MCAD Tech News (#283)

17 Jun, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

Track Geometric Points in AutoCAD

Find points in relation to existing geometry without extra geometry.

By John Hackney

While designing in AutoCAD, you often want to sketch to coordinates that are referenced from existing geometry. AutoCAD offers a few tools that can help with this task and avoid the addition and management of construction lines. Most AutoCAD users are familiar with the object snap (osnap) Extension function — which can be combined with object snap tracking to find needed coordinates from existing geometry — but there are a few more commands and sub-commands that not all users are as familiar with. These commands include From, Point Filters, Temporary Tracking Points, and Tracking. This Tech Tip will explain the use of the last two.

To illustrate these commands, we will use a simple design of a bearing and the machine side plate to mount two of these bearings on.

The final drawing.

We want to make sure our AutoCAD osnap settings are correct. For this exercise, make sure Endpoint, Center, Midpoint, Intersection, and Extension are selected as running osnaps. Also be sure the Object Snap Tracking option is enabled on the status bar. For this exercise we will turn off Dynamic Input, either by selecting the icon on the status bar or by pressing the F12 key. Read more »

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John Hackney is a senior mechanical application engineer for Avatech Solutions.


ARES Commander Edition

Low-cost 2D/3D CAD software holds promise as an AutoCAD replacement for some, including Mac, Linux, and mobile device users down the road.

By R.K. McSwain

When I first heard about a new, low-cost 2D and 3D CAD application that is DWG-compatible and supports LISP, I was pretty excited. ARES Commander Edition from Graebert is all that and more. Could this be a replacement or supplement for AutoCAD in your office — or mine? Let's find out.

Berlin, Germany–based Graebert (formerly known as GiveMePower) announced ARES at Macworld in February. Macworld, you ask? That's right. The buzz about this brand-new software is partly due to the fact that soon it will be offered for the Mac as well as Linux, and eventually for Microsoft Windows Mobile devices too.

The software is available in two versions: ARES ($495) and ARES Commander Edition ($995), both of which support 13 languages. For this review, I looked at ARES Commander Edition, which offers the complete 2D CAD functionality of ARES (similar in form and function to AutoCAD LT), plus support for ACIS-based 3D solid modeling and for LISP and other custom programming add-ons. Read more »

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R.K. McSwain is a designer and CAD systems administrator for Pate Engineers in Houston.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


July 25–29, 2010
Los Angeles, California
SIGGRAPH 2010 — the 37th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques — will include a three-day exhibition of products and services from the computer graphics and interactive marketplace. Read more »

CIMdata PLM Certificate Program
September 20–24, 2010
Oslo, Norway
This assessment-based certificate program from CIMdata, a product lifecycle management (PLM) consulting and research firm, prepares PLM professionals to address the challenges inherent in PLM implementations. Read more »

Capture 3D Users Group Conference and 3D Metrology Workshop
October 6–7, 2010
Newport Beach, California
The goal of this fourth biannual conference is to provide tips, techniques, and solutions to improve internal processes in order to maximize return on investment. 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


What’s New at


CAD Manager's Toolbox: CAD Content from ThomasNet
The Thomas Register has made its way online, and now you can find downloadable CAD data for components you want to integrate in your designs. Read more »

CAD Management in a New Economy, Part 2
Evaluate whether the outlook for your company is improving and cope with changing demands at work. Read more »

ArchiCAD 14 Eases Model Sharing and Updating between Architects and Engineers
Latest version of BIM solution supports open design collaboration and boosts productivity and Teamwork 2.0 functionality. Read more »

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