Since Autocad’s smashing success in replacing mechanical drafting boards worldwide in the 1980’s and 1990’s, it has had 3 great needs. One of these is a Bill of Material. Tables were introduced in 2005, unfortunately well after the autocad buzz was silent. They did not get as much attention as they would have much earlier, but they have wide capabilities. Clearly the autocad programmers studied excel and tried to bring in many of its features, although a mobile table in a 3D graphics space is much different than a spreadsheet. Excel is still the bill of material autocad always needed. That has been the case for a long time. The autocad bill is best thought of as a reflection of data in excel. The drawing is not an entity to itself. Nearly every autocad user building a product has some sort of database that interfaces back to their shipping, purchasing or accounting system.
Finding the right form and scope for the on-drawing bill of material is probably something that most firms struggle with. Is the bill instruction for fabrication, for ordering, for the customer, for the shipping department, or to show design intent? Autocad tables are not where most designers want to bury crucial information, but most drawings need a bill to summarize what is being shown and direct the output of fabrication, a list of parts or material used, a list of items produced to know when the drawing is fabricated completely. Autocad tables have a huge number of features, both user interface and vba interface. They can mirror information in excel which in turn can translate back and forth to the system database, but they are not restricted to being bills of material. They are in the fine autocad tradition of a basic tool.
the data shown here is prepared in excel in the polar coordinate graphing form.