The Basic Elements of AutoCAD 3 (Part 2): Dimension Styles and Other Tools  

The previous article on computer-aided design with AutoCAD explored key features such as the text, text styles, dimensions, and dimension styles.

In this part, we will start by going over more aspects of dimension styles and transition into exploring various tools that let you add details to your AutoCAD engineering drawings.  

Dimension Styles 

You can open the Dimension Style Manager by heading over to the ANNOTATE tab on the application toolbar of AutoCAD and clicking on the first drop-down menu under the "Dimensions" section. Here, you can start exploring various options. 

Let us go over creating an entirely new dimension style by clicking on NEW in the Dimensions Style Manager. Upon giving it a name, you will enter the New Dimension Style window in AutoCAD. 

Here, you can see the following tabs: 

  • Lines
  • Symbols and Arrows
  • Text
  • Fit
  • Primary Units
  • Alternate Units
  • Tolerances

Lines 

In this tab, you can pick a host of new options to customize the look of your dimensions lines as per your requirements. The drop-down menu lets you change features like the color of the line, the line type, and also the weight of the line.  

Some other features include extending beyond ticks and baseline spacing, but most beginners do not use these.

Symbols and Arrows  

As discussed in the previous part, this section allows you to manipulate various aspects of the arrowheads, center marks, and more. 

Text 

In the TEXT tab, you can dictate how your dimension text should be placed in relation to the dimension lines and how it should appear in the model space. You can make changes to the text style, text color, fill color, height, and more. 

Fit 

The FIT tab helps you by automatically making adjustments to your dimension styles so that they do not appear too congested in the model space. This is achieved by moving either the text or arrows or both, outside the extension lines. 

Primary and Alternate Units 

These options deal with the units of the document. You, as a beginner, may not use this option very much because most of your drawings would typically have the same units. 

Dimensions Section 

Sometimes when you are drawing in the model space is very large and complex, it can get overwhelmingly difficult to give dimensions to all the necessary objects and elements. To make this tedious process easier, AutoCAD has some options in the dimensions section in the ANNOTATE tab that you can use.  

Firstly, below the two drop-down buttons, you will see the word "Linear". Upon clicking the arrow next to it, a new set of options appear.

  • Linear
  • Aligned
  • Angular
  • Arc Length
  • Radius
  • Diameter
  • Jogged
  • Ordinate

Each of the options mentioned above helps you in marking the said dimensions. For example, you will not mistakenly select a linear dimension for an arc.  

  • The QUICK option helps you create a series of dimensions from the objects you have selected in the model space quickly. The shortcut or the dynamic input for this feature is QDIM.
  • The CONTINUE option creates a dimension that starts from the end of a previously created dimension.
  • The BASELINE option creates a linear, angular, or ordinate dimension from the baseline of the previous or selected dimension.

Most of the features of dimension and dimensions styles can be accessed by typing the letters "DIM" in the command toolbar rather than manually navigating to each of them throughout the UI. 

Centerlines Section 

Centerlines are another handy feature of AutoCAD for engineers. It is found in the ANNOTATE tab, right next to the dimensions section, and has two options: 

  • Center Mark
  • Centerline

Center Mark 

Suppose you have a circle, and you want to mark its center point in the model space. In order to do so, you can select the CENTER MARK option and click on the circle or any such object. AutoCAD will then create two mutually perpendicular construction lines that help in locating the center point of the circle. 

Centerline 

This option allows you to create a construction line that is at the geometric center of any two lines in the model space. This can come in use when marking partitions or lines of symmetry. 

Leaders Section 

The tools in this section of the ANNOTATE tab in AutoCAD essentially let you add callouts to any number of objects in the model space. By selecting MULTILEADER, you can add leaders to multiple objects at once. 

Tables Section 

Tables are another essential tool that allows you to convey a lot of information quickly, concisely, and efficiently.  

When you click on TABLE, AutoCAD opens the "Insert Table" window where you can customize the table as per your needs. By default, the table style is "Standard". It consists of one title column and one header column. 

Just like the text styles and dimension styles, you can also create various new table styles or modify the existing table styles for future use.

Additionally, you can even extract data from the tables. So, if you have any data that you want to include in your file, the EXTRACT DATA feature merges data from an external source to a data extraction table or external file on your device.  

The LINK DATA feature lets you link your data to other tools like Microsoft Excel. 

Conclusion 

As a design engineer, conveying your design intent and technicalities to other people working on the same project is of the utmost importance. 

These basics of computer-aided design with AutoCAD go over how you can add details to your engineering drawings. Therefore, you can use these tools and features to communicate your ideas clearly and efficiently.

In the next part of this series, we will explore more aspects of computer-aided design using AutoCAD. Until then, check out some of the design engineering courses at Skill-Lync by clicking here


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