How to start Drawings From Scratch

Here is how to start new drawings From Scratch

One way to create a new drawing is to use the New command and select the Start from Scratch button

  • there are no objects & no custom definitions (e.g. layers, dimension styles, text styles etc..) when you start from scratch.

If you select English (feet and inches) for Default Settings the new drawing is appropriate for models created in inches.

  • English drawings are similar to drawings created from the Acad.dwt template file.
  • English drawings can also be used with Architectural & Engineering units that are formatted for feet and inches.
  • If you select Metric for Default Settings the new drawing is appropriate for models created in millimeters.
  • Metric drawings are similar to drawings created from the Acadiso.dwt template file.
  • When you use Start from Scratch you set many different system variables, including the following two key variables.
  • MEASUREINIT is saved in the registry and sets the default for Default Settings the next time you use New.
  • MEASUREMENT is saved in the new drawing file and affects linetype scale and crosshatching scale.
  • use AutoCAD Help to learn more about these specific variables.

Practice starting from scratch

  1. Launch AutoCAD (if it is not already running). Close all open drawings (if there are drawings open). If AutoCAD was already running then pick File + New to continue.
  2. Select the Start from Scratch button and select English as the Default Settings. Then pick OK to continue.

In this exercise you will begin to set up the drawing shown below.

  • drawing units will represent inches.
  • you will use a letter size sheet in a portrait orientation.
  • drawing scale will be 4:1 (enlarged by factor of 4 in the plot).

3- Pick Format + Drawing Limits and follow the dialogue below to set the drawing limits to appropriate values.

Command: ‘_limits
Reset Model space limits:

Specify lower left corner or [ON/OFF] <0.0000,0.0000>: 0,0
Specify upper right corner <12.0000,9.0000>: 2.125,2.75

4- Pick View + Zoom + All to zoom to the new limits.

You set drawing Limits such that when you Plot these limits from the Model tab at a scale of 4:1 this area would be 8.5×11 inches.

  • the drawing scale is 4:1 so A=4 & B=1 .
  • the sheet size is 8.5×11 inches so W=8.5 and H=11
  • the lower left corner of the Limits is set to 0,0.
  • then the upper right corner of the Limits should be W*B/A, H*B/A which works out to 8.5*1/4, 11*1/4 or 2.125, 2.75.

There are no objects in this drawing right now so it will not be obvious (yet) that you changed the display magnification.

  • in the next step you will Insert a Letter size title block sheet at a reduced scale of 0.25 (the B/A factor you used in Limits).
  • then if you Plot the title block from the Model tab at a scale of 4:1 the title block is plotted at the true letter size (8.5×11 inches).
  • you will see the entire title block after you insert it because the current limits are displayed on screen (after Zoom All).

5- Pick Insert + Block and select the Browse button in the Insert dialogue box to continue.

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6- Select T103_1.dwg in your personal folder and pick the Open button in this dialogue box to continue.

7- Uncheck Specify On-screen for Insertion point. Check Uniform Scale for Scale. Enter 0.25 for the X Scale and then pick OK to insert the title block sheet.

8- Pick File + Page Setup. Select the Plot Device tab and then select the HP Laserjet.pc3 file (or equivalent) as the Name for the Plotter configuration. Then pick the Layout Settings tab to continue.

9- Select a Portrait Drawing Orientation. Select Letter as the Paper size and inches as the paper units. Select Limits as the Plot area and select 4:1 as the Scale. Check Center the plot and then pick OK to complete the setup.

10- Pick File + Plot Preview and observe the preview on screen. Then press <enter> to complete the preview.

This title block drawing was designed so that it could be plotted inside the printable area of letter size sheets using HP compatible laser printers. The outer dimensions of the title block are actually smaller than 8.5×11.

You see the title block displayed on the selected sheet size at the target plot scale in this plot Preview.

  • this drawing is now set up to plot with the 4:1 plot scale on a Letter size sheet.
  • you could continue to customize this drawing by creating your own layers, dimension styles, text styles, etc…
  • then you could complete the drawing similar to the illustration shown on page 15.

11- Pick File + Save. Enter Screw1 as the File name and pick the Save button.

You set up this drawing to plot from the Model tab & in the next few steps you will set up another drawing to plot from a Layout tab.

  • you will use the Saveas command so that there will be two different drawings saved on your system.

12- Pick File + Save As and enter Screw2.dwg as the new File name for the new drawing file. Then pick the Save button.

13- Use your left mouse button to click on any part of the title block when no command is running to select it. Then press the Delete key on your keyboard.

When you set up a drawing to Plot from a Layout tab the title block does not normally appear in the Model tab.

When you Start from Scratch there are two Layouts already created but they will not be set up (yet)

  • so when you select one of these layouts for the first time you normally invoke the Page Setup dialogue box automatically.

14- Use your left mouse button to click on the Layout1 tab to make this the current tab.

15- On the Plot Device tab select the HP LaserJet.pc3 (or equivalent) device file as the Plotter configuration Name and then pick the Layout Settings tab to continue.
(do NOT pick OK yet).

16- Select Letter as the Paper size with inches as the paper units. Select a Portrait Drawing orientation. The Plot area should be Layout and Scale should be 1:1. Then pick OK.

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AutoCAD creates a viewport to fit approximately inside the selected sheet size.

  • you can change the shape and size of this viewport to suit your drawing later on.
  • you can also manually add your own viewports and you will learn more about viewports later in the course.

17- Pick Insert + Block and pick OK with the following settings in the Insert dialogue box to insert the title block at a scale of 1.0 this time.

At the moment the title block will probably be shifted in the layout such that some of the title block is outside the dashed lines

  • any objects that appear outside the dashed lines will be clipped when you Plot.

You will be learning more about title blocks & layouts later in the course so do not worry too much about these details right now.

  • one way to solve this problem is to Plot the Extents on a layout (instead of the Layout)
  • then you can check Center the plot in the Page Setup so that the extents are centered on the sheet
  • if the extents are smaller than the printable area on the sheet then the entire title block will appear when you Plot.
  • you will be making this minor adjustment in this exercise.18- Double-click inside the viewport to switch to model space.

19- Right-click on any toolbar button to invoke a shortcut menu and select the Viewports toolbar (if it is not already checked) to display this toolbar.

20- Click in the Viewports drop-down list and select the 4:1 scale from the list. Then click on the small x in the upper right corner of the Viewports toolbar to Close it.

21- Double-click outside the viewport area near P1 to switch back to paper space. Then right-click on the Layout1 tab to invoke a shortcut menu and select Page Setup.

22- Select Extents as the Plot area then check Center the plot and pick OK to complete the change.

You could not check Center the plot unless Extents was selected

  • but you could not select Extents the first time you used 
Pagesetup on this layout.
  • you had to wait until after you created objects on the layout (the 
viewport and the title block) before you could select Extents.
  • the title block may be partially clipped in plots if you do not check Center the plot.

23- Pick File + Plot Preview and examine the preview then press <enter> to complete the preview.

24- Pick File + Save to update your changes to Screw2.dwg. (you will use this drawing in the next exercise)

You have quickly gone through basic steps to setting up drawings (created from scratch) to Plot from a Layout tab and a Model tab.

  • most of the drawing setup was completed to a point where you could (almost) begin creating the drawing shown on page 15.
  • in real drawing projects you would want to add custom layers, dimension styles, text styles and set other system variables.
  • you will learn more about these finishing touches and additional layout techniques later in the course.
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