Autocad Electrical 2012

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by strantor, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    You may notice a sharp decline in my haggard MSPaint & hand-drawn schematics in the near future, Depending on my natural, untrained CAD proficiency. Boss just gave me Autocad Electrical 2012; what all the bigshots use for schematics. We'll see. I've played with it before and found it daunting; so many options and features, easy to get lost. Anybody used it before? What do you think?
  2. panic mode

    Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2011
    from what i recall AutoCad Electrical is add-on to standard autocad, originally developed by Via, later marketed as RSWire for example, before being ackuired by Autodesk. Some of the alternatives are Electra, EPlan etc.
  3. Georacer


    Nov 25, 2009
    I have tried three times to learn to design in Autocad. I always stopped a day or two afterwards, feeling overwhelmed. I have tried the tutorials, but I blame the lack of a real-world scenario.
  4. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
    I can relate to that. I'm on my thrid attempt to learn a particular tool. I'm actually going through this as I write. This time, by gollie, I'm gonna do it!

    There are parts of my job a love learning about, and other parts I need to but have little interest in. This is of the latter type.
  5. panic mode

    Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2011
    i think every feature rich program is overwhelming at first.
    but imho, AutoCad is one of the easy peasy programs that are quite intuitive (good job AutoDesk). for someone starting fresh, i would suggest to start slow and learn the basics - and there is not much to this. after that, everything follows same pattern.

    in my opinion the training should not take more than 3 one hour sessions. rest is practice (and it may take years to explore majority of options). anyone starting AutoCad should first learn about 2D.

    example for training session #1:

    look at the shape of cursor. if you press ESC (maybe few times to cancel command with multiple inputs), you will get crosshair with small rectangle in the middle. you can cancel any command by pressing ESC one or two times.

    anything can be accessed through prompt, including commands. type LINE and hit enter. this is command to draw a line. move cursor to some place and click ONCE, move mouse away and see what happens if you toggle ORTHO (orthogonal) by pressing F8. click one or more times to make line segments, right click and select Enter fo finish line entry. pretty neat. notice that there is button bar at the bottom of the screen. one of buttons is named ORTHO. every time you press F8 you toggle that button. you can do that by mouse too. Button pressed in is active.

    one of the buttons beside it is called ONSNAP.
    rightclick on it to change settings. Clear all settings and try to draw another line so that it connects to one end of already created line.
    doesn't go well, eh?

    go back to ONSNAP and enable Endpoint and Midpoint (take a notice of symbols next to them). Try to draw another line so it connects to earlier one. you will notice that now there are yellow "magnetic" onsnap cursors that show up at ends or midpoint of the line when you bring cursor close enough. if you click while the yellow onsnap cursor is showing, your click is placed not at the place where your mouse cursor is but at the point highlighted by onsnap. notice that shape of the onsnap cursor matches symbol of ONSNAP function that is active.

    type RECTANGLE and click at two points to make a rectangle.

    right click and choose Repeat RECTANGLE, click ONCE to specity only one corner, then type

    note the @ sign and two numbers separated by comma.

    this will create rectangle with dimensions x=3, y=7 starting from point you clicked earlier.
    the @ sign tells AutoCad that we are using relative coordinates. if you forget this, autocad will use absolute coordinates and you are likely to be surprised with result. (Ctrl+Z is undo).

    assuming ONSNAP is active (toggled by F3) type CIRCLE, click on one of endpoints of the rectangle and observe that command is always interactive, it tells you what to do (or what commands expects you to do). Finish circle so that it overlaps with rectangle (radius more or less half of one of the sides of rectangle).

    you can try to play more with ONSNAP (that is the point) and explore what else can you use to snap to different points of circle (hint, try tangent).

    if we wanted Picasso, we would not need cad. one of the key features of cad is to keep things in certain precise order. one useful feature that can assist here is GRID. Actually there are two related features: GRID and SNAP.

    normally GRID is "major" grid such as 1"x1" or 1cm x 1cm. points of grid are displayed.
    SNAP is "fine" grid such as 0.1" or 0.1cm. SNAP is invisible grid.
    you can right click on both of them and change settings to your needs.

    try to draw few basic shapes with and without GRID and SNAP.

    suppose SNAP and ONSNAP are off. select and try to move something precisely to some other point. can be difficult or impossible using free hand. but suppose you highlight object (or objects) and type MOVE, then specify offset as we have seen before:

    moves exactly 1 unit down. (x=0, y=-1).

    now enable ONSNAP, highlight rectangle, then rightclick and choose
    COPY WITH BASE POINT, then click on one corner (or midpoint) of the rectangle. use PASTE and notice that you can place copy precisely aligned with some other feature (corner or whatever) of any object.

    the end. maybe give a student few basic commands to practice with (LINE, RECTANGLE, CIRCLE, DONUT, EXPLODE, MOVE, TRIM, OFFSET, STRETCH, SCALE). donut is helpful when doing joints in electrical circuits (set inner dimension to zero to make a solid dot).

    then next lecture could be about making and using blocks, rotating and dimensioning, and practice run on scaling.

    last one should be about line types and layers, and explain how to load custom commands (such as autonumb or whatever) or blocks (such as tool bar with JIC electrical symbols).

    this is pretty much it for making 2D drawings.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
    strantor and Georacer like this.