Getting hard copy output from AutoCAD is something of an art. You’ll need to be intimately familiar with both your output device and the settings available in AutoCAD. You will probably spend a good deal of time experimenting with AutoCAD’s plotter settings and with your printer or plotter to get your equipment set up just the way you want.
With the huge array of output options available, this chapter can only provide a general discussion of plotting. It’s up to you to work out the details and fine-tune the way you and AutoCAD together work with your plotter. This chapter describes the features available in AutoCAD and discusses some general rules and guidelines to follow when setting up your plots.
You’ll start out by getting an overview of the plotting features in AutoCAD. Then you’ll delve into the finer details of setting up your drawing and controlling your plotter.
Plotting the Plan
To see firsthand how the Plot command works, you’ll plot the Plan file using the default settings on your system. Start by getting a preview of your plot, before you commit to actually printing your drawing. .
- First, be sure your printer or plotter is connected to your computer and is turned on.
- Start AutoCAD and open the Plan file.
- Choose View > Zoom > All to display the entire drawing.
- Choose File > Plot. The Plot dialog box appears.
- Make sure the Plot Settings tab is selected, then click the Display radio button in the Plot Area button group. This tells AutoCAD to plot the drawing as it looks in the drawing window.
- Make sure the Scaled to fit option is selected in the Plot Scale button group.
- Click the Full Preview button in the lower-left corner of the dialog box. AutoCAD works for a moment, then displays a sample view showing you how your drawing will appear on your printer output.
- Right-click, then select Plot from the popup menu. AutoCAD sends the drawing to your printer.
- Your plotter or printer prints out the plan to no particular scale.
You’ve just done your.first plot just to see how the drawing looks on paper. You used the minimal settings to ensure that the complete drawing appears on the paper. Next, try plotting your drawing to an exact scale.
- Choose File > Plot again.
- If your last printout was not oriented on the papcr correctly, then select the Landscape option in the Drawing Orientation button group.
- Open the Scale drop-down list and select 1/16″ = 10″. Metric users should select 1:20. As you can see, you have quite a few choices for the scale.of your output.
- In the Paper Size and Paper Units button group, select the Inches radio button then select Letter (8.5 x 11 in). Metric users should click the mrn radio button, and select A4 (210 x 297mm). The options available in this drop-down list will depend on your Windows system printer or the output device you have configured for AutoCAD.
- In the Plot Area button group, click the Limits option. ‘This tells AutoCAD to use the limits of your drawing to determine which part of your drawing to plot
- Click Full Preview again to get a preview of your plot.
- Right-click and select Plot. This time, your printout is to scale.
Here, you were asked to make a few more settings in the Plot dialog box. A number of settings work together to produce a drawing that is to scale and that fits properly on your paper. This is where it pays to understand the relationship between your drawing scale and your paper’s size, as it was discussed in Chapter 3.