Shape Drawing and Dimensions

Exercise 42 – Shape Drawing

In this example we draw a typical shape that could be found in any design. If you’re not normally creating engineering drawings then think of this shape as representing anything from a garden or swimming pool layout to a building outline. The numeric values are in mm but could equally represent meters or yards or cm etc.

You will need to use some but not all of the knowledge you’ve gained so far. You will be marked on accuracy.

Slightly less explanation of each step is given during this tutorial as we assume you will have many of the basic functions happening almost automatically by now J

Although a relatively simple shape, it involves the use of lines, arcs, circles and dimensions with multiple colours and styles.

  1. Start a new drawing from scratch by selecting File, New.
  2. Select File, Save-as and save your empty drawing as My Training Shape.

Users are encouraged to save and save often. There is a backup system in the software that can be enabled and disabled from within the Options, System menu however it is good practice not to rely on automated backups entirely. Just press File, Save whenever you’re happy with your design and have completed quite a bit of work.

We’ll begin by setting the colour, layer, style and weight we wish to draw with.

  1. Select the colour, layer, style and weight buttons in turn from the Style Bar at the bottom of your screen. Setting each of them as follows: Colour = 0, Layer = 0, Style = 0, Weight = 0.5

  2. Select the Insert Line

Start with the bottom horizontal line at absolute zero. This is a common way of starting drawings as it gives a known point of reference. As a reminder…

  1. Make sure the fields in the X, Y, Z Coordinates Bar are set to zero and press Enter on the keyboard.

  2. Press X on the keyboard and then look at the Coordinates Bar.
  3. Enter 102 for the length of the line and press Enter.

Only the X value was needed for the line because it is horizontal.

Now we can draw the vertical line at the right end of the line we just drew. The length of this vertical line is unknown, so we can’t draw it accurately; we’ll just draw a vertical line with a random length and modify it later.

To ensure the line is vertical, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and move your crosshair up the screen until the rubber-band is vertical and the distance tracking displays approximately 15 then left-click to insert the line.

  1. Right-click to stop this sequence of lines.

The Prompt now prompts you to select the start of the line, allowing you draw another sequence of lines, i.e., the vertical line at the left end of the horizontal line.

  1. Snap (using a square and not a diamond) to the left end of the horizontal line.
  2. Type Y28 Enter to draw the vertical line.

We don’t know enough about the angled line to draw it yet so we’ll insert the circles and arc, starting with the small circles.

  1. Select Insert Circle of Set Value and enter 7. Then OK.

A circle should now be present at the end of your cursor. The first circle to insert is 20 to the right of the left vertical line and 12 above the bottom line.

  1. Whilst you still have the circle attached, select the Locate Offset Point

And complete the dialog

  1. Follow the prompt. Select the left vertical line (using the diamond cursor).
  2. Then select the bottom horizontal line and move your cursor up above and to the right of the two selected line. A small cross can be seen where the two lines intersect.

  3. Click your left mouse button in blank space whilst these lines intersect and the circle will be inserted at the intersection point shown.
  4. The Position Offset dialog will re-appear. Enter 84 for Offset Distance 1 and click OK.
  5. Locate the left and bottom lines and the correct orientation as before and click to insert the second small circle.
  6. Repeat the sequence again to insert the larger circle.
  7. Enter 11 as the radius to give us a diameter of 22.
  8. Again select the Locate Offset Point command
  9. Enter 117 and 51 for distance 1 and 2 respectively and again select the left and lower lines.
  10. Move you cursor up and to the right and click to insert the circle at the intersection point as indicated by the arrow in the diagram below.

  11. Now for the large arc. Select Arc of Set Value and enter 25 for the radius in the dialog box that appears and click OK. An image of a full circle with radius specified will be attached to your crosshair giving you a feel for the size of the arc.
  12. Snap to centre of the 22 diameter circle and a portion of an arc is displayed on the screen.
  13. Position the arc portion approximately as shown and click to begin the arc.

  14. Move your crosshair until the arc wraps around counter-clockwise and click.

  15. To draw the top diagonal line, select the Insert Line
  16. Snap to the top of the left vertical line making sure the snap square is visible when you click.

  17. To end the line, select the arc approximately as shown.

Make sure the selection diamond is visible when you select the arc. By selecting the arc like this the line will end tangential to the arc; you simply have to select the arc near the tangent position.

  1. To draw the small arc (radius 19 fillet) that joins the right vertical line and the large arc, select the Radius Fillet Arc and enter 19 for the radius. OK.
  2. Follow the prompt and select the vertical line approximately where shown in the next diagram, making sure the selection diamond is visible when you click, NOT the snapping square.

  1. Select the large arc approximately where shown. The fillet will be inserted and both the line and large arc are automatically trimmed to suit.
  2. Right-click to stop drawing fillets and return to a neutral state.
  3. To remove the piece of arc at the top, use the Magic Eraser.

The finished shape should look like this.

  1. Feeling confident? Try setting the colour style and weight to a centre line style (dot-dash) and then insert centre lines as shown.

  2. Reset the line style back to a solid line (style 1)
  3. File Save.

Leave the file open for the next exercise.

Exercise 43 – Dimensions

Having accurate construction documents is a great asset especially when dimensions are clearly defined in the drawing. Dimensioning is straight forward and easy but we recommend you take some time to familiarise yourself with the many options available in the Dimension Options dialog boxes and set the dimension styles to how you would like them to look.

Engineering styles are excellent for manufacturing and fabrication drawings whilst architectural styles are best for building and landscape plans.

Here is a sample of just a few ways you can have your dimensions set.

In the example drawing My Shape Training we can assume we have been drawing in mm and therefore it is not a very large object. We would typically print it at a scale of 1:1 to fit on A4 size paper.

  1. To tell the software of our intention to print at this 1:1 scale we select the Print Scale wording on the view bar.

  2. And enter the value 1:1 (or select 1:1 from the dropdown list)

When you look at the View bar you’ll now see the chosen value displayed

In simple terms, set the Print Scale to be the same as the scale you expect to be printing at.

Now we’ll set a few dimension options.

  1. Select Options, Dimension from the dropdown menu and set the fields as shown.

  2. Then select the Value style button and set the values shown below

  3. Click Ok to both dialog boxes to accept the new settings.
  4. From the dimension menu select the Parallel Dimension  
  5. Now select one of the lines in the drawing then move your cursor to drag a dimension to your desired location.
  6. Do the same for the other two edge lines as shown.

  7. Select the Y-Axis Dimension command and then click a position to the right of the object where you want the vertical dimension to appear.
  8. Then snap to the right end of the base line and to the centre of the large circle.
  9. Right click to end
  10. Locate a position just to the left of the Workplane for the next vertical dimension, then snap to the left end of the base line and the centre of the small left circle.
  11. Right click to end
  12. Select the next dimension command, X-Axis Dimension 
  13. Select a position between the base line and the bottom dimension, then snap to the left end of the base line, then to the centre of the left circle, then the centre of the right small circle and right click to end.
  14. Choose Diameter with Leader
  15. Select the upper right edge of the large circle and place the dimension.
  16. Choose the Radius with Leader command and select the small left circle and place dimension and repeat for the large arc.
  17. Now select the Radius Dimension and select the lower right fillet arc.
  18. You can also try the Angle Dimension if desired
  19. Save the file!

Right Click Speed Tip

Right click on any of the child dimension commands to open the dimension settings dialog. In fact you can right click on any on the child icons in the main menu to access the settings for each entity type. This method may be quicker than selecting Options and then the entity type from the dropdown menu.


You can’t delete a circle or arc that has been dimensioned unless you also delete the dimension that it is attached to.