Management

Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol 11, No. 15)

24 Apr, 2006


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What's New at Cadalyst.com

Harry's Hot Tip Challenge 2006 Just Got Better
Cadalyst readers whose Hot Tip Harry tips are selected for publication in 2006 will each receive a Cadalyst t-shirt, and the author of the best tip each month will receive $100. Now sponsored by Autodesk, the Hot Tip Harry Challenge 2006 is offering even bigger prizes. All authors of published tips this year will be entered into random drawings for a copy of AutoCAD 2007 and a trip to Autodesk University 2006 in Las Vegas! So send Harry your favorite routines for AutoCAD and related products (AutoLISP, VBA and more) and you could be taking home a hot prize! Visit Harry on Cadalyst.com for details.

Cadalyst Daily Update
For all the latest news and new products, subscribe to Cadalyst Daily e-newsletter. Plus, every issue includes a feature you won’t find anywhere else -- hardware and CAD software reviews, success stories, AutoCAD tips and much more! Here’s a sample of what you missed in the past week:  

 

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Resources

Large File Transfers, Made Easy
Cadalyst reader Jimmy Roberson alerted us to his favorite new Web site, YouSendIt, which can be used to send large files to anyone who has an e-mail address. Roberson says, “It works, it’s easy, very useful and secure. ... It doesn't clog up your in and out box.” YouSendIt Lite is free (for sending files up to 100MB); also available for a monthly charge are YouSendIt Plus, Business and Business Plus accounts.

New User Interface at GlobalSpec

GlobalSpec has streamlined the navigation of its Web site with a new tabbed format, which the company says makes it easier for users to access the technical information they need. GlobalSpec is a provider of database, search engines, and newsletter products for the engineering, manufacturing, and technical markets.

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This Week's Software Tips

Advice for Improving Plots and Layouts in AutoCAD
Christopher C. Centers shares the following plotting/layout tips with Tips & Tools Weekly readers. The tips are designed for use with AutoCAD, but Centers notes that the concepts can be applied to many other programs.

  • As you draw, avoid actions that work for you but might not make sense to another user. Always be mindful of the next CAD operator who is going to work with your file.

  • It's never a good idea to work up your borders and title blocks in your model space. This is a troublesome and burnt-out concept best left in the past. No need to draw, scale, etc., in your model space in an effort to create a page setup. Your time would be better spent working up (or using) a standard title block and Xref-ing it into your projects. You'll never have to draw a title block/border again.

  • On your Layout tabs: When you begin setting up your layout, it's best to start by creating a viewport that "Fits" the page. The only real purpose for doing so is to define your maximum viewing area. After creating the Fit viewport, use 1" (2.5cm) lines at 45deg to flag the four corners of your viewport. This will give you some visual space around the page and create an osnap reference to the limits of the page. Now that you have flagged your layout space, delete the viewport, put the flag lines on your Defpoints layer, and Xref your border/title block into the layout and place it as needed.

Quickly Load Seldom-used LISP Code
Leonid Nemirovsky (check out his Web site) sends these tidy tidbits to help quick-load AutoLISP routines. He calls this tip into action for programs he doesn't use often and therefore only loads as needed.

First find the desired LISP programs in Windows Explorer, then copy and paste them directly to your desktop. Group them somewhere on the
Desktop so they're quick to locate. When you need to run one of these routines, just drag-and-drop the needed file to your AutoCAD
Window, and it loads automatically. You can drag-and-drop LSP files directly from Windows Explorer to AutoCAD as well, Nemirovsky adds.

Nemirovsky notes that you also can easily drag-and-drop selected LISP code from your desktop or Windows Explorer directly to an open, blank Notepad file or to an open, blank Visual LISP editor for editing.

Working with Springs in Inventor 10
Tommy Teague sends this handy tip he developed for working with springs in Autodesk Inventor Series 10. Download the code here (1.67MB ZIP file).

"Many of my Inventor designs incorporate springs, so I came up with a library of various spring types. A problem I've encountered, especially with torsion springs, is that the diameter of the spring coil changes as the spring is loaded, and this change must be taken into account when determining the proper size of the spring and its mating components such as holes and mandrels. The change is slight for a compression or extension spring, but can be very significant for a torsion spring.

"Because the length of the wire in the coil helix remains constant, it was fairly easy to come up with parameters that calculate the loaded coil diameter when the free coil diameter and pitch are known. If the spring is inserted into an assembly and made adaptive, one can watch the coil diameter change as the assembly is loaded or unloaded. I converted the spring part files to iParts so that the parameters can be selected upon insertion into the assembly, but they can be converted back to normal parts and made adaptive by saving a copy to the working folder and deleting the iPart table. Selectable parameters include wire diameter, coil diameter, number of active coils, free coil length, wire material (music wire or 302 stainless steel) and others, depending on the type of spring."

Send us your tip or shortcut for your favorite CAD software. If we publish it, we'll send you a “Cadalyst: CAD the Way You Want It” t-shirt.

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Books & Training

PDMWorks Client Now Available
Software training provider SolidProfessor has added a product to its self-paced multimedia training library. PDMWorks Client ($199 single user; volume discounts available) trains users on how to manage SolidWorks parts, assemblies and drawings as well as any non-SolidWorks documents. Users are able to quickly access multimedia modules that map directly to PDMWorks tasks. Included are tips on dealing with many common scenarios a client user may encounter.

Solid Edge V18 Textbook
CADCIM Technologies has introduced Solid Edge V18 for Designers, a 640-page textbook that covers Solid Edge concepts and commands, real-world projects and examples, step-by-step tutorials and more. Sham Tickoo, Purdue University Calumet, authored the book.

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Opportunities & Honors

GIS for Oil & Gas Call for Papers Deadline Extended
GITA (Geospatial Information & Technology Association) has extended until May 2 the call for papers for its 15th Annual GIS for Oil & Gas Conference. “The Full Spectrum: Expanding GIS Across the Enterprise” is the theme of the 2006 event. The conference will take place September 18-20, 2006, in Houston, Texas.

Lattice Technology Receives Awards
Lattice Technology, a provider of 3D software products, received two awards at the 18th Annual Resona Foundation Excellence in Technology Awards presentation.  Lattice won for its XVL compression format and the XVL Studio Pro application. The event was sponsored by the Resona Foundation for Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion and the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun Newspaper group.

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

For all the latest new products, delivered daily to your desktop, subscribe to Cadalyst Daily e-newsletter. Here are last week’s highlights:

Hardware: G-Force 850
Tablet PC weighs less than 4lb and is watertight, shockproof and dustproof.  Read more

Hardware: Dimension 1200 3D Printer Series
New models from Dimension 3D Printing Group priced under $30,000.  Read more

General Software: PDFImport
New DotSoft utility lets you import PDF objects as AutoCAD-editable vector geometry.  Read more

General Software: KCS Productivity Packs for AutoCAD 2007, ADT 2007
Krupa CADD Solutions upgrades add-ons with layer automation, annotation and more.  Read more 

General Software: Deep Server 4.0
Right Hemisphere upgrades enterprise solution for managing product graphics.  Read more 

General Software: Scan2CAD v7.5
Softcover releases upgrade for raster-to-vector conversion.  Read more 

Visualization: Discovery Viewer
ArchVision's new tool brings SketchUp models into PowerPoint, Word and Internet Explorer.  Read more

Visualization: RenderPipe v5
Ray tracing software can isolate rendering tasks as separate, standalone processes.  Read more

AEC: FileFixer for V8 version 8.7a
MicroStation utility developer Axiom releases tools for fixing and recovering corrupt design files.  Read more 

CAE: NEi Nastran V9
Noran Engineering releases FEA engine with industry-specific code enhancements.  Read more

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Mark Your Calendar

Cadalyst's complete list of upcoming industry events is always available on our Web site.

STAR-CAD Series Web Seminars
Various dates, April-May 2006
Sponsored by CD-adapco, free Web presentations on CAD-embedded flow and thermal simulation are each tailored to a different CAD or PLM system: Pro/ENGINEER, SolidWorks, Unigraphics NX and CATIA V5. 

Autodesk Civil 3D 2007 Web Presentations
Various dates, April-June 2006
Webcasts (12 p.m. ET) include New Production Drafting Capabilities, Site Grading, Project and Data Management, Tips & Tricks, Corridor Modeling, Increasing Productivity and others. The presentations are recorded and available for viewing online any time.

Design-Build Strategies
Construction Management

Various dates, April-June 2006
Various locations
Open-enrollment courses are part of a series sponsored by the Center for Advanced Construction Education.

Advances in Design Prototyping and Manufacturing
April 25, 2006, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 9, 2006, Indianapolis, Indiana
May 11, 2006, Seattle, Washington
Pivot Points Seminar ($45) sponsored by software providers Stratasys, SensAble Technologies and Materialise Software; parts builders RedEye RPM and Quickparts; and consultants T.A. Grimm & Associates. Cadalyst contributing editor Jeff Rowe will lead the design segment and will chair the round-table discussion. Seminar will include presentations, demonstrations and panel discussions targeting the needs of engineers, CAD designers, manufacturing managers and other R&D personnel.

ESRI-GIS California User Group Meetings
Various dates in May 2006
Various California locations
User groups are a forum for ESRI users to share their experiences with each other, exchange best practices and learn about new technology. Topics range from entry level to advanced. Each meeting offers a focused, education-based agenda.

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AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a different AutoCAD feature in every edition of her popular "Circles and Lines" tutorial series. For even more AutoCAD how-to, check out Lynn's quick tips in the Cadalyst Video Gallery. Subscribe to Cadalyst's free Tips & Tools Weekly e-newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!
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