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    by Martin Phelps

    In most cases users tend to draw all the objects that will be included in the “Block” in model space, but paper space could be used, depending on the requirement.

    Standard Method.

    Once all the objects have been drawn, the “Create” tool can be selected from the “Block” panel in the “Home”  tab of the ribbon menu, as shown in Figure 1.


    Figure 1.

    Upon selection, the “Block Creation” or “Block Definition” dialogue is displayed as shown in Figure 2.


    Figure 2.

    Using the dialogue to create a “Block” is basically a three-step process:

    1. Give the “Block” a name.
    2. Define a “Base” or “Insertion” point.
    3. Select the objects that will make up the “Block”.

    The “Block” requires a name which may be up to 255 characters long and can include letters, numbers, blank spaces and any special character which is not used by the operating system or the program for any other function.

    The characters not supported in the “Block” name are shown in Figure 3.


    Figure 3.

    Good practice is to keep the “Block” name simple with as few characters as possible.

    Once the block has been named, a suitable “Block” insertion or “Base Point” is required, the default location is 0,0,0 but in most cases a point on the “Block” geometry is preferred.

     To specify the “Base Point” “Pick Point” icon, as shown in Figure 4.


    Figure 4.

    The “Block Definition” dialogue will temporarily disappear allowing the selection of the required “Block” insertion point using either “Object Snaps” or “Object Snap Tracking”.

    Once a base point has been selected the “Block Definition dialogue will reappear, allowing the user to select the required objects that will form the “Block”.

    The selected objects can be:

    - “Retained” as separate items which could be used in the creation of a similar block.

    -  “Converted into a Block” which is the default - this automatically converts the selected objects into a “Block”.

    - “Deleted” - this final option may be the best to use initially, since all the selected objects will be removed from the view, confirming the block has been created.

    In most situations the “Block” will be required to be returned back to its individual components, this is done by making sure the “Allow Explode” box is checked in the “Behaviour” section as shown in Figure 5.


    Figure 5.

    All objects have now been selected, a base point has been specified and a block name defined.  It is unlikely at this stage the “Block” will need editing, so the check in the “Open In Block Editor” can be removed, as shown in Figure 6.


    Figure 6.

    Select “OK” to complete the command and create a “Block”.


    Alternative Method.

    As an alternative to the above, either type in “BE” and press “Enter”, or select the “Block Editor” from the “Block Definition” panel of the “Insert” tab of the ribbon, as shown in Figure 7.


    Figure 7.

    Both options will open the “Block Editor”, as shown in Figure 8.


    Figure 8.

    To create a new “Block”, type in the “Block” name in the “Block to Create or Edit” field and “OK” the dialogue box, the “Block Editor” will now be displayed.

    Since there are no drawn objects the display is currently blank, so the objects that will make up the “Block” can now be drawn, simple example is shown in Figure 9.


    Figure 9.

    After drawing all the “Block” components, closing the “Block Editor” will display the options as shown in Figure 10.


    Figure 10.

    Selecting “Save the Changes to …” will create the “Block” or by selecting “Discard the Changes …” no “Block “ will be created, and the drawn objects will be “Erased”.

    The advantage of using this second method is the insertion point of the “Block” doesn’t have to be specified, since all objects comprising the block are drawn in relation to the “Block Editors” origin 0,0 this now the insertion point and can be positioned anywhere in either model or paper space.