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How to use AutoCAD 3D commands in 3D Architectural Models

In this post, we'll explore the right procedure of using the AutoCAD 3D Commands and tools in creating accurate architectural 3D models.

Using AutoCAD 3D Commands

We'll continue this article from where we left off in the previous post entitled: Learn AutoCAD 3D Commands Needed for Creating 3D Architectural Models. If you haven't read it yet, you are advised to do so now.

AutoCAD by Autodesk, is a powerful tool used by architects and engineers to create precise 3D models of structures. Understanding how to use AutoCAD 3D commands is essential for creating accurate architectural models.

By mastering these commands, users can enhance the design process, visualize the final product, and identify any potential issues before construction begins. In this blog, we will explore the ins and outs of using AutoCAD 3D commands in 3D architectural models to help you elevate your design capabilities.


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Female thinking about a business project in the office, Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Now, we need to rotate the elevations orthogonally to the top view. From the Home tab and Modify panel, we will be using the 3D Rotate tool to accomplish this mission; At the Select objects: prompt, reply by selecting the objects previously set in one group, and to Specify base point: prompt, pick on the endpoint of the ground level line, as shown in Fig.7 below.


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Fig.7- Choosing the base point and the rotating angle for the 3D rotation process

Your screen might be showing the model differently depending on the Visual Style selected from the pre-list saved in the View panel.

  • In our example, the Wireframe style is the one in use. However, if you might like to hide the objects as they appear in real life, then you will have to set your visual style to something like the "Hidden" or the "Realistic" view or else.
  • Warning! Be aware of performing hard commands while setting the visual style to one of those indicated previously; A higher performance of your VGA graphical card is probably then required as your PC might crash under those conditions. Use them only to evaluate your work progression and explanatory purposes.

At the Pick a rotation axis: prompt, you’ll have first to choose your direction axis, which is in that case just the red X-axis; to select it, just pick on the circle that enrolls this axis. Therefore, you will have to pick the red circle when prompted to do so.

Now, to specify the angle value, type an angle according to the direction of the axis, or specify the angle first point by moving the pointer upward and end the command by clicking the new angle to rotate the elevation view by 90 degrees at the Specify angle endpoint: prompt.

Next, select the Front face of the ViewCube and the elevation view becomes parallel to the screen. Notice that the ground level (with the color blue -5-) coincides with the X-axis of the UCS while keeping the XY plane perpendicular to the screen. (Fig.8)


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Fig.8- The front view shows the elevation parallel to the screen while keeping the top view perpendicular to it.

Similarly, do the same for the other elevations, by rotating them about their ground-level lines as shown in the next figures. (Enlarge the images by clicking on them)

  • Doing so will ensure the accurate height of the walls when using the extrusion tools.


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Earlier, we drew the boundaries of the internal walls both ways (the Closed Polylines and the Rectangles) Likely, to use the "Presspull" command, you must use those 2 tools to create the areas. Otherwise, it won't be allowed.

By doing so, all the internal boundaries will be perfectly closed and will be ready to generate the solid geometry of the walls.

1. The first thing to do is to turn OFF the following additional layers:

 
- A-WINDOWS
- A-WALLS
- A-DOORS,
- A-CONSTRUCTION_LINES layers, if they are still ON. Just keep the 3D-WALLS layer ON to use it next in step #3.

Open the Layer Manager or type LA to start the layers dialog box and do the modifications indicated above.

2. Change your current Visual Style, select Shades of Gray from the drop-down menu for an enhanced view, and disallow the Dynamic UCS. (Turn OFF the F6 button)

3. On the ribbon, click Home tab > Modeling panel > Presspull, then at Select object or bounded area: prompt, pick a point inside the area that defines the walls.

4. Next, at Specify extrusion height or [Multiple]: prompt, click a point on the first-floor level on the North Elevation.

5. The 3D walls are then created up to the first level floor (@ +3.05) as shown in Figure 9.


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Fig.9- Specify the extrusion height by clicking any point on the line of the first-floor level in the front elevation

6. And your model should be looking now similar to Fig.10 below.


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Fig.10- The final 3D Walls Extruded

7. Next, you will have to re-ON the layers A-WALLS, A-WINDOWS, and A-DOORS previously off in step #1, to show the location of the windows and doors. Switch the Visual Styles manager to the preset Wireframe style to easily locate the openings, in case you did switch it to another style.

8. Once you do so, you should get the status of your file matching the following figure.


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Fig.11- The Wireframe style shows clearly the location of the opening within the walls.

How to Create the Windows Openings?

9. Deactivate the Dynamic UCS icon on the status bar, if it is still on. Doing so will free you from handling and manipulating your UCS strictly according to AutoCAD’s requirements and suggestions, which can be sometimes boring and bothering, due to its limitations.

10. Zoom to the plan view of the door opening as shown below. Now, from the Home tab, > Modeling panel > Primitive drop-down > Box, and at Specify first corner or [Center]:, and Specify other corner or [Cube/Length]: prompt, pick corners as shown, then get back to the North Elevation and at the Specify height or [2Point]: prompt, pick the upper corner of the door opening to locate the height and so creating the box. We will repeat the command over the single doors as well.


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11. Similarly, we have to do the same to other door openings in the drawing.

12. Next, we will have to extract the boxes from the walls solid by doing the following: On the ribbon, click the Home tab > Solid Editing panel > Solid, Subtract. To the Select solids, surfaces, and regions to subtract from .. prompt, select the 3D walls solid, and press Enter. 

When the Select solids, surfaces, and regions to subtract .. prompt appears, select all the boxes created at the doors and opening locations. Press Enter to subtract the boxes from the wall's solid block.

13. You should get the following result or similar at the end of the command.


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Let’s move on to creating the windows. Therefore, zoom to the North Elevation and select the outer rectangle of the window, which is a closed polyline object. Move the cursor toward the walls and select the inner corner point. Use the PRESSPULL command to do so, as shown.


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Similarly, you have to repeat the same steps for all the windows in all the elevations of the project. From the ribbon, click the Home tab > Solid Editing panel > Solid, Subtract. To the Select solids, surfaces, and regions to subtract from .. prompt, select the 3D walls solid, and press Enter.

Then at the Select solids, surfaces, and regions to subtract .. prompt, select all the solids created lately to create the openings-holes. And voila! As a result, you have now all your windows done. (See Figure below)


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You might want to go into further details to be shown in your windows, such as frames, handles, and glasses or lintels and sills, as shown in the 2D-Drawing_Tutorial.dwg File. For instance, you will learn to draw one window example with such details you can then apply over all your next samples;

In the next post, we will learn How to create a detailed window with a wood frame and glass.


Quiz!

A- Which command can be most efficiently used to make this geometry?


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1. Extrude
2. Presspull
3. Revolvre
4. Sweep


B- How many workspaces are available in AutoCAD for 3D drawings?

1. 1
2. 2 
3. 3
4. 4


C- Which Zoom command will you use to bring a selected area of drawing into view?

1. Zoom Extents
2. Zoom All
3. Zoom Dynamic
4. Zoom Window


D- Is it possible to save the orientation of geometrics in the drawing as views?

1. Yes
2. No


References in this article:

- AutoCAD 2002 Complete - Sybex Edition
- AutoCAD 2018, For Architectural Design - Tutorial Books Edition
- Photos Exclusively for the AutoCAD Tutorial Course – Author: © Nadim Maani, Architects
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