Want to get more out of your CNC machine with DraftSight? Then you need to know how to use the CAD software more efficiently. Although DraftSight has wide support and accessibility, you might not be aware of its specific capabilities and the steps that simplify its usage.
That ends today. We will give you seven tips to use DraftSight more easily. But before we get to them, here’s a quick overview of the software.
What is DraftSight?
DraftSight is a 2D drafting software that lets you create and modify 2D drawings. You can use it to create DXF and DWG files, as well as edit the vector files you already have. The software has a range of handy features to help users create professional drawings, including drafting and editing tools like split and weld, tracking guides, and dimension and RichLine styles. DraftSight is primarily intended for hobbyists and professionals with basic 2D CAD needs.
Tips For Improving Productivity with DraftSight
Use Power Trim
As a 2D drafting companion to SOLIDWORKS, DraftSight offers some productivity tools that you’d typically find in the genre of 3D. One such tool is Power Trim, which you can access from the ribbon under the Trim icon (alternatively, you can activate it using the POWERTRIM command).
Once active, hold/click and drag over any of the entities you want to remove. This will trim them back to the closest intersection with any other geometry. Trimming just got a whole lot easier.
TB Layers (an acronym for Toolbox Layers) is a feature that allows you to map the layer of your choice to any DraftSight entity. It eliminates the need to switch your active layer whenever you want to draw a new entity. The dimensions will always be on the right layer, with the same case applying to our text, viewports, centerlines, tables, etc. Users can even specify the LineWeight, LineStyle, or LineColor.
If you’ve migrated to DraftSight from AutoCAD, you can use any AutoCAD alias to activate its command line equivalent in DraftSight. For instance, QUICKMODIFY is the equivalent of MOCORO in DraftSight, but typing MOCORO into the command line will reveal both the AUTOCAD alias and the relevant DraftSight command name. Next, press “Enter” or click to activate the command. It’s that simple.
Depending on your preference, you can slowly learn DraftSight command names or continue using AutoCAD aliases.
DraftSight has a nifty feature for dimensioning called Auto Dimension. It gives you a bounding box for choosing the entities you want to dimension. Then, you can set various options in the palette. For vertical and horizontal dimensions, the user can define whether they’ll be ordinate, baseline, or continuous.
You’ll also decide whether to place horizontal dims below or above the bounding box and whether to place vertical dims to the left or right. The other things are done for you.
Patterns alone can save you time by reducing repetitive, tedious creation of similar geometry. However, conventional patterns lack intelligence, and users cannot modify them dynamically once they’ve been created. Meanwhile, associative patterns work like a feature that you can adjust—spacing can be changed, and instances can be inserted or removed with a few clicks.
To activate it:
- Select an entity (or multiple entities) and enter the PATTERN command (or use the icon present in the Modify section of the ribbon).
- Once it’s active, click the Associative checkbox in the dialog. Doing this is important for preventing a conventional pattern from being formed.
- Set the number of instances and desired spacing like you typically would and confirm.
After creation, clicking any pattern entity will choose all the instances and extra handles will become available. You can click and drag the first handle to reposition everything as a group and the second handle to modify instance spacing.
Multiple PDF Import
Although most CAD software allows you to import PDF geometry, only DraftSight lets users import multiple PDFs simultaneously. You can do this as a batch process from a folder containing individual PDF files or a multi-sheet PDF.
Perhaps you receive a client’s as-built set of PDF plans for their future project. Or maybe you want to recreate a project because of corrupt or lost files. With DraftSight, converting PDF geometry to handy vector data is a breeze.
When using DraftSight, it’s vital to have some standards in place for managing your files. You can do this through naming conventions. For instance, you can have conventions in place for your command shortcuts and files. Create and name conventions to speed up your productivity and make it easy to collaborate with others.
If you’re worried about not being able to restore your conventions in case of a system shutdown or reboot, activate Auto-Save in DraftSight to ensure your files remain intact. Go to Tools > Options > System Options > Auto-Save and Backup.
And that’s it for our DraftSight tips. Before signing off, we’d like to remind you that DraftSight is just one CNC plasma cutting software option you can use for CNC operations. To explore other options, visit Squickmon’s Plasma Cutting Software page.