Capabilities

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Capabilities

Postby interman » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:39 am

I'm no stranger to drawing programs but QCad has me stumped on several basic issues.
1) I "draw" an image from a file. Afterwards I can't seem to move it anywhere else.
2) I created multiple layers, each with an image on it. I can only see the image on layer 0 unless I make layer 0 invisible. That would make sense if layer 0 was the top layer, but when I have a vector layer in between, sometimes it shows and sometimes it doesn't.
3) Why isn't there a capability for restacking layers?
4) I traced from an image I scanned in and wanted to touch up the lines. However, I can't seem to move the end points of the line segments. All I seem to be able to do is delete lines and redraw them. How do you adjust line segments, combine segments into a (possibly open) polygon, and other basic operations? Is it even possible to fill a closed polygon with a colour?
5) How do I access the parts library?

The manual is OK as far as it goes, but it rarely strays beyond stating the basics about menu options. Is there anything more in depth that I can read?

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Re: Capabilities

Postby andrew » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:21 am

interman wrote:I'm no stranger to drawing programs but QCad has me stumped on several basic issues.


First, please note that QCAD is a CAD application and not a drawing program such as Inkscape, OpenOffice Draw or Adobe Illustrator. There is a fundamental difference here that is often underestimated. CAD applications are meant to create precise, technical plans of real life objects. The key aspect of a CAD drawing is the information it contains and carries across to the viewer. Presentation has to be clear and unambiguous but is usually not required to be particularly attractive.

interman wrote:1) I "draw" an image from a file. Afterwards I can't seem to move it anywhere else.


You can use the move utility, cut / paste or drag and drop for this. Select the image close to its border and also click close to the image border for drag and drop.

interman wrote:2) I created multiple layers, each with an image on it. I can only see the image on layer 0 unless I make layer 0 invisible. That would make sense if layer 0 was the top layer, but when I have a vector layer in between, sometimes it shows and sometimes it doesn't.


Another fundamental difference between drawing tools and CAD. Layers create structure in your drawing, control attributes and define the function of an entity (is a line part of a wall or part of electrical wiring?). They do not control display order. Display order in QCAD 2.0 is controlled by drawing order. It can also be controlled by the tools 'Send to back' and 'Bring to front' (QCAD >= 2.2) or using the display order property in later versions of QCAD (>= 3.0).

interman wrote:3) Why isn't there a capability for restacking layers?


Same here. Layers have nothing to to with display order. Please understand that this is not a 'missing feature'. It is not meant to be like that for a good reason. The short explanation is that layers and blocks are two different (orthogonal) concepts of structuring your drawing. You can move a block to the back of your drawing, but not a layer.

interman wrote:4) I traced from an image I scanned in and wanted to touch up the lines. However, I can't seem to move the end points of the line segments. All I seem to be able to do is delete lines and redraw them.


- Select the line
- Move the mouse cursor close to the blue spot on the line end point you want to move
- Press the left mouse button
- Move the mouse pointer until the line end point starts to move
- Let go of the left mouse button
- Use the snap tools are usual to reposition the end point by clicking in the drawing area or entering a coordinate

This is sometimes called drag and drop in other applications. In QCAD drag and drop works slightly different. The reason is again, that drawings are modified in a precise way. Screen coordinates don't matter. The end point has to be at a clearly defined point, not just where it 'looks about right'.

interman wrote:How do you adjust line segments


See above. You can also use the trim tools, stretch tool, etc.

interman wrote:combine segments into a (possibly open) polygon, and other basic operations?


You can create a polyline from loose segments in QCAD >= 2.2 using the polyline tool 'Create from Segments'.

interman wrote:Is it even possible to fill a closed polygon with a colour?


For polygons this requires QCAD >= 2.2.
QCAD 2.0 can fill loose segments which form a closed path (Draw - Hatch - Check 'Solid Fill').

interman wrote:5) How do I access the parts library?


QCAD 2.0:
View - Views - Library Browser

QCAD 3.0:
View - Library Browser

interman wrote:The manual is OK as far as it goes, but it rarely strays beyond stating the basics about menu options. Is there anything more in depth that I can read?


The book 'QCAD - An Introduction to Computer-Aided Design' offers a complete introduction to CAD and QCAD for beginners of CAD: http://www.qcad.org/en/qcad-book
The book applied to the latest version of QCAD Professional which is 3.0. A new community edition of QCAD based on QCAD 3 is also planned but we don't have a release date yet.
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