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Properly managing a drawing is essential to being productive in AutoCAD. In this course, author Jeff Bartels concentrates on the Autodesk AutoCAD tools and features dedicated to organizing and editing geometry. The course covers making selections, creating and adjusting layers, identifying objects with hatch patterns, and scaling, exploding, and joining elements. It also includes lessons on creating fillets and chamfers, copying existing objects into rectangular or circular patterns, and accessing specialized tools that make measurements and calculations a lot easier.
In this lesson we're going to look at the most versatile tool AutoCAD has. I'm speaking about Grips. Grips have been around since the earliest days of the software, and with each new release they continue to get additional features. In fact, using this one tool, we can do almost all of the editing functions that we've talked about so far, let's take a look. First of all, let me say that grips are everywhere. If I select this geometry, take a look at all of these little blue squares, these are grips. Each of these grips represents a point of control you have over an object.
Typically, they show up at the location of the Object Snaps. If you press the Escape key, you'll deselect the objects and clear the grips. Let's start by zooming in on this line in the upper left corner. I'll click to select it and you can see the grips are showing up at the endpoints and the midpoint. I'm going to hover over this grip on the right side. When I do, you can see AutoCAD is giving me some dimensional information about this object. That's because my Dynamic Input is turned on. If your Dynamic Input is not turned on, you can press F12 to toggle that value.
Having Dynamic Input turned off will disable some of the grip functionality. Let's pan this over, I'll click to select this circle and I'll hover over the grip on the right side. I can see this circle has a radius of 10. If I pan this up, and select the arc, and hover over the Grip in the middle, I can see this arc has a radius of 25.5597. We can use grips to query our geometry, we don't always have to select it and go over to the Properties palette to see this information. I'm going to press Escape to deselect these objects and let's come back to the line segment.
I'll select this again, and then instead of hovering over this grip on the right side, I'm going to click to select it. This makes the grip hot, and when the grip is hot, I have access to those dimensional values. I can jump from one value to the other by pressing the Tab key. If I press Tab, this value represents the overall length of the line, press Tab again, this one represents the overall angle of the line. If I press Tab again, I can adjust the amount I'd like to change the angle. And if I press Tab again, this setting allows me to adjust the amount I'd like to change the overall length.
If I wanted to make this line segment 10 units long, I'll press Tab to get to the overall length, I'll type 10 and press Enter, and this line is now 10 units long. I can do this same thing with nearly any grip where I can see a dimensional value. I am going to pan back over to the circle, I'll select it and then I'll click this grip on the right side. This value controls the overall radius, if I press Tab, this value controls the amount I'd like to change the radius, and I'll give this circle a radius of 8.
When I am finished, I'll press Escape. Let's pan back over to the line. I am going to select this one more time, I will then come down and click to make this grip hot, and then I'll move my cursor. Notice I am getting the rubber band effect, this is because I'm in the Stretch command, we can see that down here at the command line. I am stretching this line from this grip location. If I right-click I am not restricted to Stretch only. I could select Move; I am now moving this object from that point.
If I right-click, I can choose Rotate, I am now rotating this object from that point. Right-click again, I can also Scale or Mirror the object. Generally speaking, you'll find a lot of the major editing tools in this grip menu. Using these tools, we can quickly sketch geometry or correct poorly drawn geometry. I am going to come down and choose Exit and then I'll press Escape to deselect my line. I will then zoom out and will pan the drawing up. On my screen I have a series of lines and circles.
Let's say that these lines should have been drawn such that they connect the centers of all the circles. To correct the geometry, I can click a line segment, grab the grip on one of the ends, and use my running Object Snap to snap it to the center of the circle. I can do the same thing for the other side. When I am finished I'll press Escape. What if my running Objects Snap was turned off? I can still fix this geometry. If I select everything, I get access to all the grips; remember the grips show up at the Objects Snap locations.
I am going to start with this line on the left side; I'll click the grip at the top, and then as I get this close to the center of the circle, notice it snaps right to that grip. These grips are kind of like little magnets. Using the same workflow, I can quickly correct all of this geometry. And when I am finished I'll press the Escape key. I am going to zoom out a little, I'll pan the drawing over; here I have some hatch. If I select the hatch you'll see a large grip in the center.
Another nice feature that you'll find with grips is that if you hover or them, occasionally you'll get a menu with some additional tools. Notice that I can adjust the Origin Point, Hatch Angle and Hatch Scale of this pattern without having to use the Context Sensitive Ribbon. Currently this pattern has an angle of 0, I am going to choose Hatch Angle and I'll give it a rotation of 45. I will then hover over the grip again and I'm going to change the Hatch Scale, currently it measures 15. I'd like to make it twice as big, so I'll change the value to 30.
When I am finished, I'll press Escape. Let's pan this down. Grips are also incorporated into Arrays. If I select one of these objects, we can see even more grips. I'll hover over the grip on the top. Notice all the options that we have. I'm going to change the Fill Angle, let's change it from 360 to 180. I will then hover over this grip on the bottom. I'm going to change the Item Count to 8 and then I'll hover over the grip again and I'll change the Fill Angle back to 360.
Never once did I have to touch the options in the Ribbon. When I am finished, I'll press Escape. Now that we understand how the Grips feature works, let's try and use it in a practical example. I am going to zoom out and I'll pan the drawing over to the left. On my screen I have a rectangle, let's use this as the basis for creating a symbol that represents a queen sized bed. If I select the rectangle and hover over this grip in the corner, I can see it measures 76x80. Those are actually the dimensions of a king size bed.
A queen size bed measures 60x80. So to change the dimensions I am going to click to select this grip and I'll change the overall width to 60 and I'll press Enter. I will then click the grip on the top, I'll press my Tab key to get to the overall width and I'll change this to 60, I'll press Enter and then I'll press Escape when I'm finished. Next I'd like to create a pillow. I'll do that by launching the Rectangle Command, and I'll draw a pillow off to the side of the bed. Let's zoom in.
Now this pillow has got some significantly hard edges, I'd like to round these off a little bit. To do that I'll select the rectangle and I'll hover over this grip at the top middle and I'll choose Convert to Arc and I'll pull this up a little bit. I'll do the same thing with the grip on the bottom. Now that I have one pillow finished, I'll use the grips to create a mirrored copy. Since the object is already selected, I'll click this grip in the upper right corner to make it hot, I will then right-click and I'll choose Mirror from the menu.
One thing to remember when you're using Mirror with Grips, by default you are not able to keep your original object. So I am going to come down and choose Copy to make sure that doesn't happen, and then I'm going to click the grip in the lower right corner to finish my mirror line. When I am finished, I'll press Escape a couple of times to deselect my objects. Let's zoom out and I'd like to use the Grips option to move these pillows into position. I'll do that by selecting the objects, I'll click this grip at the top middle, I'll right-click and choose Move from the menu. I am now moving this geometry from that location.
Where do I want to place it? I'm going to type TK and then I'll come down and turn my running Object Snap back on and I'll grab the midpoint of the top of the bed, I'll pull straight down 3", I'll press Enter and then I'll press Enter again. When I'm finished I'll press Escape. Let's pan this back to the middle, and we'll create some line work that represents the bedding. I'll launch the Line command and I'd like to draw my line from Shift+Right-Click, I'll choose the nearest Object Snap, this ensures that I am grabbing a point along this left edge.
I'd like to draw this line to Shift+Right-Click, Nearest, and I'll click a point right about here on the right side. When I am finished I'll press Escape. Now I'd like to create a copy of this line. I can do that using grips, I'll click the line segment and I'll grab the grip on the far right side. I will then right-click and choose Copy from the menu, and I'll create my copy right here. I'll press Escape when I'm finished. Finally, I'll close off this segment, using the Line command; I'll draw my line from the endpoint here till the endpoint here.
Let's zoom out, and finally I'd like to rotate this geometry such that it fits nicer on the screen. To rotate it using grips, I'll select all of the geometry, I'll click this grip in the middle and I'll right-click. I'll choose Rotate and then I'll type 90 degrees. At this point we've only scratched the surface with respect to grips. Having an understanding of how this tool works gives you a head start with larger concepts like dynamic blocks, parametric editing and 3D modeling where grips are a major component.
From this point on, whenever you see a grip, hover over it, select it, see what it can do, you might be surprised at what you'll find.
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