It is very important to understand that an autoCAD drawing is an editable transferable, and interchangeable digital document. So it is very important that you set up and draft documents using an appropriate quality assurance system as described in the first part of this course. Students who set up and draft properly save time and effort in the long term, have fewer panic moments, emotional upheavals, unprovoked assaults on keyboards, and generally produce better work in less time.
For the purposes of this weblog, there are a number of abbreviations for common commands: (for example RC means click the right button on your mouse), these are designed to help you to learn the language of autoCAD as well as introducing you to the commonly used actions of the keyboard and the mouse.
RC = Right click
LC = Left click
LCH + Left click and hold the button down while dragging the cursor across the page.
Esc = press the escape button top left corner of the keyboard.
F3 = turn the object snap on/off
F8 = turn the ortho projection on/off
F1 = turn the Help function on/off
Enter = the enter key
PS = paper space
MS = model space
Cons = use a construction layer which can be seen on the screen but not on the printed page.
To begin you should take the chance to indulge in a little self learning. So familiarise yourself with the screen in front of you by doing the following exercises:
Hover over each of the buttons on the tool bars above and to the right of your screen to see what their function is. Try a few of the shapes buttons to draw shapes on the screen. LC to select the icon, LC to start the shape/line and LC to select the next point RC and enter to finish (if it is a multi point tools such as polyline).
Many tools appear on your screen as part of a default set up for your program. If you hover over any of the tools and RC you will notice a long list of other tools bars available to you. The ones to fiddle around with include; (those ticked are default on the screen) Dimension, Draw, Inquiry, Modify, and Object snap, Properties, Standard and Zoom. To find out more use F1.
Ortho and Osnap functions
Read the tabs at the bottom of the screen and go to F1 to find out what they do. Note at this stage OSNAP and ORTHO are the most useful.
Zoom control on your screen.
The best way to zoom in and out on your screen is to roll the wheel on the top of your mouse. If you can’t find your drawing on your screen use zoom extents (F1 to find out how to access the various zoom functions including Zoom extents)
Use construction lines (in a construction layer) to create guidelines on your image to make sure you accurately draft your shapes. Note construction lines are infinite straight guidelines that are not designed to be used for drafting.
Practice using OSNAP (F3) and ORTHO (F8)
It is most effective when you are familiar how to control the OSNAP blue “grip” squares. RC over the OSNAP tab, and select settings (LC) you will notice a toolbox with a range of types of “grips” can be activated. Turn some on or off and hover over your title block and see where the blue “grips” appear. Also use the osnap tool bar, to be able to select individual osnap commands.
Ortho is much easier, if ortho is on your cursor is restricted to moving in four directions (up, down, left, right). This is very useful for ‘measuring line lengths by entering the exact starting and finishing coordinates of a line.
Selecting items on the screen.
If you hold the cursor on top of an item LC you will select an item. If you LCH from the top left to the bottom right over the black screen you will create a square with a solid line which is blue in the middle. This will allow you to select a item that is entirely within the selecting (blue) square.
If you LCH from the bottom right to the top left over the black screen, you will create a square with a dotted line which is green in the middle. This will allow you to select an item that is partially within the selecting (green) square. Practice selecting items on a square.
Using the RC drop down list.
After you select an item and RC, a drop down short cut box with a list of commonly used commands appears. They are categorised into 5 sections. Familiarise yourself with the various actions available to you, however the most useful are repeat last action eg: if you have just drawn a polyline it will show repeat polyline. The second most useful is the copy selection command (half way down). The other one is the last one which brings up the properties tool bar. This allows you to view the properties of any element on the screen. These “properties’ can be modified from this tool bar.
Tutorial 1: Drafting in plan
1. Drafting the rectangle (The footing)
The footing will be a concrete slab which is 1200mm x 1200mm which will be represented in plan view by a rectangle.