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Professional Skills

AutoCAD Tutorial Notes

Name: ________________
Table of contents

Table of contents ...........................................................................................................ii


1. Introduction to AutoCAD ......................................................................................... 1
1.2 Most Used Drawing Commands .......................................................................... 2

2. Drawing with AutoCAD ............................................................................................ 6


2.1 First Tutorial Task................................................................................................ 6

2.2 Create and Save a New AutoCAD File................................................................ 6

2.3 Create New Layers ............................................................................................... 7

2.4 Drawing Basic Shapes ..................................................................................... 8

2.4.1 Drawing Lines............................................................................................... 8

2.4.2 Copy and Paste a Drawing ........................................................................... 9

2.4.3 Drawing a Square using the “Line” command .......................................... 10

2.4.4 Drawing a Square using the “Polyline” command .................................... 11

2.4.5 Drawing Circles .......................................................................................... 12

2.5 First Exercise ..................................................................................................... 13

3. Creating and Modifying .......................................................................................... 15


3.1 Line Type Selection and Use ............................................................................. 16

3.1.1 Create and Use a New Linetype.................................................................. 17

3.2 The Use of the Mirror Command....................................................................... 19

3.3 The Use of the Hatch Command ........................................................................ 20

3.4 The Use of the Blocks Command ...................................................................... 22

3.4.1 Creating and Inserting Blocks .................................................................... 25

3.5 Second Tutorial Exercise ................................................................................... 26

4. Dimensioning .......................................................................................................... 29
4.1 Dimensions and Modifying Dimensions Commands ........................................ 29
4.2 Creating a dimensioning style ............................................................................ 31

4.3 Third Tutorial‘s Exercise ................................................................................... 38

5. Model Space, Paper Space, Viewports and Plotting .............................................. 40


5.1 Before you start .................................................................................................. 40

5.2 Designing your paper layout .............................................................................. 41

5.3 Set the Viewport to the Correct Scale ................................................................ 44

5.4 Some Brief Notes about Printing ....................................................................... 45


University of Portsmouth Section 1

1. Introduction to AutoCAD

AutoCAD allows you to have access to a large number of commands. The general
rule is that you will use 20% of the commands 80% of the time. The important thing
to remember is that AutoCAD will expect you give it information in a very particular
order. The most frustrating thing when you begin using this program is that you will
try to do something, but AutoCAD will 'not work'. In most cases, it means that you
are trying to input information at the wrong time. This is why it is very important to
look at the command line. The command line tells you what information AutoCAD
requires to continue.

It is very important to remember that the concept of drawing using AutoCAD is


similar to that when drawing by hand. The major difference is that AutoCAD allows
you to draw fast and accurately. An additional benefit of using AutoCAD is that you
can draw, erase and draw again as many times as you require without wasting paper.

Before you get started you need to consider:

1. Even the most complicated drawing can be divided into a number of more
simple components.
2. You can draw the same object using a number of different commands but this
does not mean that you are required to know all of them. Try to use the one
that is the simplest for you to understand.
3. For each new object1 you must decide what materials you will require. In the
world of AutoCAD different material means different layers. A proper
decision will make it easier for you to produce a correct and complete drawing.
4. AutoCAD is drawing software, produced to make your life easier when
drawing. Spend some hours to learn how to use it and this will save months
of your life when you use it as a Civil Engineer.

1
Probably a subdivision of your final drawing

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1.2 Most Used Drawing Commands

We will start by introducing you to the most common drawing commands. When you
combine commands, you will be able to draw quite quickly. Table 1 summarises the
most common drawing and modifying commands and Table 2 summarises some of
the Zoom commands. It is very important spend some time on the 1st, 3rd and 5th,
column of the table in order to understand the use of each command.

Command Keystroke Icon Menu Result


Draw a straight line
Line Line / L Draw > Line segment from one
point to the next
Draw > Draws a circle based
Circle Circle / C Circle > on a centre point and
Center, Radius radius.
Modify >
Erase Erase / E Erases an object.
Erase
U
Undoes the last
Undo Edit > Undo
(Don't use 'Undo' command.
for now)
Draw > Creates a polyline of
Polyline Pline / PL
Polyline arcs and/or lines.
Trims objects to a
Trim TRIM / TR Modify > Trim
selected cutting edge.
Extends objects to a
Modify >
Extend EXTEND / EX selected boundary
Extend
edge.
Offsets an object
Modify >
Offset OFFSET / O (parallel) by a set
Offset
distance.
Creates a mirror
Modify >
Mirror Mirror / MI image of an object or
Mirror
selection set.
Starts the Layer and
Format >
Layer Layer / LA Linetype property
Layer
dialog box
Modify > Copies object(s) once
Copy Copy / CP
Copy or multiple times
Draw > Single Creates a single line
Text Text
Line Text of text
Covers an area with
Hatch Bhatch / H Draw > Hatch
a predefined pattern
Table 1 – The most common drawing and modifying commands of AutoCAD.

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Command Icon Result


This option (also a 'hidden' default) prompts the user to pick

Zoom Window two corners of a box on the existing view in order to enlarge
that area to fill the display.
Zoom Zoom Realtime provides interactive zooming capability.
Realtime
Pressing <ENTER> (after entering zoom) on the command
line automatically places you in Realtime mode. Hold the left
mouse button down at the midpoint of the drawing and move
the cursor vertically to the top (positive direction) of the
window to zoom in up to 100% (2x magnification). Hold the
left mouse button down at the midpoint of the drawing and
move the cursor vertically to the bottom (negative direction)
of the window to zoom out to100% (5x magnification). You
cannot zoom out beyond the extents of the current view.
Zoom In Clicking this icon will zoom in to the drawing by about 50%.
This option is only available as an icon and cannot be invoked
by the command line.
Zoom Out Similar to 'Zoom In' - this icon will zoom out of your drawing
and allow you to see about 50% more of your drawing space.
Table 2 – Zoom commands of AutoCAD.

The commands listed in the tables above are located in the AutoCAD environment as
presented in the next page, Figure 1.

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Layer Undo Zoom window


Line

Polyline

Circle

Hatch

Text
Erase
Copy
Mirror
Offset

Trim
Command Line
Extend

Figure 1 – Location of the most used commands in the AutoCAD environment.

In the following sections some drawings/tutorials are provided which get


progressively more complicated. In each of these sections the different commands that
will be used are described along with appropriate instructions. The series of tutorials
that follows has been built to teach you how to draw civil engineering drawings using
AutoCAD. By the completion of this series of tutorials everyone will be able to draw
drawings like that shown on the next page, Figure 2.

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Figure 2 – Target drawing after the completion of AutoCAD tutorials.

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2. Drawing with AutoCAD

2.1 First Tutorial Task

This is a basic task, but it is very important to understand how to give the program
accurate information. You will be required to draw some very basic objects like lines,
squares and circles. After you have drawn these objects, you will use some of the
most common commands like erase, copy, trim, extend and offset.

The commands you will use and the step by step procedure you will follow is given
below.

You will use the following commands:

Commands Icon

Save

Layer

Line

Polyline

Circle

Copy

Trim

Extend

Offset

2.2 Create and Save a New AutoCAD File

After you have open a new AutoCAD drawing click the Save icon. AutoCAD will ask
you to give a name to the new file. Name the new file with your I.D No and save it on
the N drive.

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2.3 Create New Layers

You are now ready to start. Remember to set the materials you will require to
complete this drawing. You are about to draw a line, a square, and a circle therefore it
is a good idea to create three different layers one for each basic object.

Click on the Layer icon New Name the new layer as Line and choose the red
colour ok.

Click ―New‖ again and follow the procedure. Name the second and third layers as
―Square‖ and ―Circle‖ and choose blue and green colours respectively. Press ok to set
and exit the Layers. You have now successfully set the different Layers that will be
used, Figure 3.

Figure 3 – Set of the required Layers.

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2.4 Drawing Basic Shapes

2.4.1 Drawing Lines

Under the drop-down menu of the layers click and select the layer ―Line‖. The Layer
―Line‖ is now active, Figure 4. You are now ready to draw your first line in
AutoCAD.

Figure 4 – Selection of layer “Line”.

Click the Line icon to select the command ―Line‖ and click in the drawing area to
select the first point2. Move your mouse to the right and press the number 5 on your
keyboard. Then press enter and you have now drawn a line of 5 units in length. Press
enter again to exit the command Line. In case of a mistake you can always erase the
line or undo your last command simply by clicking on the appropriate icon.

The units that we use when drawing in AutoCAD are called “Drawing Units”.
AutoCAD does not know if they are kilometres, metres, or millimetres. It is up to you
to decide what they represent (usually metres or millimetres). Once you decide, you
2
Make sure that the tab ―ORTHO‖ at the bottom of your monitor is activated. This allows you to draw
only vertical or horizontal lines.

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must be consistent and ensure the drawing units represent the same “real world units”
for all elements of your drawing. You may need to zoom in or out to make your
drawing appear at a sensible size on your screen. We will decide on the size and scale
of the final printed drawing later on. In our tutorial examples, we will assume that the
drawings‘ units are metres, Figure 5.

Figure 5 – Your first Line using AutoCAD.

2.4.2 Copy and Paste a Drawing

Now click the copy icon and left click on your line to select it. Now your line appears
dashed, that means that you have successfully selected it. Then right click to accept
the selected line that is about to copied and left click again in the drawing area, move
your mouse upwards to set the direction in which you want to copy the line and type
the number 1 to set the distance between your existing line and your copied line.
Repeat the procedure 5 times, Figure 6.

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Figure 6 – Completed section of drawing lines.

2.4.3 Drawing a Square using the “Line” command

In the previous section 2.4.1 you were taught how to draw lines of a given length (5 m)
by simply selecting the line command and with the appropriate use of the mouse. The
next target of this tutorial is to draw a square of 5 m side length. In order for this to be
achieved, follow the procedure listed below.

1. Under the drop-down menu of the layers click and select the layer “Square”
as you did in the previous Section 2.4.1. The Layer “Square” is now active.

2. Click on the AutoCAD drawing area somewhere next to the lines. Click the
Line icon to select the command “Line” and click in the drawing area to select
the first point. Move your mouse to the right and press the number 5 and then
enter one time. The first side of the square has now been drawn. Now move
your mouse downwards and again press 5 on your keyboard to draw the first
perpendicular side of the square. Repeat the procedure by moving your mouse
left and then upwards.

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2.4.4 Drawing a Square using the “Polyline” command

The procedure used for the drawing of a square using the Polyline command is the
same one used when the line command is used. Therefore, select the Polyline
command simply by clicking on the polyline icon. Then follow the steps 1 and 2 of
the Section 2.4.3. The steps and the outcome in both cases are the same and presented
below, Figure 7.

Figure 7 – Steps of drawing a square using both Line and Polyline command.

The function of the “Line” and “Polyline” commands seem to be very similar.
However there are some unique applications of the ―Polyline” command when used
along with some other commands, which will be presented later on. For the moment
just consider that a square drawn using the ―Line” command consists of four

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individual lines while when drawn using the “Polyline” it consists of a single
continuous line.

2.4.5 Drawing Circles

Under the drop menu of the layers, click and select the layer “Circle” as you did in
the previous Sections 2.4.1 and 2.4.2. The Layer “Circle” is now active.

Draw a circle simply by selecting the circle command. Click on the circle icon, click
in the AutoCAD drawing area to set the centre of the circle. Then type from your
keyboard the required length of the radius, 2.5 m. Remember that the typed length
sets the RADIUS and not the DIAMETER of the circle, Figure 8.

Figure 8 – Steps of drawing a circle using the “Circle” command.

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2.5 First Exercise

You are now ready to draw your first drawing using AutoCAD which is a “Two Span
Frame”. It might be helpful if you follow the step by step procedure given below.
Complementary notes are given in Figure 9 and the dimensions of the two span frame
are given in Figure 10.
1. The given drawing consists of three different objects (columns, foundations
and beams) all of them are simple to draw. Create and name three different
Layers.
2. Start with the “Foundations” layer. Draw a rectangle of the given dimensions,
0.50 x 2.50m (height x width).
3. Then select the layer “Column” and draw again a rectangle, 3.00 x 0.50m.
4. Combine these two separate drawings such that the column is placed right in
the centre of the foundation.
5. Use the command “Trim” to cut the lines that should not appear in your
drawing, show Figure 9.
6. Copy both column and foundation that now appear as a continuous structure
and paste so that the C – C (Centre to Centre) spacing between the columns is
6.00m.
7. Draw and place the concrete beam on the top of the columns and using the
“Trim” command cut the lines that should not appear in the drawing.
8. You have now drawn your first single frame. Copy and combine appropriately
to form the whole frame, see Figure 10.
6.00 m C-C

Lines that need to be


removed

Figure 9 – Complementary notes for the first Exercise.

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Figure 10 – Dimensions of the two span frame.

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3. Creating and Modifying

This tutorial includes a review of Tutorial 1 and an introduction to some more


AutoCAD Commands. Believe it or not, if you understand the commands taught in
Tutorial 1, you understand almost all of the common commands used in AutoCAD,
for any version.

Table 3, summarises new commands that you will use in order to draw your 2nd
tutorial followed by a brief explanation of their function and their usage.

Command Keystroke Icon Menu Result


Modifying
Line type None None the style of
your line
Creates a
mirror
Modify >
Mirror Mirror / MI image of an
Mirror
object or
selection set.
Creates a
block and
Block Wblock / W None writes it to a
file
(external)
Transform a
Explode X
Polyline to
many single
lines.
Bhatch / H Covers an
Boundary Draw > area with a
Hatch Hatch predefined
pattern
HatchEdit / Modify > Edits an
Hatch Edit HE Object > existing
Hatch... Hatch

Table 3 – Commands used for the second tutorial‟s exercise.

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3.1 Line Type Selection and Use

When drawing in AutoCAD it is always useful to remember that drawings are usually
something we draw for someone to read and use. Drawings are like text notes, if you
draw something in a correct way anyone will be able to read and understand it, if you
fail to do so, it will be hard to understand even for you who drew it.

Line types are important. A proper selection of the line type makes your drawing
better and easier for some one to ―read‖. It is like when you are typing a word
document and you are using bold, Italics, underline, or a combination of them, so as
to give emphasis to your text. Line types operate in the same way. We use thicker
lines, thinner lines, dashed lines and border lines to give emphasis on a part of the
drawing and to make it easier for somebody to read. There are no fixed rules for the
type or the lineweight of the lines we use when we draw. However there are some line
types commonly used to present a drawing. Table 4, summarises some of the different
line types and their usage.

Line type Appearance Lineweight Usage

Continuous3 Main drawing


0.40 to 0.70
objects

For dimension
Continuous 0.15 to 0.35
lines

For different
Dashed 0.50
levels description

ACAD_iso04w100 Indicates borders


0.70
and limits
Table 4 – The use of different line types.

The best way to draw correctly is to identify, before you get started, the different
objects you are going to draw and then to decide the style and the lineweight of each
line. You must select the line type any time you make a new drawing layer.
3
Continuous lines with lineweight about 0.40 are used for objects in our drawings where detail is more
important such as smaller objects like plate connections, bolts etc. Thicker continuous lines are used for
walls, concrete columns, beams etc.

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3.1.1 Create and Use a New Linetype

Figures 11 and 12 shows how to select the line type and the lineweight of the line
used.

1. Click the new layer icon to open the “Layer Properties Manager”, window
(1)
2. Under the heading Linetype click on “Continuous” which is the default
linetype to open the “Select Linetype”, window (2)
3. Click the button “Load” and the “Load or Reload Linetypes” window now
appears, window (3).
4. Select from the list the line type you want to set active for the specific layer
and press ok to exit.

Once the linetype for the selected layer has been set, whenever you use the specific
layer to draw, the linetype will be activated automatically.

To set the lineweight of your line click on the “Layer Properties Manager”, window
(1), under the heading Lineweight the word Default and select from the list the
lineweight for your line, Figure 12.

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2
3

Figure 11 – Procedure for Setting Line type.

Figure 12 – Procedure for Setting Lineweight.

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3.2 The Use of the Mirror Command

The Mirror command allows you to mirror selected objects in your drawing by
picking them and then defining the position of an imaginary mirror line using two
points. It is an important and useful command especially when drawing objects with
at least one axis of symmetry.

Command Keystroke Icon Menu Result


Creates a mirror
Modify >
Mirror Mirror / MI image of an object
Mirror
or selection set.

The procedure of the copy MIRROR command is listed below:

1. Click on the “Mirror” command icon.


2. Click on the object you want to copy and press enter to end the selection, P1.
3. Specify first point of mirror line, P2.
4. Specify second point of mirror line, P3.
5. Press enter to complete and exit the command, Figure 13.

Figure 13 – The copy “Mirror” command.

In order to create perfectly horizontal or vertical mirror lines use Orthogonal


(ORTHO).

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3.3 The Use of the Hatch Command

Hatching in AutoCAD is a way of filling in areas of your drawing with a


preformatted pattern to represent certain materials. It is usually used in sectional
views. You can use a solid fill to completely fill in areas such as walls in a floor plan.
There are two types of hatching you can use. Generally it is better and easier to use
the “Boundary Hatch” command.

Command Keystroke Icon Menu Result


Boundary Bhatch / H Draw > Hatch Covers an area
Hatch with a predefined
pattern
Hatch Edit HatchEdit / HE Modify > Edits an existing
Object > Hatch
Hatch...

For better understanding of the hatch command draw a square of 5m by 5m and put a
circle with 1m radius in the middle of it.

Click the Boundary Hatch icon to select the command. When you start the following
dialog box appears, Figure 14.

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Figure 14 – Settings for hatching.

1. Start at the top of the dialog box and work your way down. Assume that you
have drawn a cross section of piece of steel which has a hole in the middle, so
choose the predefined Hatch pattern called “Steel‖.
2. Now you want to select the area to be hatched. Pick somewhere inside the
rectangle, but outside of the circle and press <Enter>.
3. Set the scale of the hatch to 0.1. This is just a number that works for this object.
A larger number will make the hatch bigger (maybe so big you won't see it)
and a smaller number can make the hatch so dense that it looks solid. This is
something that you have to adjust empirically and with some trials. You firstly
set a scale and then you check how it looks in your drawing through the
preview. If you like it press ok or you repeat the procedure.
4. Make this "Associative" - this means that if you adjust the rectangle or circle,
the hatch will automatically correct itself to the new boundary.

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5. Finally, hit the “Preview‖ button to see if this is what you are after, it should
match the image below.

Note that AutoCAD recognised the circle in the middle and didn't hatch over it. If the
lines appear 'jagged', don't worry - it is a video issue -the prints will come out clean
and straight.

If you want to edit the hatch, the easiest way is to just double-click on it. This will
bring up the same dialog box (almost) that you just used to create the hatch. Try
different settings in the Hatch Edit dialog box and preview the results. If you are using
a solid hatch, make the hatch WHITE so that it will print out as a solid black, any
other colour will appear grey (with lines) when printed.

3.4 The Use of the Blocks Command

In this lesson you will be introduced to blocks. By definition, a BLOCK is a


collection of simple entities (lines, arcs, circles, text, etc.) that form a more complex
entity that normally represents an object in the real world, e.g. a truss or a concrete
column with the reinforcement.

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There are many advantages to using blocks, here are the major ones:

1. Blocks are a single entity. This means that you can modify – move, copy
or rotate – a block by selecting only one object in it.
2. You can build up a library of blocks consisting of the parts that you require
many times in your workday. These blocks can be stored in a separate
folder and even on a network so that all drafters have access to them.
3. Using blocks can help keep your file size down. AutoCAD stores block
definitions in its database. When you insert a block, AutoCAD only stores
the name of the block, its location (insertion point), scale and rotation. This
can be very noticeable in large drawings.
4. If you need to change something, you can redefine a block. For example,
you draw a concrete beam and turn it into a block, you can later change the
size.
5. You can very easily insert in your drawing a detail by making block parts
of your drawing that are very small, and insert them in multiple scales.

Table 4 summarises the commands that you will need to create and insert a block in
your drawing.

Command Keystroke Icon Menu Result

Creates a block from


Bmake Draw > Block >
Block separate entities (internal
/B Make
to current drawing)

Creates a block and writes


Write Block Wblock / W None None
it to a file (external)

Inserts a block (internal or


Insert Insert / I Insert > Block
external)

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Draw a square 5m by 5m and put a circle in the middle with radius of 1m as shown
below.

Start the “Block” command by either typing Block in the command row or using the
pull down menu or the icon. You will see a dialog box that looks like the one shown
below.

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3.4.1 Creating and Inserting Blocks

The procedure for making and inserting blocks is as follows:

1. The first thing that you want to do is give your block a name. Type “square”
in the edit box beside Block Name.
2. Now you need to select an insertion/base point. Click the “Pick Point” button
and then pick the top left corner of the square. Make sure that the retain button
is selected; this will keep your objects on the screen as individual objects.
3. Next you want to select the objects for your block. Click the “Select Objects”
button and then select both the square and circle and press <Enter>.
4. This is optional, but you can add a description in the description text area.
5. Pick the OK Button and the dialog box closes. It will look like nothing
happened, but the drawing file now has a “Block Definition” for a square in it.
Congratulations, you have created your first block.

Now that you have created a block, it's time to insert it. Start the Insert command
by typing I <Enter> or in the toolbar press insert then block or simply from the
insert block icon. You will see this dialog box on the screen:

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Make sure that the Insertion Point - Specify On-screen box is checked, and the
Explode button is not checked. The Scale - Specify On-screen should not be checked.
In the insert dialog box you will see under the menu Scale that the default values for
the X, Y and Z have the value 1. That means that when AutoCAD will insert your
Block, all the dimensions of your inserted block will be multiplied by one4. Change
the value for y dimension from 1 to 0.5 and then press the OK button. Pick anywhere
on your screen and you will see the block appear. The block will be inserted in your
drawing and its Y axis dimension will be multiplied by 0.5

3.5 Second Tutorial Exercise

For this Tutorial, you will draw some details of a structure that you will probably face
throughout your studies and probably in your professional life.

This lesson will be a review of the first tutorial and will introduce the use of the new
commands taught in this tutorial. Believe it or not, if you understand the commands
taught in the first and second tutorial, you understand almost all of the common
commands used in AutoCAD - for any version.

4
When drawing in 2D the Z axis values do not change anything.

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For this coursework, you will be drawing a two span truss which is supported on
concrete columns, Figure 15. Details of the dimensions of the drawing are shown in
Figure 16.

The first thing you have to do is to set up your drawing. There are a few basic steps to
approaching EVERY drawing you do in AutoCAD.

1. Make sure you have the ability to draw it. See if there is anything in the drawing
that you would not be able to reproduce. You should also see if you have all
the information you need to complete the drawing. One missing dimension can
make the entire drawing very difficult.
2. What layers will you need to start with? Remember that you can always add
more, or delete the ones you don't need. Moreover you can always use some
Layers while you draw just in order to help you and at the end you will not
print them.
3. Before you start, consider what will be the first object that you will draw such
as to minimise your work by copying it or setting it as a block or mirroring it.
4. Once you have this basic information, you can begin. As you can see, there is
a bit you have to do before drawing your first line. Get into the good habit of
beginning your drawings properly and not with the attitude that you can
always “Fix it later”!

Once your drawing is set up, think about how you will actually draw it. You should
start with the most basic components first. Remember that it is just like building a
structure. Start with the foundation and add more detail as you go. Be careful with
your measurements, because if you make a mistake at the start, it will cause BIG
problems later on as you continue through the drawing.

A general rule I use is to draw like I would build it. This basic approach will at least
give you a starting point for any project in any discipline.

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Figure 15 – Second exercise drawing.

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Figure 16 – Dimensions of the Second exercise drawing.

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4. Dimensioning

This tutorial describes the options and commands available for dimensioning
drawings and how to use them. The correct use of AutoCAD‘s dimension tools is the
key to producing clear and concise measured drawings. To help you with the selection
of the dimensioning commands, you may wish to open the dimensioning toolbar and
place it on the AutoCAD window. Remember you will find this under Toolbars on
the View menu.

There are lots of dimension commands which include facilities for indicating
tolerances and alternate units dimensioning. However, this tutorial aims to cover the
most common commands for general use and constitutes an introduction to
dimensioning with AutoCAD.

4.1 Dimensions and Modifying Dimensions Commands

AutoCAD divides dimensions into four main categories: Linear, Radial, Ordinate and
Angular. For the purposes of this tutorial we will only consider some of the
commands within the Linear, Radial and Angular categories. AutoCAD provides a
whole range of dimensioning tools which can be used to quickly dimension any
drawing without the need for measurement. Dimensioning in AutoCAD is automatic,
lines, arrows and text are all taken care of by the dimension commands. AutoCAD
dimensions are special blocks which can easily be edited or erased as necessary.

AutoCAD allows you to adjust the position of the text of a dimension with the use of
the dimension edit commands, DIMEDIT and DIMTEDIT. This is usually only
necessary if the drawing is quite complex and the dimension would read more clearly
if the position of the text will be modified. Table 5 summarises the use and the
function of the most common used dimension commands in AutoCAD along with the
modifying dimension commands.

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Dimensions
Keystroke Icon Menu Result
category

Generates horizontal
Linear Dimension/
Dimlinear and vertical
Linear
dimensions
Linear Dimension

Dimension/ Creates a string of


Continue Dimcontinue
Continue dimensions

Generates a series of
Dimension/
Baseline Dimbaseline dimensions from a
Baseline
single base point

Aligned Dimension/ Generates aligned


Dimaligned
Aligned dimensions

Annotates a circle or
Dimension/
Diameter Dimdiameter an arc with a
Diameter
diameter dimension
Radial Dimension

Returns the
Dimension/ dimension of the
Radius Dimradius
Radius radius of a circle or
arc
Dimension/ Annotates a circle or
Centre
Dimcenter Centre an arc with a cross at
Mark
Mark the centre

Angular Dimension/ Indicates an angle in


Dimangular
Dimensions Angular almost any situation

Annotates co-
Ordinate Dimension/
Dimordinate ordinate points with
Dimensions Ordinate
X or Y values

Modifies the text


Dimension Dimension/
Dimtedit position of any single
Dimensions

Text Edit Align Text


Editing

dimension
Modifies and
Dimension Dimension/ changes the text of
Dimedit
Edit Oblique any number of
dimensions

Table 5 – The most used dimension commands.

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4.2 Creating a dimensioning style

To add dimensions efficiently, you should create a dimensioning style. Dimension


styles can simplify dimensioning by predefining certain dimension formats. The
dimension Style dialogue box is available under the Dimension Menu as Style or by

clicking on the Style button on the Dimension toolbar.

The Dimension Style command can be used to change the appearance of dimensions.
The best method is to create a new style before you start creating dimensions so that
you can leave the STANDARD style as a default option. Having created a new style
from STANDARD you can then apply any modifications you generally require to the
parent style and then more specific modifications to the child styles in order to create
a style family.

You can either edit an existing style or create a new one. Notice the current style
displayed in the style box is called ISO – 25. This is AutoCAD's default dimension
style. For this tutorial, you will create a style based on the ISO – 25 style, and save it
under a different name, Figure 17.

Figure 17 – Dimension style manager dialogue box.

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To create your new dimensioning style, click on the New button. The Create New
Dimension Style dialogue box will appear. In this box, you can begin the definition
for a new style by modifying the existing one, Figure 18.

Figure 18 – Setting a new dimension style.

To create your new dimension style, type Tutorial 3 in the window by the heading
New Style Name:, make sure that ISO – 25 is selected in the window labelled Start
With:, and then click on Continue. The Modify Dimension Style dialogue box will
appear. The Modify Dimension Style has been designed so that you can define a
variety of dimension parameters. When it first appears, the Lines and Arrows tab
should be showing, Figure 19.

In all of the dimension dialogue boxes, an example of the changes you select will be
displayed in the window on the upper right. Occasionally this window does not
display the changes correctly, so do not panic. When you change to a new tab, the
window will show your changes to the style correctly.

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Figure 19 – The modifying dimension style dialog box.

The changes you should make in the Lines and Arrowhead dialogue box should
include the following:

1. Under the Dimension Lines section, set Spacing to 6. This sets the space
between stacked dimensions. Note that the minimum space between
dimensions is 6mm. However, you will have some long dimensions and will
be orienting your dimension text horizontally so you will need to have more
space between the stacked dimensions.
2. Under the Extension Line section, at the Suppress option tick the Ext Line 1
and Ext Line 2 to suppress the extension lines.

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3. Under Arrowheads, set Size to 0.15 to set the arrowhead lengths, and under
Centre Marks for Circles, set Size: to 0.15 to set the length for half of the
lines for a centre mark.

Next, click on the Text tab to bring that dialogue box forward, Figure 20. Inside this
box, make the following changes or make sure that the following categories are set.

Figure 20 –Modifying dimension text dialog box.

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1. Under Text Appearance, modify the text style to Times new Roman and set
the Text colour to be By Block. This allows the colour to be controlled by the
layers and assures that the font is the default.
2. Under the Text Placement section, select Cantered in the window by
Vertical and Cantered in the window by Horizontal. This orients the text to
the dimension lines. Note that if a dimension placed in this location does not
work well with other dimensions, you can easily move a dimension to a new
location after it is placed.
3. Under the Text Alignment section—Click on the aligned with dimension
line button, this orients all of the dimension numbers align with the dimension
line.
4. In the window beside the heading Offset from dim line: type in 0. This
changes the size of the gap in the dimension line by establishing how far the
dimension line should be from the text.

Now, click the Fit tab to bring the Fit dialogue box forward, Figure 21. In this box
make the following changes or make sure that the following are set:

Figure 21 – Dimension fit settings.

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1. Under Fit Option, click on the button next to the heading Either the text or
the arrow, whichever fits best. This gives you the flexibility to have a
dimension inside or outside of the extension lines.
2. Under Scales for Dimension Features, select Scale dimensions to layout.
This scales the elements of the dimensioning system – arrows, numbers, etc –
to the scale used in paper space.
3. Under Fine Tuning, select Place text manually when dimensioning. This
allows you the flexibility to place a dimension in the most appropriate position
relative to other dimensions.

Now, click on the Primary Units tab to bring this dialogue box forward, Figure 22.

1. In this box, make sure that Linear Dimensions are set to Decimal, Precision
is set to 0.00, and Round off is set to 0.
2. Under Measurement Scales, leave the Scale factor at 1.
3. Beside BOTH areas labelled Zero Suppression—click on the check box next
to Trailing (this will remove any excess 0's after a number.

Figure 22 – Setting of primary units.

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Click on OK to return to the Dimension Style dialogue box. When the Dimension
Style Manager box appears, make sure that Tutorial 3 is still highlighted in the
Styles window and then click on the Set Current button to set this as your dimension
style and then on Close the close the window, Figure 23.

Figure 23 – Set active the new dimension style “Tutorial 3”.

Finally, click the Save button under the Dimension Style window and then OK to
exit the Dimension Style dialogue box. You have now created your dimensioning
style.

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4.3 Third Tutorial’s Exercise

For this Tutorial, you will create your own dimension style and you will use it for
dimensioning your drawing. This lesson will be a review of the previous tutorial while
you will redraw the two span trusses which are supported on concrete columns shown
in Figure 24 and you will set the dimensions of the drawing. Details of the dimensions
of the drawing are shown in Figure 25.

Figure 24 – Third coursework drawing.

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Figure 25 – Dimensions of the Second coursework drawing

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iangle on a layer called 'Triangle', draw
er called 'Circles', use Tangent snaps to
ter lines on a layer called 'Lines'. Use TRIM to remove unwanted circle segments.

turning the layers on and off. Practice turning the layers on and off.
University of Portsmouth Section 5

5. Model Space, Paper Space, Viewports and Plotting

These notes are designed to help students as a general reference for scale drawing and
printing using AutoCAD.

5.1 Before you start


It is assumed that you have set up suitable LIMITS, and that you have used AutoCAD
to produce an initial ‗drawing‘ such as that shown in Figure 28.

Use TRIM to remove unwanted line segments. Add two


one horizontal and one vertical LINE.
circles, and change LINETYPES to CENTER and HIDDEN
Use OFFSETs to draw the rest.
where necessary.

Figure 26 – A „Model‟ drawn in AutoCAD using real world co-ordinates.

You will have used ‗real world‘ co-ordinates (for example metres or millimetres) and
you will not have considered final drawing size, paper size or scale. You will also not
have drawn any border or title block.

What you have drawn so far is called a ‗Model‘.

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5.2 Designing your paper layout

It is sometimes helpful if the things that are to be drawn as part of our paper layout
(border, title block, etc) are drawn on their own layer.

1. Create a layer called ‗Paper‘ on which to draw the border and title block
(the name ‗Paper‘ does not have any special meaning to AutoCAD – you
can call it something else if you wish) and make it the current layer

As you will see in a minute, we are also going to create a window on our sheet of
paper through which we will be able to see our Model. This window is called a
‗Viewport‘. It is often helpful if we create the Viewport on its own layer.

2. Create a layer called ‗Viewport‘ and make it the current layer (again, the
name ‗Viewport‘ does not have any special meaning to AutoCAD – you
can call it something else if you wish).

We are now ready to start designing the layout of our piece of paper.

3. To design the paper layout, make sure you have the Paper layer as your
current layer and select the ‗Layout1‘ tab at the bottom of the drawing

A ‗Viewport‘ is created in the centre of the paper, with the Model drawn inside it.
The Viewport is scaled so that all of the Model can be seen inside the Viewport – the
scale used is calculated automatically by AutoCAD and it will not be a very sensible
scale.

The Viewport is a drawing object, and it may be edited just like any other drawing
object (moved, deleted, re-sized, etc.). You can create more Viewports from the View
| Viewports pull-down menu (you can have lots of them on your piece of paper).
You are now in ‗Paper Space‘ and you are looking at the Layout of your piece of
paper. This is how it will look if you were to print it out. Notice how you cannot edit
your Model, even though you can see it – you cannot erase parts of it, for example.

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You can get back to the Model by selecting the ‗Model‘ tab – this is called
‗Model Space‘.
You can get back to designing the paper layout by selecting the ‗Layout1‘ tab
– this is called ‗Paper Space‘

If you edit the Model, in Model Space, the view of the Model inside the Viewport will
be updated when you return to Paper Space. If you draw on the Layout, you are
drawing on the paper (Paper Space), and the Model is left unchanged.

If you want to edit the Model while you are in the Layout view, you can
double click inside the Viewport; to get back to drawing on the paper layout,
you double click outside the Viewport.

You can re-size the Viewport by clicking its corners (best with OSNAP off).
Remember that if we want all of the contents of the Viewport to be visible on the
paper printout, it must all be inside the ‗printable area‘.

The first time we select this Layout tab, we have to provide AutoCAD with some
details of our printer/plotter and paper

4. Select the ‗File – Page Setup Manager…‘ pull-down menu


5. Select ‗Modify…‘ to modify the current page setup
6. Select the required Printer/Plotter from the menu list (e.g. an A3 Laser
Printer)
7. Select A3 paper size and Landscape drawing orientation (or other size and
orientation, if you wish)
8. Make sure that ‗What to plot:‘ is set to ‗Layout‘ and the Plot scale is 1:1,
and the Plot scale units are ‗mm‘
9. You have now told AutoCAD everything you need to continue, so click
OK and then Close the Page Setup Manager

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Figure 29 shows an example A3 landscape drawing layout, with the printable area, a
binding margin, a Viewport, and a 70 mm space on the right hand side for a vertical
Title Block. It is very helpful when planning the paper layout to sketch the layout in
your notepad, and mark on it important layout dimensions and co-ordinates.

Paper Space co-ordinates are in mm (you defined this above), and 0,0 is the bottom-
left corner of the ‗printable area‘.

10. To define the position of the Viewport, click on the bottom-left corner of
the Viewport to select it, then click the same corner again to move it, and
then click again at the point where you want to move the Viewport corner
to (see Figure 2). Now do the same with the top-right corner of the
Viewport. Remember the corners have to be inside the Printable Area.
11. You have now finished positioning the Viewport, so press the ‗Esc‘ key to
de-select it.

Well done! Nearly finished!

Viewport Printable area A3 paper


At least 20mm
space for binding
margin

Space for Title


Block, say
70mm wide

Printable area

Viewport

Figure 27 – A sketch of an A3 paper layout.

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5.3 Set the Viewport to the Correct Scale


To set the Viewport to the correct scale

Table 7 gives a list of Viewport scale factors for a variety of standard required scales,
depending on whether your Model Space is drawn in units of millimetres or metres.

Viewport Scale Factor

Required Model Space Model Space


Scale co-ordinates co-ordinates
in mm in m
50:1 50xp 50000xp
20:1 20xp 20000xp
10:1 10xp 10000xp
5:1 5xp 5000xp
2:1 2xp 2000xp
1:1 1xp 1000xp
1:2 0.5xp 500xp
1:5 0.2xp 200xp
1:10 0.1xp 100xp
1:20 0.05xp 50xp
1:50 0.02xp 20xp
1:100 0.01xp 10xp
1:200 0.005xp 5xp
1:500 0.002xp 2xp
1:1000 0.001xp 1xp

Table 6 – Viewport scale factors for a variety of standard required scales, depending on
Model Space units (note that 50:1 is an enlargement scale, and 1:1000 is a reduction).

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To set the Viewport scale factor:

12. Whilst in Paper Space, Double-click inside the Viewport to work on the
Model through the Viewport ‗window‘.
13. Type ‗Zoom‘.
14. Type the required Viewport Scale Factor from Table 1, above, for example
‗1xp‘.
15. Finally, you can position the Model nicely in the Viewport by typing ‗Pan‘
and using the mouse to drag the Model around (press ‗Esc‘ or ‗Enter‘ when
you have finished).
16. Now you can double click outside the Viewport to return to drawing in
Paper Space.
17. It is a good idea to prevent the box surrounding the Viewport from printing,
so click on the light bulb on the ‗Viewport‘ layer to turn it off.
18. You can now select the ‗Paper‘ layer, and draw a border and title block, as
you wish (make sure everything you draw is inside the ‗printable area‘ –
refer to your sketch of the paper layout from step 11 to help you with the
co-ordinates).
For guidance about the layout and content of the Title Block, see the notes on the
Professional Skills web site.

5.4 Some Brief Notes about Printing


Before you print, you should define all your layers to use the colour ‗white‘
(this will come out black on your printout!)
You should print from Paper Space (i.e. from the ‗Layout1‘ tab)
Choose the File | Plot… pull-down menu
Check that you still have the correct printer selected, that the drawing
orientation is correct, and that the Plot area is ‗Layout‘
As you have scaled the Viewport correctly, the Plot scale should be 1:1
You can have a ‗Preview…‘ to make sure it is going to look alright
When you are ready to print, click OK
Cross your fingers! (Very important – it will not work if you don‘t do this).

CHECK THE SCALE OF YOUR FINAL PRINTOUT USING A RULE

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Original Tutorial document produced by

Dr Konstantinos Poutos

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