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Once we decide we need to create some layers, the place we want to visit is the Layer Properties Manager. This is our one-stop shop for creating, managing and manipulating the layers in our drawing. Now I have recently launched my AutoCAD. I'm currently sitting in the default Drawing1.dwg. Now in this session I'd like to create a simple drawing and I'd like to organize my geometry on the different layers. To create a layer I need to go at the Layer Properties Manager. I can find the icon right up here in the Layers panel of my ribbon. Let me come up and click the icon to bring up the Property Manager. Now the Layer Properties Manager is a palette. That means if I move off the palette, I run the risk of it collapsing on my screen. To prevent that I'm going to come up and click the Auto-hide button such that I see the two triangles and now I know this guy will stay open.
Now there are several settings inside the panel. We are not going to go get a chance to talk about all of them. We are going to talk about the ones that are important for us right now as a beginner. One change I'd like you to make, I'd like you to click this chevron to close up the filters area. If at any point you wan him to open that guy back up, you could simply click the chevron again. Let's keep him closed, that will we have more room inside the palette. Now if look at the top of the palette, I can see the current layer. My current layer happens to be zero. That means that anything that I draft will be drawn on layer zero. If I move down into this area, I can see a listing of all of the layers in my drawing as well as their settings.
Now I currently only have one layer, that's layer zero. Layer zero is kind of like the magic layer. Every AutoCAD drawing starts with layer zero. We cannot delete or rename layer zero. To the left of the layer name I can see a green check. This also represents that layer zero is current. To the right I can see the various settings. My settings are organized in the columns very similar to my Microsoft Excel. Now unfortunately, we always can't read the column heading. If you'd like to change the width of your column, you can place your cursor between the columns and click and hold and you can drag the column to whatever width you like.
Let me release to set my column width. Now we can change any of the layer settings by simply clicking on it. Let's talk about this setting first. This is our on/off setting. If I click the light bulb, I will turn this layer off. Now since it's the only layer in my drawing, if I click the light bulb, AutoCAD says, hey! You are turning off the current layer. Do you want to do this? No, I want to keep the current layer on. Let's take a look at the color setting. If I click the color setting, AutoCAD bring up the color picker, allowing me to choose from any one of the 255 colors available in AutoCAD. In this case, I'm going to leave it set to white. So I'm going to come down and click Cancel.
This setting represents our line type. This controls how our lines look on screen. We will talk about this guy in a little bit. This setting controls our lineweight. The Lineweight dialog box gives me the opportunity to select a plottable line thickness for my layer. We will talk more about these settings in the plotting chapter. I'm going to come up and click the X to close the dialog box. Let's create a new layer. To create a layer I'm going to come over and click this icon, looks like a piece of paper with a star. When I click the icon, AutoCAD creates a new layer for me and as a courtesy it gives it a name. Now this name is not very dEscaperiptive, so I'm going to call this layer Object and hit Enter.
Let's change the color of our layer. I'm going to come over and click the color swatch. This puts me in the color picker. I'm going to set the color of this layer to yellow. Let me click the yellow color swatch and we will click OK. Finally, I'm going to set this layer current. To make the layer current, I will click on it and make sure it's highlighted and then I will select the green check. When I'm finished using the Layer Properties palette, I will come up and click the X to close it. In my Layer Control I can see that the object layer is now the current layer. Now I'd like to create a 5 x 5 square on my screen. I want to do that by using the Rectangle command.
Let me come and click the Rectangle tool. I will click my first corner. Let me right click. I'm going to use the Dimensions sub-option. My length is going to be 5, Enter, and my width will be 5, Enter. Lastly, I need to click to specify the other corner points, so I will click right here to identify that location. Let's center that guy on screen. Notice that my geometry is yellow. That's because I drafted it on a yellow layer. Let's make a change. Once again I'm going to go to the Layer Properties palette. Let me click to bring this guy open. I'd like to change the layer name. I don't want this to be object. I want it to be a different name. So I'm going to click once to highlight the layer and then I'm going to click again to have access to the name.
Let's call this the Part layer, I will type part and hit Enter. I'm going to change the color as well. Let me come over to the color area and click. I want to set the color to magenta. So I will click that color swatch and will select OK. Once again I'm going to close the layer palette. Let me come up and click X. Notice the geometry now looks magenta. Also notice that the current layer name has changed. Now let's pretend that this square represents a block of wood and we are looking at that block from the front view. Let's also assume that the block of wood has a hole drilled through it from top to bottom.
Now in the front view, that hole will be represented by some hidden lines. Let's create a layer for the hidden lines. Once again I'm going to come and open my Layer Properties Manager. Now since this guy is a palette, and I'm going to be going back and forth to him on a regular basis, I'm going to dock him on the left side of my screen. Let me move over and right click in this mast area and I'm going to select Anchor Left. Now whenever I need the layer palette, I can simply place my cursor over the icon and that will open up allowing me to make changes. When I'm finished, I can move away and it will close. That will certainly be more convenient. Let me move into the palette and we will create a new layer.
I'm going to click my new layer icon and I'm going to call this hidden lines. Notice that the layer properties of the new layer, match the layer that was current when I created my new layer. This can be very helpful if I'm creating multiple layers that require the same settings. Let's change the color. I'm going to click in the color area and will change the color to cyan. Now don't worry that layer palette closed. That's what it's supposed to do when we move off of the palette. Let me select my color. I will click OK. We will return to the palette.
Let me come down to Linetype and click. This is how I'm going to control how my Linetype looks on the screen. From this dialog box I can select from the loaded linetypes in this drawing. Currently, I only have continuous. Let me come down and click the Load button, so that I can load another linetype. In this list I can see all of the linetypes that come stock with my instillation of AutoCAD. Fortunately, they are alphabetical, so I'm going to come down to the H section and I have three choices for hidden lines. The only difference being the size and the dash.
I'm going to select HIDDEN and click OK to load it into my drawing. Now that it's in my drawing, I'm going to select it such that it's associated with my layer. Let me come down and click OK. I have just created a new layer, set its color, and its linetype. Let's set this layer current. To set a layer current I will highlight it and then I will come up and click the green check. Let's move off the palette and allow it to collapse. Let's assume that the hole that is drilled through my wooden block has a diameter of 3. I'm going to construct my hole by first launching the line command. Then I'm going to draw a line from the midpoint of the top to the midpoint of the bottom. Now I don't have a running object snap set for midpoint, so I'm going to get that from the toolbar.
Let me select a midpoint, and I will grab the midpoint of the top. I will come over and I will select midpoint and I will grab the midpoint of the bottom. When I'm finished I will hit Escape. This line would represent the center of the hole. Let's offset this line to either side 1.5 units. I'm going to come up and launch my Offset command. Specify offset distance, we will type in 1.5 and hit Enter. I want to offset this object to this side and the same object to this side. When I'm finished I will hit my Escape key to cancel out of the command. Now I don't need my centerline anymore, so we will launch the Erase command. Select the line and then right click.
Whenever you are adding geometry to your drawing, ask yourself, is this something that needs to be a different linetype or a lineweight? Is this something I may want to turn off when I print my drawing? If your answer is yes, you want to visit your Layer Properties Manager and create a new layer.
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