By Dennis Collin
For many years AutoCAD has had the Array command which enabled users to produce many copies of objects in a variety of different layouts and patterns. Recently this function has become associative so patterns can be easily modified after the layout has been applied.
Rectangular array sets items out in a row and column format, very useful for anything in a grid, like lighting or large amounts of seating. Polar array copies items around a whole or partial circle, handy for things like turbine blade or anything in a radial pattern. The most recent option Path array is an update of the old Divide and Measure command which will space items evenly along a path or at specified intervals which is invaluable again in the placement of elements like smoke detectors or rivet positions.
However, in the last couple of releases users have had yet another option to array items, the Copy command! For many years now, the Copy command would clone multiple objects, but to create large numbers of objects at intervals got a little tedious at times. But a couple of years ago an ‘array’ option was added to enable users to array objects in a linear pattern (a similar method is available to Revit and 3ds Max users).
A user would use the copy normal as expected but now an array option is available to choose to place a line of objects at a fixed measured interval (like Measure!) or fit a number of items along a length (like Divide!).
The relevant option can be selected in the command line or right click menu as indicated in the image above. This function is limited to straight lines but if you need to perform a similar action along a simple or complex curve, use the Path Array function introduced in AutoCAD 2012.
Whatever your drawing requirements are, there is a function for it, AutoCAD has it covered! These features are always a popular topic on our AutoCAD training courses. Whether it’s an Essentials course or an Update course bringing users up to speed with new features and ‘did you knows?’, Help menus and videos are all very well but there’s no substitute to having an expert show AutoCAD’s little secrets in our scheduled or private training courses.