Orienting the Drawing Plane in 3D

Learning to orient AccuDraw's drawing plane is essential to mastering 3D drawing. For example, it is easy with AccuDraw, using an Isometric view, to place a non-planar complex chain or complex shape in any direction without reverting to an orthogonal view. That is, simply by rotating the drawing plane axes to Front, Top, or Side, you can work in an Isometric view while drawing in the plane of any of the orthogonal views.

This is most apparent during the creation of a true 3D drawing normally portrayed as an isometric drawing — for example, a plumbing riser diagram. By starting a pipe run along one view axis and shifting it using the <F>, <S>, and <T> (Front, Side, and Top) keyboard shortcuts, you can twist and turn the pipe through 3D space.

A simple plumbing riser diagram under construction showing the compass at each corner and annotation pointing out the drawing plane orientation at each vertex

This ability to adhere to the standard view axes while manipulating your drawing in a pictorial view is so important that AccuDraw maintains the current orientation from tool to tool. You can still return to the view orientation by using the <V> (View) keyboard shortcut. Additionally, other keyboard shortcuts let you rotate the AccuDraw compass to match the orientation of an element (<R> <E>), to match the currently loaded Auxiliary Coordinate System (<R> <C>), or to rotate a view to match the AccuDraw compass orientation (<R> <V>).

The following table summarizes the AccuDraw keyboard shortcuts available for fine tuning the drawing plane orientation so the axes align in the directions you want them:

Key Effect
<V> Rotates the drawing plane to align with the view axes.
<F> Rotates the drawing plane to align with the axes in a standard Front view.
<S> Rotates the drawing plane to align with the axes in a standard Right view.
<T> Rotates the drawing plane to align with the axes in a standard Top view.
<R, Q> Used to quickly and temporarily rotate the drawing plane with a single point.
<R, A> Used to permanently rotate the drawing plane by three points. Because it rotates the active ACS, this rotation will still be active after the tool in use is exited. If on, the tool setting Use Current Origin causes the drawing plane origin to be used as the x-axis origin, thereby eliminating the need to enter an extra data point. Of course, in many cases it is desirable to be able to define the x-axis origin at a different location than the drawing plane origin.
<R, C> Rotates the drawing plane to the current ACS.
<R, E> Rotates the drawing plane to match the orientation of a selected element.
<R, V> Rotates the active view to match the drawing plane.
<R, X> Rotates the drawing plane 90° about its x-axis.
<R, Y> Rotates the drawing plane 90° about its y-axis.
<R, Z> Rotates the drawing plane 90° about its z-axis.
<E> Successively pressing E rotates the drawing plane first 90° about its x-axis, then 90° about its y-axis, and then back to its original rotation. This is useful for working with any drawing plane orientation, particularly where the model is rotated relative to the drawing file axes.