CAD Tech News (#29)

29 Oct, 2015 By: Cadalyst Staff

▶ Cadalyst Labs Report:
Color Wide-Format Printers for CAD

These multifunction machines produce beautiful color prints to show off your work, plus black-and-white plots for day-to-day design checks.

By Curt Moreno

Printers have been important tools since computers first landed on our desks, and now we're used to having them within reach in the office and at home. While most of the working world is content with standard, letter-sized prints, however, engineers and architects have greater needs. We need prints that range from letter-sized diagrams to giant 12-foot-square images — and larger! We need professional, wide-format printers.

Fortunately, the market is broad as well as dynamic, offering a wide selection of sizes, prices, and capabilities for modern design professionals to choose from. On the other hand, a wide selection can also make things a bit confusing.

An Increasingly Colorful Marketplace

When it comes to wide-format printers, there are several players in the market; HP, Canon, and Epson are among the better-known manufacturers. There are also two types of technologies to choose from: electrophotography (more commonly referred to as laserjet) and inkjet.

Mechanically speaking, the main difference between these printer types is the print medium. An electrophotography printer uses a powdered toner medium similar to that of a standard office photocopier. This is very reliable technology, but unless you spend a lot of money, it only produces black-and-white prints. Full-color prints are the domain of the inkjet printer, which uses liquid inks to create images. Inkjet technology is much more familiar to the average consumer, being nearly identical to that of desktop printers at home. Read more »

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Curt Moreno is a Houston, Texas–based CAD manager, writer, and speaker who has been using AutoCAD since 1990.

▶ Dealing with Errors in AutoCAD Programs

Errors are bound to happen, but it's simple to incorporate error handling in your VB.NET and VBA code.

By Andrew G. Roe

Regardless of your programming skill level, errors can occur whenever someone runs your program. The key is handling those errors correctly and efficiently. In most of my previous articles on AutoCAD programming, error handling has been omitted for brevity and clarity in demonstrating other programming concepts. In this article, we'll look more closely at error handling in two different environments: Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) and Visual Basic.NET (VB.NET).


While VBA has declined in popularity among AutoCAD programmers in the past decade, Autodesk still unofficially supports it with a downloadable VBA enabler, so AutoCAD users can continue using legacy VBA routines (see "VBA Lives On with AutoCAD 2016"). VBA's simplicity provides a good starting point for understanding basic error-handling concepts.

Consider the case where your program needs to perform some basic calculations, such as dividing one number into another to determine a percentage. Errors could occur if the user enters something other than a number (such as a letter), or if the user tries to divide a number by zero. VBA provides several tools to handle these errors, including the On Error statement. To see how this works, try the following steps. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Andrew G. Roe is a registered civil engineer and president of AGR Associates.


CAD Manager's Toolbox: Keep Backups Current with Microsoft SyncToy 2.1
This utility for Windows users simplifies a tedious chore — and it does so for free! Read more »

CAD Manager Column: An Open Letter to All CAD Users
You work with your CAD manager every day, but do you really understand how he or she can help you with your workload — and vice versa? Read more »

AutoCAD Video Tips: Clean Up Lines with AutoCAD's Change Command
Join Autodesk Evangelist Lynn Allen as she shows you how to clean up lines that don't meet perfectly, and how to force lines to be orthogonal. Watch the video »

Autodesk Simulation Mechanical and SimStudio Tools: Making Design Changes on the Fly
This IMAGINiT Tricks tutorial explains how to use Simulation Mechanical with SimStudio tools to make design changes while setting up and running a simulation. Watch the video »

Applying Materials and Finishes to a Staircase in Revit
This tutorial demonstrates ways to give your design a more realistic look and feel. Watch the video »

Creating Exploded Views of a 3D Model in Revit
Learn how to create a view that slices a 3D model into its main components. Watch the video »


ISW: Revit Model Management with Ideate BIMLink
November 5, 2015
11:30 a.m. PT
This Ideate webinar will discuss ways in which Ideate BIMLink can help with managing a Revit model, maintaining its quality and saving time. Read more »

Capturing Reality
November 23–25, 2015
Salzburg, Austria
Capturing Reality Forum will bring together individuals with a shared interest in 3D imaging and visualization for presentations and an international exhibition of 3D imaging, laser scanning, and LiDAR products and services. Read more »

PLM Road Map 2015 for the Global Automotive Industry
November 24, 2015
Munich, Germany
This CIMdata event will bring together industry experts from CIMdata, industry players, and implementation experts to explore end users' progress, opportunities, and roadblocks in the global automotive industry. Read more »

Autodesk University 2015
December 1–5, 2015
Las Vegas, Nevada
Autodesk University is the U.S. conference for Autodesk software users from a range of professions and industries that include design, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and digital arts. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor and Autodesk Technical Evangelist 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!

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