AutoCAD tutorials – Creating arrays (part 3)

AutoCAD tutorials for Beginners – Creating Arrays, Part 3

Here is part three of our AutoCAD tutorials for beginners on creating arrays. You’ll remember from our previous articles that an array is a collection of geometry. In SOLIDWORKS you call this entity a “pattern”. AutoCAD was the first to introduce this algorithm, and in AutoCAD they are grouped into Polar Arrays (these are circular arrays), Rectangular Arrays (these are linear arrays), as well as Path Arrays, where you pattern an entity across a path that you define, like a spline, polygon etc. That’s what I’ll be showing you in this article.

In our last two articles I wrote about how to set up the parameters of your array, defining the base point, editing the source object, editing and exiting the array editing mode, how to create and modify circular array, and how to create and modify a rectangular array.

Let’s talk about creating and editing a Path Array now. The first job you have is to create a path. We can use a more complex type of geometry with the path array. Try creating a polyline, and place a couple points. Then, right click and select Arc; this changes your drawing tool to the arc tool.  Create an arc with a couple clicks, then right-click and go back to the polyline tool. Place a few more line points and when you’re ready, press Escape on your keyboard to exit the polyline tool.

Next, create an object to pattern. I’ll create a circle whose center point is snapped to the end point of my polyline. We’re ready to activate the path array tool now! Choose it from the array submenu. First step is to select the object or objects to pattern. You’ll see the prompt in the command bar. It’ll state:  ARRAYPATH Select objects: (isn’t that nice of AutoCAD, to tell us what to do like this? In newer CAD software, there is no command prompt, but you’ll still see instructions regarding what your next step should be, in the status bar at the bottom of the screen of your software).  So, I’ll select the circle, and then right-click in blank space in the graphic area to finish the selection.  Now we’re prompted to select a path. The command prompt tells us: ARRAYPATH Select path curve.  Select the complex line you just created with the polyline and arc tools. And presto, your circle is patterned the whole way along the path.  So, in just a few simple clicks you’ve created some pretty complex geometry.

After this, you can use the handles in the graphic area or the edit array fields at the top of the graphic area to make some changes to your path array. You can adjust how many items appear in the array, how far apart they are, make the array associative or not. When you’re done, click Close Array. To edit the array, just click on it in the drawing area. We’ll talk more about editing your path array in our next article.

This concludes the third of our AutoCAD tutorials for beginners about creating and editing arrays in AutoCAD. If you’re interested in working with AutoCAD, please try our AutoCAD tutorials; you can see several sample videos at our youtube channel, videotutorials2.

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