How to Calculate CAD Scale Factor?

Industrial Technical Drawing

Part 7 of 13 in our How To Use AutoCAD series

When working in AutoCAD, you’re not only working with objects and drawings, you’re also working with dimensions and measurements. The latter two elements are what can make or break your drawing. If you can’t resize basic values when you need to, your drawings can’t be as accurate as needed.

Calculating a scale factor in CAD is, thus, a simple, but important task. When the drawings are printed for production, they’re represented much smaller than they actually are. Hence, we need to understand and implement the scale factors in order to adequately size dimensions, text, blocks and lines.

In short, the scale factor is the relationship between our printed units and our drawing units.  The simplest way to calculate the scale factor is by using these simple formulas.

For calculating scale factor out of architectural drawing scale:

  1. Choose your scale. For example:  1/4” = 1”
  2. Invert the fraction and multiply by 12 to get:  4/1 x 12 = 48
  3. Your scale factor is 48

For calculating the scale factor from an engineering drawing scale, only multiply the feet by 12. For an in-depth look at both engineering and architectural scales, check out this tutorial on CAD Scale Factors by ArchToolbox.

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Adding Bitmap Images PDF

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Adding Vector Graphics PDF

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Customizing PDF Content


Customized PDF Content

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How To Align And Scale Objects Simultaneously?

Part 6 of 13 in our How To Use AutoCAD series

As you know, AutoCAD is all about creating accurate drawings. So being able to adjust and fine tune the placement and size of your objects accordingly is a necessary skill to have.  Whether you need to  resize your objects or move them around, you need to be able to manipulate your drawings accurately and with efficiency. That’s why it’s important to master the Align tool early on.

Here’s how to align and scale objects at the same time:

1. Identify which objects you would like to align. Go to the Modify panel, click on the drop down arrow and select the “Align” tool, located on the bottom left side.

Locating AutoCAD Align Tool

2. Select the object that you wish to align and hit “Enter”.

3. Select the source point. The source point is a part of the object that you align (for example, its edge, side or center). After doing so, specify the destination point of the alignment. The destination point represents a point to which you align your selected object. Hit “Enter” and specify the second source and destination point.

Specifying Second Destination Point

4. Either right click on the drawing window or press “Enter”. You’ll be prompted on whether you want to “Scale objects based on alignment points?” or not. If you’d like AutoCAD to automatically scale the selected object to fit your destination object, click Yes. Otherwise, click No.

Once you get the hang of it, this method will come as second nature. Mastering this tool is great skill to have under your belt. Not only does it allow you to quickly edit CAD designs accordingly, but it’ll also give you a better sense of how AutoCAD professionals work with the application.


Top 10 Open Data Resources Online

There’s a lot of hype around big data these days. And it isn’t any wonder with everything going digital. We’ve been generating a large mass amount of data that’s becoming more and more valuable.

Think of publicly available and open data.  You may be asking why is it so important? Using open or publicly available data can be extremely useful. Some examples include:

  • Analyzing global trends
  • Measuring the efficiency of government policies
  • Innovating a new service
  • Improving your company’s products

Because of the wide range of applications, not just data scientists, but journalists, marketers, business professionals, and even freelancers, are learning how to access, clean and interpret raw data.

While you may already have access to data analytics tools or a topic to research, all that may be missing are the big data sources to work with. Wondering where to find statistical data? Below is a list of databases you can start with.

1. The World Factbook –The CIA website has an open source library where you can find its World Factbook, which offers the public opendata on 267 countries on topics ranging from history and government to geography and military.

2. Amazon Web ServicesAmazon Web Services offers a suite of cloud computing services for database, computing, storage and analytic solutions to name a few. AWS also hosts a number of public datasets, which you can access. You will need to have an AWS account or access to its command line tools.

3. Open Government Data—Looking for data from major governments? You can search through data available publicly from the Governments of Canada, the USA and the UK. The EU Open Data Portal can give you access to a range of data produced by member countries of the European Union.

4. Open Data Network – The Open Data Network, launched by in 2014, is an online data catalogue that makes finding the data you need as easy and familiar as finding data with Google. Its latest enhancements include updates for elements like autosuggestion and easier mobile navigation. This site covers all major US regions including public data sources for areas like finance, health, infrastructure, education and social services to name a few.

5. Google Public Data Explorer– What better place to explore datasets than on Google? Google Public Data Explorer makes it easy for anyone to access and interact with public data from international organizations and academic institutions. You can upload, share and visualize datasets. Here’s an overview to get an idea of how to use Google Public Data Explorer.

6. DBpediaDBpedia is a crowd-sourced effort to pull structured data from Wikipedia into an accessible database form on the web. According to the site, the advantages of the DBpedia knowledgebase are that “it covers many domains; it represents real community agreement; it automatically evolves as Wikipedia changes, and it is truly multilingual.”

7.—Made up of five international organizations, the World Bank Group is the largest development bank in the world, working towards ending poverty and shared prosperity. The organization offers “free and open access to data about development in countries around the globe.”

8. UNDataUNData is an internet based data service from which you can access datasets that include statistics from countries that are part of the United Nations.

9. World Census Open Data—Need census data from other countries? Get census results from other places around the globe like Argentina, New Zealand, Romania, and Egypt. This source is valuable for those gathering geographical or localized statistics. In addition, you can find census data for the USA and Statistics Canada in the linked sources for easy access.

10. Open Data Portals –At you can find a curated list of open data resource portals around the world. It will help you start broadly and then narrow down your search by location. With 519 portals, as of this writing, the site welcomes additions or feedback to create one of the most widely curated free public data sources online that every user can benefit from.

Dealing with datasets can get overwhelming. You can expect your data to be disorganized and unruly. And as easy as these sites are to visit, be warned that you may come across hard to access formats requiring you to first convert a scanned PDF to Word before being able to use it. But don’t get discouraged. The potential of that data is unlimited.

Did we miss any? Add your own main sources to this collection—the more on this list, the better!

How To Create Custom Hatch Patterns?

Part 5 of 13 in our How To Use AutoCAD series

One of the great things about AutoCAD is that it can be used to design drawings meant for different types of industries. And because AutoCAD designs can be intended for any structure under the sun, the material being used or involved in the design’s construction can vary greatly.  

This poses an interesting situation when AutoCAD users need to fill in the hatches of their drawings. These hatches represent the real material to be used. So getting the hatch patterns just as accurate as the drawings themselves is important.

Now, although AutoCAD offers plenty of hatch patterns on its own, sometimes we may want to personalize our drawings and implement our own hatch patterns. You can do this by following these simple steps:

1.In your AutoCAD document, draw a desired pattern using a tool from the Draw panel.

2. In the Block panel, click on the “Create” command, located in the top right corner.

Selecting Create Block Option

3. Name your pattern and click “OK”. On the pop-up, choose “Select objects”.

4. Click on your drawing until it gets light blue, and hit Enter.

5. Now select “Pick point” and place the cursor on the bottom left corner of your pattern drawing.

Selecting Pick Point Option

6. Hit “OK”.

7. Go to the “Express Tools” tab > Draw panel > Super Hatch.

Selecting Super Hatch

8. Choose “Block” as your desired pattern type, select your block by name and hit “OK”.

Selecting Hatch Pattern

9. Fit your pattern by following instructions. When you’re satisfied hit Enter.

10. Click on the desired area that you want to hatch and once selected, hit Enter.

All done! For advanced users who are interested in more hatch pattern customization options, check out this tutorial from Ellen Finkelstein.