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CAD Efficiency

CAD Efficiency

CAD Efficiency


I am new to assembly 3d modeling. How to be efficient in working with it?
Please share some tips which might be useful specially in dealing with changing UCS.
Thank you

RE: CAD Efficiency

In AutoCAD?

It sucks.

It's cumbersome and I doubt it'll ever get much better because there's no point making AutoCAD do what so many other packages do so much better already.

RE: CAD Efficiency


Yes, in Autocad. I've got new one (123design which is still from autodesk) but it doesnt have features that I need that are present in Autocad, like presenting all the views with all the details. It is much on 3d printing. Anyhow, thank you for your reply and i will just check it out if I can find a user-friendly package which works better.

RE: CAD Efficiency

If you're sticking with Autodesk, Fusion360 seems to be a decent 3D package but I have no idea if there is even any drawing generation in it. I've only used it for modeling and a little programming. I believe Inventor would be the correct package for your needs. Especially when managing assemblies.

Solidworks is great, too.

The most efficient way to handle 3d modeling, assemblies, and creating drawings is, unfortunately, to use something other than AutoCAD.

RE: CAD Efficiency

Are you interested in 3D Modeling in AutoCAD ? Assembly 3D Modeling in AutoCAD ? As an Inventor user, I can ASSURE YOU that 3D Modeling in AutoCAD is NOT ONLY DOABLE, but appropriate and PRACTICAL as well.

If they're searchable, look for my previous posts (very historic but absolutely pertinent) on this topic.

First, MASTER the COMMANDS. No substitute for KNOWING what you are doing, all "I hate AutoCAD 3D " posts notwithstanding.

Second, develop APPROPRIATE Techniques.

Third, construct your own operating menu with your favorite commands. THIS will take awhile as you develop your technique, but will ultimately make all the difference.

Hint: For those of you using previous versions of AutoCAD, research SOLDRAW (NOT NOT NOT SOLPROF ). Its FAR superior to ANY FLAVOR of Flatshot, and absolutely reliable. CLUE: LEARN IT and what it takes to set it up and use it (there are ONLY 3 commands, they work together, and complement each other PERFECTLY) .

In r-2012 there was a command to auto-generate the primary AND projected views (ala Inventor) negating the need for SOLVIEW/SOLDRAW. IF you have that version or 2013 which promised significant improvements, you will love it as a replacement for about 80+% of SOLVIEW/SOLDRAW, but later versions may have obviated both. I've been on Inventor since, (along with some other packages) so others with more current ACAD exposure may have some direction to offer on this point, so CONTINUE in your journey, and FOCUS on SUCCESS !

PAPERSPACE will be a HHUUGGEE advantage, if you're willing to learn it and use it.

TRICK: After you've made your COMPONENT or ASSEMBLY MODEL in MODELSPACE, and AFTER you've set up your PAPER-SPACE drawing sheet TABs, add another TAB at the end. Make ONE Viewport but DO NOT ZOOM-LOCK IT. When later in previous Paper-Space tab Viewports you extract the needed 2D view (even the 2D ISOMETRIC VIEW of the part for the ISO pic of the part on the part cover page, usually sheet-1) using SOLDRAW (NOT NOT NOT SOLPROF) you can set the viewport to NOT show elements created in previous viewports (HINT: Its a single click in the LAYERS command - LEARN YOUR TOOL !) meaning that the confusion that 3D'ing in MODELSPACE creates is COMPLETELY OBVIATED. This will give you an ABSOLUTELY CLEAN operating window, leading to 3D MODELING SUCCESS in AutoCAD.

LEARN DISPLAY MODES and how they work. This will be HUGE for you !

No, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG with 3D Modeling in AUTOCAD - YOU just have to LEARN YOUR TOOL. THIS is why SO MANY companies are realizing that their investment in AutoCAD can meet 90+% of their 2D AND 3D needs, and are ADVERTISING JOBS if YOU know what you're doing ! CASE HISTORY example: I was able to MODEL 3 DIFFERENT iterations of a HIGHLY DETAILED Subsea installation using AUTOCAD 3D in the same time our FASTEST Inventor user was able set up his first one. He was so focused on setting up all of the automated features that with BLOCKING and GROUPING I was able to set up NOT ONLY the 3 Assembled systems, but alternate positioning FOR EACH, as well. We then moved to Inventor to do the formal system model. I was the Lead Designer on the project (Foster-Wheeler/Cameron), and while we delivered ON TIME (NOT ahead of schedule, darnit!) but also were able to come slightly under budget. WHY ? because we were able to EFFECTIVELY USE THE TOOLS at our disposal to evaluate options and PROCEED ACCORDINGLY.

Best of luck to you and to ALL who seek to PROGRESS in these iffy times !


RE: CAD Efficiency

I can only add that I make extensive use of simple customized LISP routines that automate simple and repetitive tasks ( through holes, using slice and union, etc ). Don't depend on the built-in menus, make it yours!

RE: CAD Efficiency


Good to see you here ! Yes, both the SLICE Command, & automating simple repetitive tasks makes ACAD-3D very doable for me, too !

I USUALLY, however, suggest users new to ACAD-3D stick with the stock menus and commands at first, reading everything they can get their hands on to help. Whatever version of ACAD your'e using STICK WITH THAT VERSION for any "how=2" book you pick up. The wrong version book will only confuse and frustrate you. It's NOT worth it !

One thing I do after awhile tho, is show them how to make a pop-up menu for their middle button with 2D & 3D commands grouped together for easing the transition. At first I have them focus on the standard menu commands & options , then as they gain mastery add in whatever automations they see that will best benefit the technique they've developed. This approach may not work for everyone, but really seems to ease the transition at the same time its shortening their learning curve !

IFRS, as you say- SLICE is SUPER POWERFUL - as powerful as it is SIMPLE ! I usually precede my SLICE command with a UCS-Zaxis, pick a point on the plane I want to slice along, set my Z-Axis direction, use the current plane option of the slice command, and keep-BOTH sides of the slice. If I want to I can delete the unneeded part, but sometimes I don't want to, only realizing it after. Thus I've written my macro accordingly.

So the key to this technique begins with the UCS-ZAxis combo, which I've gotten to the point of using almost exclusively for resetting UCS working planes !

Ok, just thot I'd throw a technique or 2 to McPel (and anyone interested), hoping it'll help !

Do well and stay safe !


RE: CAD Efficiency

cfee - I have several Slice macros, called SU, SB, SL, SR, ST for Slice but keep Upper, Bottom, Left, Right and Both. It also sets an OSnap, pauses for the first point and then puts in the second point after setting OSnap to nul using the @ construction depending on if the macro is keeping the Upper / Lower (@20,0) or the Left / Right (@0,20) etc. I don't set the UCS because I figure the user (me) is looking at the object in the plane of operation. Of course, saving and resetting any changes made to OSnap, etc when done.

Using Slice twice, Copy and Union it is really easy to get rid of a hole, also automated with a simple macro.

RE: CAD Efficiency

A lot depends on the industry you are working in, and its needs. One of my jobs is to design refrigeration chambers that are constructed of panels that fasten together.

I considered going 3D. But, an accurate and precise drawing of how it would look is not that useful. Instead I want to see an abstraction of how it is assembled. Each panel has a gender on each side. But to make this gender visible in the drawing, it has to be exaggerated.

An evaporator in a cooler should not be drawn as it really looks. Rather, it should be drawn as a simple rectangle, with the words EVAP KW-230 on it, and some arrows showing the air flow.

Another example would be architectural drafting. In that industry, a section view of a wall with insulation, should show the curvy line that normally is used to depicts it. The 3D CAD program can only show it as a hatch pattern.

I also came to the conclusion, that 2D drawing is faster for this particular industry.

In many industries, 3D is really not the best choice.


RE: CAD Efficiency

regarding UCS, learn how to save different UCS's and views... makes it easier to switch between UCS/views that you need.

RE: CAD Efficiency

If you're not already efficient at AutoCAD 3D and are looking at learning, I'd highly recommend a CAD package that is 3D to start with. Inventor, SolidWorks, OnShape all come to mind. They work differently than AutoCAD, but then, that's the point. The nice thing about AutoCAD, though, is that so many people have used it for so long, you can pretty much Google whatever you want to know and find an answer. Best of luck whatever you decide.

RE: CAD Efficiency

While I used to do a fair amount of 3D mechanical drawings with ACAD 2000 and 2005 and occasionally encroach some commands from mechanical desktop, I have been made aware that currently manufacturers have tended to go in the direction of solidworks for mechanical drawings.

RE: CAD Efficiency

I am pretty fast at 3D modeling in Solidworks, and I mostly enjoy the activity.

... except when it comes to inducing SW to produce a decent drawing; they always have a 'look' that resists all attempts to make it look like the drawings you produced for years in AutoCAD.

... including drawings produced from 3D models, using paperspace and the other weird constructs that got roached onto AutoCAD over the years.

In fairness, I've never tried nor even seen Inventor; most of the outfits that have been dumb enough and cheap enough to hire me would never spring for anything fancier than the most basic package for any CAD system, and then only if they couldn't get a pirated version.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

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