Cloning with the Transform Tools

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You can also clone objects using the transform tools. The Move/Copy tool is the easiest to use, but you can also clone objects with the Rotate and Offset tools.

CROSS-REF Cloning objects with the Offset tool is covered in Chapter 10.

Cloning with the Move/Copy tool

To clone an object with the Move/Copy tool, hold down the Ctrl key before you release the object that is being dragged with the Move tool and a copy is made. The Ctrl key can be pressed before the object is first moved or after it has started to move. The cursor appears as a small plus sign when the Ctrl key is pressed to indicate that the object being moved will be cloned.

Creating a linear array of objects

When you clone an object with the Move/Copy tool, you can add a multiplier value in the Measurements Toolbar to indicate the number of duplicate copies to create. For example, if you clone a telephone pole by holding down the Ctrl key while dragging with the Move/Copy tool, a single duplicate pole is created. After creating a single cloned pole, you can type a value followed by “x” in the Measurements Toolbar to indicate the number of duplicates to create; for example, a value of 4x creates four additional poles. You can also create duplicates by typing an * (asterisk) and a number, such as *6.

TIP If you make a mistake in the number of copies to create, you can alter the number (even if it is less) by simply typing a new multiplier value before selecting another command.

When creating duplicate objects this way, each object is spaced the same distance as the first moved object, causing all objects in the array to be equally spaced.

Using the multiplier value repeats the move and clone operation, but you can also distribute the cloned objects over a specified distance using the divide operator in the Measurements Toolbar. For example, if you move and clone one slat of a white picket fence to the end of the property line and type the 25/ value in the Measurements Toolbar, then 25 slats will be equally spaced between the starting and ending slats, as shown in Figure 7.2.

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FIGURE 7.2 Cloned objects can be distributed between two placed objects.

Creating a radial array of objects

All of the commands used to clone and duplicate objects that are available for the Move/Copy tool are also available for the Rotate tool. The key difference is that when creating an array of objects with a multiplier value it creates a radial array of objects instead of a linear array.

To clone an object with the Rotate tool, simply hold down the Ctrl key when rotating an object; and after rotating an object, you can type a multiplier value like 4x to repeat the cloning effect or a divisor value like 12/ to distribute objects between the clone and its original object. Figure 7.3 shows a simple wheel with spokes created using this method. The key is to position the rotation gizmo at the center of the disc.

FIGURE 7.3 The Rotate tool can be used to create radial arrays of objects.

Tutorial: Adding bolts to a flange

After placing an object where it needs to be, you can use the cloning operations to quickly place other objects around a center point, such as bolts in a flange.

To add several bolts to a flange, follow these steps:

1. Open the Bolts and flange.skp file from the Chapter 07 folder on the CD.
This file includes flange and bolt components.

2. Select the placed bolt and choose the Rotate tool (Q). Click to place the rotation gizmo on the center of the flange, then hold down the Ctrl key and drag the bolt to the second hole that is 90 degrees from the first.

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3. Immediately after placing the second bolt, type 3x in the Measurements Toolbar and press Enter. The cloned bolts are placed where they need to be, as shown in Figure 7.4.

FIGURE 7.4 After placing the first bolt, the others are easily copied in place.

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