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Adding Dimensions & modifying existing drawing - newbie needs help

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2 hours ago, ReMark said:

The drawing you have provided has only a passing resemblance to that pictured in the OP's first post.  Perhaps you can tell him where he needs to start.  Ex. - Using the RECTANGLE command do the following...  To create the slots for the holes at either end start with the CIRCLE command and do the following...  To create the punchwork slots in the grill use the following commands...(list them).  Understand? 

I made two post with step-by-step to get started; I tried another tack and am sorry it falls short. Your idea to list commands by step is a good one...do it.

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Good Morning.   I opened your drawing using Draftsight and then I exploded it.  The result was one rectangle and ten oblong slots (i.e. - screw holes).  Every object is on layer "0" with a l

Have a look at this

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First thing when you open the drawing, if you can't see the object you need to use the zoom command with the 'extents' option. The easiest way to do taht is just press 'z' on your keyboard and then press the enter key, next press 'e' and again press enter.

Before you go any further, take a screenshot of your Autocad window and post it here so we can see which tools and palettes you have turned on.

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Hi Steve-G


Thank you...WOW that "e' sure filled up the screen.....


I have stated from scratch. But I think the ovals are all wrong as I copied them from FreeCAD and I cannot get the centres so I can fix the space between them - they need to line up exactly with my Rack (465mm and 408mm)




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Turn on your properties palette, just type 'properties' followed by enter, and then looking at the attached image, right click on the bar along the edge that has the  'X' (close) on it somewhere in the middle (see the red star - that is in the image, not on your screen) and then tick the items shown. this will place the properties to the left of your screen and also make sure it collapses out of the way when you move away from it with your mouse, it opens up when you move over the bar again.

Then click on any object in your drawing and open the properties you should see that it tells you at the top that the object is a block (in the image it now reads - No selection). 

Once you have the block selected you can explode it, again the quickest method is just type 'x' followed by the enter key.


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Thank you.

“Then click on any object in your drawing and open the properties you should see that it tells you at the top that the object is a block (in the image it now reads - No selection). 

Once you have the block selected you can explode it, again the quickest method is just type 'x' followed by the enter key. “


Sorry Steve-g – I have no idea what you mean.


I clicked on the panel and I get an extra square on the LHS – if I delete this the whole image disappears. Where does it tell me it is a block? If it is a block, then what do I do with this block?


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When you have selected the object, you should see the information about that object in the properties, at the top it will say Block Reference, and as you look down it tells you information about that object such as it's name 'SKETCH036'.

Different types of object show you different information.


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Or you could just use the drawing I posted previously as your starting point.  


Re: Block.  The rectangle and all the slots are treated as one entity not separate entities.  In order to edit any portion of the block it first must be exploded.  When a block is exploded it reverts back to separate entities.  Keep in mind however that a block (ex. - a slot) can be combined into another block (ex. - the rectangle representing the grill) to form a "nested" block.  If this is the case one must use the Explode command multiple times to break it up into its individual entities.


I would suggest you buy a book (anyone remember books?) about AutoCAD and study it.  Or go online and search.  Ex. - "autocad"+"block command" and view a couple of videos about how blocks are created and used in AutoCAD.  Then do a search on "autocad"+"explode" and read up on the use of the Explode command.


Basically it sounds like you are trying to run before you have learned to walk.

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Hi Guys


Thank you.


OK with the properties - but: when I move the mouse to the properties and then away, it disappears - not sure if this is good.


Block: do I need a block?


Are you saying that the next block should be the vent holes (3.0mm x 13.0mm and "should" be every where there is not a hole - more holes for the switch and LED's)


ReMark - I downloaded your file. Looks good - thank you. But: 1) still not sure how to change the dimension - 461 and 408mm; 2) measuring verticle hieghts is strange - does not look like horizontal and is in a different place - that worries me; 3) are the distances in the holes from the middle - i could not work this out - yes I made these with another programme. 4: how did you get it to sit at the bottom of the page - that makes it nice?


Books - will have to order on line. I looked before Christmas and (I live in shi@s ville) and there was not a single book about CAD - lots of gardening, out of date car books (nothing on FIAT, my all time favourite). FYI my town sucks. Any suggestions?





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Have a look at Kindle there are Autocad books and very cheap like $8.


Autocad for dummies, I used to have some old Autocad original manuals but left them behind when I retired would have sent them to you.


https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/autocad/learn?sort=score not a bad starting point need to follow down pages clicking links to get deeper into explanations showing examples.


When you press F1 does this come up and you have the option Tutorials. I have CIV3D should be same for Autocad.


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The fact that the properties disapears when you move away from it is controlled by the 'autohide' that I showed you to set yesterday, it just closes it when you don't need it so you have a bigger drawing area (you can turn autohide off and have it visible all the time - your chice). Once you explode the block you should have the outer boundary, and then the holes as individual polylines, which will allow you to move/edit/copy those as you want.

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Hi Steve-g

Thank you. I am slowly working on things, but still confused.

I got around the disappearing properties – thank you

You gave me the fabulous instructions: z enter and then e enter to see the file.

I have to fall on my sword, I am attaching a dxf file – because I do not know how to convert it to dwg.  I am very sorry.

I tried this with another file it did not work. Can you suggest what I did wrong??



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Where do you live?  There must be a library somewhere close by.  You could check to see if they have any books about AutoCAD.


The Properties panel disappears once you leave it so you have full screen access.  If you want to keep it open then you must "dock" it to one side or the other.


Re: resizing the panel to 461 x 408.  It's possible you could use the STRETCH command to resize it.  I doubt you have enough AutoCAD knowledge at this point in your learning process to accomplish the task.


I used the Zoom > Extents command which will take into account all objects in the drawing and resize the view accordingly.

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I opened the drawing that I posted for your use previously and measured the length and width of the panel.  I found it to be 490mm x 177.8mm.  So, using the numbers you provided (461mm x 408mm) we find that the panel is longer, in length, by 29mm and shorter, in width, by 230.2mm.  Therefore we have two choices.  We can either redraw the panel at the correct size or using the STRETCH command we can resize the panel to match our expectations.  In my opinion it would far easier to just redraw the panel.  There are multiple ways this can be accomplished.  I will demonstrate one such way that does not require the user to do anything more than to pick the starting point for our rectangle.



Specify first corner point or [Chamfer/Elevation/Fillet/Thickness/Width]: Choose an arbitrary point above the top left hand corner of the existing panel. 

Specify other corner point or [Area/Dimensions/Rotation]: Type "D" for Dimensions

Specify length for rectangles <50.0000>: Type 461

Specify width for rectangles <10.0000>: Type 408


There you have it.  Note that the rectangle is one complete entity although it has four sides.  Why is that?  Because it was drawn using a POLYLINE as opposed to a LINE.  If we had used lines there would be four distinct entities.  We can emulate this by exploding our polyline rectangle using the EXPLODE command if we wished to do so.  Try it.  If you want to return the rectangle back to its polyline configuration type "U" for UNDO on the command line.  The result of the EXPLODE command will be undone.


Edited by ReMark
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Measuring the length and width of the panel can be accomplished using the MEASURE > DISTANCE command.  But first we must make sure we have an adequate range of object snaps available to use.  Right-click on OSNAPS in the tray at the bottom of your screen.  We want to select the Object Snaps tab in the Drafting Settings window.  Enable the following (at the bare minimum): ENDpoint, MIDpoint, CENter, QUADrant, and INTersection then close the window.  We use OSNAPS (Object Snaps) for precision.


Now back in our drawing invoke the MEASURE > DISTANCE command.  You will be prompted to...


Specify a first point: Select the bottom left hand corner of the rectangle.


Specify a second point:  Select the bottom right hand corner of the rectangle.


The distance will be displayed on the command line below.


Repeat the command by pressing the ENTER key and select the bottom right hand corner of the rectangle, as your first point, then the top right hand corner, as your second point.  Once again look to the command line for the displayed distance.

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Let's turn our attention now to the holes or slots as I shall refer to them.


In the drawing I posted the slots are a single entity (polyline).  They measure 10.15 in length and 6.65 in width.  Now I have three questions for you:


     -Do you want to use slots or holes for your screws?

     -If you want to use a slot what length and width should it be?

     -If you want to use a circle what diameter should it to be?


You can verify the horizontal distance between slots by using the method I demonstrated above.  However, we measure from the MIDpoint of one slot to the MIDpoint of the opposite slot and because we have MIDpoint selected as one of our OSNAPS we can confirm we are picking the correct point because a triangle will appear instead of a square at the intersection of our crosshairs.  If we were measuring between two holes a circle would appear instead.


You can verify the vertical distance between slots on the same side in much the same manner.

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To open a .DXF file in AutoCAD:


  1. Click File menu Open.
  2. In the Select File dialog box, in the Files of type box, select DXF (*. dxf).
  3. Find and select the DXF file you want to import, or enter the name of the DXF file at File Name.
  4. Click Open.
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Guys Thank you.

Sorry I am getting very confused….

For some reason the dxf file is stuffed. I will have to leave this as it is too hard.

My rack panel – essentially a flat rectangle that I will get laser cut. (I wish someone changed the rack to metric and standardised its development).

Overall size – 490 x 177.8mm

Slots #1 – for attaching to the rack mid-point to mid-point is 465mm

Slots #2 – for attaching to the enclosure mid-pint to mid-point is 408mm

Length/height of slot (so I have some play for inaccuracies) – I used a circle radius 3.325 with the distance between the centres of 3.5mm

Vent holes (we have not gone down that rabbit hole) – (I am measuring from the physical) diameter about 3.0mm overall length 12.75 – but this can be changed


Just so we are on the same page.

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Just what are you confused about?  You don't need the .dxf file if you are going to draw the rack yourself.  I've already provided you with the command for drawing the rack.  As for the "slots" it appears from your post above they are nothing more than holes which can be created by using the CIRCLE command.  You can draw the circles and position them on one side of the rack then use the MIRROR command to reproduce them on the other side.  And you are right, the vent holes would indeed be another matter.  You would need to the size of vent holes and how many rows and columns of vent holes would be required.  Once you have drawn the first vent hole the remainder could be created using the ARRAY command.  Yes, I make it sound so easy but it won't be as easy for you since you are new to AutoCAD so that is to be expected.  Someone could offer to draw it for you but then what would be the point as you wouldn't learn a thing.  That is why I gave you the link to MyCADsite in a previous post.  Did you visit the website?

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