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Drawing In 3D CAD (Geometric Modeling)
Set up viewports and/or use 3D views for viewing different angles of one or more objects. Create complex shapes utilizing primitive shapes. Use union, subtract, and intersect operations when creating complex shapes. Use revolve and extrude operations to create 3D objects from 2D frames. Apply shading to 3D objects. Rotate one or more objects using 3D orbit. Complete a 3D drawing with appropriate dimensions and tolerancing.

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The computer and graphic design software have extended product design to the three-dimensional level. This capability is called 3D-CAD in this book; however, the terms geometric modeling, 3D modeling, and rendering, to name a few, are also used. All real world or humanmade objects have complex three-dimensional geometry. Graphic design software allows an object to be viewed at any selected angle. It provides the designer with the ability to inspect a design visually and identify potential problems prior to analysis and production. The earliest method of 3D modeling was wireframe construction. It is accomplished by joining the endpoints of normal, inclined, and oblique surfaces and by linear segments of curved surfaces. Figure 13-1(a) shows a wireframe drawing in 2D; Figure 13-1(b) shows a wireframe drawing in 3D. There is not too much difference in the appearance; however, the difference would be more noticeable in more complicated drawings. The object has the appearance of being made out of glass because the hidden edges are shown. In Figure 13-1(c), the hidden lines have been removed, which provides a more pleasing 3D appearance of the object. To further help the designer, software packages have been developed to shade or render an object, as shown in Figure 13-1(d). Color can also be used to improve the visual presentation. Advances in hardware and software have provided the ability to perform solids modeling, which is the subject of this chapter.

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FIGURE 13-1 2D, 3D, hidden, and shading.

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As discussed at the beginning of Chapter 12, the first step in learning to communicate with AutoCAD is to know where to find the tools you need. There are multiple ways in which geometry can be constructed in any CAD application. The coordinate system is the same, no matter what application is used. Drawing features in 2D utilize the X and Y axes, while in 3D, the Z axis is added to provide the illusion of depth to the object. The default AutoCAD screen uses the lower left-hand corner of the screen as 0, 0, 0 (X, Y, and Z, respectively), with positive values extending toward the right for the X axis and upward for the Y. The Z axis is perpendicular to the screen, with the positive value extending away from the screen toward the user. Figure 13-2 shows the world coordinate system (WCS) icon as it appears in the lower left-hand corner of the AutoCAD screen. AutoCAD utilizes the right-hand rule for defining the orientation of the X, Y, and Z axes. The right-hand rule aids the user in visualizing the rotation of an object around the three axes. The right hand is placed with the palm facing the user at eye level. The thumb, which is the X axis, points to the right at a 90 angle from the wrist. The index finger, which is the Y axis, points upward at a 90 angle from the thumb. The middle finger, which is the Z axis, points toward the user perpendicular to the thumb and the index finger. Figure 13-3 illustrates the right-hand rule concept.

FIGURE 13-2 WCS icon.

All AutoCAD computer screen shots for this chapter are reproduced with permission from Autodesk, Inc. Index finger

Middle finger


FIGURE 13-3 Right-hand rule.

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Constructive solid geometry (CSG) is the combination of primitive 3D shapes in constructing a complex object. The CSG concept is also referred to as the machinists approach, which is similar to basic machine shop practices. The basic primitive shapes typically include prism/box (cube), cylinder, sphere, cone, wedge, and torus (donut). Figure 13-4 shows the six types of primitive shapes.


Sphere Prism/box (cube) Wedge




FIGURE 13-4 Primitive shapes.

Two primitive shapes can be combined into one object in numerous ways. The methods for manipulating the primitive shapes are known as Boolean operations. Boolean operations consist of three basic concepts: union (join), subtract (cut), and intersect. Any operation may be performed on an object a number of times to create an intricate shape. The union (join) operation combines two or more primitive shapes to form a single solid. The subtract (cut) operation subtracts one object from another at the point where the object overlaps the other, while the intersect operation affects only those parts of both objects that overlap (common volume) each other.

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The user coordinate system (UCS) consists of the X, Y, and Z coordinates that the user defines in creating the 3D model. The difference between the WCS and the UCS is that the WCS is the default coordinate system established by AutoCAD. UCS is established by the user and can be oriented at any angle from the WCS. Both the WCS and the UCS are set up in the lower left-hand corner of the AutoCAD screen or in the first quadrant, where both the X and the Y axes move away from 0, 0 in a positive direction and the Z axis moves in a positive direction toward the user. Establishing a UCS is beneficial because the user can define, name, save, and restore a UCS at any time during the drawing process. The WCS and UCS icons appear in the default position at the bottom lefthand corner of the AutoCAD screen. The user does not have to work only in the first quadrant. By holding down the scroll button on the mouse, utilizing the pan realtime option, and moving the mouse, the user can access any of the other quadrants. The WCS or UCS icon displays the options ON, OFF , All, Noorgin, ORigin, and Properties at the command prompt at the bottom of the screen. Identifying the different appearances of the UCS icon will help the user navigate between the axes to construct or manipulate one or more objects. Figure 13-5 shows some of the 2D and 3D UCS icons.

World Coordinate System Y W X (a) 2D icon

User Coordinate System


X X (b) 3D icon


Y c) View is from the Z direc tion

FIGURE 13-5 Coordinate systems.

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The UCS icon properties can be displayed by the drop-down VIEW menu (display, UCS icon, properties) method, as shown in Figure 13-6, or by typing UCSICON at the command prompt and pressing P, for properties. Either method opens the dialog box, thus enabling the user to change the style, size, or color of the WCS or the UCS icon, as shown in Figure 13-7.

FIGURE 13-6 UCS icon properties: drop-down menu.

FIGURE 13-7 UCS icon properties: command prompt entry.


Setting up the viewports can aid the user in observing multiple sides of an object as it is being created or manipulated. Previously saved viewports can be retrieved by clicking on the NAMED VIEWPORTS . . . option from the

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FIGURE 13-8 Viewports drop-down menu.

FIGURE 13-9 Viewports dialog box.

drop-down menu, as shown in Figure 13-8. The user may click on any of the options in the drop-down menu to set up one to four viewports. By selecting NEW VIEWPORTS . . . , a dialog box appears, displaying multiple combinations for setting up various viewports, as shown in Figure 13-9. Establishing three to four viewports aids in the visualization of an object. The more viewports used, the better the representation of the layout of the objects. Each viewport is independent of the others; however, when you are working in one viewport, the others are updated to display changes to all the objects. Typically, four viewports are used, with three of the viewports representing the standard orthographic multiview layout and the fourth representing an isometric view. The isometric projection can be changed if desired. Figure 13-10 represents four equal viewports for the 3D setup, with the top view being active.

FIGURE 13-10 Multiple viewports.

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FIGURE 13-11 3D drop-down view menu.

A 3D object can be created using a single viewport and utilizing the 3D VIEWS option to rotate the object for viewing it from different vantage points. Figure 13-11 displays the options available for 3D views. VIEWPORT PRESETS . . . opens a dialog box that allows the user to view the object from various angles. VIEWPOINT establishes a viewing angle based on a point picked on the screen. The PLAN VIEW option displays the choices of views for the object in Current UCS, world UCS, or named UCS. The middle section of 3D views offers choices for viewing the object in any orthographic projection view. The last section allows the user to display the object(s) in any of the four isometric options: SW, SE, NE, NW.


Extrude and revolve commands in AutoCAD are sweeping operations, meaning that they utilize existing 2D objects to create a solid. The extrude command adds depth (Z axis) to an existing closed 2D shape. It is important to note that only closed shapes, such as a circle, can be extruded. There are several different methods for closing a shape. One option is to select the join option of the PEDIT (polyline edit) command. Two options are available for extruding a 2D shape: perpendicular to the shape (positive Z axis toward the user), and along a path. The default option is perpendicular to the plane of the object, regardless of the current UCS orientation. The other option allows the closed 2D feature to be extruded along an existing path determined by a line, arc, spline, etc. Figure 13-12 shows a three-quarter-inch circle extruded along a path. The revolve command revolves a 2D shape about a specified axis. The 2D object can be an ellipse, circle, spline, polyline, polygon, rectangle, or a region object. Splines and polylines must be closed for the revolve command to work. Only one object may be revolved at a time.

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(a) Closed 2D feature

(b) 3D Views

FIGURE 13-12 Extrude along a path.

Applying shading to an object created in AutoCAD enhances the 3D appearance of the object and thus can greatly enhance the visualization of a complex object. Two options for accessing the shading command in AutoCAD

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(a) Shade drop-down view option

(b) Shademode command prompt.

FIGURE 13-13 Accessing the shade command.

are the drop-down VIEW menu, as shown in Figure 13-13(a), or typing SHADEMODE at the command prompt, as shown in Figure 13-13(b). Regardless of the method you use to activate the shading command, the results are the same. The SHADEMODE command provides seven options and shades the object in the active viewport. 2D and 3D wireframe options display wireframe models of the object in either 2D or 3D space. The hidden option removes hidden faces and is similar to the 3D wireframe option. These three options, while classified under this command, are really not shading. Figure 13-14(a) shows the differences among the 2D wireframe, 3D wireframe, and hidden options, while Figure 13-14(b) shows the differences among the remaining four options discussed in this section. Flat displays defined color and shades the object as though the light source were placed at the camera or observer position. Curved geometry appears to have many small flat surfaces. Shading with the Gouraud option is the same for flat shading except that curved surfaces have a smooth, realistic appearance. Flat edges displays a combination of 3D wireframe and flat shading options. The object is shaded with the desired color, and the edges are outlined with the color of the background. Gouraud edges combines 3D wireframe and the gouraud shading options. This option gives a smoother surface appearance, with outlined edges the same color as the background. Another AutoCAD command utilized to color 3D objects is render. The render command is used when creating 3D objects to hide hidden features. Render is different than shade because with render, you are shading just the surface of the object. With shade, the object is solid.

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(a) 2D wireframe, 3D wireframe, and hidden options


Flat + Edges


Gouraud + Edges

(b) Flat, gouraud, flat + edges, and gouraud + edges

FIGURE 13-14 Shade command options.

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3D orbit provides an interactive 3D viewing of the objects created in AutoCAD. The objects can be viewed from any point. The 3D ORBIT command can be activated either by clicking on the drop-down VIEW menu, then selecting the 3D ORBIT option, or by typing 3DORBIT at the command prompt. Once the command has been activated, a thin, green, lined circle, or arc ball, is displayed in the graphics window. The position of the cursor affects how the objects will appear when rotated. Holding down the left mouse button while simultaneously dragging the mouse rotates the objects. If the cursor is inside the arc ball, it rotates the objects around the center of the arc ball in any direction. On the other hand, if the cursor is located outside the arc ball, the objects are rotated about the arc circle. Figure 13-15 shows an object being rotated using 3D orbit inside the arc ball.

FIGURE 13-15 3D orbit.

The remainder of this chapter will focus on the steps necessary to create a 3D drawing utilizing the various methods already discussed. Figure 13-16 shows a multiview of the Chapter 12 example problem. It is repeated here so that you do not have to flip back and forth to access Figure 12-20 in Chapter 12. You should execute the steps at the same time as reading the explanation.

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FIGURE 13-16 Drawing of object from Chapter 12.

Open AutoCAD, save the drawing, and set up the desired layers. From the drop-down VIEW menu, move your cursor to VIEWPORTS and click on NEW VIEWPORTS to open the viewports dialog box. The cursor will be blinking in the NEW NAME box at the top of the dialog box. You can create a new viewport if you want; however, at this time, this box will be left blank. This exercise utilizes AutoCADs default viewport names. At the bottom of the dialog box, click on the down arrow under SETUP and select 3D. This tells AutoCAD that the viewports will be set up for viewing the objects in 3D. Under STANDARD VIEWPORTS in the left-hand column, select FOUR: EQUAL. AutoCAD displays the options selected in the preview area to the right of the Standard Viewports section. Figure 13-17 shows what the setup should look like at this point. Click OK to accept the choices selected. Next, click the SAVE button, or press the CTRL key and the S key on the keyboard at the same time to quick save. Move the mouse cursor to the upper left-hand viewport and click anywhere in that viewport to make it active. Only one viewport may be active at a time. A dark, bold border indicates which viewport is currently active. Now two additional toolbars need to be opened to access the primitive shapes and Boolean operations. In the standard toolbar at the top of the AutoCAD screen, press the right mouse button. A list of options will appear, displaying check marks next to those toolbars that are currently active in the AutoCAD screen, as shown in Figure 13-18. The two toolbars needed are SOLIDS and SOLIDS EDITING, which are two-thirds of the way down the

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FIGURE 13-17 3D viewport setup.

FIGURE 13-18 Accessing toolbars.

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list. When you select a toolbar to activate, the toolbar menu closes. The same steps listed above must be completed to open the second toolbar. The floating toolbars may be docked by moving them to any side of the graphics window. The SOLIDS toolbar contains the six primitive shapes that can be used to create different features of an object. This toolbar also contains the EXTRUDE and the REVOLVE commands that will be used later. The SOLIDS EDITING toolbar contains the Boolean operations (union, subtract, and intersect) needed to manipulate the primitive shapes. The upper left-hand viewport should still be active. This viewport will display the top of the object and is one of many places to start. Create the boundary of the drawing, using the POLYLINE command, as it would appear in a top view in a multiview projection. The POLYLINE button is the third toolbar button in the first vertical toolbar at the left of the screen. Figure 13-19 shows the 2D outline.


FIGURE 13-19 2D boundary.

When you are using multiple viewports, the views are not aligned with each other and appear to be different objects. To adjust the size of the object, simply click in a viewport and scroll the mouse wheel forward to make the object bigger, or scroll it backward to make the object smaller. Next, locate the EXTRUDE button from the SOLIDS toolbar shown in Figure 13-18. AutoCAD prompts you to select the object to extrude. Select the 2D frame in the top left viewport.

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Next, press the ENTER key to make the 2D frame a 3D solid object. The frame selected will show as small dashed lines, indicating the object has been selected. The next step is to Specify height of extrusion or [Path]:. To specify the height of the extrusion, type in 1.5 inches, which is the basic height of the object, and press the ENTER key. Press the ENTER key again to accept the default of 0 for the angle of taper for extrusion. The extruded shape is shown by the solid lines in Figure 13-20.

FIGURE 13-20 Extruded shape.

The 2D multiview drawing shows that a step exists in the front view. A cube (a box) will now be constructed to subtract from the existing object to form that step. Select the BOX button in the SOLIDS toolbar and follow the instructions provided by AutoCAD in the command prompt. Make sure that the lower left-hand viewport is active. Select a point away from the existing object to construct the box. The next request from AutoCAD is to Specify corner or [Cube/Length]:. Press the L key on the keyboard to select length. Now the length 5, width .5, and height 3 must be entered to create the feature that will be used to cut away a portion of the existing object. Next, move the rectangle into position. Click in the upper right-hand viewport to make that viewport active. Activate the MOVE command to move the rectangle into position; use corner-to-corner positioning, as shown in Figure 13-21. From the SOLIDS EDITING toolbar, click on the SUBTRACT button, which is the second button between the union and intersect options. The

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FIGURE 13-21 Positioning of rectangle.

first step is to select the object that will be subtracted, then press the ENTER key to advance to the next step. In other words, first select the object you want to keep, then select the object to subtract. The completed operation is shown in Figure 13-22. The fillet command can be used to create the two half-inch radii located at the right side. Simply click on the FILLET toolbar button or select from the drop-down MODIFY menu. Once the command has been activated, type R and type 0.5 inch to set the radius of the arcs. Select the vertical line that represents the point at which the radius will be located (represented in Figure 13-22 by the dashed line). Press ENTER twice to complete the command. Follow the same steps to create the fillet on the other side of the drawing. The completed fillet operation is shown in Figure 13-23. The hexagon will be created next, but first the position on the drawing must be located to eliminate any unnecessary steps. From the inner corner, draw a line on top of the existing line one inch from the right corner and up one-half inch. Drawing the lines in another layer is sometimes beneficial because it enables you to visualize the working plane while creating the hexagon shape. Click in the top left-hand viewport to make it active. Click on the POLYGON button, which is the third button down from the top in the DRAW toolbar. AutoCAD prompts you to Enter number of sides 4:. Press the number 8 and press the ENTER key to indicate an eight-sided hexagon. Next, pick the endpoint of the line created in the previous paragraph to indicate where the center of the hexagon will be located. The

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FIGURE 13-22 Locating the rounded corners.

FIGURE 13-23 Hexagon placement.

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distance across the flats on the hexagon is .75. AutoCAD prompts you to indicate whether the hexagon will be inscribed in a circle or circumscribed about a circle. Press the C key to specify circumscribed about a circle. Next, the radius of the circle about which the hexagon is to be circumscribed needs to be entered. Half of the full distance across the flat is the radius of the circle, which is .375. Follow the same steps to extrude the hexagon that were used at the beginning of this section. The newly created 3D hexagon will now be joined with the rest of the drawing to form one object. The UNION option is the first button in the SOLID EDITING toolbar. Once the command has been activated, simply select the hexagon and the object and press the ENTER key to join the two 3D objects together. Figure 13-23 shows what the drawing should look like at this point. The final feature needed is the counterbored hole. This half-inch drilled hole with a three-quarter-inch diameter counterbore a half inch deep will be created using the REVOLVE command. The counterbore can also be created by using the CYLINDER command located in the SOLIDS toolbar and applying the UNION command to join the two cylinders before subtracting them from the object. Keep the top left-hand viewport active and draw another line extending two inches from the endpoint used to locate the center of the hexagon, as shown in Figure 13-24. The lower left- or right-hand viewports may be used to create the counterbored feature. Create the profile of the feature as shown in the figure.

FIGURE 13-24 Counterbore profile.

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Locate the REVOLVE button, which is next to the EXTRUDE button in the SOLIDS toolbar. AutoCAD prompts you to select the object to revolve. Select only the counterbore profile. Press the ENTER key to advance through the command. The next step is to specify the start point for the axis. Select the bottom left-hand corner of the profile; for the second point, select the top lefthand corner. These points indicate the axis around which the profile will be revolved to form the counterbore, as shown at Figure 13-25.

FIGURE 13-25 Revolve profile axis points.

Finally, the counterbore needs to be moved into position to be subtracted from the main object. Click in the upper right-hand viewport to make it active. Move the counterbore using the center point of the top circle as the first base point and use the endpoint of the reference line as the second point. Use the same steps discussed earlier to subtract the counterbore. Turn off the layer containing the lines used to locate the center point for the hexagon and the counterbore. It is poor practice to delete such objects used to create/locate the geometry of any object. The points may be needed later to resolve a problem if a mistake arises. Shading can now be applied to give the object a realistic 3D appearance. Select the SHADE option from the drop-down VIEW menu or type SHADEMODE at the command prompt. Click on each viewport and follow the same steps for shading the support. Figure 13-26 displays the finished 3D support shaded with the gouraud edges option.

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FIGURE 13-26 3D support.


The computer and its graphic design software is at a stage where product design can be standardized. Digital Product Definition Data Practices, ASME Y14.41-2003, is the standard that sets forth a logical and manageable system for the use of 3D in the design, manufacture, and inspection cycles of a product. The standard supports all basic 2D drawing standards and conventions given in this text, such as lines, orthographic and axonometric views, sections, dimensions, tolerances, fasteners, and working drawings. Figure 13-27 illustrates a three-dimensional design model. An important addition to the standard is the use of the XYZ coordinate system, which has been discussed. It must be shown on the drawing.

With the increasing sophistication and accuracy of digital cameras and scanners, images can be taken and applied easily to enhance a CAD drawing. These images can be manipulated in a digital editing software package and saved in a bit map format. A digital image can be inserted into an AutoCAD drawing by clicking on the pull-down menu INSERT, choosing the command OLE object, and locating the digital image file. The data can then be aligned with the CAD coordinate system. An example application is superimposing a new room addition or a large garage using CAD on a digital picture of an existing house.

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FIGURE 13-27 Dimensioned 3D design model.

Note: The large circle and the thickness are not dimensioned.

In summary,one must know or do the following: 1. Determine whether to use viewports or 3D view commands to view the different angles when creating objects. 2. Establish different angles of an object in relation to the UCS. 3. Correlate the use of the X,Y,and Z axes with the UCS icon positioning. 4. Manipulate primitive views by using the three Boolean operations (union,subtract,and intersect) to create 3D objects.

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5. Utilize the revolve or extrude command to create 3D objects from 2D shapes. 6. Shade an object to enhance its 3D appearance. 7. Utilize 3D orbit to rotate objects for better visualization. 8. Complete a 3D drawing with appropriate dimensions and tolerancing. 9. Print the completed drawing.

wireframe construction (page 231) world coordinating system (WCS) (page 233) right-hand rule (page 233) constructive solid geometry (CSG) (page 234) primitive shapes (page 234) Boolean operations (page 234) user coordinating system (UCS) (page 235) viewports (page 236) extrude (page 238) revolve (page 238) shading (page 239) render (page 240) 3D orbit (page 242)

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