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How Do I Use Basic AutoCAD Tools?

By Yann, published on 15/08/2019 Blog > Academia > Information Technology > Becoming Familiar With the AutoCAD Software

“Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionize the way we learn.” -Steve Jobs 

Steve Jobs couldn’t have been more right; the software systems that have been developed in the last few decades have changed the way simple tasks are completed and ultimately changed the world.

For example, the invention of the web browser has revolutionised the way we access information; many libraries, textbooks, and encyclopedias have become obsolete after the boom of web browsers in the early 1990s. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo! organised all the information that could be accessed and the world wide web and the rest is history!

As a millennial born in the late 90s, I can’t even remember a world when the internet and modern-day software systems didn’t have a major influence on society. 

Nevertheless, it is essential to state that software such as the web browser is just ONE of modern-day advances in technology that has shaped the world. 

It is essential to state that technological advances have been much welcomed in the workplace by employers and employees. Software systems such as Quickbooks, Office 365, NetSuite, and Microsoft Dynamics are frequently used by some of the most-renowned businesses around the world.

Furthermore, many drafters, architects, city planners, electricians, and graphic designers have found helpful software that has made their life so much easier.

What software is that you may ask? 

The software system we are talking about is the highly recommended AutoCAD 3D design and 3D modeling program that has distributed and beautifully maintained by Autodesk Inc.

AutoCAD is a computer-aided design and drafting software application that was first released in 1982 and is now in its 36th edition.

In today’s article, we will briefly discuss an introduction to CAD tools on the most reputable CAD system, AutoCAD, along with basics and the original drawing and modifying tools of the AutoCAD program that should be learnt in the beginning to ensure success when using this incredible design CAD software.

An Introduction to the AutoCAD Basics

the best guides Our friends at Autodesk have created a fantastic Hitchhiker’s Guide to help beginners get through the AutoCAD basics. (Source: Autodesk)

Many AutoCAD experts have provided indispensable advice, tips, and tricks on blogs, websites, videos, and books about how to effectively use AutoCAD from the beginning.

I’m positive that many first-time AutoCAD users have heard that mastering the software is quite difficult. While this fact is entirely accurate, it is essential not to be afraid to dive into AutoCAD and try new things.

Before starting a serious work project, it would be highly recommended to spend a whole day messing around with the software getting used to all of its functions. Remember that practice makes perfect and the learning experience is ongoing.

To help newbies get effectively introduced to the AutoCAD software, Autodesk Inc. has published the Hitchhiker’s Guide to AutoCAD Basics.

What information is covered in this Hitchhiker’s Guide? 

Well, for starters Autodesk suggests that beginners obey the following steps to understand AutoCAD’s tools in an orderly fashion effectively:

  1. Basics,
  2. Viewing,
  3. Geometry,
  4. Precision,
  5. Layers,
  6. Properties,
  7. Modifying,
  8. Blocks,
  9. Layouts,
  10. Notes & Labels,
  11. Dimensions,
  12. Printing.

The free-trial of AutoCAD that is offered on the Autodesk site is a brilliant way to get familiar with the tools and aspects of AutoCAD before following the steps mentioned above; free CAD for everyone!

Remember, that software systems take time to get used to and AutoCAD is no different. Therefore, do not get too discouraged when you don’t understand things from the beginning; good things take time!

Try to get advice from more experienced colleagues and asked them what helped when they first started using AutoCAD in the sectors of mechanical design, product design, and prototyping. 

In the following subheadings, we will consider the functions of essential tools in the sections of drawing and modifying.

Basic Drawing Tools

the best drawings Learning how to draw circles on AutoCAD is a fundamental aspect of using this software. (Source: Unsplash)

Beginners who have not received any previous training at a technical institute to learn more about AutoCAD are usually quite overwhelmed when they first start using the software.

How do I draw and create the blueprint or product I wish to fabricate on the AutoCAD system? 

Therefore, to avoid confusion and to guarantee a successful 3D model or project on AutoCAD from the beginning, the following are some of the most basic drawing tools that users will need to manage along with their simple definition:

  • Point: one of the most basic parts of a CAD drawing building design, a point is used to create a symbol on the drawing that is tied to another specific location. In the software, points are defined by the coordinates (x,y,z).
  • Polygon: multisided shapes such as pentagons or hexagons, polygons can be frequently used on the AutoCAD system for drawing. The software requests the number of sides and the desired shape. “Closed Polygons” can be edited using the command PEDIT.
  • Arc: a circle segment that can be defined by selecting three points through in which AutoCAD can generate an arc.
  • Circle: the only variables to create a circle are the radius and the centre point. The shortcut to creating a loop on AutoCAD is “c.”
  • Spline: what is a spline? Well, a spline can be defined as a curve that is generated by specific mathematical equations. The user can select as many verticles as they wish and AutoCAD will release a spline curve that incorporates all of these points. Splines are most often used for cosmetic purposes, and the program shortcut is “spl.”
  • Ellipse: commonly recognised as an oval, an ellipse is very similar to a circle except it requires a radius to be defined for both their horizontal and vertical exponents.
  • Hatch: known on AutoCAD software as space fillers, they can be made of a solid colour or a more specific pattern that was designed by the user. They can be applied to a particular object such as looped polyline.
  • Text: by using this option, a text string is inserted into the drawing. It is essential to state that the AutoCAD system uses two forms of text entry: single line and multiline. The distinct types are known as DTEXT and MTEXT. Also, TEXT can be used in areas that are unspecified and undefined.

While a brief description of drawing tools is quite helpful for most, in the beginning, visual learners may require more than a glossary to understand how to draw blueprints and drafts on the AutoCAD program. Therefore, it is highly recommended to visit Youtube and watch drawing tools tutorials before setting an Autodesk account.

Basic Modifying Tools

learning new tools Learning how to erase is an essential modifying tool on AutoCAD. (Source: pixabay)

Modifying blueprints and designs takes a lot of work, and many tools need to be used to efficiently complete the task at hand whether its an electrical plan, architectural design, or high fashion item.

Therefore, to help first-time users navigate their way through the complex world of using 2D CAD or 3D CAD software, Superprof is here to save the day by providing some brief descriptions of the most basic modifying tools featured in the AutoCAD system.

Without further ado, the following are some of the most basic modifying tools on the AutoCAD modeling software that need to be mastered in the beginning:

  • Erase: when you make a mistake, erasing saves the day! A simple tool that can be used by selecting the object you wish to eliminate and then pressing the erase tool.
  • Copy: everyone who uses a computer can identify with the copy and paste functions and it is the same with the AutoCAD software. To move a selected object from one place to another the copy tool is used. To copy the user selects two points and the object is copied using two positions as base points. Points can be selected by using the keyboard and typing in the coordinates or by clicking anywhere on the screen. The shortcut is “cp/co.”
  • Mirror: the user defines two points, and the reflected object is generated across the chosen line with all components reversed. While using this tool, any selected object can create a mirror image. The keyboard shortcut to use this tool is “mi.”
  • Offset: the option of offset is considered to be almost the same as the copy option; it is used in specific situations since the result will likely be smaller or more prominent than the original. The shortcut for using the offset tool on the AutoCAD system is “o.”
  • Array: completing a variety is a quick way of doing a lot of copying. It is essential to state that there are two types of arrays: polar and grid. To make a polar grid the AutoCAD system asks the user how many copies they wish to include in their draft, and on the other hand, to fabricate a grid array the user selects how many columns and rows are needed to complete the task at hand. The AutoCAD shortcut to make an array is “ar.”
  • Scale: to use this function the user selects object or objects, and the scaling factor on the CAD program is defined. Using the scale option on AutoCAD is a great way to change a drawing from metres to millimetres without having to make things so complicated for users.

Additional information about how to effectively use modifying tools such as rotate can be found in well-written blog posts and Youtube videos.

In conclusion, it is essential to mention that since AutoCAD is such a popular CAD software, there is plenty of information about drafting, drawings, rendering, dimensioning, designing technical drawings, layout space, 3D models, and design software that can be found online that are written by experienced users.

Nevertheless, Wikibooks and Autodesk are highly recommended resources that instruct all about CAD design software programmes such as AutoCAD, Autodesk Revit, and Solidworks.

We hope that today’s article has encouraged professionals working in technical fields to consider learning more about and download the fantastic AutoCAD system during the design process; it’s worth a try!

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