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I have been reading an architectural AutoCAD book, and it names Layers and line thicknesses as follows:


Outline 0.35mm

Dim 0.25mm

Construction - nothing shown for thickness

Hidden 0.25mm


No other explanatory notes given :(


Can anyone please suggest the different uses of Outline and Construction lines.


Also, I thought 0.25mm was the standard ( default) width for drawing in AutoCAD.


In which case, what thickness should I use for Outlines and Dimension lines?


All help and suggestion very much appreciated

Edited by PJ01
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It all depends on what ouput you are trying to achieve, and what if any CAD standards are in use in your particular office.


To start with the layer name does not have to specify a line thickness, but it can if you want to remind people to use that thickness for that part of the drawing.


Outlines are usually drawn to print/plot thicker (heavier) than dimensions, leader lines, and the like.

This is so whatever component, or building, you are drawing stands out from the dimension lines when printed.


Text is usually drawn the same thickness as outlines, but may be the same thickness as dimensions.


You may want some outlines to be thicker than the rest so that they stand out more when printed. (Or thiner so they don't stand out as much).


You get the idea? It all depends on just how you want to present your printed drawing which lines you make thicker or thiner.


Construction lines here I suspect are not what you are thinking about as 'construction'.


As they are not allocated a thickness then I would say that they are 'drafting construction' lines, also called 'Reference Geometry'.

i.e. Lines that are used for draughting only, to make sure objects and views line up, to set out offset distances, and so on.

They are mainly used to set out the shape you want to draw before you draw your outline over them.

They were used all the time on board drawing, and can be used in CAD but they are very rarely taught about these days. (A loss of a draughting technique in my opinion).

They are never plotted and are usually removed after use.

The AutoCad command XLINE draws draughting construction lines of infinite length. There are various options, horizontal, vertical, angled, offset, through 2 points, etc.

I use them all the time when draughting, but there again I learnt on a board before CAD, even before offices had computers.

Here's the Autodesk short article about Xlines:


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nukecad, many thanks for this very helpful information, that accurately answered my questions. I really appreciate you taking the time and effort to share it.


I think I will go with the Outline drawings on 0.35, and the dimensions on 0.25 to start with.


I am not in an office any more, and of the same drawing board vintage as yourself, designing electrical ( 66/11kV) zone substation control panel drawings and wiring, steel support structures and civil footings etc :)


I am learning AutoCAD so I can get woodworking templates done on my nephew's CNC machine.

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PJ01, one thing to note is that those layer suggestions are based around the final presentation of your drawing.



It's more usual (and much more useful as drawings get more complicated) to assign layers based on what they represent: You might have a layer called "Walls" with a thick line, and one called "Plaster" with a thinner one; or you might have one called "Cuts" with a thicker line and "folds" that's thinner, etc.




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Thanks danellis, that makes sense. I recall our teacher showed his private AutoCAD architectural business drawings, and there were heaps of layers, all representing different items, as you indicated

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  • 2 weeks later...

Every now and then, I'll get an older CAD file given to me where the layers are set: Light, Medium, Heavy, based on the lineweight, regardless of what the actual object is.



This irritates me and I have actually wasted time selecting and reassigning objects to new layers, just because I can (and because I know there is a chance Ill re-use that drawing in the future.)

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Many of our older CAD drawings (going back to 1982-1985) are sort of set up that way. It appears that someone associated the layer names 1 thru 8 with the AutoCAD colors that correspond to the numbers. Lighter color layers plot relatively thin compared to darker colors that plot much heavier.

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