Hot Tip Harry: Tips from Our Readers -- August 20067 Aug, 2006 By: Bill Kramer
Delete repeated dimensions and tidy your drawings.
Attribute Edit Utility (Tip #2136) from Chad Douglas automates various tasks you may need to accomplish with attributes. Load the code into AutoCAD and type ATS at the command prompt to activate. It gives you three choices: Change, Match and Increment. Change lets you enter a new text value and select the attribute to change. Match is like Change except that the new text value is based on your selection of an existing attribute text value. Increment lets you set a starting number (or single character) then select attributes to have incrementing text values. Nice job, Chad!
Quick Plot Command Set (Tip #2137) is bit of LISP programming from JD Henman is intended to be a template to help you set the plotter variables and operate the Plot command so that you don't have to do it. This is a very useful utility when working with multiple CAD stations and plotters and you have a limited amount of time for training. A tip of the hat from Harry for this very useful support specialist utility set.
Ordinate Dimensioning (Tip #2138) from Rodney Thomas shows that you can improve a good thing with a little programming effort. Load the AutoLISP code into AutoCAD and type JTDMORD to activate. Rodney's utility improves on the AutoCAD Dimord command by remembering things like the location of the text along the edge. The AutoLISP sets and runs the AutoCAD dimensioning system, providing a very powerful utility and example for advanced programmers.
Area Output (Tip #2139) from James J. Olszewski is a simple function that gets the area of a closed object (polyline) and outputs the text at a desired location. Load the LISP code and type AREAO to run the function inside AutoCAD. It requests an object, then a point for the area text to be generated using the current system defaults. This code is simple, sweet and gets the job done -- that is what LISP is all about!
Profile From Data Points (Tip #2140) by Pedro Ferreira is a civil engineering power tool that generates a cut section along a path as defined by a polyline through a cloud of points. An example drawing is provided with the LISP function for you to try. The data points are 3D and are collected automatically based on the layer name. A polyline represents the XY path through the points. When finished (it could take a few seconds or even minutes depending on your computer power), it draws a profile section. You can exaggerate the Z scale of the profile or just use the default value of one. This is some fine number crunching!
Trajectory Computation (Tip #2141), by Albert Botton, is another great number crunching example. This function draws a representation of the trajectory for objects dropping off a moving conveyor line. Once loaded, type TRJ at the AutoCAD Command line to get the belts moving. Several inputs are required as related to the speed of the belt, pulley details, material details and other dimensions before it calculates and displays the trajectory. A nice set of programming loaded with comments and other useful programmer utilities.
Hatch Back (Tip #2142), by Jimmy Bergmark, is a rebuild of a tip originally submitted several years ago. The LISP contains a command function, Hatchb (or HB for short) that lets you create the objects that define a hatch object boundary. After loading the LISP code, type HB at the AutoCAD Command prompt. It then asks you to select a hatch object. The boundary is drawn as a polyline around the hatch pattern. This function is updated to work in all of the most recent versions of AutoCAD and represents a fine set of programming.
Delete Dimensions (Tip #2143) from Theresa Poole is this month's top tip. Poole uses QDIM and windows an entire floor plan resulting in repeated dimensions for interior wall thickness. This function hunts down dimensions that have the same value (her default value is 3.5") and removes them from the drawing. This is real production productivity in drawing at work. This tip contains tips within the tip such as using QDIM to get the dimensions done quickly followed by a sweep of the drawing by a LISP program. That is the sort of productivity thinking that deserves a Hot Tip Harry t-shirt! Great job! Thanks and a tip of the hat from Harry.
Send in Source Code
Do you have an original set of programming you'd like to send into Harry? Make sure you supply all the source code. That means third-party vendor software that is encrypted or compiled cannot be accepted as a tip, even with the permission of the original author. Harry wants the source code so he can check it out before running the submitted tips. After all, how good is a tip without sources?
In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!