This section will introduce you to the basics of using eMachineShop CAD. You’ll learn:

  • Important techniques
  • The eMachineShop CAD screen
  • How to design a simple part
  • Standard Windows commands

Key Techniques 

  1. SNAP & NUDGE: Don’t try to position items with the mouse directly. First use the mouse to drag the item’s corner or center to snap to the endpoint or center of another line. Then use the arrow buttons to nudge the item into position. You can change the nudge amount on the numeric bar.
  2. NUMERIC BAR: Don’t try to size items with the mouse. Enter sizes on the numeric bar.
  3. ERASER: To create shapes other than rectangles and circles, create overlapping rectangles and circles and then user the Eraser tool to delete appropriate segments.
  4. REPEAT: Use the Repeat button instead of redrawing copies.
  5. USE THE HELP: Refer to these web help sections to save time when learning the software.


You can also create 3D shapes with the Z Value:


  1. Z VALUE: Use the numeric bar Z value to specify how much material there will be in your part perpendicular to the screen. If you can’t create your shape by adding material via positive Z values, start with a shape representing more material than you need and remove material via negative Z values. 
  2. TOP VIEW: For most shapes first select View | Top and start drawing the shape of your part as if viewing your part from above with your part is lying down on a table. However start round shapes with a circle in the Top view.
  3. SAMPLE SHAPES: See how some of the Samples Shapes are drawn to learn how these techniques are combined.

Note: The Air Outside feature has been removed- use air inside instead.


If you are working from an existing part, first use a ruler or caliper to measure the size and position of the part features and make a rough pencil sketch – something like the image to the right:


Screen Elements 

Screen section names and functions are illustrated to the right: 




The video to the right provides an overview of eMachineShop and the types of parts, finishes and machines used to manufacture your parts. Watch the video to learn more about our business and how we can assist you custom machined parts.

Quick Start

countour.gif (153 bytes)  Contouring creates a new closed shape at a fixed distance (inside or outside) from an existing closed shape. For example, you might use contouring to create a pyramid shape using progressively larger squares in a stepped arrangement.

Before designing a part, please see the Key Techniques above.

Designing a part consists of the steps below, explained in detail in subsequent sections.

To design a part:

  1. Choose File | New | Blank Design.
  2. Draw basic lines using the left toolbar and the Line menu to manipulate and combine lines. All lines you draw must be closed shapes. You can put one shape inside another but they must not intersect (overlap), though two shapes can touch each other. 
  3. On the numeric bar set Z to a positive value to add material perpendicular to the screen, negative to remove material, Air Inside to cut fully thru your part. 
  4. Use the View menu to add features to the sides or bottom of your part. 
  5. Click the Pyramid button to verify the 3D shape.
  6. After selecting a line click the Machine button. Select Auto usually or other options to make bends, threads, comments, etc.
  7. Choose Job | Settings and enter the indicated information. 
  8. Click the Checkmark button to analyze and price your design.
  9. Resolve any errors and review advisories.
  10. Choose Order | Place order to submit your design for manufacturing.


  1. To see the size of a line click it and view the property bar.
  2. To delete a line click it and then the X button.
  3. To position a line drag it to a snap point and then nudge it with the arrow keys.
  4. To zoom in/out use the mouse scroll wheel. To fit drawing to screen press the = key.
  5. To draw a shape draw overlapping circles and rectangles and then use the eraser tool to delete segments.
  6. To edit a shape you might need to first click the Ungroup button.
  7. To make a copy of a shape, click it and then the Repeat button.
  8. To thread a hole click a circle and then Line | Machine | tap.
  9. To create a sheet metal part with bends, draw the flat shape first. Then add lines where you want bends and from the line type drop list select Bend.
  10. To rotate a line click it twice slowly and then drag the rotation handle. 


SKIP THIS SECTION if you are familiar with Windows software.

The eMachineShop software follows standard Windows conventions and terms. If you are not experienced with Windows software, it is recommended to first read one of the many books available since this help documentation assumes you are familiar with such things as: dragging objects on the screen using your mouse; common commands like Undo and Redo; use of menus, toolbars, and status bars; etc.

File Menu

The file menu contains command used to work with files stored on your disk. You can use the File commands to create, open, reopen, save, import, export to STL and revert files. 

icon-new.gif (132 bytes) New – creates new drawings for each new part to be fabricated. New files are untitled. To specify a file name choose File | Save.

icon-save.gif (165 bytes) Save – stores your design to your disk. You should save your work periodically.

icon-save-as.gif (165 bytes) Rename – changes the name of the current file.

icon-open.gif (155 bytes) Open – opens a drawing file stored on disk.

Reopen – Opens a recently used file.

icon-import.gif (166 bytes) Import – Imports drawing data from another format. Click here .

icon-revent.gif (171 bytes) Revert – Undoes changes made to a File since the last Save or since you last exited the application.

icon-print.gif (194 bytes) Print – Prints your drawing to paper. 

icon-exit.gif (125 bytes) Exit – Closes the application.

Edit Menu

button-undo.gif (140 bytes) Undo – Undoes the last change(s) to your drawing.

button-redo.gif (140 bytes) Redo – Undoes an Undo.

The other items on the Edit menu are described in these separate sections: Copy  Paste  Delete  Finding  Preferences


The term dragging is the process of moving lines using your mouse.

To drag a line:

  1. Point the mouse cursor to the line to be moved.
  2. While holding down the left mouse button move the mouse to the desired location. It is strongly recommended to first drag a line to a snap point of another line (an endpoint or midpoint) and then use the keyboard arrow keys to “nudge” the line into position.
  3. Release the mouse button.

To drag a line to a location outside the current viewable area:

  1. Drag the item near the approriate edge and wait a moment.
  2. The viewing area will scroll in the approriate direction.
  3. When the desired position is reached, move away from the edge and position the item.