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AutoCAD 3D Tips

Grips for 3D

From AutoCAD 2007 it became possible to use special grips on 3D models. I believe you find these grips very useful when changing the dimension of a 3D object. Activate the grips by pressing down CTRL and clicking on the side you want to move, now you see a blue solid dot. Click on it so it turns red and move the face to a desired location. Be aware that there are 2 different grips for 3D. The other type of grip is for relocating an edge. This grip has a shape as an rectangle, but the procedure is the same.

3D Polyline

A 3D POLYLINE accepts 3D coordinates. When you draw a 3D POLYLINE you are not locked with only X and Y, if you snap to a endpoint. You can specify the coordinates, whether absolute or relative. With 3D POLYLINE you work freely in a 3D space. Hence I prefer to use 3D POLYLINE for 3D modeling.

Invisible edges on 3D faces

When you do more complex 3D modeling it can become necessary to make an edge invisible. You can do this in properties (CTRL+1). Open the properties dialog box. Select a face, then click on "visible" and choose "hidden" for the edge that you want to make invisible.

Shortcut to 3D Free Orbit

If you want fast access to the 3DORBIT command, press SHIFT + the middle mouse button. Right-click to display the shortcut menu, which has brilliant options.

Control the Smoothness of AutoCAD objects

If you want to make 3D objects more smooth in AutoCAD, then use the FACETRES system variable. With facetres you control the mesh density, which affects the smoothness of 3D surfaces. A higher setting makes the object more smooth. I recommend the values 8 - 10. Be aware of more rendering time.

With the VIEWRES command you control the smoothness of curved 2D objects, like circles and arcs. A higher setting in AutoCAD adds more smoothness to the object, I recommend the value 2000.

Select Faces behind on 3D Solids

In AutoCAD 2007 and later 2008 it is possible to select the face behind. For example on a 3D box that would be the face on the backside. Procedure: Place the pickbox on the front face, next press down CTRL, while pressing down CTRL you hit the spacebar once and you see that the face on the back side is selected. Don't click on any faces before AutoCAD has selected the face. It's essential that you place the pickbox virtually on the face behind before you hit the spacebar, see image below. You can also select the other faces using the same procedure.

AutoCAD faces on a 3D solid

A Fast Way to Make a Floor Plan in 3D

A fast method to make a drawing such as a floor plan is to use the POLYSOLID command. This command can easily create walls in 3D. First you create the floor with a region that is later extruded with the required height. Next start the POLYSOLID command and type J (justify). Then choose L and snap all 4 corners of the floor. End the command by typing C and pressing enter. Continue creating the remaining walls with polysolid. In the command polysolid you can type W to change width on the walls.

2D Tips continued on next page

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