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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.
A lot of times, as you're learning AutoCAD, your first impulse can be to erase your mistakes and start over. Sometimes though, it can be easier to correct the geometry you already have onscreen rather than create new geometry. In this lesson, we'll look at how we can use the Properties palette to make corrections to a drawing. On my screen, I have a pair of gaskets. The one on the right represents correct geometry and the one on the left requires some modifications. Our goal in this lesson is to make the drawing we see on the left look like the drawing that's on the right. To make these corrections. I'll be using the Properties palette.
My Properties palette is currently anchored to the interface. If yours is not, you can always press Ctrl+1 to bring the pallet up onscreen. I'll be using the pallet frequently in this lesson, so I'm going to click the Auto Hide button to keep the pallet docked to the interface. I will then zoom out a little bit and we'll center this geometry onscreen. Let's start by correcting one of the holes. If I look at the correct version on the right, I can see that all of these circles have a radius of 10. To correct a circle, I will select it. And if I come over to the Properties palette, I can see that AutoCAD has found a circle. Just below, I can see all the settings that are associated with this geometry.
It's important to note that I can adjust any property that I like so long as that property is not grayed out. Since I cannot see all of the properties, I'm going to click on the slider, I'll drag this down, and I'm going to change the radius to 10. Press Enter and then I'll press Escape when I'm finished. That circle is now correct. Next, I'd like to fix the ellipse. Looking at the correct version, I can see that it should have a major axis of 300 and a minor axis of 120. So I'll select the ellipse. We can see that AutoCAD recognizes what that geometry is. If I drag the slider down, we can also see that an ellipse has several more settings than a circle does. As I look through this, it not appear that I have a measurement for the major and minor axes.
I do, however, have a setting for the major and minor radius. So I'm going to change the major radius to 150, which is half of 300, and then I'll press Enter. Then I will set the minor radius. This should be half of 120. That answer is obviously 60. Notice that when we're in this field, we get access to a calculator. If you don't want to do the math in your head, click the Calculator button. You can then click the More button to see the traditional calculator tools. I'm going to type 120/2, equals. I can then click Apply to apply that value to the setting. And I'll press Escape when I'm finished. As you can see, these corrections are fairly easy. One thing you may be thinking is, you know, it's kind of tedious though.
I've got to click each of these items one at a time. Actually, we don't. Using the Properties palette, we don't have to be that specific with our selection. If I click in the upper-left and then click again to make a window around this geometry, I can see that AutoCAD has found eleven items. If I open this menu, you'll see that AutoCAD has also itemized the list. I'd like to fix all of the circles, so I'll select Circle. I will then come down to the Radius setting and I'll change this to 10.
When I'm finished, I'll press Escape. Take a look at the correct version of the label on the right side. We haven't even talked about text to this point, but now that we know how the Properties palette works, you'll see that correcting this text is very intuitive. I'll start by selecting the label. I will then come over to the palette and I can see that this text have a height of 15 and a rotation of angle of 0. I'll press Escape to deselect. I will then select the other text object and I give it a height of 15 and a rotation angle of 0. When I'm finished I'll press Escape. Finally, to put the Properties palette back into a collapsed anchored, state, I'll move up to the title bar and click the Minimize button. As you can see, the Properties palette is probably the most useful palettes you have in the interface. Using this palette, you can easily revise many of the items in a drawing without having to erase them and start over.
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