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How to Draft Plan, Section, and Elevation in AutoCAD

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AutoCAD is a software popular for drafting plans, sections, elevations, and other details of a building accurately to scale. In the beginning, CAD might prove to be tedious and time-consuming. But there are certain techniques to make working in CAD more faster and efficient.

How To Draft Plans In AutoCAD?

Step 1: Create Layers

The first thing you do when you open your workspace is to create layers for each of the elements that you will be creating in your drawing.

  • Open the "layer properties" button in the Home tab.
  • Click on 'new layer'.
  • Choose layer color, line weight, line type, etc. for the layer.
  • Name the layer and click enter.
  • Repeat the same for all the layers.

Layers help organize your drawing. You might not notice it when you start, but CAD drawings will include hundreds of elements that become hard to keep track of. Keeping them in different layers helps to easily differentiate and identify them.

Step 2: Start With Drafting Walls

This might be more of a personal preference than a rule. But this makes drafting more easier since walls make up most of the building's outline and layout.

  • Click on the layer you created for walls to make it active.
  • Click on the line tool and start drawing the walls.

Step 3: Draft Columns, Beams, And Other Structural Elements

Once you start drawing walls, it is easier to place support elements, especially columns. Since columns of the same dimensions are repeated throughout the drawing, they can be made into blocks and copy-pasted.

  • Draft one column accurately
  • Go to the insert tab and click "insert block"
  • Select the column
  • Name it and press 'ok'
  • Now that the block is created, you can just copy it or use the array tool 

Step 4: Place Doors And Windows

Doors and windows are mostly of the same or minimally varied dimensions. Hence, they can also be made into blocks and pasted wherever needed. Once you place the blocks, however, don't forget to trim the overlapping lines in the wall layer. 

Step 5: Place The Other Elements

A plan is more than walls and windows. Other details like roofs, railings, trusses, etc. should be marked.

Step 6: Drafting Stairs

Drafting a staircase might be easy, but representing it accurately in a plan is difficult.

  • On the ground floor, the stairs only go up, on way. Hence, it needs to be depicted like this:
  • On the intermediate floors, one set of stairs comes up while the other goes up. This should be depicted like this:
  • On the topmost floor, the stairs only go down.

Step 7: Adjusting Lineweights And Transparency

Since a plan is two-dimensional, it becomes difficult to understand whether an object is placed close to the ceiling or near the floor. To depict this, line weights are used. 

  • The objects placed closer to the plans cut plane (higher), have more lineweight.
  • The elements more closer to the floor have lesser lineweights.
  • The areas where the plane is being cut (walls, columns etc.) have the highest lineweights and minimal transparency.

Step 8: Hatching

Hatching is used to differentiate between elements and their materials. They can also be used to depict the elements being cut by the viewing plane. 

  • Elements which are being cut need to be hatched (for example, walls and columns which are cut by the viewing plane)
  • If we need to show difference in materials or surface, like cladding on walls, they need to be hatched.
  • You can change colour and size of hatch in hatch editor.

Step 9: Placing Furniture

Now that the layout of our plan is done, the detailing work starts. Placement of furniture like chairs, beds, tables etc. are done next. 

These can be drafted, made into block and repeated or directly be downloaded from the internet. Make sure to scale them properly.

Step 10: Clean The Drawing

AutoCAD drawings need to be clean, that is, lines should not be repeated or overlapped. Use the fillet tool to join the edges and trim unwanted lines.

You can also use the 'overkill' command to clean it. This step is extremely important as overlapping and repetitive lines will clearly be visible when you print the drawings. They might also lead to mistakes when used on-site.

Step 11: Mark Dimensions And Mention The Scale Used

Dimensions are the most important part of the plan. They need to be as accurate and precise as possible. 

  • Click on the "dimensions" button in the Home tab.
  • Click on the starting point and then the ending. The dimension will automatically appear.

The text height, arrow size and design etc. can also be edited.

  • Type 'dimsty' and click enter.
  • Here you can change the size, height, and design of the dimension arrows and the text. 
  • Press 'apply' after you edit.

Mention the scale used for the drawing. If the drawing is not to scale (nts), me tion that as well.

Step 12: Arrange Everything Neatly

Arrange the drawing, dimensions, scale etc neatly and in the same way for all your plans.

Step 13: Put It On Sheets

Place the final drawing on sheets after a thorough checking. The sheet size (A4, A3, A2…..) is chosen based on the requirement. Align the drawing in the center and fill in the details.

Step 14: Printing Options

Printing your plan is the final step. 

  • On the files menu, click on print. 
  • Click on your desired sheet size.
  • Check the lineweights, transparency etc checkboxes, if you need them to be seen on paper.
  • Choose landscape or portrait
  • Once the selections are done, click on print.

How To Draft Sections And Elevations?

The same steps as mentioned above is applicable for drafting sections and elevations as well.

Ground Line

Once you finish drafting the section and elevation, do not forget to mark the ground line.

Section Plane

Both the plan and the elevation should depict the section line accurately.

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