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Adding Dimensions & modifying existing drawing - newbie needs help

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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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Hi Big AL. and everyone


Thank you for your help. It is really hard to learn this stuff . But you guys have been great. This is not what I do, but I would like some abilities to take a file at at least modify it. But even that is a real problem


I am completely confused. I managed to get this from a guy who made it on FreeCAD and converted it to dxf. The problem is he is almost as bad as I am.


What I am trying to do it put some more vents in (lots of vents) and send it off to get laser cut. But it would be nice to know how to modify/make it. Sort of evenly.


The panel as 3 holes on the extremities that screw into the rack. The next 2 holes screw into the box and the 4 holes on the RHS are for switches and LED.





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I opened your sample 1st thing is exploded. did some basic sizing to work out grills. Is this what you want ? Grids can be different sizes. Tell us the sizes you want and can do instructions.





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hi Mate


Thank you.


The vents are 3mm high and 9.7mm from the centres of the circular ends - hence 12.7mm long. These are the intake vents for the PC. It drags the air from the front, through a hepa filter over the components and out the rear. They are oval and equidistant from the top and bottom and the switches and holes on the RHS.


Thank you.

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On 1/4/2020 at 12:42 AM, foxint said:

Hi Guys.


If you have the patience. Can we start again. I will attach the file I converted from solidworks. I tried to explode it and nothing. When I try to delete small parts it all disapears. I need to make changes to the placement of the screw holes and add screw holes and holes for switches etc.

Rack-4U-Panel-Front-Solid-Basic-DF-490-177.8.dxf 7.42 kB · 3 downloads

Did you do this?  Click somewhere on the "block" geometry to select it.  Type EXPLODE.  Hit ENTER.  (you will not see anything happen except for not being highlighted any more, the parts are simply not connected any more as a block.)  Then click on something and type ERASE.

Edited by Dana W
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On 1/4/2020 at 4:23 PM, foxint said:

but I am having a lot of trouble with 1) getting the exact positioning of the holes and the exact dimensions of the plate - I am in metric (the whole rack system totally frustrates me - but that is a whole other story.) 2) the vent holes are a mystery 3) also the screw holes - I tried to make them with 2 1/2 circles, but getting the measurement from the middle of the hole was total mess for me.

The default method for a circle = Type the command Circle (or just C) click where you want the center to be then type the desired radius then ENTER.

To access a handful of other methods for drawing circles, click on the down arrow under the CIRCLE tile on the HOME tab of the ribbon.  See image below


To draw a circle you can also simply click the CIRCLE tile on the ribbon to start, then do as above.


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Hi Dana W


Thank you

Yes I followed your instructions: Explode and Erase

Nothing happened??

Thank you for the tip about the circle. But I need 2 semi circles connected by 2 straight lines - and I am not finding how to do this.  Especially having the middles line up and the measurements from the middle of the elongated shape - not should what one would call it a round ended lozenge.


Edited by foxint
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Hi Al

Thank you.

I am having a lot of trouble with the cursor; it keeps wobbling around.

Also, cannot use dimension (to show the lengths) as the cursor will not link to the shapes.

I am trying to get the circle centres to be 3.5mm, but with the top line I am always overshooting the tangent of the circle. (Circle radius is 3.25mm)

Any suggestions??


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1st thing type "Snap off", you can preset snap spacings it can be a pain if turned on makes screen jerky.


Ok "Osnap" is your friend choose to clear all, then select End ,Intersection ,mid, centre. Remember key F3 turns off and on.


If you hold shift and right click mouse the osnaps should appear. This can be handy to override the snap if it keeps grabbing wrong one.


In above problem zoom in a bit more, you get used to rolling the mouse scroll button, if this does not do zooming let us know. Same hold down scroll button and that's a pan.

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Hi Al


I am using F3 and the cursor still jumps around. I am trying to make sure the circle centres are 3.5mm, but all I seem to do is move the circle. I am not sure what I am doing.

When I am trying to use Dimension, it manages to mark RHS circle centre with a little L, but jumps on both sides of the middle of the LHS circle,



I also tried the align tool to align the 2 circles. I watched 5 videos and I could not complete the command. All the videos show the parts moving all manner of ways. All I want is to align the 2 circles on the same plane. But the align tool just moves them together. Or is there another tool??


Any suggestions?

Edited by foxint
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No idea why you are using align !.


Look at my image add circles using intersection snap, then draw 2 circles, add lines again use intersection snap. Then I used trim to remove the inside of the circles.


I will make some enquiries about a webinar for you. That means you can see my PC and I can see yours and see what your doing wrong and we can talk at same time.

Edited by BIGAL
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I am confused as to what your dimensions should be, but I would like to offer another way to draw your vent hole without using the circle command.


A few bits of information:- when you Offset a line, you get a parallel line. When you Fillet two parallel lines, you get a semicircle drawn to join the two lines.


So, draw a line equal to the distance between the centres of the two circles. Offset this line by the diameter of the circles, then Fillet each end of the lines. Result one vent hole.




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Again I did a quick search for you and there are multiple engineers and surveyors near you as well as Council design department I am sure you should be able to find someone who will give you a few hours of training, for say a slab of beer. You are just to far away for me to just drop in. Had a look at Tafe and only Autocad appears to be in Sydney.

Edited by BIGAL
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Guys – thank you.


I was using align, because I want the hole to align both vertically and horizontally. But this is not working for me.

A webinar would be great. I certainly was not asking for you to drop by. Orange is not a great hub for excellence in anything. I am working on a 6-year plan to leave (by youngest finished high school in 6 years). I am not happy here. But that is another story.


The elongated holes – radius is 3.325mm and the length between the circle centres is 3.5mm

I tried to make parallel lines, and this did not work. I drew a rectangle and (as I have been saying I have LOTS of problems trying to understand how to modify a shape once I have made it). So, the shape is the wrong size and then I tried to fillet it and this did not work as I have no idea how to fillet.

I used the property box, but I cannot workout how to insert different numbers into this.

It is a very complex programme. I think I have missed some of the basics. I think most of the on-line resources assume one has used something similar. The closest thing I have used is word – so nothing.

 You can see a lot of stuff and nothing is right

Thank you for your help


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11 hours ago, foxint said:

Guys – thank you......


Eldon:.....I tried to make parallel lines, and this did not work.........


It does sound as if a session with someone who can show you how to use AutoCAD would help. For example, how to move the cursor around the screen and how to pick on the screen. And also to look at the Command line. It gives advice as to what information it is expecting, and so is a great help.


Making parallel line is so simple using the Offset command, but perhaps you are having problems picking on the screen. You are using a mouse, aren't you? Control of the mouse and an understanding of the buttons is fundamental to using AutoCAD easily.


Good luck in your progress with AutoCAD. In a few weeks time, you will wonder what all the fuss was about!

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I had a look for my old old learning Autocad books when Autocad used to come in a big box with manuals but I think I gave it to some one already. Any body out there got one like R14. The basics are still the same even years later.


Anyway had a look on KINDLE there are multiple books available, some expensive like $64 but others like $6.95 for a Autocad 2018. At this price buy one if it turns out no good have not wasted much. You run the kindle on your PC so can flip back and forth read at your pace. I bought a series of programming 4 books at $8 each and they are great.


Have you just pressed F1 and looked at help there should be a Command section and you can read up on Line, arc, circle, offset, move etc

Edited by BIGAL
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Hi Guys


Thank you. I am retiring hurt. The programme has beaten me. I still maintain that the instructions a) assume one has done CAD before; b) glosses over the 2D sections and c) then lurches in 3D. I am not asking to design a jet engine, just a simple flat piece of metal with some holes.


One thing that really pisses me off, is the complexity of modifying what exists. So if some kind sole helps me when I want to change the holes for the switches (as I will be doing as the ones I ordered on eBay were no good). Then I am stuck with a panel that is not fit for my purpose.


I am going to give it a rest. It is too complex for my tiny mind.


I am using a Handshoe Mouse - very good ergonomically but the scrolling wheel is a little lacking.


This is the last panel for my PC rack box. Perhaps I can pay someone to do it for me. It has taken me weeks (so far), but I am sure you will do in in minutes. But I really want to know how to do this very simple thing....


Thanks guys I am going to do some BAS Statements (accounting work).



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