MCAD Tech News (#293)

28 Oct, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

AutoCAD 2011: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Circles and Lines Tutorial: In addition to major enhancements, the latest AutoCAD release adds many small but powerful features.

By Lynn Allen

Each new release of AutoCAD includes big-ticket items that everyone talks about — and subsequently writes about. And with each new release, I find myself writing an article describing the small but mighty new features, just to make sure you don't miss these valuable trinkets. This release isn't any different — so let me tell you about a few of my favorite things in AutoCAD 2011.

Dynamic Polyline Editing

The Pedit command is old, dusty, and hasn't been updated in more than a decade. New dynamic polyline editing is the best way to avoid hassling with the overly basic Pedit command. In AutoCAD 2011, grip displays appear midway between vertices and provide access to a new right-click menu with the Stretch, Add Vertex, and Convert to Arc commands. Simply hover over the grip and select your editing tool of choice — it is so much easier than bouncing from vertex to vertex in Pedit! A shortcut menu at each vertex contains the Stretch Vertex, Add Vertex, and Remove Vertex options.

Persistent Default Scale List

I know many of you have battled with AutoCAD's Scale List for viewports. You set it up perfectly within one drawing, only to discover the work doesn't apply to any others. AutoCAD 2011 has a default Scale List that truly is persistent across drawings and can be used whenever the Scale List is reset.

Located in the Options menu under the User Preferences tab, the Scale List can be fully customized for both metric and imperial units. Because this new default is saved in the registry, you only need to modify it once; then you are good to go for all your drawings. Read more »

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Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen has written Cadalyst's "Circles and Lines" column for 16 years and is the voice behind Cadalyst's popular AutoCAD video tips.


Solid Thinking Tutorial: Understanding Contact in SolidWorks Simulation

Emulating real-life part interaction is essential for accurate stress analysis results.

By Glenn Whyte

If you're going to perform a stress analysis on a SolidWorks assembly, you must be very careful to ensure that you accurately represent how the parts interact with each other. In SolidWorks Simulation, this is referred to as contact, and it is critical for accurate results. Contact is also one of the most frequently misunderstood areas of analysis. Fortunately, once you understand what the software is doing in the background, and the assumptions it is making, you can follow a simple procedure to make sure that your assembly closely approximates what happens in real life.

To perform an assembly-level analysis, you'll need a SolidWorks Premium license, or a SolidWorks Simulation license, as the SimulationXpress tool in every license of SolidWorks will only analyze single parts.

If you start you a new study in Simulation, and drill into the Connections folder, you'll notice an item called Global Contact, and it will probably indicate that it is "Bonded." This is the overall contact scheme that is being applied in the assembly; however, it is important to realize that this contact condition only applies to surfaces in the model that are touching at the start of the analysis. If the scheme is set to Bonded, all faces that are touching are assumed to be rigidly locked together, almost as if perfectly strong glue has been applied right across the faces. If it is set to "No Penetration," the two surfaces are free to slide on top of each other, and free to separate, but can't go through each other. Read more »

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Glenn Whyte is the product manager for SolidWorks Simulation at Hawk Ridge Systems.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


November 2–4, 2010
Atlanta, Georgia
The FABTECH tradeshow showcases a spectrum of metal forming, fabricating, stamping, tube and pipe, and finishing and welding equipment and technology. Buyers and sellers from around the world will come together to exchange products and services, network with peers, solve problems, and discover new products and vendors. Read more »

Dassault Systèmes Customer Conference 2010
November 9–10, 2010
Orlando, Florida
This PLM (product lifecycle management) and 3D event is designed for DS customers, partners, and technology leaders. Speakers will include DS President and CEO Bernard Charlès and representatives from Ford Motor Company, Procter and Gamble, GE Energy, IBM, Medtronic, and Tesla Motors. Read more »

AeroDef Manufacturing Exposition
April 5–7, 2011
Anaheim, California
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) has announced a new exposition focused on securing a robust supply chain and state-of-the-art manufacturing technology for the aerospace and defense industry. SME's AeroDef Manufacturing exposition will address the way commercial and military aircraft are designed, developed, and produced. 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


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Cadalyst editors invite designers and rendering artists to share your best rendering work, demonstrating the effective use of visualization techniques and technologies for communicating the intent of building, infrastructure, mechanical, product, or other CAD-based design. Our favorite entry will appear on the cover of Cadalyst magazine, fall 2010 edition. Sponsored by BOXX Technologies. Read more »

Bentley Releases Inaugural Bentley Infrastructure 500 Top Owners Ranking
First-of-its-kind global ranking of public- and private-sector owners represents more than $13 trillion in infrastructure investments in 46 countries. Read more »

First Look Review: Autodesk Inventor 2011 (for AEC)
AEC users benefit from cross-platform collaboration between the software that designs the equipment and systems within buildings and the buildings themselves. Read more »

AutoCAD for Mac: It's Finally Here (Again)
A brand new, native version of AutoCAD arrives for the OS X platform, sporting an intuitive interface but lacking a number of key features. Read more »

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AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

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!

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