Management

Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 12, No. 37)

15 Oct, 2007


This Week's Software Tips

Intelligent P&ID Symbols
When Jeff Garland inserts a P&ID (piping and instrument diagram) symbol into an AutoCAD drawing, he also attaches visible and invisible data in the form of an attribute. In his tip, Intelligent P&ID Symbols, he explains how he and his company accomplish this process and why it's helpful.

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: That's a lot of information! This tip describes most of the options and settings found in AutoCAD's Data Extraction Wizard. It is very useful when a user is setting up a template or extracting the block data in a file. The layer data given at the beginning of the tip is an example of some of the layers used by the tip provider. Any layering system works. This wizard can be used for any drawing that has blocks or attributed blocks in it.

In a nutshell, start the wizard as described and follow the prompts. Choose whatever type of data you need. The data can be created either in a table in the CAD file or in a spreadsheet format. This function is very useful in creating bills of materials, asset tracking, or any other type of list. As long as the block data in the file is correct, the table is correct.

Be careful: If a block is copied and sitting on top of another (giving the appearance of one block when there are actually two) then both are counted, visible or not. If a block is exploded (Gasp!) then it appears on the print but isn't counted by the function. This function can help prevent counting errors and save time.

Mark/Undo Mark
Leonid Nemirovsky offers these simple macro sets to set a mark and then to undo it. It will tell you if the mark is not set. If more than one mark is set, the routine undoes one mark at a time. Load both routines or assign them to a button or palette. To set a mark, simply type UM at the Command prompt, and to undo, type UB.

(defun c:um ()
(command "undo" "m")
(princ)
)

(defun c:ub ()
(setq mark (getvar "undomarks"))
(if
(= mark 1)
(command "undo" "b")
(alert"Mark NOT set")
)
(princ)
)

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Undo is definitely our friend and one of the commands that sets computer-aided drafting apart from board drafting. A mark to the Undo command is a notifier to the command. A user marks an instant in time telling the Undo command to start here. This mark in time tells the Undo command to group the following actions. When you invoke Undo, and you use the Back option, all work done is undone until the mark is reached. This prevents you from having to undo numerous times. LISP programmers often start the routine with a mark so that the users wanting to undo what the routine did can do it with one command. This macro routine works as stated and could save you several keystrokes or clicks -- and this is always good.

Follow-Up: Xref Overlay
While working for a large architectural office, reader Alfons Civit learned how to use xrefs as a part of the final plot drawings, in combination with other xrefs used in the main project drawing. In addition to Kevin Sawyer's original Xref Overlay tip in the October 8 Tips & Tools Weekly, he offers the following suggestions. "This allows me to use many templates that sometimes are empty and become full when I draw something into the DWGs that are going to be xref'd. A very strict system of naming and codes for layers, files, blocks, plots, xref-trees (xrefs that call other xrefs and are inserted as other-name xrefs in the plot templates), an Excel sheet, and an AutoLISP commands folder does the rest.

"It's important to maintain some layer properties:

"For elements that are always the same, these blocks have their own layer and object properties and are inserted or xref'd in their special layers, such as 0-BLOCK and 0-XREF. For elements that must have the properties of other objects, they're inserted in their own layer, such as floors, main plan grid, and electrics.

"For plots, every xref is inserted into its own layer and has its own plot name. For example, an xref called 10-P010SS-V0 is inserted in the 001 layer as xref 001 name. Note that when I must change the xref, I search the xref window and modify the file name, but not the xref internal name.

"We use this with AutoCAD 2000, although it may work with newer versions. Using it in IntelliCAD is more difficult because the use of hide lines is difficult in that system. But it's also possible when drawing in a different way but from the same system."

MicroStation Tip: Control AutoCAD File Translations
MicroStation V8 2004 makes dealing with AutoCAD files much less complex than it used to be. However, you should understand some important things that will allow you to achieve the results you expect when translating files between the two applications. This expanded tip, Controlling File Translations Between MicroStation V8 2004 and AutoCAD: the Basic Settings describes how to access and change the necessary settings to correctly translate DGN files to AutoCAD and DWG files to MicroStation and achieve the desired results.

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

Submit your tip, code, or shortcut for your favorite CAD software. If we publish your tip, we'll send you a Cadalyst 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.

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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Resources

White Paper: 3D Drives Top-Line Growth in Manufacturing
Anark Corporation announced the availability of an Aberdeen Group industry white paper titled Beyond Engineering: New Applications of 3D Drive Top Line Growth. The paper, which highlights the perceived and growing importance of 3D in all areas of an operation for best-in-class, high-tech manufacturers, is available free of charge to registered users on Anark's Web site.

TraceParts Offers Parts Library to Alibre Customers
Alibre and TraceParts launched a new TraceParts online portal that will provide Alibre customers with direct access to TraceParts' library of industry-standard and manufacturer-specific parts. TraceParts' library reportedly features more than 100 million 3D CAD models and 2D drawings and is accessible from within the user interface of Alibre Design Professional and Expert.

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Deals & Freebies

Symscape Offers Free Updated CAE Viewer

Symscape released SymLab v1.1, the company's free foundation and viewer for sharing 3D computational fluid dynamics simulation results. SymLab supports multiple simulations, multiple 3D views of a simulation, and up to four camera angles of a view, the company reports.

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Opportunities & Honors

Fiatech 2008 Conference Call for Speakers
Fiatech 2008 Annual Technology Conference and Showcase is accepting proposals for conference presentations. The goal of the conference is to share and demonstrate emerging technologies that will significantly improve the capital projects industry. Presentations and the Technology Showcase will focus on new, emerging technologies solutions not currently in wide use in the capital projects industry but currently or imminently available. Applications are due by November 21, 2007.

AUGI Opens Voting for Annual Software Wish Lists
Autodesk User Group International (AUGI) is accepting votes from members for its annual software-improvement wish lists through October 31. In addition to the usual AutoCAD and Inventor wish lists, AUGI has added AutoCAD Civil 3D and AutoCAD Revit Architecture lists. AUGI members can review and vote on the improvements they would like to see in future releases of the products.

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Books & Training

CADCIM Releases AutoCAD LT 2008 Textbook
CADCIM Technologies released AutoCAD LT 2008 for Designers ($29) by Sham Tickoo of Purdue University Calumet. The book reportedly explores the capabilities of AutoCAD LT 2008 by covering all draw commands and options, as well as editing, annotating, dimensioning, hatching, and plotting techniques.

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

Hardware: OpticPro A320 Scanner
Plustek Vista-compatible, high-speed USB 2.0 device features seven one-touch scan buttons to automate common scanning functions. Read more

General Software: progeCAD 2008
Low-cost CAD software edits and saves AutoCAD 2008 drawings and supports AutoLISP programming for all DWG file-format versions. Read more

General Software: MicroGDS v10
Latest version of Windows-based Informatix software allows users to import Google SketchUp documents, collaborate using AutoCAD 2007 files, and output drawings to PDF. Read more

General Software: Astroid Drivers for Solid Edge
Spatial Freedom software includes improvements to Camera Control mode, allowing users of the Astroid spatial controller to view internals of Solid Edge models. Read more

CAE: VA One 2007
ESI Group's vibroacoustic analysis software reportedly allows users to account for noise and vibration performance at the design stage. Read more

CAE: CAESAR II v5.10
COADE's pipe stress analysis software features faster reporting capabilities and more configurations for generating ISOGEN stress isometrics. Read more

CAE: FLUENT v3.1 for CATIA V5
Rapid-flow-modeling tool from ANSYS includes improvements for customization, reporting, and postprocessing. Read more

CAE: COMSOL Multiphysics v3.4
New multicore-processor support and shared-memory parallelism reportedly provide enhanced performance, solver speed, and accuracy. Read more

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Mark Your Calendar

Webcast: How to Solve Eight File Management Problems
October 17, 2007
1:30 p.m. EDT
This 45-minute demonstration, sponsored by Synergis Software, intends to show how Adept software can address your document management challenges simply and affordably. Learn how to organize, manage, share, and control your architectural, engineering, and technical drawings and office documents. Read more

Indiana CAD Career Expo
November 15, 2007
Indianapolis, Indiana
The purpose of this event is to attract skilled CAD professionals to fill increasing project demands at Miller Consulting Group. Professionals experienced with CAD software and interested in career advancements should register and attend. 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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