Autodesk AutoCAD is, by far, the most used CAD software all around the world. In 2D it includes a large number of commands and functions, which makes it virtually unbeatable for many years. With continuous hardware development, together with new software capabilities, 3D became a viable and accessible technology to all. It is much better to simulate the real world with 3D models than to apply 2D drawings.
3D modeling has countless advantages: real-world simulation, greater accuracy, cheaper models, easy creation of related 2D drawings, calculation of volume and other properties, detection of interferences, model transfer to 3D printers or CAM/CNC devices, realistic visualization with light and materials application, sun studies, material selection, and easier comparison between solutions.
With Version 2007, AutoCAD became a reliable software for 3D modeling in all technical areas, such as architecture, engineering, construction, roads, urban studies, landscaping, and scenarios. Rendering and realistic results were quite improved in Version 2011, with the introduction of Autodesk Materials and the inclusion of more than 700 excellent-looking and ready-to-apply materials, as demonstrated on the cover of this book.
Autodesk AutoCAD 2013 3D Drafting and Design allows you to break the 2D frontier and create accurate 3D models that simulate reality. With the addition of lights and materials, simulation is taken to the level of photorealism. Including several explained exercises, this book is an easy learning tool and also a reference manual for daily consultation.
Chapter 1, Introduction to 3D Design, includes an introduction to 3D and the importance of the third coordinate. Also included are AutoCAD environment control, general object properties, auxiliary tools, 2D commands application, 3D linear commands, and good practices when modeling in 3D.
Chapter 2, Visualizing 3D Models, walks us through a fundamental aspect in 3D, which is visualization. This chapter includes not only zooming, panning, and orbiting, but also returning to specific visualizations, seeing the model as wireframe, shaded, or other visual styles, walking inside the model and dividing the drawing area into viewports.
Chapter 3, Coordinate Systems, includes the creation of other working planes called coordinate systems, imperative for correct 3D modeling.
Chapter 4, Creating Solids and Surfaces from 2D, walks us through the commands that allow for the creation of solids or surfaces from linear or planar objects.
Chapter 5, 3D Primitives and Conversions, includes the remaining commands to create 3D solids and 3D surfaces without previous objects and conversion commands.
Chapter 6, Editing in 3D, acquaints us with the editing commands specific for 3D operations that can be applied to any object.
Chapter 7, Editing Solids and Surfaces, presents all the main commands for combining solids and editing solids and surfaces. Among other useful commands, we can unite, subtract, intersect, and cut 3D objects, as well as apply fillets and chamfers to the object's edges.
Chapter 8, Inquiring the 3D Model, explains how to measure distances and volumes and obtain point coordinates. In 3D it is also important to detect interferences and obtain geometric properties of solids.
Chapter 9, Documenting a 3D Mode, provides guidelines for creating construction or fabrication drawings after frequently creating 3D models. In this chapter we present how to define a layout and then the most important commands and procedures to obtain automatic 2D drawings from 3D models.
Chapter 10, Rendering and Illumination, discusses that after creating a 3D model, it is time to present it as a virtual prototype or how it will look when built or fabricated. In this chapter we present the rendering process and all related commands, as well as simulating natural and artificial lighting.
Chapter 11, Materials and Effects, completes the render subject with materials and effects. As important as lighting a 3D scene, this chapter walks us through the application of realistic materials that resemble materials of the real world. AutoCAD also allows specifying scene backgrounds and applying fog effect.
Chapter 12, Meshes and Surfaces, is about all types of surfaces and meshes, including procedural surfaces, NURBS surfaces, meshes and polyface meshes.
Appendix, Final Considerations, includes creating simple animations representing walkthroughs or see-around, import and export file formats, advices for exporting from AutoCAD to 3ds Max and Revit, and development clues for 3D modelers.
To correctly follow this book and realize all exercises, we need to have AutoCAD software, preferably the last version (2013 or later). Most of the book is also useful for other AutoCAD users since Version 2007; further improvements are specified along the book. Readers must also download exercise files from the book's webpage.
This book is intended for everyone who wants to create accurate 3D models in AutoCAD, such as architects, engineers, or design professionals and students. Only some basic understanding of 2D AutoCAD is needed.
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