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AutoCAD is a computer-aided drafting and design program that is the industry standard for a wide variety of 2D and 3D work. AutoCAD 2008 features several improvements over previous versions, but the core functionality and workflows have remained consistent for years. Users who have any of the more recent editions of the software will find AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training to be a valuable resource. Instructor Jeff Bartels has taught and used AutoCAD for a decade, and in this course he focuses on the difficult to master concepts that matter most to professional AutoCAD users. Exercise files accompany the course.
Layers are used in AutoCAD to organize our drawings. By placing our entities on different layers, we have the ability to turn line work on and off, as well as control colors, linetypes, and lineweights. Let's talk a little bit about layers. I'm going to open a drawing, I'm going to come up and click my Open icon and inside the Select File dialog, we are going to look inside chapter 10 within our Exercise Files directory and we are going to open up the number one drawing, the Retro Controller. So, I will highlight that guy and click open to bring him up on my screen. Now, this is a mechanical example.
This happens to be a drawing of a 1980s video game controller. Let's pretend for just a second that I created this drawing using a traditional pencil and paper and maybe I gave the paper to you and you looked at it and said, this is nice but it's awfully busy, can you give me a copy of this drawing without the dimensions? Well, I can't since it's all on one sheet of paper, unless I get a bottle of whiteout or an eraser, I have no way of giving you a copy without the dimensions. Let's look at it a different way. What if I drafted the controller on a piece of paper and then I laid a clear sheet of plastic on top of my paper and I drafted the dimensions on the plastic.
Now, when I give you the drawing, if you would like to see it without the dimensions, all we have to do is peel the plastic bag and the dimensions are gone. That is exactly how layers work. Each layer represents a virtual sheet of plastic. We use layers in AutoCAD to organize our drawing. For instance, we'll put dimensions on a layer, we'll put our centerlines on the layer. We may put our text and callouts on our layer. The more logical layers that we use, the more control we have over our drawing. For instance, if I wanted to plot this drawing without dimensions, I could just turn my dimensions off because they are on their own layer.
If I wanted to plot this drawing without center lines or callouts or a title block, as long as I have everything organized by layer, I have control when I plot. Let's make some adjustments to the layers in this drawing. Let's say I would like to turn off my dimensions. If I come up to my Layers toolbar, I'm going to click the dropdown right here, this is my Layer Control and when I do, I get a pop-up menu, that shows me the name of every layer in this drawing. I'm going to come down to my Dimensions layer and I am going to move over and click this little light bulb, this guy will turn the layer off and then I will click outside in Model space to clear the menu.
Now, my dimensions are removed from screen. Having my dimensions on their own layer, gives me the ability to plot this drawing without the dimensions if I wish. Let's turn off our center lines. I'm going to go back to my Layer Control and click, I'm going to come down to my centerlines layer and I will move over and click the light bulb and we will turn those off. Once again I'm going to click out in Model space to clear the menu. Those guys are now gone. Not only do layers give us more control when we plot, they also give us more control when we draft on screen, because I'm sure you will agree that what we see now is a lot less cluttered than what we started with.
If we use a logical organization of layers, I can turn off the components that I don't happen to be working on at that time and reduce my geometry to just what I need to do my job. Let's turn those layers back on. I'm going to go back up to my Layer Control and click the dropdown. I'm then going to move down and click the light bulb to turn on my centerline's layer. I will click the light bulb to turn on my dimensions layer and then I click outside in Model space to clear the menu. When it comes right down to it, layers give us more control over our drawing.
If we use a system of logically named layers to organize line work, we give ourselves more options when plotting or viewing geometry on screen.
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