The Hatch AutoCAD Command: Filling in the Blanks

autocadtutorialAutoCAD is a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program used by architects, engineers, and other professionals who marry art with utility that helps in designing and constructing buildings, products, and open spaces, among many other things. It has been in use since 1982, when it was released by Autodesk Inc., and is one of the more popular drafting softwares on the market. Part of the appeal of AutoCAD is the depth of commands available to the user to fully realize their vision, and the command we are discussing today is the hatch command.

Hatching is one of the most used commands in AutoCAD, and is used to shade objects and shapes that the user has created within the software, and comes in many different “materials” and patterns, such as wood, brick, tile, cork, and stonework, among a multitude of others. This online hatch pattern library offers users hundreds of free patterns to supplement the ones included in AutoCAD.  These patterns are used to indicate what type of material is to be used when the design is fleshed out, or to just make an area stand out from the rest of the design.

Today, we will be discussing various aspects of this AutoCAD command, such as how to access it, a few of its faults, and other useful tips. New to AutoCAD? No problem – this course, which teaches you AutoCAD 2013 will introduce you to this program and its critical features and functions.

Starting the Command and Creating New Hatches

Besides being a handy tool for the professionals that use AutoCAD on a regular basis, it is also possible to alter your hatches to best fit your needs. We’ll show you how to edit the parameters of the hatch command, but first, we’ll show you how to access it.

Accessing the Hatch Command

There are a couple of ways to bring up the hatch command, all of them quite simple.

  1. Click the Home tab > Click the Draw panel > Click Hatch
  2. Keyboard Shortcut: Simply press H, then Enter – To learn more about the rest of the AutoCAD commands and how to access them, this article will show you all the most important ones.

Once the hatch menu is available, the user may access many different patterns that came with the program, including cork, concrete, and other types of masonry. The shape that is being hatched must be completely enclosed for it to take effect. If the area you want to hatch is complex, it may help to use the boundary or region commands. These will create an enclosed area which you may then hatch.

  • Hatching Tip: Sometimes it’s difficult to select and edit the hatched objects without selecting the hatching itself because of all the confusing lines layered on top of one another. The HATCHTOBACK command may be used to alleviate this annoying issue. It moves all the hatching underneath everything else, so that when you click on a hatched object, you will access the object rather than the hatching.

Creating Custom Patterns 

If the hatch patterns that come with AutoCAD just aren’t doing the trick, you may want to find new patterns online and download them, or, it’s possible to just create your own pattern to fit your specific needs. To create an originial hatch pattern, the user must access the folder with these files. They contain a .pat file extension, and should not be too hard to locate. The user then dictates the angles and axises that will make up the new pattern. This site provides a how-to for making custom hatch designs in AutoCAD.

Hatch Disadvantages

While both AutoCAD and its hatch command are very convenient and helpful tools for those in need of a useful drafting tool, there are a few setbacks to hatching.

  • Limited Colors and Textures: The default settings for the hatch command that come with AutoCad are a bit limited in scope. The possible colors that are able to be accessed is 256, with only a handful of textures available to the user, that, while adequate for most people, may fall short for others.
  • Unrealistic Renderings: Once an appropriate hatch texture has been chosen and implemented, they are not usually photo-realistic in appearance. There are other options out there if realism is important to you, including 3D modeling programs as well as various illustration programs.
  • Lack of Precision in Larger Coordinates: When hatching in drawings with large coordinates, the hatching may have a scrambled appearance because of a lack of precision. There is a fix for this: simply issue the SNAPBASE command, then choose a point just below and to the left of the original hatching area for your hatch to turn out better.
  • Incorrect Spacing: When displaying hatchings in paper space, the spacing of the hatches may have incorrect dimensions. The way to fix this issue is to make your hatches annotative. The annotative hatching feature is found in newer versions of AutoCAD and lets the user add dimensions, multileaders, blocks, and hatches in model space, which allows for scaling to the correct size when viewing in a paper viewport. If you’re interested in learning AutoCAD, but don’t have much time, this crash course in AutoCAD will teach you the basics in just a few hours.

The hatch command is one of the many useful tools found in the AutoCAD drafting software, and is used to breathe life (but not too much life) into the user’s creation, and engineers, architects, inventors, and other creative types are able to see what their creations will potentially look like when fleshed out. Hatching not only renders them more realistic, but also may be used simply to color an enclosed area, to shade, shadow, or model, or to simply differentiate between an object and a void, which may prove helpful to urban planners as well as cartographers. Want to brush up on the newest version of AutoCAD? This course will tell you everything you need to know about the 2014 version.