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In AutoCAD 2011 New Features, instructor Jeff Bartels highlights productivity and creativity enhancing additions to the AutoCAD toolset. This course covers improved functions for selecting and creating geometry, updated modification tools for hatches and polylines, simplified parametric constraint tools, and the new dynamic surface modeling techniques for creating complex shapes. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this lesson, we're going to create the body of our wagon. In doing so, we're also going to look at the associative property of a surface. Since we're going to be working with surfaces, I'm going to click the Surface tab on my ribbon. This gives me access to all of the new surfacing tools in AutoCAD 2011. Since, the tab is on screen, let me mention one other nice thing. If you hover over a surfacing tool and your tooltips are turned on, most of these tools incorporate a video that shows you how to use the tool, which can be very helpful in learning the features of the program.
Let's take a look at the geometry we have on screen. I'm going to zoom in on this magenta polyline. This represents a cross section or the wall of my wagon. This geometry was drawn from a front view. If I click the front view hot spot on my ViewCube and zoom in here, you can see how this relates to the thickness of the wall. Notice that my section is open on the bottom. That's going to be important in just a little bit. I'm going to click the upper right corner hot spot on the ViewCube to return to a southeast isometric view.
We'll talk about this geometry now. This cyan line represents the path that I would like to sweep my cross section around to create the wall portion of the wagon. To create my sweep, I'm going to launch the Sweep command. I will then select my section and hit Enter. Then I'll select my path. Notice as the section was swept around that geometry, it created my surface. Take a look at this Surface Associativity setting. By default, this is turned on.
If this is on, it means that the surface that we create is dynamically linked to the geometry that was used to create it. This means that if I edit my cross section, I can also edit my surface. I'm going to select this polyline and I will hover over the grip. I'll select Convert to Arc. Then I'm going to pull this out just a little bit. I'll pick a point on screen. When I'll finished, I'll hit Escape to deselect. Let me orbit this around a little bit and we can see the change in the shape of my surface.
Now, that's the cross section. You may be wondering, can we change the path as well? Yes we can. Let me zoom in here a little bit. I'm going to select my path. If you have difficulty selecting the path, by all means turn on your Selection Cycling toggle. It will make things a little bit easier. I'm going to hover over this grip. I'll select Convert to Arc. I'm going to pull my path in just a little bit and click. When I'm finished, I'll hit Escape.
Let's back up and we'll take a look at our geometry. Notice my surface has dynamically updated to match the new geometry. Using this new Surface Associativity, it's very easy to update our 3D model. I'd like to put the things back the way they were. To do that, I'm going to click the flyout next to the Undo button. I made two grip edits. So I'm going to move down to just before the first grip edit, and I'll click right here. There we go, let's back up.
Our work is not done. We still have to put a bottom on the wagon. Before we do that, I'm going to turn some layers off. I don't need the cross section or the path geometry anymore. To bring up my Layer Properties Manger, I'm going to type LA and hit Enter. Let's turn off the surface_section layer and the surface_path layer. Then I'll close the Manager. There we go. Let's tip this up just a little bit. To close up our surface, I'm going to use the new Patch tool. Patch does exactly that. it closes up a hole in a surface.
I'm going to launch the Patch command. Then I'll zoom in and I'll select an edge. I'll select another edge. Remember our cross section was open on the bottom, so we actually have two holes, one above the other. We're doing the lower one first. Let me click these edges all the way around. I'll orbit again. Don't worry, if you select the wrong edge. If you accidentally select for instance that one, that was obviously a mistake. If I hold my Shift key and re-click that edge, it will remove it from my selection.
Then I can continue. Let me grab this edge. I've got one more to select. I'll grab this guy. Now that I'm done, I'll hit the Enter key twice, one, two. That closes up the hole in the surface and creates a nice flat bottom on my wagon. We still have one more hole to close. To make this a little bit easier, I'm going to select this surface. Then I'm going to hit Ctrl+1 to bring up my Property Changer. Let's change the color of this surface to yellow.
When I'm finished, I am going to close this Property Changer and I'll hit Escape to deselect. This will make it just a little bit easier to visually see the other edge. Once again, I'll zoom in. I'm going to launch the Patch command. I will select the upper edge. I'll grab these three edges and we'll orbit a little bit. Let me zoom in and I'll select this edge, this one. Come here a little bit more and let me click, perfect! Notice I clicked the edge, but it didn't highlight on screen.
If that happens to you, you did probably select the edge. It's just not showing up. I'm going to orbit just a little bit. Notice that makes my selection show up on screen. That could be an issue with video card or it could be a bug with the program. There we go. It just happened again. I clicked this edge. Let me orbit, notice that edge was selected. There we go. Let me click this last one. Finally, when I'm finished, I'll hit Enter, Enter to patch that hole. Let's back up.
The wagon body looks really good. Let me tip this up. Let's change the color property of this bottom surface now. I will select this again and I'll hit Ctrl+1. Let's change its color back to ByLayer. We'll close the Property Changer and I'll hit Escape to deselect. I'm going to orbit this back to approximately a southeast isometric view. Now that our geometry is finished, we'll save the drawing, such that we can use it later in our final assembly. To save this, I'm going to click the application menu.
I'll select Save As. I'd like you to save the drawing inside the Exercise Files folder in the finished_parts directory. I'll call this wagonBody_ finished and I'll click Save. This completes the geometry for the body of our wagon. In this lesson, we learned that surfaces are no longer static objects. Using the Surface Associativity setting, we can create surfaces that maintain a dynamic link to the entities that created them.
We also got a preview of the Patch command and saw how it could be used to close up a hole in a surface object.
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