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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.
AutoCAD views all geometry within the context of coordinates. This makes it very easy for us to construct new geometry from any existing line work. In this lesson, we're going to use object snaps to lock on to specific points of an existing object. On my screen, I have two columns. The column on the right represents finished drawings and the column on the left represents some unfinished line work. Our goal in this lesson is to make the geometry on the left look like the geometry on the right. Let's start at the top. I'm going to hold my mouse wheel down, I'll center this geometry, and then I'll roll the wheel forward to zoom in.
To finish this drawing, I'll need to use the Line command, and I'll have to draw a line from the end point of the upper entity to the end point of the lower one. All I need to know is what coordinates those are. Fortunately, AutoCAD will do all of the work for me. I'll start by launching the Line command and when AutoCAD asks for a point, I'll hold down my Shift key and right-click. This brings up the Object Snap menu. Object snaps allow us to snap to specific coordinates on an object. I'm going to select Endpoint and then I will place my cursor on the object and click. Notice that AutoCAD snapped right to that coordinate.
To finish this, I'll hold my Shift key and right-click, I'll select Endpoint again, and then I'll place my cursor on this entity. And before I click to accept this point, notice that I don't have to be right on it to get the end point. So long as I am 50 percent of the way or better on this line, I can grab that right end,point. As soon as I cross the middle of the line, you can see if I click here, I'm going to grab the other end point. So you don't have to be right on the object snap to get it. I'm going to click here to finish my segment and then I'll press Escape. We have just seen an example of the end point object snap. I'm going to pan this up and we'll take a look at this geometry. To finish this drawing, I'm going to use the Circle command. And I would like to construct my circle such that the center point is at the--Shift+Right-Click-- midpoint of this object.
I'll put my cursor on the object. Note that AutoCAD finds that location. I'll click to accept it. Now, let's take care of the radius. In this case I don't know what the radius is, but I don't have to know. I can define the radius by holding the Shift key and right-clicking. I'll choose Endpoint and I'll snap to the end point of this line. In this case, we've seen an example of the midpoint object snap. I'm going to pan this up further, and we'll look at this example. This time I'm going to use intersection. I'll launch my Line command.
And I'd like to draw a line from the intersection of these two entities to the intersection of these two. To do that, I'll hold my Shift key, I'll choose Intersection, and I'll place my cursor at the intersection. I'll click, I will then hold my Shift key, select Intersection again, and I'll place my cursor at the intersection of these entities. When I'm finished, I'll press the Escape key to finish the line. To finish the geometry, I'll launch the Circle command. And I would like create the circle such that its center point falls at the intersection of this line extended and this one. Fortunately, when using the intersection object snap, I don't have to have a physical intersection. I can hold my Shift key and right-click, I'll choose Intersection, I will then click the first object, and then I'll click the second object and AutoCAD finds the intersection for me.
I will then define the radius by holding the Shift key, right-click, I'll choose Endpoint, and I'll draw my radius to the end point of this line. This was an example of the intersection object snap. I'll pan the drawing up further. To finish this geometry, I'm going to use a center object snap. I'll launch my Line command and I'm going to draw my line from the--Shift+ Right-Click--center and then I will put my cursor on the object. Think of the cursor as being AutoCAD's eye. When you put your eye on the object, AutoCAD finds that object snap, you can click to accept it. I will then draw this to the--Shift+Right-Click-- center of this object. When I'm finished, I'll press Escape. To wrap up this drawing, I'll launch the Circle command. And I'm going to create the circle from the--Shift+Right-Click-- midpoint of this object, and I'll draw it to the intersection of this object. This example highlighted the center object snap. I'll pan this up a little more. This time we're going to talk about quadrant. Quadrants are associated with circles. If I select this circle, we can see that these little blue grips pop up at the location of the quadrants. Generally speaking, the quadrants are located at the north, south, east, and west locations of a circle. I'm going to press Escape to deselect this object. I will then launch my Line command and I'll draw my line from the--Shift+Right-Click-- quadrant, here. I'll draw this to the--Shift+ Right-Click--quadrant over here. I will then go to the quadrant down here, to the quadrant over here. I will then go to the center of the circle, and when I'm finished I'll come down and select Close to finish the shape. This was an example of the quadrant object snap.
Let's pan this up. This time we'll look at Perpendicular. Perpendicular allows us to snap such that we create a 90-degree angle. I'm going to start by launching the Line command, and I'll start my line from the--Shift+Right-Click-- midpoint of this object, and I'll draw it to the perpendicular of this object. Once again, I'm putting my eye on the object. I can click anywhere on this object I want and AutoCAD's going to find that perpendicular location. When I'm finished, I'll press Escape. Perpendicular is nice because we can even use this in the other direction. I'm going to press my spacebar to re-launch the Line command and this time I'll select perpendicular first. I'll click the object and as I pull away, notice that I'm creating an entity that is perpendicular to the object that I selected.
I'd like to draw this to the midpoint of this entity and I'll press Escape. So this is an example of the perpendicular object snap. We'll look at one more. This time we're going to talk about Tangent. To finish this drawing, I'll need to create a line segment that is tangent to this circle and tangent to this one, and I'll need to do that on both sides. So I'm going to launch the Line command, I'll draw this from--Shift+ Right-Click--tangent to this circle to a point tangent to this circle, and I'll press Escape. I will then press my spacebar to relaunch the Line command and I will draw my next line tangent to this circle, to a point tangent to this circle. When I'm finished, I'll press Escape. So this is an example of the tangent object snap. Whenever you're creating geometry that is based on existing line work, it's important to use object snaps. Using object snaps is the best way to ensure the line work you create is accurate.
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