Did you now that BricsCAD provides you will a whole toolset of intelligent snaping and tracking systems that speed up your 2D and 3D drafting? By utilizing Temporary Tracking, 3D snaps and Polar Snaps, you can make sure that every line is exactly where you need it to be in the shortest possible time.

Polar snaps

Polar snaps help you understand the relative location between entities in the drawing space and the movement of your cursor during a drawing command. They are particularly handy for people who have trouble working in 3D, but can also be extremely useful for maintaining accuracy when drafting in 2D.

By default, when you align with the X Y or Z axis, a preview trajectory in the same color as the corresponding axis will appear “a tracking path”. Hit Shift to fix to this angle and the preview trajectory will change to red.

polar snaping
Note the axis colors have been changed from BricsCAD’s standard palet for clarity.

Turn Polar Snaps On and Off

To turn Polar snaps off and on, click the POLAR tab in the bottom-right of your workspace.

turning on and off polar snaps

You can also hit F10!

Customize Polar Snaps

Polar snapping doesn’t have to be at 90°! You can snap to any angle you care to choose – ideal for isometric drawing or custom styles! Navigate to Settings > Drafting > Coordinate input > AutoSnap. Here you can modify the polar angle.

You can also add specific angles under “Polar add angles”. Make sure to turn on Polar mode option 4 “Use additional polar tracking angles”. Separate each angle with a semicolon “;”

isometric drawing angles set bricscad
Changing the polar snap angles. Note the preview of the angles in the bottom right corner.

Angles that do not correspond to the X Y or Z axis (90°) will display in blue-purple.

angle snaps polar bricscad isometric drawing
Note the new polar snaps displayed in blue-purple.

3D Entity Snaps

In addition to the 2D Entity Snaps, BricsCAD offers you a series of 3D entity snaps to use with 3D entities such as solids, surfaces, meshes and even, splines.

3d snap points temporary tracking
3D perpendicular snaping.

To set the 3D Entity Snaps

To set 3D entity snaps you can use the 3D Entity Snaps toolbar, Shift + right-click or enter the settings.

The Shift+Right-click menu for Entity Snaps.
Name Icon Marker Description
Center 3D snap point Snaps to the center of 3D faces.
Intersection 3D snap point 3D snap point Snaps to the intersections of linear entities, edges, and polar or entity snap tracking lines with faces.
Knot 3D snap point Snaps to knots (fit points) on splines.
Midpoint 3D snap point Snaps to the midpoint of a face edge.
Nearest 3D snap point Snaps to a point on the face of a 3D entity that is nearest to the cursor.
None Disables all 3D snap modes.
Perpendicular 3D snap point Snaps to a point perpendicular to a face on a 3D entity.
Vertex 3D snap point 3D snap point Snaps to the closest vertex of a 3D entity and the control vertices of splines.

When no command is running, click a tool button to toggle the snap mode on/off. During a command, click a tool button to set the snap mode for the next point, this temporarily disables all other selected snap modes.

3d entity snap BricsCAD
Using the 3D entity snap Knots to snap to the knots on a spline.

Temporary tracking

Once you’ve got the hang of Polar Snapping and your 3D snaps are under control, you might want to start experimenting with Temporary tracking. Use it to set a point in relation to other entities without creating unnecessary entities. This handy tool works in both 2D and 3D!

It’s the digital equivalent of making pencil markings before you draw the line in with your pen.

temporary tracking 3d in BricsCAD
Temporary tracking points allow you to “draw with skyhooks”. Combine with polar snaping for high-level accuracy.

To set Temporary Tracking

To access this essential tool middle-click (the mouse scroll button) or type TK into the Command line, after you start a drawing command.

Select a starting “reference point” from which to set the relative location. Then, move the cursor in a given direction. Type in the distance and hit Enter or simply left-click. Repeat until you have the location you need.

To finish, right-click to use the coordinate as the origin point for the drawing command.

temporary tracking in 2d BricsCAD
Use temporary tracking mid command.

You can even use temporary tracking mid-way through a command. For example, when drawing a spline you can recall temporary tracking for each vertex.


Download BricsCAD Shape free

Get started with 3D CAD today

Permanent or subscription licenses that work in all languages, in all regions.


More Tuesday Tips: