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In AutoCAD 2011: Tips, Tricks, and Industry Secrets, Jeff Bartels shows AutoCAD users how to become more efficient power users, reducing the amount of time it takes to accomplish a task, increasing profit margins, and strengthening marketplace competitiveness. The course covers everything from shortcuts used in geometry creation, to program customization, to real world solutions to common problems. Interface customization, block and reference management skills, and express tool usage are also covered. Exercise files are included with the course.
When working in a production environment it's important that your drawings contain only necessary linework. You want to make sure that you eliminate any duplicated geometry. Having unnecessary redundant linework makes your file sizes larger. They can skew your quantity calculations and in the event your geometry is going to be cut out using a CNC machine, duplicates can render a drawing unusable. In this lesson we're going to learn how to remove any duplicated or unnecessary geometry from a drawing. On my screen I have an architectural example.
This geometry represents some linework that you might find in a kitchen. I am going to start by erasing one of these tools. I'll launch the Erase command. I'll select the stool and press Enter-- and that didn't work. Let's try it again. I'll launch the Erase command, I'll select the stool, and I'll press Enter. Has this ever happened to you? At first you might think there is a problem with the Erase command. In reality there is nothing wrong with erase. The problem is I have multiple insertions of the same block.
If I make a crossing window over the stool, you can see I have six more at this location. Let's press Escape. I am going to make a crossing window over this geometry and I can see I have five stools at this location. After seeing this, I have to question if I have any other duplicated line work in this file. Let's hover over the edge of the countertop. I can see this is a nice closed polyline. If I hover over this edge, I can see that I have a line segment that's duplicating part of this geometry.
Let's hover over the wall. It looks like this portion of the wall is a polyline. If I however over this side, I can see that I have another extra line segment on this side of the drawing. So it's obvious now that I have to scan this drawing and remove all of the duplicated geometry. The tool I am going to use is on the Express Tools tab. It's in the Modify panel. I am going to select Delete Duplicates. The official name for this command is Overkill. I will then select all of the objects in the drawing and I'll press Enter.
AutoCAD then brings up a dialog box. Since we're asking AutoCAD to delete duplicates, these settings control how similar the objects have to be before one of them is removed. Notice that I have several Ignore settings. Let's say for a second that I have two identical circles and each circle is on its own layer. If I check to ignore the layer property, AutoCAD will eliminate one of those circles. I can do the same thing with LINETYPE, COLOR, LINEWEIGHT and PLOTSTYLE. Now I know for a fact in this drawing I have not forced any line types or colors or any of these properties on my objects.
However I am going to check Ignore LAYERS, in the event I have duplicated geometry on two different layers. Let's look at Numeric fuzz. How geometrically similar the objects have to be. If this is set to 0, the objects will have to be identical to 14 spaces to the right of the decimal. Now since we're dealing with a microscopic level of precision, I am going to click in this field and I'll set this to 0.00001.
This says that if the geometry differs in the fifth decimal space, the entities are close enough to be called identical. At the bottom of the dialog box we can control how AutoCAD deals with lines, arcs, and polylines. For instance, if I check END to END, AutoCAD will combine collinear objects that meet END to END into a single entity. If I check OVERLAP, AutoCAD will combine collinear objects that overlap into a single entity. Probably the most powerful option is this one, PLINES. If I check this, AutoCAD will remove any overlapping redundant geometry in my polylines.
It will also compare my polylines to the individual lines and arcs in the drawing. If I have a line or arc that duplicates a segment within a polyline, AutoCAD will revise the polyline to remove the duplicated segment. For the purposes of this example, I'm going to leave all of these checked except for END to END. Let me drag this dialog box down. That's because I do have two collinear objects that meet END to END right here and I'd like those to remain as separate objects. Now that I'm finished, I'll click OK and if we look at the command line we can see that 16 duplicates were deleted.
Let's verify some of this geometry. I am going to make a crossing window over the stool and I can see that I have a single block reference. Let's hover over the countertop. I can see the polyline was broken at this single line segment. If I do a crossing window across this geometry, I can see that I only have one entity there. Likewise if we take a look at the wall segment I can see the polyline was broken at this individual line and if I do a crossing selection, I can see I only have one entity there as well.
So in the event your drawing has some unnecessary geometry, give it a quick scan with the Overkill command. Using Overkill, you can ensure that your drawings are geometrically cleaned of any duplicated linework.
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