Locating a precise point on an object is a basic requirement for creating accurate drawings in AutoCAD. This is important when you want to draw an object from the precise point with respect to an already drawn portion of an object. For example, let’s say we have to draw a part that has a hole located at the midpoint of the left side. In this case, we need to pick the precise midpoint of the line and draw the circle there. To speed up our drawing process, we will make use of the different drawing aids provided for this purpose. With that in mind, in this blog post, we will explore some of the tools that can be used to locate a precise point in the drawing.
Running Object Snaps
The most common is the use of Object Snaps. I am sure every AutoCAD user has used Object Snaps to determine a precise point on an object. You simply toggle on (Object Snap), and while in any draw command when you hover the cursor over an object, it picks up the snap locations relevant to that object. You can then click to snap to that location and start drawing. It’s as simple as that!
Objects Snaps can be endpoint and midpoint of a line, center, quadrant, and tangent for a circle, geometric center of an irregular shape, perpendicular to a line and many more. In the figure below, you can see the list of Objects Snaps available in AutoCAD.
Object Snap Tracking
To take it a notch further, how do you locate a new point based on two existing object snap points? For example, say you want to find the precise center of an object by tracking from the midpoints of two sides. Here we would use Object Snaps and Object Snap Tracking together to find the precise point easily and quickly. In the figure below, a new point is determined at the intersection of the midpoint of one side and the endpoint of another side.
You can also use Object Snap Tracking from only one point, if for example, you want to draw a circle at a given distance from a point. In the figure below, we are locating a point at a distance of 100 units from the center of an already drawn circle.
Both (Object Snap) and (Object Snap Tracking) should be toggled on to use Object Snap Tracking.
Hover the cursor over the object snap point and then move it away vertically or horizontally to display the tracking line.
Temporary Tracking Point
What do you do when you want to find a location based on two distances from another point? For example, if you need to position a circle with its center five units to the left and three units up from an endpoint, use the Temporary Track Point tool provided by AutoCAD. (Temporary Track Point) can create additional tracking points, which can be useful when you are using Object Snap Tracking and require more than two tracking points. Here is how you can use the Temporary Track Point tool to determine a point 40 units to the right and 19 units down from the midpoint of a line.
- In the Status Bar, toggle on (Object Snap) and (Object Snap Tracking).
- Start a command, such as Line or Circle.
- When prompted for a point, start (Temporary Track Point) by right-clicking anywhere and selecting Osnap Overrides>Temporary track point or type tt in the Command Line.
- Hover the cursor over the midpoint of the left vertical line and pull the cursor to the right. Type 40 and press <Enter>.
A small plus mark is displayed at the temporary track point. Move the cursor directly below the plus mark. A vertical tracking line is displayed. Type 19 and press <Enter> to select another point 19 units down from the temporary point. Then start drawing your object at this precise point.
Both (Object Snap) and (Object Snap Tracking) should be toggled on to use Temporary Track Point.
Tracking lines display when you have locked a tracking angle from the temporary point.
Be careful to not move the cursor directly over the cross that marks the temporary point. Doing so clears the point.
To better understand the working of these tools, I have provided a fully detailed section along with relevant hands-on practices in the AutoCAD 2023 Fundamentals learning guide. I have discussed Running Object Snaps and Object Snap Tracking in detail in Chapter 4: Drawing Precision in AutoCAD and Temporary Tracking Point in Chapter 22: Accurate Positioning.
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