Rotate Tool

 |  Igor Idzik

Table of contents:
Rotate a region
Advanced Settings





In this article, we are going to learn about SelfCAD's Rotate tool. I am going to explain all of the ins and outs of this feature, as well as present its applications. Rotate is one of the basic transformation tools available in SelfCAD, and you can find it in the main Toolbar, right next to the Move tool. As its name suggests, it allows you to rotate selected objects or selected regions of the object around one of its axes. In addition to that, Rotate allows you to set the point of Origin, which allows you to customize the point of rotation. Follow this article to learn all about them!


Infographic showing all features available for the Rotate tool


Select the object

 Selecting the shape on which we will use the Rotate tool

The first step of using any modeling tool is selecting the object on which you want to use it. You can select objects by either left-clicking on them in the workspace or by selecting them in the Object Management section, in the right-side panel. The second option has an in-built search engine, which is extremely useful when you are working with multiple objects.


Activate the tool

Activate the Rotate tool by selecting it from the main Toolbar or by using a shortcut

Once the object is selected, you can activate the Rotate tool by selecting it from the main toolbar, or by pressing the letter ‘R’ on your keyboard. This way, you’ll open a Tool Setting Panel with all of the customizable options for this tool on the left side of your screen. Activating the Rotate tool will also enable the Gizmo that you can use to rotate the object around it.



Rotate the object by dragging the gizmo

Now you can start rotating the object. The first way to do it is by dragging the gizmos.  Each gizmo you see rotates the model around a different axis. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that the object will rotate directly around the gizmo.  When you start dragging the gizmo you will open up the protractor. Your object will rotate around the protractor’s center, not around the gizmo itself. Use the protractor to pick the exact angle you want. 

Rotate the object on specific axis by typing the angle of rotation into text-boxes

The second way to rotate the object is by typing the angle by which you want to rotate the selected object on a given axis into the provided text boxes. You can also check the checkboxes next to them to copy the angle of rotation between the axes.



Select a region

Select a region that we will Rotate

SelfCAD allows you to not only change the rotation of the object itself, but you can also rotate some of its regions. To do so, you need to select those regions first. In the Right Side Panel, you will find an Interactive Rectangle, where you can enter one of the following selection modes: Face, Vertex, and Edge. Then, you can select the parts of the object that you want to rotate.


Rotate a region

Rotate selected region by either dragging the gizmo or using text-boxes

Rotating a region works exactly the same as rotating the object itself does. After selecting a region or regions that you want to rotate, you can either rotate them with the help of the Gizmo or type in the angle of rotation into the text boxes to rotate the selected region.



Origin and Gizmo’s position

Customize the point of Origin and Gizmo's position for the Rotate tool

Within the Advanced Settings of the Rotate tool, there is an option called Origin. Origin sets the position of the Gizmo. In practice, you can use it to set a point around which the object will rotate itself. You can use one of the preset positions available to you in the dropdown lists or set the Origin manually by using the Manual Gizmo Position feature.


Local Transformation

Toggle to enable the Local Transformation setting of the Rotate tool

Local Transformation is another feature available in the Advanced Settings of the Rotate tool, and it is available only when you are rotating a region of the object. By enabling this option, you will move and rotate the position of the Gizmo, which in turn will allow you to rotate the region independently from the rest of the model. To use this option, you have to enter a specific Selection Mode, and then select the region of the object that you want to rotate. You can go back to Select and Move a region paragraphs for a more detailed explanation.


Individual Transformation

Toggle to enable the Individual Transformation setting of the Rotate tool

Individual Transformation is another feature available in the Advanced Settings of the Rotate tool, and it is available only when you are rotating at least two separate regions of the object. As the name suggests, by enabling this option, you will Rotate selected parts independently from each other. Again, if you need a reminder on how to select a region, you can go back to previous paragraphs for a detailed explanation.


Minimum Step Size

Customize the Minimum Step Size for the Rotate tool

Minimum Step Size is one of the most useful features when it comes to precise modeling, and you have to operate on strict values. It locks the tool at a specified value, and it will rotate the object by the multiplication of this value. For example, if you set this feature to 30, then you will rotate the object by 30 degrees around a chosen axis, which will be the first step. When you try to rotate it further, it will do so by another 30 degrees and so on.



That’s about it for the Rotate. After reading this article, you should know the basics of the Rotate tool and how to use it, know about its different applications and how to implement and customize its advanced settings. Of course, the graphics shown here were just examples, and using this tool on other shapes will give you slightly different effects, but its underlying principles will always stay the same.  


That's all I have for you today. I wish you success in your future projects. See you, and stay tuned for more content to come!

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