External references can be confounding sometimes (OK, most of the time), so I'm thankful when a customer reminds me of where they can be tamed. The Xclip feature has been around for a long time, and then I remembered the Express tool that enables you to convert a block to an Xref. Hopefully, you will find them to be useful tools in your toolbelt.
When bringing you these AutoCAD insights over the last several years, I try to present them in the form of an application that you can relate to; or at least make the mental leap and discern how it could be used in your industry. Recently one of you sent a suggestion of using a hatch pattern to accomplish the placement of blocks within an area, so I thought I'd pass that along; it was pretty clever. In the Basics section, I thought I'd address that Draw Order toolbar that, for some reason, Autodesk insists upon having as a default toolbar.
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Many of my customers will Xref the base architectural plan, then add the furniture; wonderful idea. One of my customers in San Diego reminded me of the Xclip feature and showed me how they were using it, so I thought I'd pass it along. The following procedure requires that you have an Xref (Attached or Overlaid, it doesn't matter), and some other objects that are not part of the Xref. In the example, I am using the drawing from the A2005 Sample folder, 8th Floor Furniture.DWG, if you want to follow along.
Of course the Xref is still there, but AutoCAD has used the concept of clipping planes (usually encountered in 3D applications; see Michael's Corner March 2006 to accomplish the desired result.
Back in June of this year when I had the AutoCAD Yard Sale [Michael's Corner June 2006], you may recall that I covered the Wblock command. In that coverage I mentioned it is a great command you can use to convert a floorplan, for example, into a DWG that you can then Xref back into a host drawing.
But here's something better. Under the Express Tools (even in the AutoCAD 2004 collection) in the Blocks category, you have Convert Block To Xref. This is essentially a method by which you swap out an internal block for an external DWG.
Prerequisites: The .DWG file that is to be the replacement for the block in the drawing. This is easily accomplished using Wblock (Write Block) to make the DWG file. Check it out…
There are several applications for this, but Tim Z., one of my readers in New Zealand, was the first to mention this particular approach so I thought I would pass it along.
Along about AutoCAD 2004, there appeared a setting on the Drafting tab of Options for Ignore Hatch Objects and by default it's turned On. This setting would need to be turned off if you want to snap to the intersection of a hatch. For example, one application would be for 2' x 4' light fixtures in a ceiling grid. Another one is seen here as a method to add shrubs to a planting bed. If you don't have a drawing with an area about 60' x 30', draw a rectangle and check it out (this works in every version from A2004 and on; even LT!).
Over the last few versions of AutoCAD, the Draw Order toolbar has been one of the defaults along with Draw and Modify and the ones across the top. So what's it for?
You may have overlooked one of the applications for this tool. In the Odd Spot of Michael's Corner February 2006, I showed you the use of a Wipeout object and how you could use the Draw Order feature of Bring To Front to bring a wipeout object above an Xref.
Another application (and I'm sure the readership of this column could come up with others) is to bring a text object in front of a Raster image. Let's say you have inserted a raster image of a product or an image you have taken at a job site and you need to put text across the top of it. [For more about raster images, see Michael's Corner of January, February, & March 2003.]
|Before Draw Order||After Draw Order|
Glass lightning bolts: The root-like, glassy tubes that lightning sometimes makes when it hits dry sand are called "fulgurites", informally called solidified or petrified lightning bolts. The longest on record: 17 ft. (That's 5.18m to the rest of us! Ed.)
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