DraftSight - Free 2D CAD

Discussion in 'Software and Programming' started by shred, Oct 6, 2010.

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  1. Oct 14, 2010 #41

    minerva

    minerva

    minerva

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    Hi Pat
    The example in your last but one post has set me thinking at a rather basic level and the answer to two basic questions would help clarify things.

    1.) In the modern world of manufacturing/ production is it still common practice for each project to have a series of 2D drawings, delineating ,component detail, Layout, assembly etc. or has this model been superseded by 3D parametric models which may be animated or no as the need be felt?

    2.) In the 3D world as I understand it the word "Parametric" enables a drawing entity to be defined and dimensions allocated at
    the time of its creation.
    These dimensions may be subsequently changed at any point in time thereafter, the effects of such changes are reflected
    throughout the model. Is this the same effect that you refer to when using a spread sheet with a 2D drawing?

    As you may gather like Tel I am a bit of a Dinosaur still following the old tried, tested and understood ways (I still use a slide rule much to the amusement of my grandson) and any project follows a similar pattern, Idea, Sketch, Detailed drawing, before any work is carried out, but having so said I have grown up with computers, they hold no great fears for me and in recent times I have tried most of the freebie 2D packages. More recently my wife bought me Alibre for my birthday and this in common with most of the aforementioned 2D packages falls down in the tuition dept. Having so said I have had some success and will stick at it as the package is obviously very powerful (once mastered) Your comments on practice are gratefully received and it is to be hoped that "Patience is "still" a virtue"
    regards
    Terry
     
  2. Oct 14, 2010 #42

    aussie bruce

    aussie bruce

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    1 No for example in solidworks i use Pack and Go to export the complete model direct to my supplier who then up loads my model items complete and then does the conversion to tool paths for CNC milling turning engraving the works. this example works fine when for example all faces are to be ground / fine machined and all tolerance are generally +/- 0.02 mm

    The exception to this is when i need to add additional info for example i am using a supplier that has a plasma / CNC mill drill machine 12 meters long x 4 meters wide i need plates that are a combination of milled holes milled datum edges drilled and tapped mounting holes plasma cut details and then wash ground. This is where i will provide additional info ie a PDF Drawing in 2 D

    2 Yes all modelling software on the market today 2 d and 3 d has some style of spread sheet embedded in the background ie change data or scale easily from your design.
    for example i will model an item and insert a design table for example custom tube lengths from that basic model i have the option of referencing any in a model.
    But with the toolbox open i dont need to model bearings gears or fastners i just pick and insert the item into my assembly.

    Bruce
     
  3. Oct 15, 2010 #43
    Terry-

    There is a parallel thread going on about 3D drafting software, and it discusses which 3D programs are preferred by model builders.

    ( I appologize for the length of this, but I am still trying to map it all out myself.)

    From what I am hearing, some of the big (big = expensive) players are AutoDesk Inventor, Solidworks and ProEngineer. Many appear to be using the reasonably priced Alibre with good results.

    Different packages can suit different needs, and many modelers are quite happy (from feedback on this forum) with Alibre in its various packages from about $100 to $1,000.

    The type of 3D program that you need depends on what you intend to do with it, but for me, I need several things as follows:

    1. I need a software package that I can use for both hobby work, and potentially for future design projects at work. I have found that when you are trying to produce production drawings at work, generally the more expensive program is the least expensive in the long term. In my opinion, and the opinion of a few who do 3D for a living, a good $4,000 3D CAD program will more than pay for itself very quickly, and a poor 3D program can cause problems if it does not perform as expected.

    2. I need to import a large quantity of complex 2D drawings and convert them to 3D, and I need an import function that works extremely well, without a hitch. I am getting reports that Solidworks wins this category and is by far the best in this respect.

    3. I need to be able to see all the grips on the surfaces at all times, and I have not figured out how to do this in my inexpensive 3D program. I use grips constantly, so I have a hard time if they are not present in the expected places such as midpoint, endpoint, quadrant, etc.

    4. I need a program that can generate very clear 2D drawings from the 3D model without any problems with dimensions not aligning correctly or overlapping. The tutorial videos I saw for Solidworks yesterday show its dimensions automatically moving themselves and re-aligning themselves as the model changes.

    5. For modeling work, I need to be able to easily associate parts in a 2D sketch such as piston, piston rod, crankshaft, valve, valve rod, with each other as far as their movement, and then quickly rotate these parts in the 2D view to check for clearances, collisions, alignment problems, etc. Best I can tell, after watching a tutorial for Solidworks, you can just pick the parts in sketch view (2D view), and use a fan belt or chain command to make these items quickly revolve. Very powerful stuff.


    Using 3D to draw models has been a radical departure from 2D drafting for me, and the reason for that is that 3D drafting is really not drafting, but building a database that defines and links the parameters of your model (thus the word "parametric modeling") in a dynamic and interactive fashion.

    For me, trying to change from 2D to 3D has required a significant amount of time, as well as a total change in the design/drawing thought process, and the whole design approach in general. Much of my 3D training time seems to be wasted trying to do simple things that should function well and be intuitive, but are neither.

    Learning 3D has been harder for me than learning 2D, because 2D is just like drawing by hand, and 3D is like something altogether different.

    The capabilities that a 3D modeling program can provide are very extensive, depending on the exact options that you purchase with your package. The more options you purchase, the more the software will cost.

    3D programs can generally produce the following items, and it is these features that make 3D so desirable by many, if you want or need the added complexity of 3D. It should be noted that some modelers will never need the complexity of 3D, and can put a 2D program to good (and free) use.


    The benefits of 3D parametric modeling over 2D drafting are as follows:

    1. The 2D drawing is a collection of non-associated entities such as lines, circles, rectangles, etc. Changing any entity has no effect on any other entity.

    2. 3D modeling uses a database to define a three dimensional model, and once the model has been constructed, then any change to a part of the model can be automatically reflected though the entire model. The entire 3D model includes the 2D drawings that the 3D program automatically generates, plus any isometric views that the program has generated, plus the bill of materials that the 3D program generates. All these items are part of the database, and changing any part of the database updates all other related parts, sizes, views, shapes, dimensions, quantities, etc.

    3. You do not have to draw 2D drawings in a 3D program, since those are automatically generated from the 3D model.

    4. You can very easily and quickly create a sectional view through any part of the 3D model, and like everything else in the database, any changes are automatically updated in all the sectional views.

    5. You can apply mathematical formulas to relationships between the dimensions of parts. For instance, you can define that the connecting rod length is 2.5 times the piston stroke. Any changes to the piston stroke automatically change the connecting rod length. This is the same method that is used in spreadsheets, where you can define cell A1 to be cell A2 times 2.5.

    6. One of the downsides of using 3D CAD is that you cannot leave any object open, no matter how small a gap the opening may be. Some 3D programs are extremely intolerant of very small drawing errors, and the auto-correction features may or may not solve the problem. Without the 3D program accepting the shape as a closed figure, you can do nothing.

    7. 3D programs can generate photorealistic renderings of 3D views of models. Sometimes it is hard to tell what is a photo, and what is a 3D rendering. This is just window dressing, and has nothing to do with whether or not you can produce a usable set of 2D drawings to build from.

    A modeler like myself needs to have 2D drawings with dimensions in order to start cutting metal.

    The 3D views are very helpful in understanding complex relationships between parts, and you can make some surfaces translucent so that you can see though the cylinder wall of an engine, and see the piston and rod inside the engine.

    3D models can be rotated into any orientation, so the effect is like holding the engine in your hand, and being able to spin it around to any view, and zoom the view in or out. Being able to spin a model around the X, Y or Z axis is extremely useful from a standpint of visually understanding the model and its parts.

    8. Once the model is complete, some 3D programs can create an exploded isometric view of the model, complete with a label on each part that relates to an item in the automatically generated bill of materials. Solidworks seems (among many superb features of Solidworks) to be especially adept at dragging the exploded view around to adjust it as needed.

    9. One of the big features of 3D (and also sometimes an expensive addition) is the kinematics part of the program, which is were you can actually operate the machine and see all the parts in full motion as you spin the model to any view. When you add the ability to make any part translucent so that you can see through it, then you can see inside of the engine while it is running and see valve gear, valves, pistons, crank, etc. in motion.

    There are a large number of example engines and tutorials for a variety of 3D programs on YouTube. By closely studying the tutorials, you can get a better idea of what the programs will do, and whether or not they will be useful for your specific application and budget.



     
  4. Oct 15, 2010 #44

    minerva

    minerva

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    Bruce , Pat
    many thanks for going to so much trouble with the explanations. Life in the world of manufacturing has obviously changed beyond recognition since my formative involvement all those years ago!
    Having so said the old fashioned way still work (for me) in the home shop and forays into the wonderful world of 2D/3D will provide further challenges to the thinking processes as well as facilitating whatever the current project happens to be. I will persevere with the tutorials on both draftsite and Alibre in the hopes that both will become useable tools in the box as it were.
    Once again, Many thanks for your effort
    regards
    Terry
     
  5. Nov 18, 2010 #45

    SignalFailure

    SignalFailure

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    For information...

    The latest Beta fails virus scanning on ClamWin:

    C:\Documents and Settings\Paul\Desktop\DraftSight.exe: Heuristic.Trojan.SusPacked.TMS FOUND
     
  6. Nov 18, 2010 #46

    SignalFailure

    SignalFailure

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    Ignore that, it's a false positive.
     
  7. Nov 19, 2010 #47

    kvom

    kvom

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    I have found this thread to be very interesting, and I may try DraftSight myself.

    Up until a year ago, my only experience with drafting dated to a middle school class in the 60s, where I had to draw a 3-view u-joint trunion using a drafting table. :p

    Then I started a CNC class where we needed to use MasterCam to draw parts and generate g-code. Here we were taking existing 2D drawings and duplicating them. I found it quite intuitive to learn a basic set of operations needed to produce these drawings. Subsequently I acquired some other 2D CAD programs for home use, and while the keystrokes/menus are different, the basic operations seem to be universal. That said, some programs are more intuitive than others, so potentially DraftSight may be the best.

    Now I am not trying to create design drawings or draw parts, but just to take published plans and create DXF files for CNC. Doing this also allows me to verify the dimensions.

    Currently I am taking a self-study course in blueprint reading, and I have found this valuable in understanding parts of machine drawings that I didn't know before. I am using the book, "Blueprint Reading for the Machine Trades" by Russ Schultz. I found a used copy online for about $4, and I can recommend it to those of us who are relatively new to CAD.
     
  8. Nov 19, 2010 #48
    2D/3D CAD update:

    I have used 2D CAD programs for 22 years, and learned manual drawing on the drafting board in school, and as stated before, 2D CAD is very much like having a drafting board on the computer screen.
    The toolbar buttons are similar to the old circle, ellipse and triangle templates/tools we used.

    I am new to 3D and still struggling greatly with it.
    I have yet to produce any significant 3D drawing.

    As I try and come to grips with 3D, I have to ask myself what are the differences between 2D and 3D, and why does 3D feel totally different and strange, unlike 2D.

    Ultimately the things that I use to build engines in 3D are the same thing I use to build engines in 2D, which is the 2D drawings of front, top, and left side views.

    I will use Brian Rupnow as a case study (sorry Brian, but you are one of the HMEM folks who use 3D all the time). You can see that many of Brian's ideas begin as pencil sketches, and then get input into the computer via 3D models, only to be converted back to 2D construction drawings. So it begs the questions, what is so good about the 3D process since it ultimately produces the same old 2D drawings that the 2D program makes, and who should and should not use 3D programs.

    Drawing in 2D for me is a "what you see is what you get" type affair. You hold a part in front view and just draw the lines you see. Same for the right side, top, bottom views, etc.

    Drawing in 3D is much more like throwing a large chunk of modeling clay up on the tabletop, perhaps in a large rectangular block. As you need features, you either cut things out of the block, or add chunks of clay onto the part.

    As you are working on the chunk of clay, you are rotating it around in 3 dimensions, and can look at it from any angle. The trick in 3D when you modify the part is knowing which side to spin the model to, and how to attach and size a part. You can attach a piece to your part not only in the X and Y direction, but in the Z direction also.

    The Z component is what gets things confused, since you never have to deal with that in 2D.

    Many modelers would benefit from skipping the 3D altogether and just drawing in 2D like the good old days. If you just need some sketches, and don't want to save the world, just draw in 2D.

    For the Brian Rupnow's of the world, Brian uses 3D at work anyway, so he already has the knowledge base of the program, and can take advantage of what 3D can do for you.

    I have struggled to put into plain words what 3D can do for you.
    As I understand it now (which is not too good), in 3D, you sculpt this block of clay, cutting holes here, extruding out flanges and parts here and there, and then having made this 3D thing, you can almost immediately and very easily make the top, bottom, right, left, and isometric views of the object, as well as a section at any point or angle (at least in Solidworks it is easy to do this, I am not sure about other programs). You just sort of point at the 3D model, and then drag and drop windows for the front, top, and side views, sections, etc. and the views just appear like magic.

    One big obstacle I have in converting to the 3D mentality is that I tend to think of an engine as one entity, and if you use 3D, you really must draw one part at a time, and then assemble the parts into a complete assembly. When you draw in 2D, you can draw a complete part, or a piece of a part, or half a part, and half of another part, the program does not care.

    For 3D, you must draw one shape at a time, and it must be a complete and closed shape. 3D is totally intolerant of any open ends or partial pieces, which is frustrating, since in 2D I often rough out the end of say a connecting rod, and then draw the other end later when I get to the other end of the geometry for that piece.

    Changing the dimensions of a part in 2D is simple, you just stretch the part to whatever size you want, and the dimension updates automatically. The downside is that if you change a dimension in 2D on the front view, the other views do not update to that dimension, so you have to change the same dimension in every view.

    For 3D, to change a part dimension, you have to know exactly which piece you want to change, and figure out how to access that exact piece in 3-dimension. The good thing is that once you change a part size in 3D, all of the 2D views and sections update automatically.

    The other thing I have noticed about learning 3D CAD is that it tends to be so different from 2D that you really need a video tutorial for much of it. 2D is easy to learn just by reading a book. The good thing is there are a number of good video tutorials for 3D on YouTube, as well as at some of the software sites.

    I get the same feeling trying to learn 3D that I got when I first went from driving a car to flying a twin beech. In a car, you just turn the wheel whichever way you want to go, and it goes left or right, two pedals, go and stop. A car has a few simple instruments, a speedometer, gas gauge, sometimes a tach. Flying a twin beech with the engines low on the wing and a neutral center of gravity is tricky. It feels like you are driving a car and your steering wheel comes off in your hands, and is attached to the steering column only by a thin rubber band. The steering wheel moves in any direction and rotates as it is moving, and to complicate matters, the two pedals need to be used in conjunction with and coordinated with turning the wheel, but not when the wheel is pushed only forward or back. An aircraft has lots of instruments, and so you get distracted trying to read the instruments, and also to look out the window and watch where you are going.

    Gets confusing real fast, and you go into information overload quickly, which is where I am on 3D right now. I have started using Solidworks 2011, and although it is not perfect (I understand the files are not backwards compatible), it is an impressive package. Steep learning curve, but at least it is a stable program and like my poor and abused Grizzly lathe, somewhat tolerant of a new user's blunders. The full Solidworks package does give one the feel of stepping into the cockpit of a modern jetliner. You can't help but gasp at the number of gauges, levers and actuators in a modern jet. Using all the power of all the add-ons in a full blown 3D package (I have the simple basic and least expensive package which does not do simulations, but does do animations) makes me wonder "what the heck have I stepped in, holy cow".

    I have newfound respect for the guys who designed the moon rockets and other complex things using a pencil and paper, and who had to do all the 3D visualization in their head.
    The only other thing that comes to mind is that CAD systems (2D or 3D) are only a tool, and the real power is in the mind of the person using the software. If you can't conceptualize what you want to try and make in your head, then you can't draw it no matter how powerful the CAD program is. The real power is in the mind of the model builder, but using 2D CAD is akin to having a lathe and knowing how to use it. Using 3D CAD is akin to having a good CNC machine.

     
  9. Nov 19, 2010 #49

    cl350rr

    cl350rr

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    I started drafting when autocad 14 was being taught and the school I went to had just dropped it's last pencil drafting course.

    3d drafting is alot like machining in space: if you create a cylinder in space you have a crude piston. make another cylinder the size of a piston pin and then remove it from the first cylinder and you have a piston pin bore. the steps to creating the 3d object are very similar to the machineing steps you would use to create the real object.

    the reason I like 3d drafting is that once the opject is correct, all of the side, top, end and orthographic views can be instantly created from the 3d object. if the object is drawn correctly all of the views will be drawn correctly.

    also the 3d object can be rotated in space to see any angle which helps visualize how parts fit together.

    $.02

    Randy
     
  10. Nov 19, 2010 #50

    kvom

    kvom

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    I did download DraftSight today and spent the afternoon in learning mode. I was able to duplicate several of Kozo's A3 part drawings, save them as DXF, and then load them into my CAM program. I also watched some of the tutorials on the website. Pretty impressive for a free program.

    As for 3D vs. 2D, here's my take.

    3d Cad is superior for designing a machine, or for drawing from an existing part. Even when the result is 2D drawings (such as what Brian gives us), having the orthogonal picture alongside is a great plus. However, that assumes that you want to spend the money for the software.

    In my case, I have only built stuff from 2D drawings. Since I have a CNC mill, I want to get 2D drawings in DXF/DWG format for input into the CAM program. To do this, I just need a good 2D CAD program to copy the lines from the printed plans and generate the files. 3D would be overkill in most cases. It's true that printed plans often have errors, and redrawing in 3D can detect these.

    So for me, Draftsight is superior in most respects to the CAD programs I've been using before at home, so I'll likely adopt it (unless I find a free copy of MasterCam ;D). Thanks for pointing this product out, Paul.
     
  11. Nov 20, 2010 #51

    putputman

    putputman

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    I have been using CADRA from ADRA for many years. The program was given to me by a former employer so I could do some consulting with them after I retired. My consulting days are over so I have been using the program for my model building. I am happy with the program and am licensed for it until 2020. There are three problems I have with the program.

    1) It is a DOS based program and will not work on Windows XP or newer.

    2) It requires a "dongle" be plugged into the printer port in order for the program to be used. If that dongle ever gets damaged or lost, the program is gone.

    3) ADRA no longer supports the program in any way.

    For this reason I have a computer with Windows 2000 in the shop with CADRA loaded. The computer is not nor will ever be connected to the Internet for fear of any chance of contamination that could damage the program. I have the program loaded on my lap top, with Windows 2000, but I have to transfer the dongle each time I use it. This is where damage or loss could get involved.

    Today I decided I would try DraftSight, so I downloaded it and installed it. When I went to run the program, the program screen came up and the drawing screen had the download screen on it in an upside down and backwards screen. Within about 5 seconds, it shutdown my computer and rebooted it.

    I tried to run the program again and the same thing happened. I then un-installed the program and downloaded it again, thinking that something might have happened during the download. I installed it again and tried to run the program. The same thing happened again this time.

    Has this happened to anyone else? Any suggestions as to what I should try next?

    This is the way it looks just before it shuts the computer down.

    DraftSight1 (Medium).jpg
     
  12. Nov 20, 2010 #52

    kvom

    kvom

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    It is classified as a Beta release. I'm running Win7. If you're still on W2000 that might be the issue? or the graphics card might be causing issues.
     
  13. Nov 20, 2010 #53

    putputman

    putputman

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    I'm sorry I wasn't clear on my info. I am running XP on the house computer where I am trying to load. I am on DSL which isn't very fast.

    I believe Pat J said he was using XP and it is working fine for him.
     
  14. Nov 28, 2010 #54

    mh121

    mh121

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    Thanks for all the tutorials, I am a complete numpty when it comes to CAD, give me a pencil and a cigarette packet any day!!. I have been trying extra hard and have managed to get a few of the basic parts for the pump I am doing as cad drawings.
    The problem I cannot grasp is all the parts are now on one sheet. Should I be doing each part as a seperate drawing? and how do you get the outline of the drawing sheet for A4 with the title block and parts to look the right size when printed?

    cheers,
    MartinH
     
  15. Nov 29, 2010 #55
    Martin-

    For a small engine, I generally draw one part, or a related group of parts on one 8.5"x11" sheet, and use multiple sheets in a single drawing file. Below is an overall screen shot of my preliminary Bernay drawings, and an enlarged shot of part of that same screen.

    I use 3/32" (0.09375") tall text for most items on the page, with the sheet titles about three times larger than 3/32".

    I plot each 8.5"x11" drawing at a ratio of 1:1, ie: a line drawn one inch long in cad prints out 1" long on paper. You can verify the sheet has been printed the correct size by laying a ruler on top of the printed graphic scale that is located on the left of each sheet. The inch marks on the ruler should line up with the inch marks on the printed graphic scale exactly.

    You can also download the Bernay drawing file attached to the Oct. 11 post and open it with Draftsight to see how my titleblocks are set up on a typical model engine sheet. You can actually copy the titleblock and graphic scale from my Bernay drawing to your drawing and edit and reuse those items if you wish to save time.

    To draw your own titleblock, just draw a rectangle in your drawing that is 8.5"x11" in size (assuming you want a standard A4 size sheet). You can copy your 8.5"x11" rectangle around in your drawing, and add any text you want to it.

    I hope this clarifies your question. If not, let me know and I will try to come up with a better answer.



    P.S. - Should you need a drawing larger than 8.5"x11", you will need a larger titleblock with larger text, and I will need to add a separate explanation for that.

    TEMP-SCREEN-SHOT-01.jpg

    TEMP-SCREEN-SHOT-02.jpg
     
  16. Nov 29, 2010 #56

    mh121

    mh121

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    Thats excellent thanks Pat. Will give it a go later this evening and let you know how I get on. I am starting to enjoy using this program, think it`s because someone has given pointers on the way to go with it , rather than fumbling around getting nowhere fast.

    Cheers,
    MartinH
     
  17. Nov 29, 2010 #57
    Martin-

    Glad to help. As I stated before, just a few years ago I paid $750.00 for a program that was almost identical to Draftsight (an Autocad clone program).
    Draftsight is a very solid tool, and the fact that it is free makes it an unbeatable value.

    Of course some day they would like you to upgrade to their 3D program Solidworks, and so they are paving the path, but for so many casual users, Draftsight will be an excellent and useful tool, and will completely suffice as a drafting tool for the modeling hobbyist.

     
  18. Dec 4, 2010 #58

    kvom

    kvom

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    I've been drawing parts for my A3 build in DS for the past couple of weeks, and find it pretty easy to use. There are features I like better in mastercam, but for free who's complaining.
     
  19. Jan 18, 2011 #59
    I had a question about how to create circular pattens of holes, for instance for a cylinder head bolt pattern.

    Photo No.1:
    Draw a vertical and horizintal line to establish a centerpoint for the cylinder.
    Draw a circle with a radius equal to the bolt pattern you want.

    At the intersection of the vertical line and the circle, draw a small circle the size of the tap or clearance hole that you want to create a pattern from.
    If you are drawing the cylinder, use the tap hole size.
    If you are drawing the cylinder head, use the clearance hole size.

    Photo No.2:
    You can select the tap or clearance hole first, or start the "PATTERN" command, and then use the "Select Entities" button to select the tap or clearance hole.
    Start the "PATTERN" command, enter the number of holes that you want, ie: 4,5,6, etc. under "Total Number".

    Select "CIRCULAR" pattern type.

    Select the "Axis Point" button, and pick the intersection of your vertical and horizontal lines.

    If you have not already selected the tap or clearance hole, use the "Select Entitiy" button to pick it.

    Hit "OK".

    If you do not get the pattern you want, select the "UNDO" command from the pulldown menu "EDIT".







    Draftsight-Pattern-01.jpg

    Draftsight-Pattern-02.jpg

    Draftsight-Pattern-03.jpg
     
  20. Apr 11, 2011 #60

    Twmaster

    Twmaster

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    This was exactly what I needed to draw two sets of holes spaced 120 degrees around a circle! Perfect!

    Now, how (or can) I delete the circle I drew to lay out the bolt holes?
     

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