Architect Ronald Lohan was inspired by a previous tip and gives us another on using the z-axis in AutoCAD to alter the UCS (user coordinate system) to create angled linework.
"I appreciated Marcel Aubin's tip on x,y,z filters (Tip #3538). He reminds us of some of the simple commands that make life easier in AutoCAD (the z coordinate filter is the most commonly used).
"Most architects and designers are reluctant to design square structures for the more modernistic curves, angles, and twists used today. AutoCAD, however, has a command to draw in any angle, simplifying this task. Even adding blocks and text to this angle is easy!
"The use of the z coordinate helps to set the UCS to the desired angle to assist with drawing elements that are either parallel or perpendicular to the line angle. This temporarily sets the UCS to that line. You can enter the angle or simply click on two points to set the angle. These two points establish the x direction, which also establishes the zero rotation angle for block insertion. The easiest way to remember z coordinate is, it's like rotating a line from the top to the angle you need!
"Once I have completed the task of drawing elements associated with the angled line, I use UCS Previous. This will reset the UCS to the original angle the drawing started with."
Notes from Cadalyst Tip Patrol: Many users have the misconception that AutoCAD is a great 2D drafting tool. They are correct, but they are wrong when they believe that is all it is. AutoCAD 2011 is a fully fledged 3D surface and free-form modeling tool. It uses three axes: x, y, and z. You can change your UCS along any of these three axes; this allows you to create more than just 2D linework.