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

Steve Jobs, inventor of the Apple mac, couldn’t have been more right; the software systems that have been developed in the last few decades to support our digital age 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. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo! organised all the information that could be accessed right from our desktop 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 like an app 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 many modern-day advances in technology that has shaped the world.

Software systems such as Quickbooks, Office 365, NetSuite, and Microsoft Dynamics are frequently used by some of the most-renowned businesses around the world. Yes, they may not be electrical or mechanical products, but their impact on the productivity of certain fields (like architecture, for example) is far greater than any machine or piece of engineering!

In today’s article, we will briefly discuss an introduction to CAD tools on the drawing product - AutoCAD, along with basics and the original drawing and modifying tools of the AutoCAD program.

Read on for more information about creating a .dwg format file!

An Introduction to the AutoCAD Basics

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

Many AutoCAD experts, some of whom work in architectural or civil engineering professions and use it to execute drawings with, have provided indispensable advice, tips, tutorial and tricks on blogs, websites, videos, and books about how to effectively march on with AutoCAD.

Many first-time AutoCAD users have heard that mastering mechanical drawings on the business software on Mac or PC takes much time and practise, like figuring out a map of sorts. While this statement is accurate, it is necessary for students of the software to dive into the world of AutoCAD to improve many technical skills and try new things.

Before starting a serious work project on this new app, it’s recommended to spend a day (or some days, if possible) experimenting with the software to get used to all of its free standard functions and all the essentials. Remember that practice makes perfect and the learning experience is ongoing.

To help newbies get started with its products, Autodesk Inc. has published a very good live support pack named the Hitchhiker’s Guide to AutoCAD Basics.

What information is covered in this Hitchhiker’s Guide file with many essentials?

Well, for starters Autodesk suggests that beginners follow the steps to understand AutoCAD’s tools:

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

The free-trial of AutoCAD that was released on the Autodesk site (based on beginner-level rather than a pro service) is a brilliant way to get familiar with the edit tools and aspects of AutoCAD before following the steps mentioned above or starting a course to get to know them! What's more, access is easy thanks to it being an online service.

Try to get advice from more experienced colleagues with high knowledge of the software and ask them what helped when they first started using AutoCAD.

Hiring a Superprof tutor who has experience with AutoCAD is also a brilliant option, as is looking at related courses both online on mobile or desktop or in person.

In the following sections, we will consider the essential drawing and modifying tools.

Basic Drawing Tools

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

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

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:  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.

Basic Modifying Tools

learning new tools
Learning how to erase is an essential modifying tool onAutoCAD. (Source: Pixabay)

The following are some basic modifying tools in AutoCAD:

    • 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 Youtube tutorials.

Did you know that you can get cloud based CAD products which enable you to save and access your .dwg files and other data from anywhere?

If you are a builder working in the construction industry, then you can connect to the drawings released by the civil engineering or architecture experts to check up on objects, measurements, electrical features or other architectural queries within the data file from any device using the web or mobile version of AutoCAD?

Can I Teach Myself to Use AutoCAD?

The simple answer is: yes.

There are various ways that you can teach yourself how to use and get a good command this design software, yet none of them are easy because AutoCAD is a very advanced and intellectual piece of kit that requires training.

One of the first things you can do to give yourself a head start (and this applies to anyone wanting to learn AutoCAD with or without a class or tutor!) is to purchase a book about how to use AutoCAD.

You can buy step by step, practice books with examples and illustrations from Amazon or other book retailers, and can also find some online publications or resources that can guide you along.

Along with the information already listed above for students, InfiniteSkills.com is a great example of a website for beginners which offers tutorials and videos on how to use it - plus it's available at just the click of a button!

What's more, there is a student version available of AutoCAD, which can be bought/downloaded at Autodesk, which teaches you the best ways to work with the software.

Teaching yourself is a great way to save yourself some money on courses but on the other hand it may limit your expertise if you don't learn how to get the most from this design software.

Also, if you are planning to take a test related to AutoCAD to add a qualification to your CV then teaching yourself might be a little risky. It would be a waste of time to spend so much time studying only to find that you didn't study enough or didn't look at the right things!

Of course, no amount of studying or getting familiar with the software is a waste of time if you put it into perspective - the more hours you spend using it the better you will get at it and the more intuitive you will find the features!

Where Can I Find an AutoCAD Tutor?

AutoCAD can be used for many different types of digital technical drawings or images and, as we've discovered, knowledge can be brushed up on by watching YouTube clips, however, it is far better with a program like this to be trained by a professional or at least by someone who knows the software well.

For this, you could ask a friend, a colleague or a family member to give you some tips or you could turn to a working tutor who could give you a proper training programme before you sign up for an official AutoCAD qualification or start using it again for a particular job / task.

Superprof

With Superprof's platform, you can find yourself an individual who can help you to achieve your goals.

Whether highly qualified or a student or a professional with years of experience in designing with software, you can be sure to find someone who fits the mould - and budget! Also, it doesn't matter if you are a beginner or intermediate, there is someone out there with the expertise you need to help you improve.

Superprof acts as a directory for tutors, allowing you to scroll through a list of teachers with varying degrees of knowledge and quite different styles of teaching.

Not only can you find tutors in your area with whom you can arrange a face to face session, you can also make connections with tutors from all over the world via video link. So, for instance, you can hire a tutor from London even if you live in Sheffield and just connect using digital means.

You have such a huge choice and therefore can pick the best person for you and your needs!

With Superprof, your first hour of tuition is usually free so you can arrange a meeting and work out if you are happy with the tuition method before you go ahead and pay for any classes, tutorials or courses at the agreed price.

As mentioned already, you can find tutors offering varying prices and can even sort your search by price, as well a by area and level of qualification.

Don't delay, find your Superprof tutor today!

We hope that today’s article has encouraged professionals working in technical fields to consider learning more about and download AutoCAD!

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