Experience Level: Beginner
Efficiency is the name of the game and when you get to know the tools that help you view your work in different ways, your productivity will grow by leaps and bounds. In this article we’ll walk through some of the ways you can view and interact with your 2D and 3D CAD designs within the different PunchCAD programs.
The first thing that we suggest familiarizing yourself with is the ‘view’ tab at the top of your PunchCAD software screen.
To start exploring here, we want to open an example that we can reference. To find examples, click ‘File’ from the top menu bar and then select ‘Open Examples’. For this exercise we’re going to be using the example file ‘knot.vc3, but you can use whatever file you would like. ‘knot.vc3’ can be located by clicking on ‘3D Print Files’, selecting ‘Knots’, and then by selecting the first presented option.
Once you’ve opened this example, go into the ‘View’ tab on the menu and select ‘View the Plane’. Your 3D model should look like this:
We recommend really going through each of the options under the view tab to see how they impact the design, and which type of view you personally enjoy the most. One of the main reasons to do this is, when you’ve figured out several views that you find to be the most useful, you might want to add a keyboard shortcut so you can access that view easily and quickly to streamline your design process.
To access your keyboard shortcuts, simply click on ‘Short Cuts’ under the ‘File’ tab. In the image below you can see we’ve selected ‘View’ in the ‘Category’ section, and in the ‘Command’ section to the right you can see each view option you might want to assign.
When you’ve decided on a command you want to have a shortcut for, simply add the keystroke you want to use for the shortcut, and then click ‘Assign Key’ on the right side of the Short Cut Manager.
When you are in your project, all you have to do to access the shortcut is press and hold shift while you select your command key.
Another feature that’s useful to familiar yourself with as you make 3D CAD designs with our software is the Dynamic menu – where you can choose between ‘Dynamic Pan’, ‘Dynamic Zoom’, and ‘Dynamic Rotate’.
What makes each of these tools so unique and helpful is they allow you to interact with your designs intuitively and freely. The dynamic tools let you grab hold of your designs, move and rotate them, and zoom in and out.
The Knot example is a perfect design to test these different tools out - as the differences between sides are so obvious, and you will quickly discover how you prefer to manipulate your designs so they can be viewed and worked on effectively.
Taking a little time to practice the dynamic tools and the view commands will save you a lot of time with your designs in the future, and is a great first step to mastering your skills with CAD software.