Jan 14, 2008

Plot Drawings to Scale

How to Create & Plot Drawings to Scale

Over the years, Autodesk has designed AutoCAD to support a variety of layout methodologies. In this tutorial you become familiar with most of them. You also learn how to:

* Create scaled drawings you can plot.
* Create template files that will reduce drawing setup time.
* Convert drawings created using old layout methods to using the newer, more flexible Model Space/Paper Space tool set.

It's important to understand the evolution of drawing layout methods for several reasons.

* If you work with old drawing files, they may have been laid out using an old method and you may have to update them to use model space and paper space.

* If your office is upgrading from very early versions of AutoCAD, chances are good that you won't be using layouts or paper space to layout drawings currently. Your design/drafting team has to decide if you will begin using the new tools, or teach every new employee how to layout drawings the way you do now.

* If you go to work for another company, chances are good that they will use layouts to create plottable drawings. To maximize your employability, you need to master the new tools.

When AutoCAD was first released, Autodesk asked users to create giant borders and title blocks around objects drawn at real world scales. For example, you might draw a football stadium, then create a title block roughly 600' x 384' around the football stadium, with letters more than 8' tall. When you plotted the drawing you would specify the relationship between units in the drawing and units on the printed page. For example, you might say that 1" plotted was equal to 16' feet in the drawing. This would plot the drawing at 1/16"=1'.

In later releases, Autodesk introduced model space and paper space. In effect, every AutoCAD drawing came with two drawing environments. You would create your objects at full size in model space. Then you would move into paper space, where you would draw your border and title block at full size. You might have a football stadium in model space, but in paper space you would have a 36"x24" piece of paper. You would "cut holes" in paper space to let views of the geometry in model space show through. This let users plot drawings that showed multiple views of their objects at a variety of scales. On the other hand, you couldn't create multiple "paper spaces" showing multiple layouts in a single drawing file. Many users also found the large number of commands you had to use to layout a drawing awkward.

In AutoCAD 2000 and later releases, users were allowed to have multiple "paper spaces" (called layouts) in their drawings. This lets you plot several sheets based on a single AutoCAD drawing file. The following image shows geometry created in model space displayed within a title block residing on a layout.

It is important to note that applications like Architectural Desktop now use layouts to display different views of your models. For example, one layout might display a top view and a 3D isometric view while another might display a reflected ceiling plan. Selecting a layout displays the related views.

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