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In this lesson we are going to talk about the concept of Layers. Layers are used in AutoCAD as the means of organizing a drawing, by placing our entities on logical layers we have the ability to turn line work on and off, as well as control color, line type and line weight. On my screen I have a mechanical example, and I am sure you will agree this drawing is quite busy. Just for a second, let's imagine that I created this drawing using a pencil and paper, and let's say I gave a copy of the drawing to you and you looked at it and said, you know what this looks great but you could you give me a copy of this drawing without the dimensions.
Well, since I drew everything on the paper, there is no way I can hide the dimensions without using an eraser or a bottle of a whiteout. Now consider this, what if I drew the part geometry on a piece of paper, and then I laid a clear sheet of plastic over the drawing and I drew the dimensions on the plastic. This way, if you wanted to see the part without the dimensions, I can simply peel back the plastic and the dimensions are gone. That is exactly how the layers work. Each layer represents a sheet of plastic and we can use layers to organize our drawings.
For instance, we can put dimensions on their own layer. We can put center lines on their own layer. We can put notes or callouts on their own layer. Having logical layers also gives us more control when we plot. As an example, the drawing on screen was created using several layers. Let's say I would like to plot this drawing and I would like to plot it without the dimensions. To do that I will move up to the Layers panel and I will click this fly-out, this opens up my layer control. Inside this menu I can see a listing of all of the layers in this drawing.
I am going to come down to the dimensions layer and then I will click this light bulb to turn it off, and then I will click on screen to close the menu. As you can see my dimensions are no longer visible. You know what, why stop there. let's turn off the center line layer as well. I will click to open up the layer control, I will click the light bulb on the centerlines' layer and then I will click on screen. You know what. I am going to take it even further. I am going to open up the layer control one more time. Let's turn off the layer that contains my button geometry, and I will turn off the layer that contains the geometry for the trigger and then I will click on screen.
Not only can layers give us more control over the appearance of our plots, they also make it easier to work on our drawings. I am sure you will agree it's much easier to work on a drawing when it's not cluttered with excess information. I would like to turn those layers back on, I am going to open up the layer control and then I will click each of these light bulbs to make those layers visible on screen. Incorporating layers gives our drawing more flexibility. If we use a logical system to organize our line work, we give ourselves more options when it comes to plotting or viewing our geometry on screen.
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