Adding Pieces

Once you have found in the piece tree the part you need, you have three ways to add it to your project:

  • Use the Insert tool
  • Drag and drop from piece tree
  • Use the "Insert" key

Tip: After you add a new piece, you often have to move it to fine tune its position. LeoCAD can switch to Move tool after piece insertion. This capability is enabled in "Preferences" under the "View" menu, "Drawing Aids" tab: check the box "Switch to move after inserting".

Insert tool or drag and drop from piece tree

These two modes are equivallent:

  • either highlight a part in the piece tree, then use the Insert tool to place it in the drawing.
  • or, with any tool, drag the part from piece tree to the proper place of the drawing area and drop it there.

If you drop the new piece in an empty spot of the drawing area, it will be placed in the horizontal plane Z=0.
If you drop it while the cursor is over an existing part, the new piece will be placed on top and with the orientation of the existing one (see New piece position below)

Insert key

You may also use the "Insert" key (default keyboard shortcut) to add a new piece. Highlight the piece in piece tree, then press "Insert".

If you are inserting the first piece of your project, it will be placed on the origin of the 3D space (X=Y=Z=0).

Tip: This is a good way to ensure that your drawing will be centered.

If a previously placed piece is active (blue outline), the new one will be placed on top and with the orientation of the active piece (see New piece position below). The new piece will become the active one.
Instead of "Insert" key, you may also use the "Insert" option of the mouse right-click contextual menu.

Tip: If no piece is active, the new piece will appear on top of the first piece created in the project. This is not generally what you want, so make sure that there is an active piece when you hit the "Insert" key.

New piece position

When a new piece is inserted on top of another, LeoCAD places the new piece at some distance of the existing one. This displacement is done in the Z-direction (blue arrow) relative to piece orientation. The offset distance is computed so that the two pieces do not overlap (studs excluded), then adjusted to the closest multiple of Z grid snap value.

The orientation of the new piece is the same as the orientation of the existing one.
This behaviour generally provides nice stacking of pieces, but there are a few issues:

- Since the origins are aligned in Z-direction, odd sized pieces will not fit studs of even sized ones. A half stud move will be needed.
- If the Z grid snap size is too coarse, the snap to grid rounding will place the new piece at the same spot as the existing one. If they are of the same type, this can be confusing (overlap).
The recommended grid snap size for bricks and plates placement is 1/2 stud in X/Y directions, 1 flat (1 plate height) in Z direction. These are the default values when you start LeoCAD.

The Z grid snap size should match the height of elements to be inserted. For example, the height of Technic beams is 1 stud, the best Z grid snap size is therefore 1/2 stud or 1/4 stud.

Tip: Technic bricks and plates placement work best with 1 flat Z-grid. But many other Technic elements require 1/2 or 1/4 stud Z-grid. You will have to switch often between these values while creating Technic models''

Last modified 10 years ago Last modified on Mar 3, 2006 8:25:35 AM

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