MCAD Tech News (#300)

24 Feb, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

Generate 2D Output from 3D AutoCAD Models in a Flash

Learning Curve tutorial: When you need 2D working drawings, the fastest, most accurate approach is to start in 3D.

By Bill Fane

It was a clear, sunny morning. Captain LearnCurve's son Trevor was leading the way in a brand-new 2011 Bentley SuperSport, while the Captain was following in an equally new 2011 Bentley GT Speed.

The Captain and his son were on a freeway on-ramp. Being that they were in Canada, the speed limit was posted at 100 kilometers per hour (km/h), which works out to 62.5 mph. They both hit the gas and watched the speedometers climb through 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 125, pretty much as fast as you can read those numbers...

That's it! This month's topic! Speed! More particularly, the need for speed in AutoCAD.

Hold it! Back up a second! What's this about two brand-new Bentleys? Doesn't the Captain already have an '89 Bentley Turbo R to go with his '37 Rolls-Royce Phantom III?

Correct. The Captain and his gorgeous wife had driven the Bentley from Vancouver to Toronto for the Rolls-Royce Owner's Club annual meet. Their son and his wife Jenn had flown to New York for a couple of days and had then joined them in Toronto. After the meet they drove the car home while the Captain and his wife flew home. At the meet, Bentley had four demo cars available, but unfortunately a couple of their employees had called in sick, so the duo was turned loose without chaperones.

Okay, let's get back to speed in AutoCAD. Would you believe that it only took me five minutes to create this 2D working drawing? Now all we need is dimensions, center lines, and the cutting plane line, and we're done.

Read more »

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Bill Fane is a Cadalyst contributing editor, a registered professional engineer, and a close personal friend of Captain LearnCurve.


Constraint-Free Modeling Frees Up Fixture Designers

Melling Tool implements Solid Edge with synchronous technology and cuts CAD time by half.

By Mike Paludan

Melling Tool Company is a manufacturer of oil pumps and other power-train components. From nine facilities in North America, the company serves global automotive OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) as well as after-market suppliers through its engineering, product development, and distribution capabilities.

Melling product designers use NX from Siemens PLM Software, then pass NX data to fixture designers who use Siemens Solid Edge software to create the fixtures that hold parts during the manufacturing process. As Melling has expanded its product line in recent years, fixture designers Steve Trefry and Jason Mulcahy have been under pressure to get more done in less time.

"A typical manufacturing job requires three operations, so we need three fixtures per product," explained Trefry. "Designing them used to take us about four weeks [for all three]. When our company started diversifying with new products such as door closers, we had to find a way to work faster to keep up with the increased workload." Read more »

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Mike Paludan works in Solid Edge marketing for Siemens PLM Software.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Webinar: NX 7.5 Sketching and Edge Blending
March 1, 2011
2 p.m. ET
The Education Services at Siemens PLM Software will present a free mini–training session to provide tips in the use of NX CAD software, and potential productivity gains achieved by investing in formal training options. Read more »

RAPID 2011 Conference & Exposition
May 24–26, 2011
Minneapolis, Minnesota
The RAPID conference and tradeshow, co-located with the 3D IMAGING event, explores how additive manufacturing and 3D printing are being used to reduce design and development time, cut timeframes, and lower production costs of products. Read more »

PLM Road Map 2011
October 4–5, 2011
Plymouth, Michigan
At PLM Road Map 2011, presentations will cover simulation-based design, embedding simulation across the entire product lifecycle, mechatronics, transforming PLM (product lifecycle management) into a dynamic infrastructure for business decisions, and more topics. 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: Pump Up the Performance of Your Old Laptop
It doesn't take much time or money to convert an aging computer into a useful CAD machine. Read more »

Just How 3D Are We? Part 1
Software vendors would have you believe that 3D software has taken over the CAD market — but how many companies have actually abandoned 2D? Read more »

Utility Design Software Simplifies Standardization
Southern California Edison implements Autodesk application to improve consistency and reduce design and ordering time. Read more »

If You Can Dream It, They Can Build It
Dynamic Structures uses AutoCAD to design really cool stuff — from telescopes to theme-park rides. Read more »

Remote Monitoring Makes Maintenance a Breeze for Wind Farms
Beijing's Guohua Energy Investment Company deploys an SKF sensor system to keep tabs on turbine conditions. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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