rectangle. As you can see, the workflow for this tool is fairly straightforward.
Knowing this, I'm going to pan the drawing up. I would like to create another rectangle, and this time we'll base it on some real-world dimensions. Over here I have a drawing of a standard, professional-sized pool table. As you can see, it has a length of 108 inches and a width of 54 inches. Note, this is also an architectural example. To re-create this shape, I will launch the Rectangle command. I will click to set my first corner point and then take a look at the command line. Notice there's an option down here called Dimensions. I'll click to select that option. I can then enter the length of my rectangle.
This is the horizontal or east-west dimension. I'll type 108 inches. Enter. I can then specify the width. This is the north-south dimension. I'll type 54 inches and press Enter. And notice the command is still running. Remember, AutoCAD is only interested in the coordinates of the opposite corners. I've chosen the first corner, and I've given the dimensions to get to the opposite corner. But that corner could be to the upper-right, to the lower-right, lower-left, or upper-left. So, I have to click one more time onscreen to define the orientation of this rectangle.
Now that we're more familiar with how this tool works, I'm going to pan the drawing up, and I would like to use the tool to re-create the geometry of this couch. I 'm going to start by drawing the right leg. To do that, I'll launch the Rectangle command. And I would like the leg to be placed on the floor, so let's take a look at another object snap as long as we're at it. I'm going to Shift+Right click to bring up my Object Snap menu, and I'll chose Nearest. Nearest allows me to snap to an object at a point nearest my cursor. I'm going to click right here. I will then access the Dimensions option. And this leg has a length of two inches.
I'm going to leave off the inch symbol just to go a little bit faster, and since it's not necessary. And the leg has a width of 5. I will then click onscreen to finish the rectangle. Let's create the bench portion now. I'm going to press my spacebar to go back into the Rectangle command. I'll use my Running Object Snap to grab the upper-right corner. I'll choose the Dimensions option. And this rectangle has a length of 72 and a width of five, and I'll click onscreen to finish the shape. I'll relaunch the command again.
I'll grab the upper-right corner of the bench. We'll access the Dimensions option. And this rectangle has the exact same dimensions as the previous one, so I'm going to hit Enter to accept six feet, which is also 72 inches. I'll hit Enter again to accept five inches for the width and I'll click onscreen when I'm finished. I will then relaunch the command again. We'll take care of the left leg. I'll snap to this corner. This leg has a length of two and a width of five, and I'll click onscreen to finish the shape. Next, we'll take care of the armrests. Let's go back into the command. I'll snap to the corner of the leg. The armrest has a length of five and a width of twenty. I will do one more on the other side. I am going to hit Enter to accept the dimensions because they are the exact same as the prior rectangle, and then I'll click onscreen to finish the shape.
I know what you're thinking: these have round tops. I will address that in just a second. I'm going to relaunch the Rectangle command and I'll start from the upper-right of this cushion. This rectangle has a length of 36. And I'm going to use the shorter width for right now. I'll go with fourteen and I'll hit Enter. I'll click onscreen when I'm finished. And for the final rectangle, I don't even need dimensions because I have access to the object snaps. I can start at this corner and I can end at this corner. Now, let's take care of the rounded tops. Notice if I hover over the objects that I've created, these are not rectangles. They're called poly lines. A poly line is a multi-segmented line. Since this is a poly line, it has some special options. If I click to select it, notice I see a series of these blue handles. These are called grips, and we'll talk about grips another day. But for right now, if you hover over this grip at the top-middle, notice AutoCAD gives us access to some additional tools. I'm going to select Convert To Arc to convert this segment into an arc. I would then like to pull this straight up two inches. So I'm going to lock my Ortho. I'll pull this up, type two, and hit Enter.
I will then do the same thing for the other side. When I'm finished, I'll press Escape to deselect the objects. I'm sure you'll agree, using the Rectangle command is much faster than drawing individual line segments. Now that you're familiar with this command, take a closer look at some of the additional tools hidden beneath the grips. You'll be surprised at what you can do.
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