How to Create a Solid Model 3D AutoCAD Drawing

How to Create a Solid Model 3D AutoCAD Drawing

3D solid models are virtual objects created by AutoCAD and other CAD (computer-aided design) programs. Such programs have been running on PCs since the early 1980’s, when modeling was limited to just a few basic shapes like lines and circles. Today, 3D solid modeling can create any imaginable object, though is typically used to design buildings and other precisely-measured structures. Users new to solid model creation will learn a number of component skills, including how to navigate the 3D models space they’ll make the model in.


Open AutoCAD and choose a 3D view to work in: First, expose the 3D navigation toolbar by clicking the “Tools” menu, followed by clicking “Toolbars,” “AutoCAD” and “3D models Navigation.”

Select the navigation toolbar’s “Orbit” tool, then click-and-drag in the drawing window, watching the tri-colored “XYZ” tripod at the lower-left of the window. This tripod represents your orientation in 3D space. Stop dragging the mouse once you can clearly see each of the X, Y and Z axes.

Prepare to create a box by using the mouse: Repeat step 1, except choose the “Modeling” toolbar to display this time, instead of “3D navigation.” The modeling toolbar holds tools for making 3D solid models (free 3d models).

Create the box: Click the toolbar’s box icon, then drag anywhere in the drawing window to define the box’s base. Click-and-drag again to define the box’s height. End box creation by clicking a final time.

Notice that the box’s hidden edges are visible, which means that the box isn’t yet a true solid model. To remedy this, first click the “Render” tab.

Click the “Conceptual” visual style, which is located in the “Visual Styles” drop-down menu in the “Visual Styles” panel. The “Conceptual” style displays solid mode views of objects. These views have simplified shading for fast drawing and clear viewing. Notice that the box’s hidden edges are no long visible.

Create a perspective view to make the box more realistic: Right-click the drawing window’s view cube, then select “Perspective.” Notice that the box’s parallel edges now appear to converge toward each other slightly, which is the hallmark of a perspective view.

Shape the model: Click the “Home” tab, then click the “Vertex” button in the “Subobject” panel. A vertex is one of the box’s eight corners.

Press the “Control” key while clicking any of the box’s vertices. This will select a vertex.

Right-click the selected vertex, then choose “Move.” Drag anywhere near the box to move the vertex and shape the box.

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