Management

Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 13, No. 26)

14 Jul, 2008


This Week's Software Tips

Get the Code!
Cadalyst's July code from Hot Tip Harry is available for download. Ron Perez contributed this month's Top Tip. Query an Object displays information about an entity object that you select.

Character Map in Windows XP
Glenn Mazzei reminds us that you can access a character map in Windows XP via Programs / Accessories / System Tools. "When the font you use is selected, all the available characters are displayed. When you click on a character, information at the bottom shows a keystroke on the right (such as Alt + 0176) that can be used directly in text boxes. Key in the numbers while pressing Alt. The advantage is that the actual symbol shows in the text fields (like text override), and many other symbols are available, depending on the font. I use 0182 omega (in some fonts), 0181 micro, 0176 degree, 0177 plus/minus, 0248 small slash zero, 0149 bullet, and 0150 long dash. There are many more. Other symbols don't have an Alt code, and they can be copied and pasted into text fields from the character map. I created a shortcut on my desktop to access this tool quickly."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Good tip! You can access this tool before you create a shortcut via Start / Run / CHARMAP. Some AutoCAD fonts may not support some characters. Also keep in mind that just because you have lots of Windows fonts available, your clients or other subcontactors often do not have them — or do not use them. Using these fonts, and all the characters they offer, will mean little if your clients routinely insist that their drawings contain only AutoCAD's Simplex or Roman fonts.

Xrefs in Civil 3D
Leonid Nemirovsky recently wrote, "I needed to use alignment profiles with distortion scale = 10 as xrefs in regular AutoCAD drawings. Because of specific settings and capabilities of Civil 3D, they did not look right in AutoCAD: The text size was wrong, the gridlines did not display correctly, and more, despite the fact that the scale factor was the same. To fix the problem, I used the -Exporttoautocad command. (The dash in front prevents the dialog box from popping up.) This command creates a new drawing (be sure you give it different name) with all proxy AEC objects (including those created in Civil 3D) into basic AutoCAD objects. The new version loses the intelligence of the original, but when xrefed, it looks right. If design changes are needed, they must be done in the original and the -Exporttoautocad repeated. Just override that xref drawing with the new one."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: This tip is a good temporary fix to save time. However, we sense a bug floating around somewhere. We used to do the same thing in the past with DXFs and IGES translations to remove features that caused problems. Look deeper. Anytime AutoCAD doesn't work as expected, Autodesk should know about it.

Note: These follow-up tips have not been tested by the Cadalyst Tip Patrol.

Follow-Up: Align Crosshairs to Odd Angles
Francis D. Gamotis sent in one more follow-up comment to Align Crosshairs to Odd Angles, a tip covered in the past three editions of Cadalyst Tips & Tools Weekly.

In response to the feedback that changing the rotation of crosshairs is not the same thing as changing the coordinate system, "As long as the base coordinates of the drawing have not been changed, changing the UCS does not affect the insertion/attachment of the drawing into another drawing. I think this is what another reader was referring to in his response. I've never used the UCS command from Object tool. I just type UCS and set my UCS accordingly as needed. I typically use street-intersection names or align to the survey stationing."

Follow-Up: Polylines from Metes and Bounds
Fred Rizzo writes, "After reading the Metes and Bounds tip in the July 7 edition, I thought someone might like this routine, Bearing Angle, by Chris F. Mavis. I found it a while back and have used it frequently." The routine is 10 years old, but works at least through AutoCAD 2006, Frank says. Bearings are entered as 54.2345 (same as 54 degrees 23 minutes 45 seconds), and quadrants are entered as 1 for NE, 2 for SE, 3 for SW, and 4 for NW.

MicroStation Tip: AccuDraw Key-in Snaps
If AccuDraw is the focus, just enter C to find the center snap. The benefit is that you can work with your view zoomed a long way out and force the particular snap rather than have the program try to decide which is best for you. It is useful when you have a lot of snap points within a certain area. Read more

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

Submit Your Tip

Submit Your Tip 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 remember:

  • Submit only code and other tips that are your original work (or provide the original source so we can include proper credit).
  • 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, and Billy Wooten.

Back to Top

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Resources

Free Online 3D Air Filter Modeling Service
Universal Air Filter's 3D ContentCentral is a free resource that gives design engineers the ability to locate 3D components for use in their designs. Design engineers can access the 3D models through UAF's Web site or SolidWorks' 3D ContentCentral Web site. By answering a few specification questions, the design engineer can generate a customized SolidWorks 3D air filter. 2D drawings also are available for download to support procurement and documentation.

New Caster Web Site Designed To Simplify Purchasing Decisions
Darcor Casters has introduced a new Web site that includes a caster selector tool, which reportedly makes it easy to choose the right caster for the job. The tool is focused on solving a current challenge (such as overexertion injuries or noise) and then making a selection based on criteria including industry type and application. Key products also feature detailed mounting configurations and downloadable 3-D CAD models.


Back to Top

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Deals & Freebies

Free Trial Piranesi Visualization Software
Piranesi is an artist's impression tool designed to help creative teams deliver visualizations of everything from building and landscaping plans to product designs and animation storyboards. The 30-day free trial is a full version of Piranesi and allows the user to experience Piranesi's range of features and capabilities.

White Paper Details Document Management Requirements
First Trace, a provider of document management, process management, and data unification solutions, published a free white paper titled ONE Enterprise: Breaking Down the Wall. The paper describes how engineers working with complex CAD tools have more advanced document management requirements than those of the greater enterprise. Read more


Back to Top

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Opportunities & Honors

AEC Community Tapped for Project Stories
Transoft Solutions is asking users of AutoTURN, AeroTURN, GuidSIGN, and ParkCAD to share their project success stories. Civil engineers, architects, city planners, and designers of transportation infrastructure facilities who have used Transoft Solutions' products during the planning, designing, or presentation of an engineering development are invited to collaborate to produce an article for publication in nationally circulated AEC industry publications. For further information, e-mail dh@transoftsolutions.com.


Back to Top

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Books & Training

Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire Textbook Released
CADCIM Technologies released Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 4.0 for Designers (800 pages, $59), a textbook by Sham Tickoo, Purdue University Calumet and CADCIM Technologies. The book covers the new and enhanced features of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire v4 and takes the user across a wide spectrum of engineering solutions through progressive examples, comprehensive illustrations, and detailed exercises.

New Design Textbooks for AutoCAD 2009, Revit Architecture 2009
Four new textbooks by Daniel John Stine are available from SDC Publications. The books are Commercial Design Using AutoCAD 2009, Residential Design Using AutoCAD 2009, Commercial Design Using Revit Architecture 2009, and Residential Design Using Revit Architecture 2009. Each textbook is bundled with a CD containing video files and the necessary base files. College and high school instructors may request a complimentary review copy.


Back to Top

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Week's New CAD and Related Products

MCAD: ICP CAD Connectors for Aras Innovator
ICP Solution software provides product structure handling and product data extraction capabilities for Aras Innovator. Read more

MCAD: eDrawings Professional for Autodesk Inventor v6.1
New version from Geometric Limited supports Autodesk Inventor 2009, textures, and iParts and iAssemblies. Read more

MCAD: Dosch 3D, Dosch HDRI
Dosch Design software for 3D design, advertising, print publishing, architectural visualizations, animation, motion design, and multimedia are provided in multiple file formats. Read more

CAM: SRP Player Pro CAM
Roland DGA software is compatible with all Roland SRP milling devices and reportedly can be used for all rapid prototyping and custom rapid manufacturing applications. Read more

Training: SolidWorks Training
Videos from AboutSolidWorks.com includes 516 minutes divided into five-minute clips and 124 examples and exercises. Read more


Back to Top

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Mark Your Calendar

19th Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium
August 4-6, 2008
Austin, Texas
The Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) Symposium provides a forum for technical exchange of research and development in all areas of liquid, solid, and gas phase SFF. Read more

Lean Product Development Conference
November 18-20, 2008
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers' Lean Product Development Conference is a three-day, high-level conference and a forum for sharing tools and best practices for incorporating lean principles in the product development process. Read more

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


Back to Top


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!
Follow Lynn on Twitter Follow Lynn on Twitter