Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Starting AutoCAD

Start AutoCAD by clicking on the Windows Start button (bottom left), then move the mouse to Programs then CAD and Modelling then "AutoCAD Architectural Desktop 2" and click on AutoCAD Architectural Desktop 2. A dialog giving various startup options will be displayed. Select the second option: "Start from Scratch" and click OK.

Once AutoCAD has loaded, move the mouse around until you see a crosshair cursor. The AutoCAD window has a number of important features:
1.The standard Windows drop-down menus.
2.The standard Windows toolbar below the menus, it includes: File-New, File-Open
File-Save, Print and "Find and Replace"(!!).
3.In addition to the standard toolbar there will be a number of AutoCAD specific
toolbars: Object Properties, Draw and Modify (there may be others...?).
4.The graphics area - that's the area where you draw - note the scroll bars and the
axis label.
5.View Tabs - these 'tabs' give access to different view of the current drawing.
The "model" tab should be selected at present.
6.The command area - this small window (by default) has space for three lines of
text - this is where you type commands.
7.The status area, at the bottom of the AutoCAD window, this includes the current
cursor position.

Alternatively, click on the AutoCAD icon in the "icon tray" at the bottom of the (Windows 95/98/NT) screen. Note that these instructions are specific to the FBE.
Despite command line interfaces being considered totally archaic the command area in AutoCAD is absolutely vital! One of the key things I'm trying to "get you to do" in these tutorials is to watch the command area! Using AutoCAD is like a conversation and AutoCAD's half of the conversation comes from the text in the command area...

Friday, January 1, 2010

File formats

AutoCAD's native file format, DWG, and to a lesser extent, its interchange file format, DXF, have become de facto standards for CAD data interoperability. AutoCAD in recent years has included support for DWF, a format developed and promoted by Autodesk for publishing CAD data. In 2006, Autodesk estimated the number of active DWG files to be in excess of one billion.

The current AutoCAD file format (.dwfx) is based on ISO/IEC 29500-2:2008 Open Packaging Convention.[3]

In the past, Autodesk has estimated the total number of DWG files in existence to be more than three billion.

Vertical programs

Autodesk has also developed a few vertical programs, for discipline-specific enhancements. AutoCAD Architecture (formerly Architectural Desktop), for example, permits architectural designers to draw 3D objects such as walls, doors and windows, with more intelligent data associated with them, rather than simple objects such as lines and circles. The data can be programmed to represent specific architectural products sold in the construction industry, or extracted into a data file for pricing, materials estimation, and other values related to the objects represented. Additional tools allow designers to generate standard 2D drawings, such as elevations and sections, from a 3D architectural model. Similarly, Civil Design, Civil Design 3D, and Civil Design Professional allow data-specific objects to be used, allowing standard civil engineering calculations to be made and represented easily. AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Civil 3D, AutoCAD Map 3D, AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD MEP, AutoCAD P&ID, AutoCAD Plant 3D and AutoCAD Structural Detailing are other examples of industry-specific CAD applications built on the AutoCAD platform.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Version History

What is AutoCAD?

AutoCAD is a CAD (Computer Aided Design or Computer Aided Drafting) software application for 2D and 3D design and drafting, developed and sold by Autodesk, Inc. Initially released in late 1982, AutoCAD was one of the first CAD programs to run on personal computers, and notably the IBM PC. Most CAD software at the time ran on graphics terminals connected to mainframe computers or mini-computers.

In earlier releases, AutoCAD used primitive entities — such as lines, polylines, circles, arcs, and text — as the foundation for more complex objects. Since the mid-1990s, AutoCAD has supported custom objects through its C++ API. Modern AutoCAD includes a full set of basic solid modeling and 3D tools. With the release of AutoCAD 2007 came improved 3D modeling functionality, which meant better navigation when working in 3D. Moreover, it became easier to edit 3D models. The mental ray engine was included in rendering, it was now possible to do quality renderings. AutoCAD 2010 introduced parametric functionality and mesh modeling.

AutoCAD supports a number of application programming interfaces (APIs) for customization and automation. These include AutoLISP, Visual LISP, VBA, .NET and ObjectARX. ObjectARX is a C++ class library, which was also the base for products extending AutoCAD functionality to specific fields, to create products such as AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Civil 3D, or third-party AutoCAD-based applications.

AutoCAD currently runs exclusively on Microsoft Windows desktop operating systems. It is available in 32-bit and in native 64-bit versions. Versions for Unix and Mac OS were released in the 1980s and 1990s, but these were later dropped. AutoCAD can run on an emulator or compatibility layer like VMware Workstation or Wine, albeit subject to various performance issues that can often arise when working with 3D objects or large drawings.

AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT are available for English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Russian, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian and Vietnamese. The extent of localization varies from full translation of the product to documentation only. The AutoCAD command set is localized as a part of the software localization.