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Part VII: AutoCAD in 3D > Introduction to 3D

Chapter 27. Introduction to 3D

Up to this point in this book you have been learning about drawing 2D representations of real-world 3D objects. This method of designing and drafting is limited because a 2D drawing must be visualized as a 3D real-world object. Drawing 3D objects as 3D objects largely eliminates the need to mentally visualize because the 3D information is included in the design drawing. Drawing and designing in 3D offers other advantages as well. For example, the viewpoint can be changed to help define the form of the object. In addition, shaded and rendered presentations— and even animations—are possible (see Figure 27.1). And manufacturing and other information, such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA) data, can be extracted.

Figure 27.1. A 3D solid model that has been shaded using AutoCAD’s SHADE command.


The 3D capabilities of AutoCAD can be a valuable addition to your design skills. This chapter introduces you to the following topics:

  • Understanding 3D coordinate systems

  • Defining a User Coordinate System (UCS) in 3D space

  • Using viewports

  • Interactive viewing in 3D

  • Shading a model


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