Management

Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 12, No. 30)

20 Aug, 2007


What's New at Cadalyst.com

Take the Poll: Why Do You Visit Cadalyst.com?
The latest Cadalyst Quick Poll is live online. This month, tell us the number-one reason you visit Cadalyst.com. Just go to any page of Cadalyst.com and scroll down to find the Quick Poll in the margin, then read "Cadfidential" in the October edition of Cadalyst magazine to see the results.

Get the Code!
Cadalyst's August code from Hot Tip Harry is now available for download. Doug Barnes won $100 from Hot Tip Harry for this month's Top Tip, AutoCAD Tables to Excel.

Cadalyst Labs Review: Autodesk Impression
Turn your 2D DWG and DWF files into attractive renderings with a hand-drawn look using new features that improve workflow, development productivity, and character animation. Read more

Cadalyst Daily Update
For all the latest news and new products and updates about the newest features on Cadalyst.com, subscribe to the Cadalyst Daily e-newsletter. Plus, every Monday we bring you a full-length feature article you won't find anywhere else -- hardware and CAD software reviews, success stories, interviews, event reports, AutoCAD tips, and more! Here's a sample of what you missed recently:

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Resources

Autodesk Updates Project Freewheel
Autodesk has updated its Project Freewheel, a free Web service that enables users to share designs via a built-in messaging tool. Project Freewheel is available on Autodesk Labs, Autodesk's testbed for emerging technology. Using Project Freewheel, users can share 3D and 2D designs in real-time collaboration sessions. Read more

Thursday Night Live! for 3D Community
Caligari is sponsoring Thursday Night Live! , a weekly online discussion that is open to all members of the 3D community worldwide. Thursday Night Live! meetings will take place using Caligari's truePlace technology. All participants will visit within the same 3D space and communicate using voice- or text-based chat. Read more

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This Week's Software Tips

Send us your tip, code or shortcut for your favorite CAD software. If we publish your tip, we'll send you a "Cadalyst: CAD the Way You Want It" T-shirt, and each month Cadalyst editors will randomly select one published tip and send a $100 gift card to its author. Please submit only code and other tips that are your original work (or provide the original source so we can include proper credit) and tell us which software version you use. By submitting code, you grant Cadalyst the right to print and distribute your code in print, digitally and by other means. Cadalyst and individual authors retain all rights to the code; published code is not to be used for commercial purposes.

Reference Information
When working with AutoCAD 2007 drawings with multiple layouts, Tom Napier creates the first layout as a design criteria drawing and gives it a nondesign drawing name. He continues, "I link customized Excel files to this layout noting specific design parameters, changes, updates, additions, and the like. This allows for a quick and easy way to reference information associated with the drawings in the other layouts."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: One patroller who reviewed Tom's tip states this is a great tip and adds, "You can also create additional layouts for other needs. There are times when you need special printouts. I've had to use a separate layout where the title block had to be referenced a second time, bound into a block, and exploded in the layout, and I made some minor changes for printing purposes. Maybe, in a future upgrade, Autodesk might find a way to create a Dynamic External Reference that performs like a Dynamic Block."

Another patroller also agrees that the tip is helpful, but with these conditions:

  • The typical methodology for your firm is to work a project via multiple layouts within a single drawing file. Firms that don't work this way could, of course, apply this trick to the first sheet in a project drawing set.
  • Remember that you must maintain the file associations for future use and must archive the Excel documents.
  • As with any other project, the users should be mindful that in the years to come, the firm's CAD and project standards may evolve.

Firms that routinely exchange project data must decide if such information can be shared, specifically in regard to legal issues.

On/Off vs. Thaw/Freeze
Cadalyst Tip Patrol member Billy Wooten explains another difference between cutting layers on and off vs. thaw and freeze.

"If you use the layer-freeze option on an entity of an xref, the layer that the xref is assigned to is frozen; thus the entire xref disappears. But, when you use the layer-off feature, only the entity that is selected on that particular xref is affected."

Follow-Up: Keep Files Clean
Note to readers: Code in this follow-up section has not been tested by the Cadalyst Tip Patrol.

Reader Anatoly Ostretsov wrote in to say, "I'm not a code writer, but a code user. Thank you for a great job keeping us CAD users informed about new and forgotten old options. In your August 6 issue you posted Michael Cipolla's AutoLISP to help keep your drawings tidy.

"This is good code, but by running it you don't get rid of named layer filters. I found that named layer filters cause AutoCAD files to grow -- sometimes becoming huge. I saw a 10 MB+ file that became less than 1 MB after filters were deleted. Some users aren't aware that filters exist, but it's easy to get them in your drawing by copying just one simple entity from someone else's drawing, such as a consultant's.

"For the past few years, I have used a custom button with the following command:

^C^C_VBASTMT;For Each ent In
This.Drawing.Layers.GetExtensionDictionary
("ACAD_LAYERFILTERS"):en t.Delete: Next ent;

 



"Unfortunately, I don't remember who the author is of this nice routine. I think I found it on your Web site a few years ago.

"It would be nice if somebody could combine two steps (purge and delete filters) in just one step (one button). Unfortunately, I don't know how to do this. May be somebody is willing to share his/her time and knowledge."

Follow-Up: Keep Files Clean -- Audit
Ben Rand
wrote with a follow-up to Mark Matherne's comment in the August 13 edition: AutoCAD 2008 has a new command: Recoverall. This command recovers the host drawing as well as all source drawings (xreferences) attached to the host. It's very helpful when your drawings consist of many references!"

MicroStation Tip: Turn Off the Global Freeze for Merging
Do you have a file that won't allow you to merge a reference file into the master? When attempting to merge the reference into the master, are all of the necessary levels created in the master file, but none of the elements come over and the reference remains attached?

One possible solution is that you need to turn off the Global Freeze toggles in the reference Level Manager:

  • Select Settings / Level Manager.
  • Select all levels.
  • Right-click Properties from the floating menu.
  • Turn off Global Freeze.

Now the merge will work.

Axiom offers many MicroStation Tips on its MicroStationTips.com Web site.

Tips & Tools Weekly software tips for AutoCAD are reviewed by Cadalyst staff and the Tip Patrol before publication. Use all tips at your own discretion, please, and watch later editions of this newsletter for updates and corrections. We're sorry, but editors and Tip Patrol members cannot provide assistance with technical problems; please refer to Cadalyst's Hot Tip Harry-Help discussion forum.

Sincere thanks to our volunteer Tip Patrol members: Brian Benton, Don Boyer, Mitchell Hirschklau, R.K. McSwain, Kevin Sawyer, Ivanhoe Tejeda, and Billy Wooten.

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Opportunities & Honors

Magic Wheels Named Autodesk Inventor of the Month
Autodesk named Seattle, Washington-based Magic Wheels, developer of attachable wheels for manual wheelchairs, its August 2007 Inventor of the Month. Autodesk's Inventor of the Month program recognizes the most innovative design and engineering advancements made by those who use Autodesk Inventor software. Read more

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Books & Training

AutoCAD Civil 3D Book
Cadapult Software Solutions released Digging Into AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008, a revision of the company's 2006 and 2007 Civil 3D books that includes new exercises and updates to incorporate changes in the latest version of the software. Digging Into AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 takes readers through a complete project using Autodesk's AutoCAD Civil 3D.
Read more

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

General Software: InnoCielo Publisher and Publisher Framework
BlueCielo update integrates with Meridian Enterprise to automate rendering and publishing of engineering content, including AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor models. Read more

General Software: AcceliCAD 2008 v2
New version from Autodsys will feature compatibility with AutoCAD 2008 DWG file formats and a batch-plotting interface for the plotting of multiple drawings and layouts. Read more

General Software: CAD|STATION v5.3
Latest release from RATIO is Vista compatible and supports AutoCAD 2008, allowing users to convert CAD files to DWF files in the print-to-file mode. Read more

General Software: DesignCAD 3D Max v18
Consumer-priced CAD software from IMSI/Design features improved compatibility for AutoCAD and DWG/DXF compatibility. Read more

MCAD: FreeDimension v1.2
FreeDesign modeler update features refined functionality and new architecture to add options according to user-specific needs. Read more

CAE: Studio v5.5
Famic Technologies' software for hydraulic and pneumatic system design, simulation, engineering, prototyping, diagnostics, and training features a complete pneumatic library. Read more

CAE: NEiFusion v1.2
Simulation solution from Noran Engineering includes a 3D parametric geometry engine and Nastran solvers for use early in the product design process. Read more

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Mark Your Calendar

ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences
September 4-7, 2007
Las Vegas, Nevada
Consisting of 13 conferences, the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers in Engineering Conference (IDETC/CIE) provide an international forum where experts with various design backgrounds and experience can effectively showcase and share their newest ideas, research, methods, and tools with their peers. Read more

2007 ANSYS U.S. Regional Conference: Michigan
September 10-11, 2007
Dearborn, Michigan
The 2007 ANSYS U.S. Regional Conference Series: Michigan will provide an overview of the ANSYS technology roadmap, updates on new product features and product integrations, a management roundtable, customer presentations, workshops and demonstrations, and a full day of product training. The conference is intended for all ANSYS and FLUENT customers and prospective customers in all industries. Read more

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Cadalyst.com.

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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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