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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Creating 3D Architectural Models (Part 1)

 
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The CAD software became an indispensable tool for achieving complicated architectural 3d modeling

Disclaimer

As always for your convenience, it is good to note before we start that my tutorial is perfectly compatible with the ©AutoCAD 2013 version and above. Therefore, and as a result,  your UI —User Interface— might look slightly different from mine in some screen exercises.

As mentioned in a previous post of this AutoCAD© Learning Courses, I will be publishing an article about 3D Mastering and Rendering Tutorial, divided into four parts, just to make it more assimilable by everyone in need of it.

However, the Rendering section will be treated independently in the next chapters and posts. Anyway, you will learn in this chapter how to create and manipulate 3D architectural drawings.

It is worth mentioning that my training course is well supported with illustrations to help a good understanding of the topic discussed. The main purpose of my course as is already noted is to understand and deal with just the essential basics of the manipulating tools that every architect need, without getting into unnecessary discussions that sometimes gives you a sensation of losing control over your work, or even their useless, which left your productivity down in general, with nothing to gain.

As an experienced architect for years ago using the CAD programs —especially AutoCAD— I surely understand what is critical when I want to submit my project to the client, in means of proper tools to use to produce the right presentation, and of course, that saves time and money with many profits to gain from.

The ideal tutorials that fulfill my requests aren’t for sure, those settled by IT developers or else similar, but with all my respect they are only good to fill pages of blogs with words or online videos.

Where the majority are a waste of time, and even money, they will never get us close to the target, due to their lack of knowledgeably of the career and its priorities.

Anyway, at the end of this tutorial, you should be able to: 

- Converting 2D walls drawings into a 3D solid model
- Working with different Visual Styles
- Changing the UCS orientation and origin according to the working plane that you need to perform the various commands
- Creating openings for the windows and doors inside the walls
- Creating blocks for windows and doors (details included such as wood frame, glass, etc…)
- How to create the ceiling slab and the tiling roof
- Creating indoor two floors staircase (with details such as balustrade and skirting)
- Likely, you will be able to create and manipulate different types of 3d solids, faces, and meshes, most of which are essentials to produce your architectural models of houses and residential projects or else.

So, to get started with exploring the tools discussed in this chapter, you should download a prepared ACAD drawing .dwg file named 2D-Drawing_Tutorial.dwg: you will be directed to a shared link from my Dropbox drive and prompted to save it onto your device.

The file is 100% free of charge, virus-free, and will not harm your pc; It is only about 600 KB in size and compatible with the ©AutoCAD 2013 version and above, as noted before.
Sample DWG file for AutoCAD-3D Tutorial
Fig.1- The given modeling file to use in this tutorial downloadable for free.

Importing the 2D Drawing File | Insert Command

After downloading the file mentioned above, which is free of charge, virus-free, and provided from my dropbox shared files, you will have to insert it into a new AutoCAD file; press CTRL+N to create a new drawing from the AutoCAD Application menu at the upper left corner of your screen: New > drawing.

  • Select the acadiso.dwt file as a template for your new project and save it under the name: my_first_model.dwg
  • Insert the downloaded file into your newly created drawing by typing I for the Insert tool, or by selecting the Home tab on the ribbon > Block panel > Insert. While on the Insert dialog, click the Browse button. Go to the location of the downloaded 2D-Drawing_Tutorial.dwg, select it, and then click on Open. Return on the Insert dialog, uncheck the Specify On-screen option under the Insertion point section, and then click OK. Don’t forget to tick the Explode option founded in the same dialog, on the lower-left corner.
  • You are now ready to start transforming a 2D drawing of a small house into a 3D model.

For your ease, and in case they were already active, you will need to turn off the following layers:

- A-DIMENSION
- A-HATCH
- A-FURNITURE
- A-FIXTURES
- A-ANNOBJ
- A-DOORS

Doing so, will clear your perception and will free your drawing from adding further and unnecessary objects to the 3D modeling process already overwhelmed.

Creating the 3D Walls in the 3D Modeling Workspace

First, create a new Layer with the name 3D-WALLS and set the color to #6 (magenta) for better perception, then switch it to current. While setting the object snap to Endpoint, start the Polyline PL command and draw as directed in fig.2 below.
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Fig.2- The polyline construction, shown in magenta color along with the rectangles’ corners shown in yellow.

Next, launch the Rectangle command or type REC and start by specifying its corners as indicated in Fig.2 above, and also by drawing the remaining polylines shown in Fig.3 as well.

Note that the external or the outside walls are 300 mm thick, while the indoors are 100.
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Fig.3- The 4 remaining polylines to complete the exercise are as shown and directed here.

Now switch the current Workspace to 3D Modeling by using the Workspace drop-down menu on the Quick Access Toolbar or the Workspace Switching menu on the lower status bar for easy access to the commonly used 3D tools and commands. (Fig.4)
workspace menu in AutoCAD, switching the workspace
Fig.4- Switching to the 3D Modeling workspace

Click on (F3) to activate the Object snap mode and check the Endpoint snap.

Besides, from the Home tab, launch the Group command from the Groups panel. At the Select objects or [Name/Description]: prompt, select the entities of each elevation separately and create the related groups respectively. We have now created four groups that allow us to easily select and manipulate each elevation independently, as we will see in the next steps.

You will need now to change the view of your model for better visualization of the various elements now present in our scene. To do so we will simply use the ViewCube quick tool for setting the requested view. Choose the lower right corner and your screen should show the same view as Fig.5 below:
Isometric Views in AutoCAD, SE Isometric view
Fig.5- The view switched to SE-Isometric

Alternatively, you can change the view by using the View panel in the Home tab and choose the SE Isometric from the drop-down menu. (see fig.6)
View Manager menu_list, SE Ismetric View
Fig.6- Alternative method to set the isometric views

Next in this series, learn how to project the elevations for creating your project model and other related exclusive tools to use in the 3D process. Stay tuned!

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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