AutoCAD 1

AutoCAD 1 - Introduction to AutoCAD
"The tool-maker wants not a verbal description of the thing he is asked to make but a careful picture of it.
Without pictures most of our modern highly developed technology would not exist. Without them we could
have neither the tools we require nor the data about which we think". - William M. Ivins, Jr.

Contents
Introduction
Educational Objectives
Exercise 1 - Lines
Exercise 2 - Arrays
Exercise 3 - Polar Arrays
Exercise 4 - Coins
Exercise 5 - Red Spoke Wheel
Exercise 6 - Dimensioning
Exercise 7 - The Tesseract
Exercise 8 - Ellipses
Exercise 9 - Offset Command
Exercise 10 - Polygons
Exercise 11 - Trim Command
Exercise 12 - Hatch Command
Exercise 13 - Trace Command
Exercise 14 - Divide Command
Exercise 15 - Object Snaps
Exercise 16 - 3D Views

Introduction - AutoCAD is the industry standard software for creating engineering diagrams, mechanical drawings, illustrations and architectural models to design and document everything from buildings to
space stations. Because of its richness and power, the learning curve for AutoCAD is steeper than for
most drawing programs. Thus we will begin by creating some simple drawings which will help you get
the hang of using AutoCAD.

Educational Objectives
After completing this lab the student should be able to:
1. Draw simple shapes such as lines, rectangles, circles and donuts.
2. Use drawing aids such as Ortho and Snap.
3. Erase all or part of a drawing using the erase

457

command.

AutoCAD 1
4. Use the array

command to create both polar and rectangular arrays.

5. Draw in any color by using the Entity Modes window.
6. Enter commands directly into the Command Window.
7. Use the dimension tools.
a. Create horizontal

dimensions.

b. Create dimension lines for slanted

boundaries.

c. Create diameter extension and leader lines.
8. Use Primitives to generate a 3-dimensional box.
9. Use the vpoint command to change the viewpoint of a drawing.
10. Draw additional shapes such as ellipses
11. Use the offset command

and polygons.

to create concentric or parallel structures.

12. Use the trim command
to trim away portions of objects which cross cutting edges. This is a
useful technique in sheet metal work.
13. Use the hatch command

to indicate cross-sections and construction material.

14. Use the trace command to create thick lines, with or without fill.
15. Use the divide command to partition an entity into any number of pieces.
16. Use object snaps (osnaps) to select particular points on an entity such as its midpoint or endpoints.

Exercise 1 - Lines
The goal in this exercise is to draw a few simple shapes and then introduce some drawing aids such as the Ortho command and the Snap command. Open a new file in AutoCAD and draw a few simple shapes. A
small part of the Tools Palette is shown to the right. If the Tools Palette
is not visible, click on the View Menu and select Toolbars. The Line
Tool is represented by the icon
. After selecting this tool, a line can
be drawn by clicking on the canvas area to indicate the first endpoint and
then clicking again to indicate the second endpoint. Hit return to finish
executing the command.

458

AutoCAD 1
a. Draw a few lines on the canvas area roughly resembling a Tic-TacToe pattern.
b. You may have noticed that your Tic-Tac-Toe diagram is not very
symmetric. The Ortho, Snap and Grid commands are used in
AutoCAD to create precise drawings. The Ortho drawing mode is
used to draw lines constrained to be either horizontal or vertical.
The Snap and Grid drawing modes will snap to the nearest point
on a grid with the indicated horizontal and vertical spacings. (Let
the spacing be 1 in each case.) These modes can be accessed by
pressing the ortho, snap or grid buttons on the status bar located
below the command window at the bottom of the screen.
Select the Drafting settings option from the Tools menu and use the
check box to turn on both the Grid and Snap mode. Now draw
another tic-tac-toe grid. This time it should be perfectly symmetrical as shown to the right.
c. Snap, Ortho, Grid, Repeat
The Snap command can be toggled on and off using the F9 key. As mentioned before, the Ortho
command is toggled with the F8 key. The Grid command is toggled with the F7 key. To Repeat a
command, just hit enter after completely performing it the first time. Example. Choose the line
command, draw one line, and hit enter. AutoCAD gives you the line command back.

d. Entering lines numerically.
The command window at the bottom of the AutoCAD
screen can also be used to manually enter commands. To
draw a line from (0,0) to (1,1) type LINE in the command
window after the command prompt and press return.
Type 0,0 when prompted to specify first point and hit return
to execute the command. Type 1,1 when prompted to
specify second point and hit return to execute the command. Hit return twice after the last point to indicate that
you do not wish to input any additional points.
e. There is no need to save any of the above work. To erase the entire diagram, type the word Erase
after the command prompt and press enter. Then type the word All and press enter. You can also
access the erase command by clicking on the erase icon
located on the Tools Palette. You can
also Erase all of the diagram by entering “e” for erase and “a” for all.

459

AutoCAD 1
Exercise 2 - Arrays
The diagram below shows an array of donuts or washers. We will show two different ways to create such
an array.
Method 1
a. First toggle the snap and grid options, either using the status bar or
the F7 and the F9 keys at the top of your keyboard.
b. Draw a single donut using the donut option from the Draw menu.
Using the command window at the correct prompts, set the inner
(Diameter 1) and outer diameters of the donut to 1 and 2 respectively. Now click on the canvas area (anywhere) to indicate the
center point of the donut. Repeat this to get the twelve donuts as
shown to the right.
Method 2
Instead of painstakingly drawing each donut one after the other as we did above, one can obtain
the same result more efficiently using the array command.
a. Erase all objects by using the erase icon located on the Tools Palette and select all objects on the
screen. Hit return when objects are selected to execute the command. Draw a single donut having
an inner diameter of 1 and an outer diameter of 2.
b. Click on the array icon
. You will now be prompted to select the object (your donut), hit return
when the donut is selected to return to the array menu. Select a rectangular array and specify 3
rows and 4 columns. Now make the rows and the columns each separated by two units when
prompted for each distance. Enter the results and reproduce the array of donuts. The array command can be used to obtain many useful engineering objects such as arrays of circuit components,
trees on a landscape blueprint, and notches on a gear for a piece of machinery, as you will see in
later AutoCAD chapters.

460

AutoCAD 1
Exercise 3 - Polar Arrays
Polar arrays are very useful for drawing figures (such as gears)
which are composed of identical subparts arranged in circular patterns. To create this interesting pattern, follow the steps given
below.
a. Create a new drawing file or erase the previous diagram and
use the all option.
b. Draw a circle.
c. Click on the array icon

and select the polar array option at the
top of the array menu. Click on the Select object option and select
your circle, hit enter to return to the array menu. Next specify a
point on the circle’s circumference as the center point about which
to rotate your objects. Finally indicate 36 as the total number of
items and hit OK to execute the command.

Exercise 4 - Coins
Six coins will exactly fit around a seventh coin as shown in the figure to the right.
You can use the polar array command to create this pattern. Create
a new drawing document and turn on the Snap and Grid options.
Draw the center circle and a second circle directly above it. Then
choose the array tool and use the polar array option to draw six circles about the center circle. Select the top circle as the object to be
repeated, and choose the center of the middle circle as the center
point to rotate around.

461

AutoCAD 1
Exercise 5 - Red Spoke Wheel
Using the polar array command, create a red wheel
with 36 spokes as shown below.
Hint - To change the color to red, use the Entity
color pull-down menu located on the toolbar at the
top of the canvas area. The pull-down menu is
shown below.

Exercise 6 - Dimensioning
a. Create the following drawing.

Draw a rectangle by clicking on the icon and entering the points (3,8) and (11,2).
Draw a line with endpoints located at (3,2) and (7,8).
Draw a second line with endpoints (7,8) and (11,2).
Draw a circle with a center at (4,7) whose radius is 0.5 units.
Draw a circle with a center at (7,4) whose radius is 1.5 units.
Draw a circle with a center at (10,7) whose radius is 0.6 units.

462

AutoCAD 1
b. Show the length of the top portion of the rectangle.
Chose the Linear
dimension tool from the dimension menu to indicate the length of the top
portion of the rectangle. If the dimension menu is not visible at the top of the screen, pull down
the View menu, indicate Toolbars and choose the Dimension toolbar.
At the Prompt, ‘Specify first extension line origin or <select object>’, click on one of the endpoints of the line that you want to measure, then select the other endpoint, and click where you
want the new dimension to be displayed (anywhere above the line, in this case.).
The default dimension text should be 8.
c. Show the length of one of the diagonal lines within the entity.
dimension tool from the dimension menu to indicate the length of the
Chose the Aligned
diagonal line.
At the prompt, ‘Specify first extension line origin or <select object>’, click on one of the endpoints of the line that you want to measure, then select the other endpoint, and click where you
want the new dimension to be displayed (…again, anywhere alongside the line, in this case.)
d. Show the length of the side portion of the box using the Linear dimensions tool under the Dimension menu.
Use the same steps as described in the two previous examples.
e. Show the diameter of the large circle inside the triangle.
Select the Diameter

icon from the Dimension menu.

At the prompt Select arc or circle: click on the circle.
Using the variable DIMTOFL (DIMension Text Outside Force Line) you can draw your dimension with or without an extension line. Also, the variable DIMTIX allows you to choose whether
the text appears inside or outside the circle. Type in DIMTOFL in the command window and
press enter.
Set the New value for DIMTOFL to 1.
Redraw your dimension line by repeating the steps in the previous example.
An extension line should appear in your circle.
Type dimtix at the command prompt.
Set the New value for DIMTIX to 1.
The text should appear within the circle.

463

AutoCAD 1
Exercise 7 - The Tesseract
The Tesseract, also called a Hypercube, is the mathematical depiction of a four-dimensional cube. Imagine a zerodimensional object, a point. Move it left and right and you
have a line, a 1D object. Move the line up and down and
you have a square, a 2D object. Now move the square back
and forth and you get a cube, a 3D object. The next step is
to imagine moving the cube in and along the fourth dimension. The tesseract is that depiction.
The Joy of Mathematics, 204-5, Theoni Pappas 1989
A view of the tesseract is shown to the right.

You can create a tesseract as follows.
1. Create a new AutoCAD file, and go to the menu Draw → Solids → Box.
2. For the box s corner specify the 3D coordinate (1,1,1). Instead of specifying the other corner type
L for the length and hit the Enter key then specify the length 4 and hit Enter. Make the width
and the height also 4.

This is a 3D cube but you can t see it due to the view.

3. Change the drawing color to Blue and draw a second box with a corner (2,2,2) and having length,
width, and height 2.
4. Change the drawing color to Red. Type vpoint for the view point command and hit Enter. Specify
(1,1.5,2) for the viewpoint coordinate then zoom → window, if the object is too small. From this
view you can see all the corners of both cubes.
5. Carefully place one line segment from each corner of the inner cube to the identically oriented corner of the outer cube. There are 8 lines.
6. Find the length of the red lines by using the aligned dimension tool. They are all equal! Can you
verify why they have that length?
Tip: If you have Problems selecting the right line, you can zoom in on a corner, make your connection,
and zoom out when you re done. If you select the wrong corner hit Esc or Ctrl Z to undo an action.

464

AutoCAD 1
Exercise 8 - Ellipses
Set Up - Open a new drawing file and turn on the Snap mode and Grid display. Set the x and y spacing to
1 unit, respectively. Then use the pull-down menu to set the color to Standard Blue.
a. Use the ellipse tool
to draw some blue
ellipses. You have two drawing options. You can
either specify the center of the ellipse and the
two axes, or you can specify the center and the
eccentricity. Try both. Now use the erase command and then type ALL to remove all your
ellipses.
b. Use the ellipse tool to draw a blue ellipse centered at (3,4) which goes through the points (3,6) and
(8,4). Next select the ellipse icon and when prompted to specify endpoint axis or center, type C
for center to generate an ellipse that is centered at a specified point (3,4). Next, enter the two endpoints, (3,6) and (8,4). Finally execute the command by hitting enter. Use the line tool to draw in
its axes in red.

Exercise 9 - The Offset Command
The offset command is useful for drawing parallel or concentric objects such
as parallel lines or nested circles. The offset command is the workhorse of
mechanical drafting. It can be used to create tool paths, beveled edges or
even wires. To illustrate the use of the offset command, we will create the
bull’s-eye shown to the right.
a. Set-Up: Turn on the Snap and Grid options using the Tools menu and selecting Drafting settings.
Let the Snap intervals be 0.5 and change the drawing color to blue using the pull-down menu.
b. Draw a circle centered at (4,4) of radius 1.
c. Select the offset

icon from the left-hand menu.

Let the offset distance be .5 by entering this value in the command window.
Select the circle when prompted from the command window. Next, click to the outside of the circle to be offset and the larger circle will appear at the specified offset. Repeat this several times.

Exercise 10 - Polygons
The polygon command is used to draw regular polygons. After entering the number of edges for the polygon, you can either specify its center and radius of either inscribed or circumscribed circle about the polygon or specify that you want to draw the polygon by edge , by putting in points of one of the edges.
Draw several polygons having 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 sides. Try all three methods - edge, circumscribed and
inscribed.

465

AutoCAD 1
Exercise 11 - The trim command - Cookie-Cutter
Imagine that a number of shapes have been drawn on a piece of sheet metal and then a large disc is cut
out of it. How could we draw just the circular portion that has been cut out? The answer is the trim
command, which has the icon

.

a. Create a figure like that above. The large circle represents the hole which is to be punched out of
the sheet metal.
b. We want to create a drawing showing only
what is contained in the cut out circle as
shown to the right. The command that will
do this is the trim command, which can be
found on the left hand side of the screen.
1. Select the trim

icon.

2. You will be prompted to select the cutting
edges. In this case there is only one — the
large circle. You will have to press enter
when you have finished selecting your
cutting edges
3. Select each object that should be trimmed
with the pick box. Click on the portions
that you want to be trimmed away - not on
the portion that should remain.

466

AutoCAD 1
Exercise 12 - The Hatch Command
Hatching objects is an important way to demonstrate cross-sectional views and to indicate construction
materials. The picture below shows a cross-section of a 2 by 4 beam.

a. Create a new drawing and turn on the Snap and Grid options. Use the rectangle tool
the cross-section of a 2 by 4 beam, as shown above.
b. Use the Hatch
the screen.

to create

command which is available from the palette located on the left-hand side of

After you select the hatch icon a menu will appear,
as shown to the right. Choose the hatch pattern you
would like to use and click select object, select the
object, then press enter. Click on the OK box. The
hatch will then be applied.

Exercise 13 - The Trace Command
In this exercise, we show how to create lines and paths of a specified width using the Trace command.
To create the C bracket below:
a. Open a new AutoCAD drawing, use the pull-down menu to make the current layer green, and
turn on the Snap and Grid functions.
b. Type the command trace in the command window. You will be prompted for the thickness,
and enter .25
c. Then click on the points in the shape indicated.

467

AutoCAD 1

d. The figure on the left was created with the fill option on. The figure on the right with fill option
off.
To turn the fill off, enter the command Fill and then respond with Off when prompted. The fill will
remain off until it is reset. Create the figure on the right.
e. After the exercise is complete it is necessary to turn off the width of the polyline. Type Pline in
the command window and specify the point on the screen. Type W for width and enter 0.00 as
your new width. Finally, hit enter to execute the command.

Exercise 14 - The Divide Command
Using AutoCAD’s divide command, it is easy to partition lines, polylines, circles and arcs into any number of equal parts from 2 to 32,767. Points are placed along the initial object to indicate the divisionpoints.

a. Before doing so, it is important to change
the point style so that the points will be visible. To do this select the Point style option
from the Format menu. This results in the
dialog box located to the right from which
you can choose from a variety of point
styles. Select the × style as indicated.

b. Next draw a simple line and divide it into 5 parts as shown.
1. First, draw a line of length 10.

468

AutoCAD 1
2. Then type Divide in the command window and enter 5 for the number of parts when prompted.
c. Draw a circle and divide it into 36 arcs each subtending 10 degrees.

Exercise 15 - Using Object Snaps (osnaps)
In the figure of nested triangles shown below, each triangle fits perfectly on the midpoints of the next
larger triangle. If you have tried to do this in other draw programs, by eyeballing the midpoints, you will
know that the fit is nowhere near as accurate as in AutoCAD. This is quickly revealed after one or two
zooms. This ability to snap to the endpoint, nearest point or midpoint of an object is an extremely powerful feature of AutoCAD. The following exercise will show how to use the osnap feature to increase the
precision of your drawings.
a. Turn on the Grid and the Snap option and use the pull-down menu to
change the drawing color to blue.
b. Use the polygon tool to draw a large equilateral triangle.
c. The vertices of the next smaller triangle lie on the midpoints of the triangle you just drew. To create these next triangles select the line tool. You will be prompted to enter the first point. If you go
to the Tools menu and select the Drafting settings, you can set the snap to automatically select the
midpoint when you select the midpoint checkbox.
d. For the next triangle select the polygon tool and edge option, using the midpoint option. You will
see that this is much faster.
e. Continue to obtain as many triangles as possible.

469

AutoCAD 1

AutoCAD Lab 1 Quiz A
Name

ID #

Section

Grade:

1. Draw a triangle having vertices (1,1), (3,3) and (5, 5.5). Find the length of the longest edge.

2. Draw an ellipse centered on the point (5,5) and going through the two points (8,5) and (5,7). Type
area in the command window and select the circle when prompted. Its circumference is:

3. Draw the line segment from (5,5) to (8,5). Now draw a 3-point circle through the points (6,7) and
(8,7) with the third point tangent to the line segment. The area of the circle is:

a. 4.7

b. 4.8

c. 4.9

d. 5.0

e. 5.1

4. Tesseract - Using the aligned dimension tool, find the length of the red lines in the tesseract. Using
endpoint osnaps will help.
(2 points)

470

AutoCAD 1

AutoCAD Lab 1 Quiz B
Name

ID #

Section

Grade:

1. Draw a triangle having vertices (2,2), (4,4) and (7,7.5). Find the length of the longest edge.

2. Draw a hexagon whose base is the line segment (5,5) to (8,5). Use the offset command to draw a
smaller hexagon inside this but offset by a distance of 1 unit. The area of the smaller hexagon is:

3. Draw a heptagon (7 sides) whose base is the line segment from (3,4) to (4,3). Now draw a circle
which goes through all the vertices of the septagon. The area of the circle is:

a. 8.34

b. 8.36

c. 8.38

d. 8.40

e. 8.42

4. Tesseract - Using the aligned dimension tool, find the length of the red lines in the tesseract. Using
endpoint osnaps will help.
(2 points)

471

AutoCAD 1
Bonus Exercise - 3D Views, The Cheese Wedge
In this exercise you will learn to create a 3D drawing of a wedge of Swiss cheese, by using the Extrude
and Subtract commands.
1. Create a new AutoCAD file, set the Snap to .25 and the Grid to .5 units.
2. Select the polygon tool or simply type polygon in the command window. The wedge of cheese is
approximately a 3-sided polygon (triangle). Specify the edge option by typing e at the prompt.
3. Enter the points (6, 1) and (10.5, 3.5) as the first and second endpoints of the edge of the triangle.
4. The holes are the most important part of swiss cheese, so let s get started. Our slice of Swiss
cheese has 7 holes. Create the 7 holes by entering the center point and the radius of each.
Center

Radius

(6, 3)

.4

(7, 5)

.5

(8, 4)

.5

(10, 4)

.5

(9.5, 3)

.4

(7.5, 3)

.5

(7.3, 2)

.3

5. Next, we will make our cheese 3-dimensional. Type extrude in the command window and select
all of the work completed thus far. Choose an extrusion height of 1 and use the default angle of
taper for extrusion (hit enter). Finally execute the command by hitting enter one more time.
6. To create the holes, subtract the circles from the triangle. Go to the subtract option in the Modify
menu by following the Modify → Solids Editing → Subtract path. Select the triangle first, hit
enter, and then drag a window around all nine of the circles, and hit enter for the last time.
7. Type 3dorbit in the command window. Now play with the positioning of our 3D-cheese-wedge
until you find a view that you like.

472