About Lesson

Before I move on to the lessons related to the creation of 3D models, it is necessary to explain to you how to use reference planes, coordinate systems and axis.

To begin with, I would like to draw your attention to what you will automatically receive as soon as you start a new project. There are three basic planes – front, top and right and you can activate them very easily with a simple selection from this menu. If that is not enough for you, there is an option to set new reference planes yourself, and this can be achieved by using the Reference Geometry function. In fact, this function allows you to create new axes and coordinate systems in a similar way, and I will stick to the first option – Plane.

As soon as I click on this item, fields will appear on the left side that are intended for entering parameters (First, Second and Third Reference), and their application will depend on the elements that represent the starting point for creating a new plane. In other words, if you choose one of the existing surfaces as the basis, the program will automatically set a new reference plane and offer you the possibility to move it away from the initial position by entering a certain value (Offset). I will take this opportunity and complete this function in one go.

If instead of the surface I choose an edge as the first parameter, the program will expect me to click on another element, for example another line, and only then create a new reference plane. To make this example even clearer, as the second parameter I will choose the edge that belongs to the lower surface and in this way get a slanted plane.

If you want to set a new reference plane with the help of 3D points, you will need all three parameters. To show you how it looks in practice, I’ll click again on the Plane option and then select three different points. As you can see, a new reference plane automatically appeared on the screen, which means that I have successfully completed this task as well.

Before continuing, I will select from the Window menu the item that represents a new example and immediately start the function to create new axes. After that, several options will appear on the left side of the screen, which means that the desired result can be reached by applying different parameters. In other words, if you need an axis that matches one of the existing edges, simply select the first option (One Line/Edge/Axis) and click on the appropriate element. This will be enough for a dashed line to appear on the screen representing the new axis. In a similar way, you can also use a curved edge, but in this case the axis will appear at the point representing the center of the curve.

The second option (Two Planes) allows you to use two different planes to set the shaft. For the sake of easier selection, I will use the list that includes all existing elements and with two clicks choose the front and the right plane. The line marking their intersection will automatically become the new axis, and that’s exactly what I wanted to achieve.

By using the Two Points option, you can choose any two points in space, and the program will place a new axis through them. To that end, I will choose vertices that are on opposite sides and thus complete this procedure.

If you have a curved surface on your model, select the Cylindrical/Conical Face option and simply click on it. This will be enough for a new axis to appear on the screen because the center of the curve will be used for its positioning.

The last option, Point and Face Plane, allows you to place a new axis with the help of one point and some of the existing surfaces. To show you how this works, I will first select this point and then click on the top surface of this object. These two parameters will be quite enough to determine the position of the new axis, and it will be placed perpendicular to the selected surface and will pass through a certain point.

In order to show you how to create new coordinate systems, I need a suitable example, so for that purpose I will choose the third item from the Window menu and display its contents. Each model already contains a basic coordinate system, and its position can be easily checked. It is enough to activate the Origin option and look for the blue dot that marks its beginning. In this case, it is located on the lower surface of the object, and I would like to move it to one of the existing vertices. To that end, I’ll run the Coordinate System function and simply click on the desired point. The program will automatically move the coordinate origin and use the existing edges to set the X, Y, and Z axes. Admittedly, there is a possibility that I will subsequently influence their schedule, but for now I will be satisfied with the existing situation and complete this operation.

To show you the significance of this change, I will click on the Evaluate option and run the Mass Properties function. At that moment, a new frame with data related to the selected object will appear on the screen, and for now it is enough to know that they are calculated based on the Default coordinate system. Since I have at my disposal the system that I created a little while ago, it will not be difficult for me to choose the appropriate item from this list and thus influence the displayed values. As you can see for yourself, different coordinates of the center of mass appeared on the screen, those corresponding to the new coordinate system.

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