Management

Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 12, No. 41)

12 Nov, 2007


Editor's note: Tips & Tools Weekly will take next week off for a holiday break. We will resume publishing the following Monday, November 26. The staff at Cadalyst wishes you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

This Week's Software Tips

Get the Code!
Cadalyst 's November code from Hot Tip Harry is available for download. Jeffery Sanders submitted another of his professional-quality programs -- Calculate Weight -- that earns this month's top tip honor and wins the $100 prize.

Be Among the First to Sport a New Cadalyst T-shirt
Submit a tip today and get ready to make a fashion statement in one of Cadalyst's brand-new T-shirt designs! Impress your boss and amuse your coworkers with one of our three hot-off-the press CAD-tastic cartoons and code slogans. Once we publish your tip, you'll get to choose your favorite shirt design, and your name will be entered into our monthly drawing for a $100 gift card.

Congratulations October Winner!
Cadalyst awarded the October $100 Tips & Tools Weekly prize to Mitchell Hirschklau, who submitted the Really, You Must Back Up! tip published in the October 8 edition. Mitchell was selected in a random drawing of all authors whose original tips were published in the newsletter last month. Send us your original tip now for a chance to win!

DWG Demon Exorcism
After receiving a number of files from a client that used a Mac-based CAD program, Jeff Rayhorn needed a way to "exorcise" the files of all the demons that came with the slight inconsistencies among DWG files. He explains, "We received DWG files from this client that were in excess of 40 MB per file with the grid turned on and nothing in the initial view! I came up with this little routine that we now use all the time -- even on our files as a general cleanup at the end of a project.

"It performs a Purge All twice, runs an audit, turns the grid off, runs a zoom extents, and finishes with a Qsave:

(defun C:XX ()  (command "PURGE" "A" "" "N" "PURGE" "A" "" "N" "AUDIT" "Y")
    (command "GRID" "OFF" "ZOOM" "E" "QSAVE")  (princ))

"I thought about adding a tilemode reference to make sure that the drawing was always in paper space before the Qsave.  There are still a few users out there who do everything in model space, so I left that out for now.

"With the advent of Visual BASIC, .NET, and Visual LISP, the simplicity of stringing together a number of commands is often overlooked.

By the way, those 40 MB files that we got from the architect ended up being between 3 MB and 5 MB when this routine was finished with them."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: There are various ways to clean up drawings, and this tip does the job. If you plan to use this function to replace Qsave, you might want to add some error-handling code that ensures that the Qsave function actually runs. If the script bombs out before Qsave executes, you might think you have saved when in fact, you have not.

Flag Those F Keys
To remind staff of the usefulness of the function (F) keys, such as toggling the handy F3 for Osnap and F8 for turning Ortho on and off, Roberta Pennington places memo flags above the F keys and writes the function down. 

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Not a bad idea. One Tip Patrol member adds, "At our office, we customize all our F keys (except F8), and we distribute a paper template for the keyboards to remind users what the F keys do."

Follow-Up: Invisible Xrefs
Marc McDonald
has an addition to Perry Medina's Invisible Xrefs tip in the November 5 edition. When Marc needs to xref a file so he can see it, but he doesn't want it to plot, he xrefs the file onto the Defpoints layer. This way he doesn't have to worry about changing the layer to No Plot.

MicroStation Tip: Named Groups, Display Sets, and Quick Sets
Inga Morozoff offers three short tutorials that will help you understand MicroStation V8's named groups, display sets, and quick sets.

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

AIA Introduces Free Primer for AEC/O Integrated Team Model
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) in conjunction with the AIA California Council are offering a free guide, Integrated Project Delivery: A Guide, for working in an integrated team model that includes the owner, architect, and contractor and extends beyond the major stakeholders to also include subcontractors, engineers, and major systems suppliers, among others.

Eagle Point Exchange Launches Job Board
Eagle Point Software is adding a job board to its Eagle Point Exchange (previously The Engineering Exchange) business service, an online business community for civil engineering, land surveying, and landscape architecture firms. According to the company, Eagle Point Exchange is designed to provide access to resources that help owners manage workload.

Bentley Announces Generative Design Trial Program
Bentley Systems announced a generative design trial program that will provide a no-charge, 90-day subscription to GenerativeComponents design software and a Web 2.0 community space for users to accelerate their learning and share ideas about the new design technology. The trial program starts November 16.

ThomasNet Offers Online Strategy Advice for Manufacturers
Free white paper from ThomasNet.com, "Aligning Your Online Marketing Strategy with Your Business Plan," is available for download free to those who register. ThomasNet is a provider of information on industrial products and services from North American suppliers.

Caligari Adds New Clinic to Thursday Night Live! Meetings
Caligari will add a new Caligari Clinic session to its Thursday Night Live! meetings, offering trueSpace users a place to ask questions and receive modeling tips and advice from Caligari staff and other users of the software. The Caligari Clinic will take place during the first 30 minutes of each bimonthly online discussion, starting with the next meeting on November 15 at 5 p.m. PT.

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Deals & Freebies

Free New Version of ArcGIS for AutoCAD
ESRI unveiled a new version of ArcGIS for AutoCAD, a free, downloadable tool that provides access to ArcGIS Server map services and allows AutoCAD users to view and query GIS data within the AutoCAD environment. The software allows CAD users to define the coordinate system they are using within AutoCAD. When users connect to an ArcGIS Server map service in a different coordinate system, the map is automatically projected on the fly to display in the proper AutoCAD location.


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Opportunities & Honors

Rapid 2008 Call for Speakers Now Open
The RAPID 2008 annual conference and exposition, presented by Society of Manufacturing Engineers, is looking for speakers to offer practical information on selection and applications as well as discussions of new technology advances. Submission guidelines and a submission form are available online.

3D Scanning 2008 Call for Speakers Now Open
Conference organizers invite experienced users to submit abstracts for presentations for 3D Scanning: Reverse Engineering, Inspection, and Analysis, presented by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Additional information on 3D Scanning 2008, including topics of interest, submission guidelines, and submission form, are available online.

MSC.Software Wins IBM Information Management Award
MSC.Software was named winner of the Information Management Solution Excellence award in the annual IBM Information Management Awards competition, which recognizes IBM Information Management Business Partners for their demonstrated excellence in delivering exceptional business value for information management software.

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Books & Training

SolidWorks Advanced Surfacing Course
SolidProfessor, a SolidWorks Solution Partner, announced the release of its self-paced multimedia course on Advanced Surfacing for SolidWorks 2008 ($399).
The course takes users through the creation of four complex models. Each exercise introduces techniques aimed at producing complex faces, smooth blends, and aesthetically pleasing geometry.

Solids Modeling Textbook
Conceptual Product Development released Doctor Walt's KeyCreator 7 Sizzling Solids ($79.95). Author Walter Silva discusses freeform solids modeling in KeyCreator and provides exercises with step-by-step instructions. Topics include how to create a variety of castings, molded parts, formed metal objects, manifold objects, and more.

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

Hardware: Precision M2300 Mobile Workstation
Dell system can be configured with 64-bit Intel Core 2 Duo processor, NVIDIA Quadro FX 360M discrete graphics card, and as much as 4 GB RAM with two 667 MHz DDRII slots. Read more

Hardware: EIS Supra Large-Format System
Second-generation multifunction system from Paradigm Imaging has a maximum scanning width of 36" and 600 dpi optical resolution. Read more

General Software: ProjectControl
OFCDesk time-tracking plug-in remotely tracks CAD work in detail and provides cost and time reports by project, task, user, and time span. Read more

AEC: Virtual Construction 2008
Vico Software suite pulls quantities directly from a coordinated 3D model, includes integrated applications for coordination, cost estimating, project scheduling, and project control. Read more

GIS: London LiDAR for Cities Revealed
GeoInformation Group's data for aerial photography provides height and volume analysis to create detailed 3D ground and surface models for planning and visualizing civil engineering projects. Read more

MCAD: XVL Plug-in for Acrobat 3D v8
Lattice Technology software enables bidirectional conversion of 3D modeling data between 3D PDF and XVL-based applications for 3D process animations, training manuals, customer documentation, engineering process documents, and more.
Read more

MCAD: Siemens PLM Software D-Cubed Components
Four D-Cubed software components now feature support for 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista, Linux Suse v10, Linux Red Hat Enterprise 5, and the Intel 32-bit processor version of Mac OS X. Read more

CAD: Block Edit Plus v2
CAD Enhancement add-on supports AutoCAD 2008 and features interface and dialogue improvements to simplify block editing. Read more

CAE: CADSTAR FPGA
Zuken and Aldec combined Aldec's Active-HDL Lite verification tool and Zuken's desktop printer circuit board design suite to allow engineers to perform mixed-language simulation for vendor-neutral, field-programmable gate arrays within the CADSTAR environment. Read more

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Mark Your Calendar

Autodesk University
November 27-30, 2007
Las Vegas, Nevada
Autodesk University is a multilevel experience in training and networking, offering a choice of more than 500 classes including advanced classes, hands-on labs, business-management solutions and strategies, and more. Also featured is an exhibit hall showing cutting-edge tools and services; briefings on key business trends, product futures, and company direction; and social events. Read more

AVEVA Seminars
December 4, 2007 (Wilmington, Delaware)
December 6, 2007 (Houston, Texas)
AVEVA will host two lunch seminars aimed at providing users a chance to learn more about PDMS 12, the company's latest generation of plant design tool. Read more

Ecobuild Fall and AEC-ST Fall
December 10-13, 2007
Washington, D.C.
This annual event goes beyond green to cover the breadth of green building, sustainable design, renewable energy, environmental planning processes, and information collaboration strategies for commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential construction. Cadalyst readers are eligible for free exhibit and keynote admission -- a $25 value. To take advantage of this offer, go to https://www.expotracshows.com/ecobuild/fall/2007/ and enter the code HSEOC.

ESPRIT World Conference 2008
May 13-16, 2008
Denver, Colorado
Included in the four-day conference are 28 hours of intensive technical training, hands-on instruction, and workshops designed to meet the needs of both beginning and experienced users. Courses focusing on new features and functions available in ESPRIT 2009 and ESPRIT Mold v10 will provide attendees the opportunity to offer feedback about the new products. 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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What's New at Cadalyst.com

Cadalyst Magazine November Content Now Live Online
A fresh batch of Cadalyst Labs reviews, CAD Central news, Cadalyst exclusive columns, and much more -- all from the latest edition of Cadalyst magazine -- is ready to view on Cadalyst.com.

Cadalyst's Exclusive CAD Tutorials for November Now Live Online
The latest editions of all your favorite AutoCAD tutorials, including Steve Johnson's "Bug Watch," Lynn Allen's "Circles and Lines," and Bill Fane's "Learning Curve" are now available on Cadalyst.com. And check our online archives for the latest editions of exclusive tutorials for ArchiCAD, Revit, MicroStation, SolidWorks, Inventor, Solid Edge, Alibre Design and more.

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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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