Join Jeff Bartels for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a rotational array, part of AutoCAD 2014 Essential Training: 3 Editing and Organizing Drawings.
In this lesson, we're going to learn a more powerful way to copy geometry. Specifically, we'll be looking at the Polar Array command. Polar array allows us to copy objects in a rotational pattern. The best part is, the pattern we create is dynamic and can be easily edited. On my screen, I have some geometry over here on the left that represents a couple of chairs. This circle on the right represents a round table. I would like to start by moving this chair on the left over to the table. To do that, I'll launch the move command.
I will create a window selection around the chair, and I will press Enter. I would like to pick this chair up from the mid point of the front, and I will place it to, Shift+right click. I will bring up my Objects Snap menu, and I will choose quadrant. And I will grab the quadrant at the top of the table. Now that my chair is here, I'd like to move it a little bit further away from the table. Once again, I will launch the Move command. And at the select objects prompt, I will type P and press Enter. This re-selects my chair.
I will then press Enter again to finish my selection. I'll pick the chair up from the middle of the front, and I'm going to come down and lock the ortho. I will then pull the chair straight away, I'll type 6 and press Enter. This positions the chair 6 inches away from the edge of the table. Now that my chair is in position, I would like to copy this chair around the outside of the table. To do that, I'll come up to the Modified panel, and I'll open the Array menu, and I'll choose Polar Array.
Polar Array allows us to create rotated copies. I will then select the objects I'd like to array and press Enter. I will then grab the center point of the array. That'll be the center of the table. And when I do, you can instantly see the copies. Also notice that we have a new tab in the ribbon. This is a context sensitive tab that contains all of the Polar Array settings. For instance, if I come up to the Items panel, I can use this to adjust the number of chairs that I have.
For instance, what would four chairs look like? I'll type 4 and press Enter. Maybe I'd like to see what eight chairs would look like. In addition to adjusting the number of chairs, I can control the angle between the chairs or the total angle that I'm filing. If I come over to the Rows panel, I can create additional rows. Let's change this from one to two. You can see where we're going there. I can also adjust the distance between the rows, or the total distance between the front and the back row. I'm going to change the rows back to one, and let's talk about levels.
If we wanted to get crazy about this, we could start creating additional levels. This would be copying the geometry in 3D space, and this is beyond our scope right now. Let's say that the settings that I have currently work fine for what I need. What I'm going to do is come down and click the X to close the array. I will then center this a little better on screen. As you can see, creating rotated copies is extremely easy. Here's the best part. Rotated copies are also very easy to edit. If I select one of these chairs, notice the computer remembers this is a rotational array.
I now have access to all of my settings. Let's make a change. I'm going to come down to the Options panel and I'll choose Edit Source. This allows me to update the geometry of one of my objects And in turn, all of the copies will also be updated. I'll select the chair I'd like to change, and I'll click OK. I'll zoom in on that geometry. I'd like to make a simple change. I'm just going to select the backrest. And then I'll click this grip in the middle, and I'll pull it straightaway.
I'll type 3 and hit Enter. You can see that change was applied to the copies. To finish my edits, I'm going to come over to the Edit Array panel and I'll choose Save Changes or Discard Changes, depending on what I want to do. I'm going to choose Save Changes. And you can see that my modification has been applied to all the copies. Let's make another change. I will select the chair. This time, I am going to come up and choose Base Point. The base point represents the insertion point of the chairs.
You can see that base point is highlighted by this grip. Currently, the base point is at the middle of this seat, which doesn't have much geometric value. I am going to choose Base Point, and I'll move the base point from the middle of the seat to the middle of the front edge. As you can see, the chairs haven't moved, only the base point has. Now that I've adjusted the base point, I'm going to come over and choose Replace Item. This allows me to swap out objects in my array with alternate geometry. I'll select this chair as my replacement objects, and I'll press Enter.
Now, I need to identify the base point of the replacement. Well, since the base point of the originals is the middle of the front edge, the base point of my replacement will be Shift+right click. The quadrant at the front edge of this chair. I can then select the objects in my array that I'd like to swap out with the alternate. And since they all share the same base point, they're all the same distance away from the table. When I'm finished, I'll press Enter and then Enter again. And then I'll click the x to close the array.
Let's say after making that change, I'd like to put this back the way it was. I'd like all these chairs to be identical. To do that, I'll select the array, and I'll come up and choose Reset. And AutoCAD will remove the alternate objects. Finally, I'll come over and click the x to close the array. As you can see, if you need to copy objects in a rotated pattern, Polar Array is the best tool for the job. Its dynamic properties and intuitive workflow make it very easy to create and edit the rotated copies.
- Adding and removing from selections
- Stretching elements
- Creating mirrored copies
- Leveraging grips
- Editing hatch patterns
- Using layers to organize a drawing
- Changing layer states
- Understanding the BYLAYER property
- Taking measurements
- Automating calculations with the Quick Calculator
- Constructing a multi-view part