Saturday, February 21, 2009

Learn AutoCAD - Get Started Now

This tutorial provides a fast introduction to the AutoCAD user interface. It will be of particular interest to new AutoCAD users, but it provides information that experienced users may be unfamiliar with.

Topics covered in this tutorial include:

  • Creating a new architectural or mechanical drawing.
  • Locating menus
  • Working with toolbars
  • Drawing lines with precision
  • Typing commands and responding to heads-up and command line prompts
  • Finding and using the tool pallette
  • Inserting and modifying dynamic blocks
  • Saving drawing files
By the time you complete this set of tutorials you should be able to find and use many AutoCAD commands.
©1997-2005 OpenCAD International, Inc. www.opencad.

Creating a New Drawing from a Template

In this tutorial you learn how to start a new AutoCAD drawing. In order to follow the steps in this tutorial, you need to have AutoCAD already installed and working on your computer.
  1. Launch AutoCAD. In this tutorial we use AutoCAD 2006, but the tutorial will work for most versions.
    • TIP: Remember that you click by tapping the left-most button of your mouse. You right-click by tapping the right-most button.
  2. By default, AutoCAD displays the New Features Workshop. The next time you launch AutoCAD you can click Yes, then OK to see this overview of new features. For the time being, click Maybe Later then choose OK.

  3. From the File menu, choose New.

  4. Select Architectural, English units -Color Dependent Plot Styles from the list of drawing templates. A drawing template is a "sample drawing" which has the most commonly used settings (like units) already set. AutoCAD has many template drawings to choose from.

  5. Click Open to open the template.

  6. Click Model to toggle into Model space which is where you should always create design geometry. What is design geometry. It is all geometry related to what you want to build. Draw all objects in Model space at full scale (1"=1" or 1mm=1mm). Just imagine you have the worlds largest (or smallest) piece of paper. You create scaled views in layouts. You never draw scaled geometry in Model space. Model space has a black background in AutoCAD.
  7. From the Format menu,choose Drawing Limits. This lets you tell AutoCAD how much room you need to draw in.

  8. Take a moment to study the prompts. The "heads up" display near the cursor and the prompt area at the bottom of the screen are both asking you for the same information.

  9. Type 0,0 and press ENTER to specify the lower left corner of your drawing area.
  10. Type 60',40' and press ENTER to specify the upper right corner of your drawing area. Note that you are specifying the area you need in order to draw the outline of a small house.
      TIP:Nothing appears to change, but your drawing area is now larger.
  11. From the View menu, click Zoom, then click All. This tells AutoCAD to show you the entire area you have to draw in.

  12. On the Status bar, located at the bottom of the screen, right-click GRID and choose Settings.

  13. Select the Snap on and Grid on check boxes. Snap makes your cursor move in even increments, so its easy to select a point like 1',1' rather than 1'3/16,1'3/4. Grid puts dots at even increments all over the area defined by drawing limits.
  14. Type 6" in the Snap X Spacing check box.
  15. type 5' in the Grid X Spacing check box.

  16. Choose OK to exit this window.
  17. From the File menu choose Save.
  18. Type my-architectural-drawing in the file name box. This will name this drawing so you can use it later.
  19. Choose OK.
©1997-2005 OpenCAD International, Inc.

Drawing Lines & Inserting Dynamic Blocks

Now that you've created a drawing with the right units, limits, grid and snap, you can easily draw a floor plan.
    TIP:The techniques you have used up until now will work just as well for metric mechanical and architectural drawings. You just need to select the right template drawing and specify the desired limits, grid and snap settings.
  1. From the Draw menu, choose Line.

  2. Type 5',5' and press Enter to specify the start of the line.
  3. Move your mouse to the right until the prompt tells you it is 40' long.

  4. Move your mouse up and type 10' then press ENTER. IMPORTANT: From now on we won't tell you type ENTER after you enter something at a prompt. Pressing ENTER is how you tell AutoCAD you are done typing. You can remember to do it on your own.
  5. Move your mouse to the left and type 10'. If you move in a given direction, then type a distance, AutoCAD will set the end of the line at the specified point.

  6. Use the techniques just demonstrated to finish drawing a floor plan.

  7. On the Tool Palette, select the Architectural tab. (If you have closed the Tool Palette, from the Tools Menu choose Tool Palettes Window to display it again.)

  8. Click on the Trees-Imperial symbol and drag it into the drawing.
  9. Click the tree you just inserted. Select the blue triangle.

  10. select one of the other tree plan options.
  11. Press the ESC key on your keyboard to indicate that you don't want to modify the tree any more.
  12. Use the techniques you've just experimented with to create more objects in the drawing using commands found on toolbars, tool palettes and menus. Try moving toolbars around. You can right-click on any toolbar to display a list of toolbars to display and hide.

  13. From the File menu choose Save As and type experiment in the file name box. Choose OK to exit this window.
  14. From the File menu choose Close to exit AutoCAD.
Now that you've learned how to create a new drawing, issue commands and respond to prompts, you should try creating a new drawing of your own and drawing a very simple object.
©1997-2005 OpenCAD International, Inc.