Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 12, No. 40)

5 Nov, 2007

This Week's Software Tips

Be Among the First to Sport a New Cadalyst T-shirt
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Note to recent tipsters: We'll be contacting you soon regarding your t-shirt choice. Thank you for your patience!

Quickly Print a PDF
Reader Frank Roegiers says his template drawing has several paper spaces: A4/A3/A2/A1/A0, etc. He explains, "In the page setup, I have the company's plotter. However, if I need to quickly make a PDF, I use the toolbar button with this code to plot an A4:

(command "-plot" "y" "" "A4.pc3" "custom" "" "portrait" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "")

"I made several of these buttons, one for each format and for each orientation. The A4.pc3 is actually the Amyuni PDF converter."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: This tip is valid, but keep in mind that different companies use different plotting procedures, even for PDF outputs. One of us used AutoCAD 2007 on this tip and got a similar result; however, the Command line input was a bit different. A few tweaks should produce the expected results -- be sure to follow the Command line. The printer/plotter drop-down list in the Plot dialog box should show a PDF plot selection. Choose the one that's most efficient for your task.

Also keep in mind that automated plotting and printing sequences can quickly become unusable and must be updated. Plotters and printers are often replaced, software is upgraded, and so on.

Invisible Xrefs
Perry Medina
contributes these external reference tricks. If you ever need to externally reference a file so you can see it as you work on your drawing but don't ever want it to plot, place the external reference on its own layer. Set that layer to No Plot, and it won't ever plot. If you want to see an xref in one viewport and not in another, place the external reference on its own layer and freeze the layer with the xref on it in the appropriate viewport.


Follow-Up: Add Layers to Purged Drawings
Cord Struckmann
has another suggestion to improve the use of AutoCAD's DesignCenter, as suggested in the October 22 tip, Add Layers to Purged Drawing. He says, "It's possible to create a home within the DesignCenter. Right-click on any file or folder in the DesignCenter window, and select Set as Home. Wherever you are in the Design Center, the file can be accessed with one click on Home. This is great also because AutoCAD 2006/2007 DWT template files are listed in the DesignCenter, too."

Follow-Up: Centralized Sheet Sets
In addition to the advice in Centralized Sheet Sets in the October 22 issue, Genaro Enierga suggests creating a template project with all the folder structure and generic drawing sheets (with cover sheet) with a template DST file in it. Then, when you start a new project, the full folder structure is copied into your project drive. Rename the DST to the new project and in Properties change the project name and number and custom fields. In minutes you have a good start of a project package. "It's like magic using Sheet Set Manager," Genaro says. "If you set your cover page with fields linking SSM, such as job name and number, project address, and the like, plus the ability to insert sheet list -- 'WOW,' is all you can say!"

MicroStation Tip: Taking Cell Libraries to Other Dimensions
How do you convert a MicroStation v7 3D cell library to a v7 2D cell library and vice versa? It can be done easily using MicroStation's Export function. Learn how to use the Export function in this step-by-step tutorial.

Axiom offers many Microstation Tips on its 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'sHot 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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CIMdata Releases 2007 PLM Market Analysis
The overall product lifecycle management (PLM) market grew 10.7% to reach $20.1 billion in 2006, and PLM investments are forecasted to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 8.5% to exceed an estimated $30 billion by 2011, according to CIMdata's 2007 PLM Market Analysis Report ($5000). The report presents an analysis of the 2006 PLM market with special emphasis on the collaborative product definition management segment of that market.

Tormach Introduces CNC Consulting Program
Tormach announced the introduction of its Manufacturing Consultants Program, for which the company has assembled a team of Personal CNC (PCNC) professionals who are available for contract consultation on computer numerical control (CNC) machining projects.

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Deals & Freebies

CADalytic Offers SpecifiCAD Beta
CADalytic Media updated the SpecifiCAD beta for Autodesk AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, and Google SketchUp. Designers can access CAD details, SketchUp 3D models, catalogs, three-part specifications, and green information using the updated SpecifiCAD interface. SpecifiCAD also is available for Autodesk Revit Building and Revit Architecture and Bentley Architecture. The free beta release of SpecifiCAD is available immediately and operates only on the Microsoft Windows platform.

SpaceClaim Offers Download in Exchange for Feedback
SpaceClaim has launched the Explore SpaceClaim Professional 2007+ Release Candidate program, which allows participants to download and use a prerelease (candidate) version of the next edition of SpaceClaim Professional. In return, SpaceClaim asks that participants provide feedback on their experience with the software. The Release Candidate software expires on November 27.

Creaform Offering Discount on Handyscan 3D
Creaform is offering fourth-quarter promotions on its Handyscan 3D products. Until December, 31, 2007 , buyers will receive discounts from 10% upwards, as well as warranty extensions ranging from six months to one year. Contact the company for details.

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

Visualization: WireFusion v5
Demicron tool is targeted to small and midsized industrial design, architecture, and manufacturing companies. Read more

AEC: Takeoff 2 for AutoCAD
Carlson Software's Vista-compatible estimator features capabilities for 3D simulation, streamlined digitizing, automated elevating, and cut/fill color mapping. Read more

GIS: Carlson Survey 2008 Standalone
AutoCAD-based surveying tool allows users to connect to manufacturers' proprietary hardware and software. Read more

MCAD: DFM Pro for SolidWorks
Geometric product enables designers to validate manufacturability from within SolidWorks 2007 or 2008 while identifying difficult design areas. Read more

MCAD: Import/Export Add-ins for Solid Edge
AutoCAD 3D interoperability tools from Sycode allow users to read and write 3D DWG and DXF files within Solid Edge. Read more

SAMTECH's new release includes advances in linear and nonlinear mechanical modeling, thermal analysis, parallel computing, and results postprocessing. Read more

CAM : VoluMill toolpath
Celeritive Technologies' Internet-based toolpath engine is available to users of any computer-aided machining system for a monthly subscription. Read more

PLM: PDXpert PLM 2008
PDXpert PLM 2008 Edition from Active Sensing implements the Product Lifecycle Management eXchange (PLMX) file format for data export to downstream enterprise resource planning systems. Read more

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Mark Your Calendar

Webinar: Standards Based Engineering
November 8, 2007
11:00 a.m. EST
In this webinar, titled "Standards Based Engineering -- Bringing Knowledge Capture and Reuse to the PLM Product Lifecycle,” PLM expert Mike Burkett of AMR Research and David Vredenburgh of RuleStream will present the benefits of RuleStream’s Standards Based Engineering (SBE) system. The SBE solution acts as a knowledge foundation, supporting a number of engineering applications such as engineer-to-order, digital manufacturing, and simulation. Read more

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

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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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