By Scott Onstott | Monday, November 17, 2014
AutoCAD’s plethora of 3D tools has gradually evolved over its 32-year life—which is just over two centuries in dog (AKA software) years.
Even longtime users that are new to 3D are often at a loss as to where to begin. Should you specify 3D thickness, and create regular or NURBS surfaces, solids, and/or meshes? Each toolset has its own specialized tools that you can use to model whatever’s in your mind’s eye.
Here’s help deciding which AutoCAD tools to use for which project.
By Paul Aubin | Friday, March 8, 2013
When I’m teaching Autodesk Revit to new users, I frequently get asked: “Why isn’t (fill in the blank feature) more like AutoCAD if both products are by the same company?” It’s a perfectly logical line of reasoning. Autodesk is the maker of both AutoCAD and Revit. But to understand why your favorite feature in AutoCAD isn’t in Revit, or is included but works differently, it’s helpful to understand the history and focus of these two products.
The history part is easy. AutoCAD is an original Autodesk product, developed and sold by Autodesk. A small start-up company created Revit and Autodesk acquired the software over a decade ago. Autodesk has since enhanced Revit in many significant ways, and along the way has even incorporated some features from AutoCAD when and where appropriate. However, there are vast differences between the functions and tools of AutoCAD.
By Jeff Bartels | Monday, January 21, 2013
Historically, exchanging Autodesk AutoCAD drawings with non-CAD-using clients was a challenge. That’s because viewing DWG files outside of AutoCAD required downloading and installing special software. For this reason, many clients preferred using PDF files to review design changes.
Nowadays, AutoCAD WS makes it easier for all stakeholders to participate in project collaboration, whether they have CAD software or not. AutoCAD WS is a free application offering virtually unlimited online storage for your project drawings.
By George Maestri | Sunday, June 17, 2012
If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been releasing a number of short AutoCAD courses lately. These AutoCAD series courses are part of a new series we’ve developed called AutoCAD Essentials, which is designed to break up a traditional Essential Training course into smaller, more modular chunks. Shorter, frequently posted courses allow us to be more flexible in how we present the essentials of a large software package like AutoCAD. It’s also a way for us to offer you a more flexible way of learning.
Throughout the AutoCAD Essentials series, Jeff Bartels walks you through a modular approach to the massive AutoCAD application, touching on everything from 2D and 3D CAD design, to architectural drawing and engineering projects. The learning path is broken up into six small courses, each with a duration lasting no longer than an hour or two. Those who want to learn everything can simply start at the first course and work their way through to the end. Those who are specifically interested in learning one small, or specific, part of AutoCAD, can choose to jump in at anytime and watch the course that matters to them the most.
Right now, we have three of the six AutoCAD Essentials courses in the library. The first course, AutoCAD Essentials 1: Interface and Drawing Management, begins with a tour of AutoCAD’s interface and the tools used to view drawings. After that, AutoCAD Essentials 2: Drawing Fundamentals goes through the basics of actually creating your own drawings from scratch. Our third installment in the series, AutoCAD Essentials 3: Editing and Organizing Drawings, concentrates on the Autodesk AutoCAD tools and features dedicated to organizing and editing geometry.
In this video titled Creating a rotational array from chapter three of AutoCAD Essentials 3: Editing and Organizing Drawings, Jeff shows you how to how to copy geometry in a rotational pattern using the Polar Array command.
We have three more AutoCAD Essentials courses on the way, and if the six course series is well received, we could easily add a few more modules and keep going. We hope you enjoy this new format and find it easy to use. We’re going to be exploring this format for other large software packages as well, so feedback is always appreciated. Let us know what you think in the comments section below, or by using the site feedback button at the bottom right of every single lynda.com page.
Interested in more?• All AutoCAD courses on lynda.com, including the AutoCAD Essentials series
• All 3D + animation courses on lynda.com
• All courses by Jeff Bartels on lynda.com
Suggested courses to watch next:
• AutoCAD Essentials 1: Interface and Drawing Management• AutoCAD Essentials 2: Drawing Fundamentals• AutoCAD Essentials 3: Editing and Organizing Drawings• AutoCAD 2011 Essential Training
By George Maestri | Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Autodesk just released their new version of AutoCAD specifically designed for Apple’s Macintosh platform. The new software has all the features of Autodesk’s popular CAD application, plus a new interface that takes advantage of some cool OSX features. These include Multitouch pan and zoom for navigation and an iPod-like CoverFlow interface to browse your designs. We thought these new features were so innovative, we decided to create a course that covers all of the differences between the OSX and Windows versions of AutoCAD.
In the upcoming AutoCAD 2011: Migrating from Windows to Mac course at lynda.com, Jeff Bartels, our resident AutoCAD expert, gives you a thorough tour of the new software for those people wanting to make the leap to OSX. The course covers the new interface and tools, as well as methods to print and share data between platforms. It should be terrific guide for anyone wanting to get started with AutoCAD on the Mac.
Here’s a sneak preview of the course, which will be released very soon:
By Megan O. Read | Monday, April 5, 2010
I recently interviewed the talented AutoCAD instructor Jeff Bartels and asked him how he got involved with AutoCAD, with lynda.com, and what his recording process is like.
How did you get started with AutoCAD? Walk us through the story.
By Megan O. Read | Friday, September 25, 2009
This week, I asked instructor Jeff Bartels about his most frequently asked AutoCAD questions, and whether he had any tips that would help our subscribers demystify AutoCAD. He sent me four tips that are sure to improve any AutoCAD user’s workflow.
1. Take advantage of AutoCAD’s multiple document environment
Start by opening two AutoCAD drawings. If you press Ctrl+TAB, you can jump back and forth from one drawing to another.
Now select the View Tab of your ribbon, in the Window panel, select Tile Vertically. This will give you a nice side by side comparison of your drawings. By clicking in either window, you can work on that drawing.
But wait, there’s more: AutoCAD allows us to drag and drop geometry between drawings. Click an entity to select it, and then click (and hold) on a higlighted portion of the same entity. This copies the geometry to the cursor. Drag the geometry into the other window (and release) to copy it into the other file. Never draw anything twice! With AutoCAD, you can recycle your geometry over and over again.
2. Take advantage of your Function Keys
By pressing and holding a function key, you can temporarily enable, or disable a mode setting.
Try this: Launch the Line command, and while drawing, press (and hold) the F8 key to temporarily enable Ortho. You’re linework is now constrained to 90-degree angles until you release the F8 key. Likewise, if you hold F10, you can enable/disable Polar Tracking. My personal favorite is F3. Holding this key will disable running object snaps, which is very helpful when placing text, or tweaking dimension locations.
To see a listing of all possible function keys, “right click” over any mode setting icon in the status bar and select DISPLAY from the menu.
3. Take advantage of the Quick Calculator
Instead of doing calculations on your hand held calculator, use the calculator built into AutoCAD.
Try this: Launch the Line command and draw a line on your screen. Now Offset this line 5.325 units. Let’s assume we wanted to Offset the first line again, but we wanted to place the offset “half way” between the two lines. Launch Offset. When AutoCAD asks for a distance, press Ctrl+8 to open the Quick Calculator (Note: When first opened, you may need to click the downward facing arrow button to expand the calculator). Click 5.325/2 and click = to see the answer. Now click the Apply button and notice the value has been entered at the command line. Hit the Enter key to accept, and then finish offseting your line.
Any time AutoCAD needs a numeric value, you can press Ctrl+8 to let AutoCAD do the math for you.
4. Take advantage of the Property Changer Palette
This is by far the most powerful tool in AutoCAD. Press Ctrl+1 to turn it on. With this palette, you can modify the properties of anything. Select linework, images, text, reference files, and so on, and notice you have instant access to all possible modification choices. As a beginner, this palette should be the first place you look when you need to change something.
For more from Jeff, check out his AutoCAD courses in the Online Training Library®.
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