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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.
If you create a lot of geometry using splines, you're going to love the enhancements made to the Join command. In AutoCAD 2011, we can now use Join to connect our splines to nearly any other entity. On my screen I've got an example of a few entities, and I would like to join these to some splines. So I'm going to create a spline by opening up the Draw panel. I'll launch the Spline command and I'll start my spline from the endpoint of this line segment. I'll pick a few more points on screen, and when I'm finished, I'll hit my Enter key.
Now instead of drawing several more splines, I'm just going to copy this one. I'll launch my Copy command, I'll select my spline and right-click and I'll copy it from the endpoint here to here to here to here. When I'm finished, I'll hit Escape. Let's start by joining this spline to the straight-line segment. To do that, I'm going to open up the Modify panel and launch the Join command. And here is the trick. If you want to join an entity to your spline, select the spline first.
So I'll select my spline and then my line and I'll right-click, and that's it. This becomes a single spline-segment. I'm going to hit my Spacebar to go back into the Join command, and let's join this spline to this arc. Once again, I'll right-click and it becomes a single spline. I'll hit my Spacebar again, we'll join this spline to this polyline, re-launch the command, and I'll join my spline to this helix. We can use the Join command to connect a spline to a line, arc, polyline, 3D polyline, helix or another spline, so long as they meet end to end.
And the object's being joined don't need to be coplanar. They can exist in three- dimensional space and still join just fine. Let's try using the Join command in a practical example. I'm going to paint my drawing over. On my screen, I have a conceptual design for a flexible penlight. And I've already created the centerline for the flexible arm. It consists of a spline segment and a couple of straight lines where the arm enters the body of the part. To create the shape of the arm, I'd like to offset this geometry, but before I do that, I'm going to join it altogether such that I can offset everything in one piece.
Prior to AutoCAD 2011, this wasn't possible. I'll start by launching the Join command. I'll select my spline first followed by my two straight segments and then I'll right-click. Now that this is a single spline object, I'll launch my Offset command. I'm going to use an offset distance of 0.075 and hit Enter. I'll offset my centerline to the outside. I'll select it again and offset it to the inside and I'll hit my Escape key when I'm finished.
Finally, I'll select my two offsets and I'll open up my layer control and I'll put them on the flexible arm layer. When I'm finished, I'll hit the Escape key. With the enhancements made to the Join command, splines become much more versatile and they are even easier to incorporate into our workflow.
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