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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.
Another fundamental skill we need when using AutoCAD is the ability to rotate our objects. In this lesson, we'll explore the workflow behind the Rotate command. On my screen, I have some geometry that represents an arrow. Currently the arrow is pointing straight up or in the north direction. I would like to rotate this such that the arrow points to the east. This would involve a 90-degree rotation. To rotate the geometry, I will use the Rotate command. Rotate can be found in the Modify panel of the Ribbon. Once I launch the command, I will then select the object or objects that I'd like to rotate, and I'll press Enter.
Then I will specify the base point. The base point represents the point of rotation. I'm going to choose the midpoint of the lower end of the arrow. I'm using a running object snap to grab this location. Now, as I move my cursor, you can see that if I wanted to, I could free-pick a point onscreen to define the rotation. Instead, I'm going to type in a rotation angle. Here's the trick: if you want to rotate your objects in a clockwise direction use a negative angle. Since I want to rotate this arrow 90 degrees clockwise, I'll type -90, and press Enter. Let's rotate the arrow one more time. This time I'd like it to be positioned such that it's pointing in a northeast direction.
This would be a 45-degree rotation. I'll launch the Rotate command. I'll select my geometry and press Enter. I will rotate it around the midpoint of the end. I will then type 45 and press Enter. I'm using a positive angle because I'm rotating in a counterclockwise direction. Let's pan this up. I like to try one more thing. Maybe we need to create double arrows, arrows that point in both directions. This will involve not only a rotation but a copy.
Fortunately, I can do both within the Rotate command. I'll launch Rotate and select my geometry and press Enter. I will then grab my base point. And take a look at the command line: notice there's a Copy option available. I'm going to select Copy and then I will enter a rotation angle of 180 and press Enter. Now that we understand how the Rotate command works, let's try and use it in a practical example. I'm going to zoom out, and I'll pan my drawing over. On my screen I have an example of a proposed architectural floor plan. I'll start by zooming in on the conference room area.
Currently, the way these table and chairs are positioned, they are a little bit close to this door swing. I'd like to rotate this geometry a little, just to move this furniture a little farther away from the door. So, I'll launch the Rotate command. I'm going to create a window-selection around this geometry and I'll press Enter. I would like to use the center of the ellipse as my rotation point. And since this is furniture, I don't need a really specific rotation angle. I'm simply going to pull this in a clockwise direction and click onscreen to define the angle of my rotation. This looks like it'll work much better. I'm going to pan the drawing down a little.
In this area of the floor plan I'm adding furniture. Let's say that I'd like to add one of these desks and chairs to this northernmost empty room. I'll start by launching the Copy command and I'll grab the desk and chair, and I'll press Enter and I'll copy it from the upper-right corner of this room to the upper-right corner of this room. And I'll press Enter when I'm finished. Now in this orientation, the desk isn't going to work very well because it's conflicting with my door. Let's rotate this geometry such that the desk faces the south wall. I'll launch the Rotate command, I'll grab the desk and chair, and press Enter. For my base point, I'll select any end point on the desk and I'll rotate this negative 90 degrees because I'm rotating clockwise. I will then launch the Move command and I'll move the chair and the desk from the lower-right end point of the desk to the lower-right end point of the room.
This works much better. In fact, I'm going to copy this geometry into the next room down. I'll copy both of these objects from the lower-right corner of this room to the lower-right corner of this room. Finally, it looks like we have enough room to add a pair of file cabinets to this office. So, I'll launch the Copy command, and I'll grab these two cabinets and press Enter. I would like to copy them from the lower-right corner of this geometry, and I'll place it to the lower-left corner of the office. I'll press Enter when I'm finished. Let's zoom in a little bit closer. The only thing I have left to do is rotate this geometry 90 degrees.
I'll launch Rotate, I'll select each of these objects and press Enter. I'll grab the lower-left corner of the room as my point of rotation. At this point, I could enter my rotation angle of -90. Let's look at another way we can rotate these. In the event you're doing a lot of 90-degree rotations, it's not a bad idea to come down and turn on your ortho. Remember that Ortho restricts your movement to 90-degree increments. So, to rotate this geometry 90 degrees, I can simply pull straight down and click. When I'm finished doing 90- degree rotations, I can always come back down and turn the ortho back off.
Now that you understand the basics of the Rotate command, don't stop here. See if you can use the tool to design a better furniture layout for this floor plan.
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