IN THIS CHAPTER
Understanding pros and cons of three-dimensional modeling
Setting up a 3D working environment
Creating 3D solid geometry
Editing 3D models
For millennia, people have documented the design and construction of three-dimensional objects by drawing two-dimensional views of them. Most people have continued to use these classical methods in CAD drafting because the methods are well understood and work reasonably well. After all, if 2D drawing was good enough for guys like Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea Palladio, it should be good enough for you, right?
Nonetheless, the past decade or two has seen a trend toward creating 3D CAD models and letting the software generate the 2D views more or less automatically. This approach seems more logical, especially if the project documentation requires numerous complex views of the same object. Three-dimensional modeling is an absolute necessity when you want to create rendered views for presentation purposes.
And although AutoCAD 3D construction and visualization tools have improved dramatically over the years (trust me — you should have seen their behavior as recently as AutoCAD 2006!), 3D modeling is still a complex process that requires sophistication on the part of the AutoCAD user. Although 3D modeling requires only one dimension more than 2D drafting, developing 3D CAD models can seem to be more complicated because it involves five more planes. Think of a sheet of paper versus the faces of ...