General CAD Tips & Tricks

“Reading the drawing”

CAD applications and technical drawing in general follow some general rules.

NOTE: for faster workflow, master the command line and hotkeys.

The first think you have to do is analyze the part you need to draw:

  • “read” carefully the drawing
  • where is the center ?
  • i can mirror/copy entities ?
  • where is better to start ?
  • what helping axes i need to draw ? etc.

Analyze the drawing and try to see how is constructed, what are the sub-parts, dimensions, what tools to use, it is better to think for half an hour and work another 1 hour then work three hours.

An important step is to find the center/starting point of the drawing and figure the first step and then the next logical steps.

If the final part has 1 or more symmetry planes, don’t draw the whole part but draw the smaller sections that you can mirror/copy later.

Command mode

At the bottom of the QCAD interface is the ‘Command line’ where you can enter commands, coordinates(X and Y coordinates).

The ‘Command line‘ is active if the text is BLUE and you can enter ‘Command line‘ by pressing <Space>

The ‘Command line’ has Auto Completion so if you have an option for [close/undo] and you want to close the shape you can type <c> and then press <Tab> and you will get the close option. Instead, press <u> and <Tab> and you will get the undo option.

Hotkey mode

In Hotkey mode, you use the hotkeys to access commands, snapping modes and so on.

You know when you are in Hotkey mode if the text of the Command line is BLACK.

  • you switch from Command mode to Hotkey mode by pressing <Esc> until the text turns black
  • want to go in Command mode from Hotkey mode, just press <Space>

Entering coordinates (in Command mode)

QCAD has a cursor (a little red circle) showing you the position you are currently and the Origin (a red cross) of the drawing. You can enter coordinates relative to the Origin or the Current position:

  • relative to Origin: the format is X,Y
  • relative to Current position: the format is @X,Y
  • in general, the first coordinate is relative to origin and as you go further with constructing entities you will go step by step with coordinates relative to current/last position

Happy drafting!


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