AutoCAD: Quick clean-up of Dimension Placement

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

DIMSPACE: this command adjusts the spacing between Parallel Linear and or Angular dimensions.

Located in the Annotate Tab   Dimension Panel        DIMSPACE button.

AdjustSpace

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Command sequence:

AutoCAD sequence                                                    User input

Command: _DIMSPACE

Select base dimension:                        This is the Dimension that will stay in place and the other                                                                                        Dimensions will adjust to that one Dimension.

Select dimensions to space:                Here the user selects all Dimensions wanted to adjust. This can be                                                                       done individually or with a Selection Set option.

Select dimensions to space:                Offers another opportunity to select additional Dimensions if                                                                               missed. Once done selecting all Dimensions Enter.

Enter value or [Auto] <Auto>:           Here the user can place a numerical distance or accept the default                                                                        feature <Auto> and allow AutoCAD to adjust the dimension                                                                                spacing.

The first video shows the DIMSPACE Command adjusting the Dimensions using the <Auto> feature and then defining the distance by a numerical value.

Use ZERO for dimensions placed in a Continuous sequence for a quick dimensions adjustment.

At the Enter value or [Auto] <Auto>: prompt type in the number ZERO.

*The AUTO feature references back to the predefined TEXT height of the DIMENSION STYLE of the Base Dimension, which was the FIRST Dimension selected.

Learn more about AutoCAD Clean-up of Dimension Placement by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.

AutoCAD: Angular Dimensions greater than 180°

Written by Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Have you noticed when placing in Angular Dimensions angles over 180° aren’t an option by default?

Location of Angular Dimension:

Annotate Tab  Dimension Panel within the Dimension drop down.

Also located in the Home Tab Annotation Panel within the Dimension drop down.

Location

The first video shows the Angular Dimension and placement of multiple angles under 180°.

Specify Vertex: Located within the Angular Command is the feature needed to place in an angle larger than 180°.

Command Line Vertex option

The Command sequence:

AutoCAD sequence                                                    User input

Command: _dimangular

Select arc, circle, line, or <specify vertex>:      

Specify angle vertex:                                        Select the Intersecting point of the two lines, if this was      an Arc the vertex selection would be the center of the Arc.

Specify first angle endpoint:                           Select the endpoint of one line. If Dimensioning an Arc                                                                                   Select one end of the Arc at this prompt.

Specify second angle endpoint:                      Select the endpoint of the opposite line. If Dimensioning                                                                               an Arc Select opposite end of the Arc at this prompt.

Specify dimension arc line location or [Mtext/Text/Angle/Quadrant]: Place the dimension on the DWG.

Dimension text = 214                                                                                         Showing the Angle of the                                                                                                                                                 dimension placed.

*When in a Command and AutoCAD offers brackets < > at the end we can simply ENTER and the feature in those brackets < > activates.

Learn more about AutoCAD Specify Vertex Angular Dim over 180° by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.

AutoCAD: Revision Cloud New to 2016 and some Old features

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

New to this release Rectangular or Polygonal Revision Clouds.

To access the Revision Cloud command:

Through the Ribbon:

Home tab – Draw Panel drop down –

Annotate tab – Markup Panel –

            Command Line:

Type in Revcloud ↵

Rev Cloud 1Rev Cloud 2

Rev Cloud 3

This Video show the three Revision Cloud styles:

Rectangular option TWO Places must be selected on the screen.

Polygonal option the user selected as many locations needed to create the Polygonal Rev Cloud around the area.

Freehand option select one point on the screen then move the mouse clockwise or counter-clockwise around the area desires and end up back at the starting point. AutoCAD places in the arc of the revision cloud and once back to the endpoint of where you started it closes the cloud.

Rev Cloud 4
Setting/Options for the Revision Cloud Command:

ARC Length: Select Arc Length or Type in A then you type in the desired length. This stays until you change it.

Object: this turns an existing CLOSED entity such as a Polygon, Rectangle or Circle into a Revision Cloud.

Rectangle: / Polygonal: / Freehand: Allows you to switch from one style option to another.

Style: Offers two option – Normal (most commonly used on technical drawings) or Calligraphy
*The Style stays to the set option until the user changes it.

Rev Cloud 5

Modify: Allows modification to an existing Revision Cloud.

Access the Modify option / Select the Rev Cloud to modify / Pick points to add to the Revision Area ending back on an area of the original Rev Cloud – The program connects them – the next selection is to select the portion of the Rev Cloud to be removed – the next prompt is to reverse the direction of the cloud YES or NO.

 

Learn more about AutoCAD Revision Cloud New to 2016 and some Old features by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.

AutoCAD: NEW to AutoCAD 2016 Dimension Button

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

This new button (Dimension) allows continuous placement of dimensions. With selection of Geometry or Object Snap it switches from Liner to Radial to Angular and so on for quicker placement of Dimensions.

Dim1

*Dimension Styles are pre-defined as in previous versions.

            *Layers – There is an option within the Annotate – Dimension Panel for Dim Layer

Override. This allows you to select the Companies Standard Layer for the Dimensions to reside on. If you leave it at on Use Current it will place the Dimensions onto the Current Layer – and the current layer would be set in the Home tab – Layer Panel as in previous releases.

Dim2

Hover over Geometry for a preview of the dimension.

 

 

 

Dim4

 

Right-Click options once the user has pick a point on the drawing:

Dim6 LinearDim5 rt Radial

Right-Click option right after activating the Dim command and not yet selected a point on the drawing.

Dim7 Linear

The Video shows the Dim command in use. You will see it keeps the command active (running) until the user stops it – What type of dimension will be placed per the geometry selected (Linear, Angular, Aligned, Radius and Diameter), The Pop-up window when you Right Click while dimensioning a circle to switch the Option from Diameter to Radius.

*No Worries until you are comfortable with this new Button the Dimension drop down is still available and works the same as in previous release.

Dim3

Learn more about AutoCAD 2016 Dimension Button by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.

AutoCAD: Divide or Measure

Written by Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Divide: Located in the Home Tab / Draw panel drop down / Measure button

Places a Point Style symbol or (Block) at EQUAL Segments along the selected geometry.

Measure: Located in the Home Tab / Draw panel drop down / Measure button

Places a Point Style symbol or (Block) at MEASURED Intervals (a specified distance) along the selected geometry.

DV1

These two Commands are a great feature to use on all geometry such as Lines, Circles, Polygons and Splines to name a few. This does not break the selected geometry up. It places a Point Style or BLOCK on the geometry so that you have an exact location to reference. When referencing a Point Style with the Object Snap features turn on NODE. This snaps to the Point Style.

Point Style: Located in the Home tab / Utilities panel drop down / Point Style button. By default the Point Style is set to be a dot or a point.  This is changed by either the Point Style Button or by typing in DDPTYPE and setting it through the Command Line. *Keep in mind they may also be set as a blank option so nothing will display. If the Point Styles were not placed on their own layer to freeze prior to printing this is a quick way to hide them so they don’t display.

*Point Styles do print. Only ONE style is visible in a Drawing. They update visually when a new style is selected.

DV2DV3
Command Line input/prompts for both commands and the results.

Command: _DIVIDE
Select object to divide: “select the line”
Enter the number of segments or [Block]: 6 ↵
This placed the Point Style onto the line segment five (5) times to give the line six (6) equally spaced segments. These Point Styles selectable by the Object Snap NODE

Command: _MEASURE
Select object to measure: “select the line”
Specify length of segment or [Block]: .7625 ↵

DV4

Command Line input/prompts for both commands using the BLOCK option and the results.

Command: DIVIDE

Select object to divide: “Select the POLYLINE”

Enter the number of segments or [Block]: B

Enter name of block to insert: TEST “this is the name of the BLOCK that resides in the drawing”

Align block with object? [Yes/No] <Y>: Y

Enter the number of segments: 4

Command: MEASURE

Select object to measure: “Select the POLYLINE”

Specify length of segment or [Block]: B

Enter name of block to insert: TEST “this is the name of the BLOCK that resides in the drawing”

Align block with object? [Yes/No] <Y>: Y

Specify length of segment: 1.5

DV5

**When utilizing a Block instead of the Point Style the Block must already reside in the drawing. For example when you access the Insert Command it is listed within the available Blocks. If the Block is located out on the network insert it into the drawing prior to using it with these commands.

NODE: is the Object Snap to use when snapping to a Point Style.

DV6

Learn more about Divide Measure by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.

AutoCAD: Placing your Dimensions and Text on the right angles for Isometric drawings

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Setting up the TEXT STYLES:

There are two setting that need to be done to achieve the correct angles off the text.

  1. TWO TEXT STYLE must be created one with the OBLIQUE ANGLE set to 30 and the other style with the OBLIQUE ANGLE set to -30 (negative 30).
  1. When in the MTEXT Command After the FIRST PICK on the Screen the ROTATION needs to be defined to either 30, -30 (negative 30) or 90. *Unfortunately this step needs to be done every time the MTEXT is accessed as the Rotation option seems not to stay as most other options do.

Set the Oblique Angle in the Text Style Dialog Box.

Iso 1

Set the Rotation within the MTEXT Command.

Iso 2
**The OBLIQUED TEXT STYLE needs to be defined first as this Text Style will be used as the Dimension Text Style.

Iso 3
Iso 4
Setting up the DIMENSION STYLES:
1. Create a NEW DIMENSION STYLE and associate an Isometric Text Styles in the Text Tab of the Dimension Style Manager. Multiple Dimension Styles are needed only because the Isometric Text Styles previous created will need to be associated to those different Dimension Styles. Name these styles accordingly so it will be easy to select the desired style later.
Iso 5

2. When Placing the Isometric Dimensions

a. Select the appropriate Dimension Style – place the dimension into the drawing.
b. Select the Oblique Icon (located in the Annotate Tab / Dimension Panel drop down.) Select the Dimension / Enter / type in the needed Angle. 30, 90, 150, 330.

Iso 6

Iso 7

Three Isometric options (Left, Top, Right) to switch the cross hairs to a different plane CTRL + E, F5 or even simpler select the  down arrow at the Isodraft Icon in the Status Bar.

Iso 8
Learn more about Placing your Dimensions and Text on the right angles for Isometric drawings by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.

AutoCAD: WBlocks (Write Blocks) adjust to the Insert Unit

Written by Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Do you use different forms of units within your projects/company and want to utilize your WBlocks in all projects quickly?

Example. A projects is Decimal Units and another projects in Metric Units, you have WBlocks created in Decimal Units and want to utilize then in a Metric unit DWG.

Steps to take for the conversion to work seamlessly.

  1. When creating a WBlock make sure a form of units that applies to the WBlock is defined in the WBlock dialog box / Insert Units drop down area.

*In this drawing example the WBlock Insert Units are set to Inches:

WBlock Units 1

Wblock Units 2

*Here is the WBlock example, Switch Plate drawn in Decimal units, the Insert units defined as Inches in the Write Block dialog box.

WBlock Imperial units 3

2. Open the next Drawing define the Insertion Scale found in the Drawing units Dialog box. Ex. Millimeters…
Drawing Units Millimeters 4
3. Insert the WBlock: The conversion happens automatically.

WBlock Metric units 5

Imperial Units:   X   the metric conversion of Millimeters (24.5)

2.750    X       25.4   =       70.6120

 

4.500    X       25.4   =       114.3000

 

 

 

 

 

 

The suffix mm was added – within the Dimension Style manager / Primary Units tab / Linear Dimension area.

Hint:   When creating a WBlock for your library stay consistent with the form of units you create them in. If you and your co-workers know all WBlocks are created in Inches they will know to check the Insertion Scale if inserting into a drawing with units other than Inches.  Inches is the example option I chose to use your type of work will direct that choice.

Learn more about WBlocks (Write Blocks) adjust to the Insert Unit features by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class.  Click Here to request more information.

AutoCAD: Share your Tool Palettes

Written by Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Export and Import

A Tool Palette may be created by an individual to help them work more efficiently and or a company may create Tool Palettes to help keep everyone consistent with company and or client specifications.

Once a Tool Palette is defined the Export option can be used to save it for easy recall. Save this file on the network and all AutoCAD stations can then Import it easily into their system.

A Tool Palette has the extension of .XTP. A Tool Palette Group has the extension XPG.

Steps to EXPORT A Tool Palette:

  1. Manage Tab – Customization – Tool Palettes Icon: (Image 1)

Can also be accessed right from the Tool Palette – Select the Properties symbol in the Title area of the Tool Palette, (Image 2)

From that pop up window select Customized Palettes… (Image 3)

  1. This opens the Customize Dialog Box. (Image 4)
  2. In the Palettes section – Right Click over the Tool Palette Tab you want to Export: (Image 4)
  3. Select Export: *Make sure this file is saved on the Network so Everyone has access to the same Tool Palette (Location is important especially if it is modified this will allow for a quick means of updating all systems)
Image 1

Image 1

Image 2

Image 2

 

Image 3

Image 3

Image 4

Image 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The same process is used for Exporting Palette Groups as Exporting Palettes with the exception you

Right–Click in the Palettes Groups section (just right of the Palettes area). Select Export.

Steps to Import a Tool Palette or Tool Palette Group.

  1. Manage Tab – Customization – Tool Palettes Icon:
  2. This opens the Customize Dialog Box.
  3. Right – Click in the Palettes section and select Import:
  4. This opens the Import Palette Dialog Box – Path yourself out to the location where the Tool Palette or Tool Palette Group was saved.
  5. Select the file – Open – Close. The Tool Palette Panel should appear in the Tool Palette.

Some key points to keep in mind when working with Tool Palettes.

The following information is directly from AutoDesk AutoCAD 2015 Help center:

About Sharing Tool Palettes and Tool Palette Groups

Export Tool Palettes and Tool Palette Groups:

When you export a tool palette or tool palette group, keep these points in mind:

  1. When you export a customized tool palette, an image folder with the same name is may be created in the same location as the XTP file. This folder contains the images for user-created content tools and command tools with user-defined images
  2. Avoid copying tool palette (ATC) files between different product releases. Doing so can cause potential problems when migrating to a future release.
  3. Import Tool Palettes and Tool Palette Groups

When you import a tool palette or tool palette group, keep these points in mind:

  1. When you import a customized tool palette, the image folder must be in the same location as the imported XTP file in order for the icons to appear in the tool palette.
  2. Tool palettes can be used only in the product release in which they were created. However, you can migrate tool palettes from previous releases to the current release using the Migrate Custom Settings dialog box.

**If you share tool palettes with someone who is not using the same AutoCAD-based product or release in which they were created, the tools might not work properly.

Learn more about Tool Palette and other NEW AutoCAD 2015 features by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class.  Click Here to request more information.

AutoCAD: Dynamic Blocks

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

The Standard for Reusable Content

Blocks are the oldest form of reusable content and in AutoCAD. Dynamic blocks add a level of power that substantially reduce and streamline your existing block libraries. Discover how to apply Parameters and Actions to new and existing blocks using the Block Authoring Tools.

Parameters and Actions: two elements that define Dynamic Blocks:

  1. Parameters:
  • Identified on screen by a blue grip.
  • The shape of the grip varies based on the type of Parameter. Parameters define the features of the geometry of the objects you want to change.
  • Must be attached to a block
  • Properties of parameters can be set to specify increments as well as minimum/maximum values.
  • The lookup parameter is used to assign multiple sizes of a specific block
  • The visibility parameter is used to assign multiple definitions (appearances) to a block, such as front view, side view, or plan view.

Below shows what the Dynamic grips look like for the different Parameter options.

 Picture12. Actions:

  • Identified by a lightning bolt icon
  • Are attached to parameters to define how those parameter will modify the geometry in the final block, such as scale, stretch, move, etc…
  • Parameters can have more than one action

This example will show the breakdown of adding a Point Parameter and the Move Action to a Block: using a block called – Strainer:  Strainer 1
Step 1: Activating the Block Editor:

Block Editor 2A.  Select the Block Editor icon from the Insert tab, Block Definition panel, Block Editor Icon. This opens the Edit Block Definition dialog box. Select an existing block (Strainer) to modify. Then select OK. This opens the (contextual tab) Block Editor. Or if the Block was visible on the screen you could double click on the Block and it will also open up the Block Editor.

Block Editor 3
Step 2: Place a Point Parameter: Point Parameter 4

Strainer w-point 5B. Select the Point Parameter from the Parameters tab located in the Block Authoring Palettes.
 At the prompt: Specify parameter location or [Name/Label/Chain/Description/Palette]:for this example Pick the Midpoint of the vertical line marked A. (Example 1)

 At the prompt: Specify label location: Place the label Position to
the right of the geometry. (Example 1)

 

 

 

Step 3: Place a Move Action: Move Action 6

Strainer w-action 7C. Select the Move Action from the Actions tab located in the Block
Authoring Palettes.

  • At the prompt: Select parameter: Select the Point Parameter label Position that was just place in the Block Editor.

At the prompt: Specify objects: Select all of the geometry and the Point Parameter with a (window selection) and then Enter. (Example 2)

  1. D. Select the Close Block Editor button:

Close Block Editor 8Select Yes to Save Changes to the block (Strainer.) This brings you back into the drawing mode of AutoCAD.

Save 9
Step 4: Test the Block:

E. Insert the block: at the prompt: Specify insertion point or [Basepoint/Scale/Rotate]: Select the Ctrl key to see the block move from one insertion point to the next. (Example 3)

Strainers explained 10


The first insertion point is defined by creating the left vertical line of the flange at zero, zero. The second point of insertion is added with the Parameter Point and the Move Action.

Learn more about Command Line Features and other NEW AutoCAD 2015 features by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.

AutoCAD: Creating Blocks

Written by Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Block: is a collection of selected entities that has a defined insertion point and combines all entities into a single group with an assigned a name . *This is created in the drawing and is accessible only within this drawing.

Why create Blocks: Blocks are a great option to use – they consolidate the drawing size, keep consistency within drawings and projects, saves time as the items do not need to be drawn every time (just inserted) and they are easily modified and will update all instances withn=in the same drawing when modified. “ WBlock the Block if you want to save it into a directory for all to have access to the block at any time. This is the best idea.”

Steps to create a Block:

  1. Select the Create Block button: This is located in the Insert Tab, Block Definition Panel – Create Block Button.Block 1

2. This opens up the Block Definition Dialog box. Here you assign a Name, Select a Base Point, Select the geometry – annotation (select all that needs to be part of the Block) to be included in the block.

A: Name:

Here you define the name of the Block. It is preferred as with drawing names to

keep them descriptive but not too long.

B: Base Point:

There are three options to define the Base point to the geometry.

1st options is to select the box which places a check mark in it. When you select OK it will them bring you out into the drawing and prompt you to select the Base Point.

2nd  option is the Pick Points button: Once this button is selected it brings you into the drawing to select the desired Base Point.

3rd option is place define the location in the X, Y, Z (if applicable) areas in the dialog box.

Block 2

*The Base Point also known as the Handle is where the Blocks insertion point is. Defining a good base point makes the insertion of the Block much easier. Think of what is being inserted and how it relates to other geometry. Such as this Sink I used Object Tracking to reference it 2.5” away from the mid-point of the back of the sink. This allows the sink to be inserted at a reference point such as a counter and it will be placed in correctly and no need to relocate.

C: Objects:

There are two ways to select the geometry to be included into the block.

1st options is to select the box which places a check mark in it. When you select OK it will then bring you out into the drawing and prompt you to select the Objects.

2nd Select the Select Objects button, this brings you into the drawing to select what is to be included into the Block.

Options within this section:

Retain if selected it creates the Block but does not convert the selected entities into a Block they remain as they are.

Convert to Block if selected this creates the Block and converts the selected entities into a Block and it remains visible in the drawing.

Delete if selected creates the Block but deletes the selected entities from the drawing.

D: Behavior:

Annotative – allows the Block being inserted to adjust per the View Port Scale Factor.

Scale uniformly – keep the Block from being inserted at a different X and different Y scale.

Allow exploding – this option should be selected if the block may needs to be modified at a later time, and if the Open in Block editor is not selected you won’t be modifiable.

E: Block Units:

Here are many options to choose from. This option is important to define if you create the blocks in one form of Units and then insert the block into  another drawing using another form of Units. Ex. Create Block in Inches but it will be inserted into a drawing using Kilometers.Insert Units 3

F: Description:

Describe the block.

G: Open in Block Editor:

With this selected it will open in the Block Editor allowing additional modifications to the Block.

3rd Select OK and the Block has been created and is available within this drawing only.

Creating a Block: Note the block is created on Layer 0 (zero)

Inserting the Block: Notice the Block takes on the properties of the current Layer and the insertion point is attached at the cross hairs.

Things to keep in mind when creating Block:

*The preferred method -create Blocks on Layer 0 (ZERO) – this is the layer that when you start with any AutoCAD template file it is available. When created on Layer 0 the Block will adjust per the Layer properties and will then be able to represent different options per the Layer properties.

Ex. If the Block is placed on another layer (other than Layer 0) and the properties are different those properties will be reflect in that instance of the Block.

Layer 0 the Properties are color White and a Solid Linetype.

Layer Hidden the Properties color Red with a Hidden Linetype.

**Blocks inserted on Layer Zero will reflect the properties of that Layer which is White with a Solid Linetype, The same Block inserted in the same drawing on the Hidden Layer the Block will reflect those Layers properties, Red with a Hidden Linetype.

Blocks can be created on any other layer – keep in mind when a block is created on any other layer the properties won’t update when placed onto a different Layers. There are cases that this approach would be needed.

Learn more about Command Line Features and other NEW AutoCAD 2015 features by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.