How To Draw With CAD


What is CAD?  Computer Aided Drafting or Design.  It is the way to make drawing easier, faster, more precise, filed, saved, emailed, quickly changed, resized... sold on it yet?  
Those programs cost too much.  Free is about as cheep as you can get.  You can pay a lot for some programs but if you are just starting out you wouldn't know what to do with them if you had them.  It is hard enough to draw a straight line much less create an animated model and view a cross section of it.  Just any CAD program will not do.  Lower cost programs are set up so that they are easy to use.  However I have never figured out how to use them.  There is one industry standard for basic CAD drawing.  AutoCAD by Auto Desk.  This program is expensive but to say you know CAD is to know AutoCAD.     
If Auto CAD is expensive then what is free?  As I said, AutoCAD is the industry standard so if you learn the AutoCAD way then you are on the right track.  IntelliCAD is a lower priced program that works like AutoCAD.  It works the same while looking slightly different.  The commands are the same but the icons look different.  IntelliCAD will work with AutoCAD and each will open the other's programs.  To download a free IntelliCAD program  CLICK HERE.  There is no way to completely explain how to use the entire program but I can show you the basic things that will get you started.  The rest you will figure out as you work with it.  Once you learn how to do the basic things you can find your way through AutoCAD just by learning to use the different looking icons.       LEARN TO DRAW WITH CAD
Setting up the program.  After you have downloaded your program you will have to set it up so that the tool bars that you will use are in place.  You can move these tool bars around and place them where ever you need them.  First lets take the command bar and move it to the bottom of your screen.  Grab it on the side and move it so that you can see it become separated from the rest.  Now drop it close to the bottom and watch it become part of the screen.  Go to View and Tool Bars.  Some of them might be already in place.  After you have checked the tool bars that you want, if they do not show up, exit the program and reopen it and then set everything in place.  Check the following blocks.  Standard (Place it at the top),  View (place it at the top), Dimensioning (to the right), Modify (lower top), Draw 2D (to the left), Entity Snaps (to the left).  You will see how the tool bars jump into place.  If you have room you might want to place some of the smaller ones where ever you have room but most likely you won't need them.  If you do not have at least a 17 inch monitor you might not have much drawing space.  Check your monitor settings and look for 600x800.  This might work better.  

Click here to see an example of what the program looks like with the set up and the operations that you will perform from this page.

Here is how it works!  The files work the same in CAD as they do in any other program as far as filing and saving.  You need to know how to draw a line, offset a line, snap two lines together, add a dimension, trim, add text, add a circle and print out a section of you print.  I will explain the moves as if we were using AutoCAD and have the IntelliCAD terms in parentheses (like this).  This way you can learn both.                                       LEARN TO DRAW WITH CAD
Remember the degrees (360 total) in that on your screen zero is to the right. 90 is up, 180 is to the left and 270 is down. Click here for a picture that you can print off and keep near you while you practice.  This only matters on the first line that you draw.  There are right clicks and left clicks on your mouse.  Some commands are multiple steps.  In other words you will start a command with one click and have to click again with the other to start the second part and another to enter it.  Escape will always stop a command before you mess up.  Undo will fix it back if you do unless it has been saved.  This is a little confusing but as you click around you will see what works.  Think of the two mouse buttons as enter and escape so to speak.   
Drawing a line.  Click the line icon and place one end of it on the screen.  Now you can move the other end around.   Now we want to tell it how far and what direction.  Type in   @2<0 enter.  Watch the command bar at the bottom of the screen.  What you just said is go 2 inches in the direction of zero (to the right).  Remember the degrees from before.  Now either you see a short line that is not two inches or you see one end and it is longer that two inches.  You just drew a line in real world size.  Now just figure out how close you are standing away from it.  Is it in your face or a long way away?  In either program you need to fine the Zoom in or Zoom out icon and size it.  This means place it where you can see it in the middle of the screen.  Try them all.  They all do different things.  You can pan the picture around too.  If you hold your arrow over an icon very still, a tag will jump out and tell you what you have.  Drawing a line sounds hard but it is not.  It even gets easier from here.  Drawing a line is just getting everything straight and sized.
Offset (parallel) is the command that you will use from now own.  No more lines like above.  Find the offset (parallel) icon.  Click it.  At the bottom of the screen you will see (distance).  Put in 2 and enter.   Now click the line that you have and move the mouse in the direction that you want to copy the line to and click.  Now right click to escape.  You should see a new line jump over two inches.  Next lets make these two lines into a box.  
Placing a circle in the box.  We want to place a one inch circle in our 2 x 2 box in the very center.  First we must place something in the box so that we have something to snap to.  Offset (parallel) two of the lines (one vertical and the other horizontal) to the center one inch with each making a cross hair in the center.   Now you know exactly where the center is.  Click on the circle (circle center-radius) icon and find the (set intersection snap).  Snap the circle on the cross hair.  As you move the mouse the circle gets bigger.  How big?  Look at the command line at the bottom.  You have Diameter/<Radius>:.  Type in D and enter.  Now it says Diameter of circle:  type in 1and enter.  Now look at your circle.  It looks like one inch to me.  Now you need to practice with the lines in the center.  Try to delete them.  There is a delete icon.  Find it!  After you have deleted them click undo and put them back.  Now lets trim them.  There is a trim icon.  Click it.  Now click the circle.  It is now dotted.  Right click.  Now click on parts of the lines and watch what happens.  They get cut in places and parts disappear.  That is how you cut off lines that you do not want.  Think of the line that you make dotted as a knife blade.  Then the part that you click on next will cut free.  This is one of the hardest things because of the clicks and the order that you have to do them in.  You will figure it out.  Play with it. Try making a box around the picture while in trim mode so that everything is dotted.  Now click around and you can trim a lot.
Copy is used a lot.  If you have been drawing on a print for a while you might want to change something with out messing up what you have.  Click copy and make a box around what you want to copy and another print is ready to drop where ever you want it.  Now you can change what ever you want and still have the original. 
Angles  You don't need to type in a distance and direction of an angle.  That is too hard.  Look at our 2 x 2 box.  If we want to cut off a corner just offset the lines the distance in from the corners and snap a line from corner to corner.  Then trim off the parts that you do not want.  If you need to know what angle it is then go to the dimension tool bar, find (angular) and check it.  To check a dimension go to the same bar and click the one that works.  Snap it to two places that you are measuring and SHAZZAM! You have neat looking dimensions.  
Text Type in the command  (DTEXT)  (enter)   (start it some where on the page)   (type in how tall) example: .2  (enter)  (angle:0)  (enter)  (put in your text)   (enter)   (enter)  and there it is.   OK it is not in the right place.  That is what move is for.  
Move this is used to reposition things around on the page.  Find move.  Click it.  Select with a box everything that you want to move.  Right click then pick a base point (meaning grab it) and move it.  Click to drop it and there it is.  It will take some time but if you can do these things you will figure out the rest as you go. 
Print  Programs are different depending on the version that you have.  They all have print under file.  A window will open and you will need to find "window".  This will allow you to select the part of the print that you want to print out.  Make a box.  Preview it first to see if it is located on the page like you want.  You might want to landscape it or what ever it takes to flip the page.                                                                                                         LEARN TO DRAW WITH CAD
Tips for Intellicad  If you delete a part of your drawing and some of the lines disappear and you have dots left, use the redraw icon.  

If the command window bothers you after each command, grab it at the top and slid it off screen.  It will be there if you want it, but out of the way.

Tips for Autocad  If the command window bothers you after each command, disable it. 
Save  Save your file early before you get much work done.  When you get to a point that you want to save your work (even though you are not finished drawing) use the save icon.  Drawing uses a lot of memory and if you have been drawing for a while and have not saved your work, you could run out of memory and loose everything that is unsaved.  This rule applies to about all programs, I use it regularly.  
I am sure you have seen my drawings with the color.  Click here to see a picture on how the to set this up.  Layers have to be set up for color.  The blue check indicates the layer that you have on.  

Click here to view one of my prints.

What should I draw?  It is easier to draw prints that are already drawn.  Print out one of my drawings and see if you can draw it.  Some of the greatest projects in the world started on a napkin so if your print does not look all that good, it will get better.  Have fun and remember where you learned it.  Visit me again and next time bring a friend.  Maybe we can build a boat or a snow sled together or something.  If all of this is just too hard try baking a cake.
Now for the latest and greatest.  Using AutoCAD and IntelliCAD may be the most widely used, there is more to CAD.  What it you could draw a 3D picture that looks so real that you  could reach into you computer and pick it up?  What if you could rotate it around so that you could see it from every point?  What if it automatically generated 2D drawings so that you could have a usable print from it?  Well you can!  It is software called Inventor.  It is made by the same people that make AutoCAD.  There are other programs that do this but not nearly as good and easy.  I took a course on Mechanical Desk Top and it just about beat me to death.  I installed an Inventor 30 day trial and within 30 minutes drew this picture.  Click here to view it.  Also view some samples of an oil pan and a piece of sheet metal.  It looks much better in the real program.  A person used to the program could draw it in about one minute.  You can get a free 30 day trial of about any of these programs if you contact John Roberts at and tell him what you need.  He is just a little man trying to make a living so try not to use him up.  Just kidding!  He will help you all that he can.  The world is going 3D and Inventor is the program that I believe will get them there.  Not a bad thing to put on a resume to be able to do!                Drawing with Inventor Software

                                                                 Warren Yates  


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