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Isometric drawing.

Measurable
Three-dimensional
drawing.

Isometric drawing is a key drawing method for Industrial designers to draw accurate representations of products ranging from phones to cars. This page begins with simple exercises on how to set out your Isometric drawing and moves through drawing ellipses for wheels to finish with some tips on how CAD can be used to make Isometric projections easily.

Introduction to Isometric drawing

Isometric drawing is a method of paraline or axonometric drawing where views of an object are projected onto oblique planes. It is a quick, easy and accurate way of representing form for visualisation and presentation drawings. Drawings using this method are set up on axes 30 degrees from the horizontal using a 30/60 degree set square or by using a digital method. Right angles on top surfaces of isometric drawings are shown at 120 degrees. It is an accurate way to visualise form accurately because true measurements may be used along each axis. This makes it easy to translate form from two dimensions into three. Students in Visual Communication Design are required to be proficient in both manual and digital-based methods for Isometric drawing.

For more information on Isometric drawing VCD, download the current VCAA ‘Technical Drawing Specifications’.

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Model answer

Shown here is an isometric drawing of the same block featured in each of these pages on technical drawing. This one was done with a digital-based method and the vector-based media of Adobe Illustrator.
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Crating

Crating is a technique used in three-dimensional drawing. Because it’s hard to measure up and locate points when one is drawing a complex form, it is best to draw a box around it first. This box is known as the crate. From the crate it is possible to find any points within.
Watch this video for a step by step breakdown of how to use crating to support forms in Isometric drawings.
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This is the form we want to draw.
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We need to construct a box to build the form in. This is called a crate.
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Always begin an Isometric by forming a complete base.
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Then complete the crate.
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Next, divide the crate in half horizontally.
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Then, divide it in half vertically from the left side.
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And then, in half from the right side.
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Now, locate and heavy in the lower block.
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And finally, the upper block.

task

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1.1 Crating blocks

Construct the Isometric blocks as shown above and in the video. The crate is a cube 80 mm high, wide and deep.

Adding wheels

Here is a simple toy racing car we can use to practice drawing ellipses to make wheels in Isometric. Follow the video below then try it for yourself.
Watch this video for a step by step breakdown of how to do a manual Isometric drawing of the kind needed for exams.
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A 3rd Angle Orthogonal of a toy racing car that is used for the Isometric drawing shown in the video above.
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A completed test Isometric drawing done in Illustrator to compliment the manual method shown in the video above.

Jump to

For further information on drawing Ellipses click on the link at right.
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Ellipses in 3D drawing

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2.1 toy racing car

Follow the video and/or the instructions above, and construct the toy racing car. Use an ellipse template if you have one, or construct the wheels manually using the technique shown in the linked page on Ellipses in 3D drawing.

More advanced crating

A complex form such as this electric toaster is made easy if we break it down. The first step is to build a crate then measure up and in from the edges to find new points.
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The blue lines show the crate done in the first stage of the drawing. From this, the actual form of the toaster has been found. This is shown in red.
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Once the line drawing was complete, shapes were created in separate layers and rendered with gradients.
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The completed drawing with line layers switched off and exported.

Jump to

For further information on drawing 3rd Angle Orthogonal drawing click on the link at right.
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3rd Angle Orthogonal

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3.1 Gather information

Select an electrical appliance. Measure it and record the form in a 3rd Angle Orthogonal Drawing at an appropriate scale. Use the page linked here if you need help with a 3rd Angle Orthogonal drawing.

3.2 Advanced crating Isometric

Use the fully dimensioned 3rd Angle Orthogonal drawing done in step 3.1 to inform a crated Isometric projection of your electrical appliance. (Complex sub-parts may need to be simplified).

Moving into CAD

There are many digital methods that will allow students to make quick, accurate and complex Isometric drawings. Adobe Illustrator supports making three-dimensional forms with its Extrude and Bevel effect. Another easy way to make two-dimensional sides in Isometric is with Illustrator Actions. These can be searched up and downloaded from the internet easily.

But the real way forward with three-dimensional drawing is with CAD (Computer Aided Design). Beginning with free programs such as Tinkercad, then progressing to industrial applications AutoCAD and Fusion 360, students will become engineers in class time! Teachers should consider getting education licences for their classes.

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Make sides for an Isometric using actions. You can download them and install them into Adobe Illustrator for free. This will allow you to make the crate for your Isometric drawing.
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Adobe Illustrator's 3D Extrude and Bevel function adds three-dimensional depth to a model. This can be for presentation work or to create a form to trace and render.
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For full three-dimensional functionality use a CAD program. Begin with Tinkercad, finish at AutoCAD or Fusion 360.

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4.1 aids to isometric

In Adobe Illustrator;

  1. Create a shape you can develop into a form in Isometric.
  2. Use Illustrator Object/ Transform / Scale and Shear (or download an action) to create Isometric components.
  3. After that,  use 3D Extrude & Bevel to develop form from a shape.

4.2 beginning with CAD

Create a free Tinkercad account. Experiment with simple forms. Screen shot your work.