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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.
At some point in our design process, we will need to produce a hard copy of our work. Let's look at how we can create a quick print of our drawing for review purposes. I'm going to come up and open a drawing, we are going to go into our Chapter 15 folder located inside the Exercise Files directory and I want to open up drawing number 1, Creating a Quick Check Plot, and we'll click Open. Now I'm starting with relatively small drawing. Let's say I just need to produce a hard copy of this file. I don't have any reason to add a title block or anything. I just want to put this on paper, so I can stick it in someone's hand for their review.
Let's look at how we can create a quick check plot of this drawing. First thing, I want to do is show you something in the Layer Properties Manager. Let me click the icon and when this guy pops up on screen, I want you to take a look at the Lineweight column. Since we are plotting, now it's the time when we can identify a plottable line thickness for each layer. If I would like to change the plotted line thickness or lineweight of my layer, all I have to do is click on the Lineweight setting and AutoCAD will pop up my Lineweight dialog, from which I can select the width I would like my layer to plot.
Now one interesting anomaly, these are all set to millimeters. Even though my drawing is an imperial drawing, AutoCAD always defaults to millimeters. We can change that. Let me show you where we can do that. Let me close this, let me close the dialog. We are going to go to the Options dialog box. So I am going to go to Tools, I will come down to Options and we are going to go to the User Preferences tab. When I click this tab, if we look down in the lower left hand corner, I have got a button that says Lineweight Settings. If I click this, we can see yes, in fact AutoCAD defaults to millimeters.
If I would like to see the inches equivalent of the same line thicknesses, I can click the button here and everything converts to inches. So whichever way you like, that's the way you can have it. I'm going to leave mine set for millimeters. Let me close the dialog, we'll cancel out of the Options dialog box and we will create our plot. If I want to plot this drawing, I'm going to come up and click my Plot icon. This brings up my Plot dialog box. Now sometimes you won't see the entire contents of this dialog. If that's the case you have got a Greater Than or Less Than button right down here. Notice if I click that, I can collapse part of it or I can open it up.
So if you don't have to see the entire Plot dialog box, just click that button. Alright first things first, let's grab our printer. If I come up into the Printer/plotter area, I can click the dropdown and I will see every printer that happens to be connected to my machine. Now I certainly have a different list of printers than you do. I'm going to select the Adobe PDF printer. I would like you to select a printer that you are connected to, that will support an 8.5x11 inch sheet of paper. AutoCAD prints using the Windows printer drivers, so if for some reason you do not see the printer that you would like in your list, check with your IT department or contact your Autodesk reseller and they can help you.
Now that I have chosen my printer, I'm going to come down and select my paper size. If I click the dropdown, I will see every physical paper size that can fit through the printer that I selected. If we select that in HP LaserJet, I would see all of the envelope sizes, I would see everything that we could put through that printer. I'm going to leave this set for Letter size right now and let's come down to Plot area. This is where I identify to AutoCAD the area of my drawing I would like to print. I'm going to click the dropdown and set this to Window and AutoCAD will pop me out in the Model space. I'm going to define a rectangle.
I'm just going to pick one point on my screen. I'm going to pull down into the right and when I click my other point, I'm telling AutoCAD I want to print everything that falls within this rectangle, so let me click to finish my window. Plot offset. This is how we determine where our plot is going to be on the sheet. I'm going to click Center the plot. That way it comes out right in the middle of the piece of paper. Now we are going to come over to Plot scale. This is the most important part, we always want to plot our drawings to a scale. By default this thing is set to fit to paper which is going to guarantee that our plot fits on the sheet.
Let me take the checkbox out and I'm going to click in the dropdown for scale and from here I can select several industry standard scales. Now if you are drawing is set up using architectural measurements, you will be using the scales at the bottom of the list. For the rest of this, we will be using the scales at the top. I'm going to try and plot this at one-to-one. Let me set this to one-to-one. When I do, take a look at my preview. The outer rectangle represents the boundary of my sheet of paper, the hatched square represents my plot. So I can see that my plot will fit on the paper one to one.
Let me click the dropdown and I will set this to Half-Scale, 1 to 2. Notice the preview looks quite a bit smaller. Now we do not have to set our scale here, in fact if you don't see a scale that you like, you can always set your scale manually right here. The way to read this is 1 printed inch equals 2 Model space units. So if I wanted to print this at one to one, I can say 1 printed inch equals 1 Model space unit. Let's come over and click Preview and take a look at our plot.
There it is on the sheet of paper. The only drawback is AutoCAD is wanting to plot the layers based on the color the layer is in the drawing. Unfortunately, this isn't what most people want. Let's adjust this such that we can plot it in black. I'm going to come up and close the preview, which will return us to the Plot dialog box and we are going to go up to the Plot style table. This is our pen table. We are going to talk about the pen table in the next session, but for right now, I want you to click the dropdown and set your pen table to monochrome and when the dialog comes up, just select Yes.
Let's click our Preview again. Notice all the pens are going to plot in black. That's because the monochrome pen by definition is going to plot everything as black. Now this Preview area acts just like Model space, so if I roll my wheel forward to zoom in, I can see the pen weights. If I hold my wheel down, I can pan around and I can view my drawing before I plot. When I'm finished, I can come up and click the Close button to close the preview. Alright, we've set up our plot. Let me come down and click OK, an AutoCAD is printing our drawing.
Since I'm printing to a file AutoCAD is asking me for a file name, so I'm going to come up and click Save. Alright now that my plot is finished, this is an example of what my piece of paper would look like. Go ahead and take the paper that came out of your printer, go ahead and lay a scale or your rule around top of it and verify that yes indeed, this was plotted at one-to-one. If your plot doesn't require the formality of a title block, plotting a window from Model space is a great way to produce hard copies of your design.
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