Autodesk AutoCAD 3D Modeling Tutorial #2

In this video tutorial, I take you through the creation of another 3D solid part in AutoCAD. You will learn to sketch each shape, join them into a polyline, then extrude them into solid shapes. Along the way you will learn about rotating the UCS. Finally, you will use the Union and Subtract commands to make one solid part.

The detail drawing is below. Enjoy!

Autodesk Fusion 360 Part Modeling Tutorial #2

In this video tutorial, I walk you through the creation of the part shown below using Autodesk Fusion 360. The features used in this tutorial include extrusions, holes, chamfers, and fillets. The video uses one of many workflows that would result in the same part.

The detail drawing of the part is available as a PDF below. Have fun!

Autodesk Inventor Part Modeling Tutorial #2

In this video tutorial I will take you through each step to create a 3D model of the part shown in Autodesk Inventor.

The following tools are used in this tutorial: Extrude, Fillet, Hole, and Chamfer. Each sketch is fully dimensioned and constrained before creating the features.

The detail drawing for this part can be downloaded below. Happy modeling!

Autodesk AutoCAD 3D Modeling Tutorial #1

In this video tutorial, I take you through the creation of a 3D solid part in AutoCAD. You will learn to sketch each shape, join them into a polyline, then extrude them into solid shapes. Along the way you will learn about the Dynamic UCS as also the 3-point UCS. Finally, you will learn to Union the parts together to make one solid part. The detail drawing is below. Enjoy!

Creo Parametric Modeling Tutorial #1

After posting some tutorials for Inventor and Fusion 360, I had some requests for Creo videos, so here you go!

In this video tutorial, I walk you through the creation of the part shown below using Creo Parametric. The features used in this tutorial include extrusions and rounds. The video uses one of many workflows that would result in the same part.

Learn the Basics of Autodesk Inventor

Out of all the CAD and BIM applications that I have worked with throughout my career, if I had to pick a favorite it would be Autodesk Inventor. I love working in 3D, and I really enjoy the workflow in Autodesk Inventor.

I just completed the development of a series of videos that will teach you the fundamentals of Autodesk Inventor. There are 66 videos with a running time of approximately 6 hours. Best of all, the price is right…free!

The videos start at ground zero with learning the Autodesk Inventor user interface. Then you are taken through the creation of sketches, solid parts, assemblies, presentations, and detail drawings.

Click the following link to check out the videos. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you found the content helpful! A full list of the videos is below.

Autodesk Inventor Fundamentals YouTube Playlist

Autodesk Inventor User Interface
Autodesk Inventor Viewing Tools
Creating the Base Feature in Autodesk Inventor
Autodesk Inventor Sketching Tools
Autodesk Inventor Sketch Constraints
Autodesk Inventor Sketch Dimensions
Autodesk Inventor Sketch Editing Tools
Autodesk Inventor Sketched Secondary Features
Creating Chamfers in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Fillets in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Holes and Threaded Features in Autodesk Inventor
Autodesk Inventor – Creating Work Points
Autodesk Inventor – Creating Work Axes
Autodesk Inventor – Creating Work Planes
Autodesk Inventor – Working with Equations and Parameters
Autodesk Inventor – Creating a Face Draft
Creating a Split Feature in Autodesk Inventor
Creating a Shell Feature in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Ribs in Autodesk Inventor
Reordering and Suppressing Features in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Section Views and Design Views in Autodesk Inventor
Fixing Sketch and Feature Problems in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Sweep Features in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Loft Features in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Rectangular Patterns in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Circular Patterns in Autodesk Inventor
Mirroring Features in Autodesk Inventor
Feature Relationships in Autodesk Inventor
Creating an Autodesk Inventor Assembly and Placing Components
Autodesk Inventor Assembly Constraints: Mate and Flush
Autodesk Inventor Assembly Constraints: Angle
Autodesk Inventor Assembly Constraints: Insert
Working with Joint Connections in Autodesk Inventor Assemblies
Moving and Rotating Assembly Components in Autodesk Inventor
Adjusting the Display of Assembly Components in Autodesk Inventor
Working with Section Views and Design Views in Autodesk Inventor Assemblies
Autodesk Inventor Measurement Tools
Autodesk Inventor Presentation Files: Creating Animations
Autodesk Inventor Presentation Files: Creating Snapshots
Replacing Components in an Autodesk Inventor Assembly
Duplicating Autodesk Inventor Assembly Components
Restructuring Autodesk Inventor Assembly Components
Driving Autodesk Inventor Assembly Constraints
Analyzing Interference between Autodesk Inventor Assembly Components
Creating Parts in an Autodesk Inventor Assembly
Creating Features in an Autodesk Inventor Assembly
Working with the Bill of Materials in an Autodesk Inventor Assembly
Working with Autodesk Inventor Project Files
Creating a New Drawing and Modifying Sheets in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Base and Projected Views in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Detail Views in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Section Views in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Broken Views in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Auxiliary Views in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Break Out Views in Autodesk Inventor
Adding Model Dimensions in Autodesk Inventor
Creating General Dimensions in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Baseline and Chain Dimensions in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Ordinate Dimensions in Autodesk Inventor
Editing Dimensions in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Parts Lists and Adding Balloons in Autodesk Inventor
Adding Text and Symbols in Autodesk Inventor
Adding Hole and Thread Notes in Autodesk Inventor
Adding Center Marks and Center Lines in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Hole Tables in Autodesk Inventor
Creating Revision Tables and Adding Revision Tags in Autodesk Inventor

AutoCAD Dynamic Input: Love it or Hate it?

A question that I get asked a lot, is how do you turn Dynamic Input in AutoCAD off? In this post I will discuss not only how to turn Dynamic Input off and on, but also how it works, what is different, and a few of the options available when using it.

If you would prefer this content in video form, please check out these videos I made on this topic:

First, I will admit it, I am not a fan. In fact, in the textbook I wrote, A Practical Guide to AutoCAD, I have students disable it in the first exercise. That way their interface will match the rest of the book, which does not use Dynamic Input (shocking!). I do however demonstrate it and give the students a chance to try it, and encourage them to use it if they are more comfortable working that way.

When Autodesk added Dynamic Input to AutoCAD many releases ago, I was initially excited. I always try to get my students to get used to looking at the Command line so that they can learn all of the options that are available to them when drawing. I often have students change the color of Command line so that it is more eye-catching. The idea of Dynamic Input is that you do not need to look at the Command line. Instead, everything (in theory) will be easily accessible right next to your crosshairs.

What is Different?

Dynamic Input affects the way coordinates are entered. By default in AutoCAD, all coordinates entered are absolute, meaning that they are relative to the origin (0,0). To draw with relative coordinates (in relation to the last point placed) you type the @ symbol in front of the coordinate.

For example, a line is started at the absolute coordinate of 2,2. Entering 5,3 for the next endpoint would draw to the absolute coordinate of 5,3. Entering @5,3 would draw 5 units to the right, and 3 up relative to the previous point. You can see the difference below:

Autodesk AutoCAD Dynamic Input - Comparison of absolute and relative coordinates.

What does this have to do with Dynamic Input? By default, coordinate values are relative when using Dynamic Input. In fact, you can look at the Command line and you will see that AutoCAD literally enters the @ sign for you. So what can you do if you really want to enter an absolute coordinate? You have to type the # symbol before the coordinate. After using AutoCAD the “normal” way for so long, I just can’t change my mindset on that. Typically I try to embrace the new ways to do things not just in AutoCAD, but in other CAD applications I use. I just can’t (or won’t) do it in this case.

Let’s talk about angles. By default, angles in AutoCAD are positive in the counter-clockwise direction:

Angles in AutoCAD

You can draw in the clockwise direction by entering a negative angle. For example, to draw the line below using polar coordinates, I could type @2<315, or I could type @2<-45.

Angles in AutoCAD

Dynamic input simplifies this (kind of). You do not need to worry about positive or negative as the angle is based upon the location of the crosshairs. If you bring the crosshairs above horizontal, it will draw the line 45 degrees up. If you bring the crosshairs below horizontal, it will draw the line 45 degrees down.

Angles in AutoCAD

This is probably great for new users. For experienced users who are used to working with positive and negative angles, this could be confusing. If the crosshairs is below horizontal, and you type -45 for your angle, it is going to draw up in the (traditionally) positive direction. This can be extremely confusing.

The last difference I want to discuss is the ability to see command options. Whether Dynamic Input is on or not, you can see the options for the current command in the Command line. You can even click on the option there, or type in the capitalized letter. You can also press the down arrow key on the keyboard to open up the dynamic menu:

AutoCAD Dynamic Input Options

I am not a fan of this workflow as it adds a keystroke every time I want to use an option.

Turning Dynamic Input Off

Several releases ago Autodesk decided to not only turn Dynamic Input on by default, but they also hid the button to disable it. To show the button, click the three lines on the far right-side of the status bar (sometimes referred to as the “hamburger”). In the menu, select Dynamic Input. It is important to note that this does not turn Dynamic Input on or off, it merely displays the button on the status bar. Of course, you can than use the button to turn it off.

Turn AutoCAD Dynamic Input Off

Alternatively, you can type DYNMODE at the Command line, then set it to 0.

Turn AutoCAD Dynamic Input Off - DYNMODE = 0

As I tell my students, I don’t expect people to do things the way I do them. It is important for everyone to be comfortable with their workflow, as that is what is going to make them most efficient.

What do you think? Am I just an old timer stuck in my ways? Do you use Dynamic Input? Let me know what you think in the comments!

AutoCAD Dynamic Blocks – Part 3: Flip (Mirror)

In this installment of my series on Dynamic Blocks in AutoCAD, we are going to take a look at how to add the Flip action to a block. The Flip action works just like the Mirror command. I have always wondered why Autodesk chose to name it differently. Just like with the mirror command, we will select the objects to be mirrored, then specify a mirror line.

If you would like to try the same exercise that I use in the demonstration, you can download the exercise drawing file here: Flip.dwg

The lesson is presented in the following video. Step-by-step instructions are also included below.

The drawing contains a counter top. We will add the Flip action to mirror it horizontally and vertically.

Double-click on the Counter Top block, then click <OK> to enter the Block Editor.

First we will add a flip grip to mirror the block vertically.

Select Palette: Block Authoring > Parameters > Flip.

You are prompted to specify the base point of the reflection line.

Select the midpoint of the left-most vertical line.

The flip grip will be located at this point.

You are prompted to specify the endpoint of the reflection line.

Move the crosshairs to the right, locking on to the 0 degree Polar Tracking angle, then select a point in space.

Click to the left of the first point to place the parameter label.

A warning symbol appears next to the grip because an action needs to be associated with the parameter in order to function.

Select the Actions tab in the Block Authoring Palette.

Select Palette: Block Authoring > Actions > Flip.

You are prompted to select a parameter.

Select the Flip state1 parameter that was just created.

You are prompted to select the objects that will be flipped.

Select all objects in the block, then press [Enter] at the keyboard.

Next you will add a flip grip to mirror the block horizontally

Select Palette: Block Authoring > Parameters > Flip.

You are prompted to specify the base point of the reflection line.

Select the midpoint of the top horizontal line.

The flip grip will be located at this point.

You are prompted to specify the endpoint of the reflection line.

Move the crosshairs down, locking on to the 270 degree Polar Tracking angle, then select a point in space.

Using Polar Tracking, click a point vertically below the first point.

Click above the first point to place the parameter label.

A warning symbol appears next to the grip because an action needs to be associated with the parameter in order to function.

Select the Actions tab in the Block Authoring Palette.

Select Palette: Block Authoring > Actions > Flip.

You are prompted to select a parameter.

Select the Flip state2 parameter that was just created.

You are prompted to select the objects that will be flipped.

Select all objects in the block, then press [Enter] at the keyboard.

Select Ribbon: Block Editor > Open/Save > Save Block.

Select Ribbon: Block Editor > Close > Close Block Editor.

Select the Counter Top block.

Select the flip grips to mirror horizontally and vertically.

Once again, a fairly simple process that gives us the ability to quickly modify a block!

I hope you enjoyed this quick lesson. Next time we will look at how to add the ability to rotate a dynamic block.