Management

Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 13, No. 30)

11 Aug, 2008


This Week's Software Tips

Congratulations July Winner
Congratulations to Tom Farley, who won the July drawing for a $100 gift card. Submit your tip (see guidelines below) 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.

New Code, New CAD Tips Site
"Hot Tip Harry's" code for August is here and ready to download. Check out Harry's August column to learn more about this month's batch. Head over to Cadalyst's new CAD Tips site to download your favorites. The August additions are listed under Recently Posted CAD Tips, or search for specific tips by tip number or keyword. Registered users also can review, post comments, and upload revised versions of code! Congratulations to John Walker, who created this month's top tip: Copy Attributes from Block to Block. These well-crafted VBA functions let you move attribute values from one block to another.

AutoCAD eTransmit and Registry Cleaners
Cadalyst Tip Patrol volunteer Billy Wooten thoughtfully shared this e-mail exchange by members of the South Plains (Texas) AutoCAD Users Group (SPAUG). The messages address problems associated with AutoCAD and popular registry cleaners such as Norton, McAfee, and others. According to SPAUG president Jeff Tippit, these programs can inadvertently remove key registry items that affect AutoCAD's eTransmit command.

Create Construction Layer
Arthur Gary Bissell sent this AutoCAD routine that creates a layer for construction only. "First it builds the layer and set its attributes. Use it, and when you are ready to get rid of it, simply type it out. If you need a clean drawing that has no junk on the screen, use this command to erase it. There is also a command to set it back to current. (The command can be reduced to simpler terms if the drafter wants. I personally like Snop.)"

(defun c:noplot ()
 (command "-layer" "make" "No_Plot" "c" "22" "" "plot" "no" "" "")
 (princ)
)
(defun c:setnoplot ()
 (command "-layer" "set" "no_plot" "")
 (princ)
)
(defun c:noplotrem ()
 (command "-layer" "set" "No_Plot" "freeze" "*" "" "erase" "all" "" "-layer" "thaw" "*" "set" "0" "" "-purge" "la" "no_plot" "y" "y")
 (princ)
)

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: You could create a script routine to accomplish this task as well. Be sure all the items on the construction layer are safe to delete. If you get careless and draw something you need on that layer — poof! Of course, the best thing to do is run the Layer Walk command to verify what's where before you snuff the construction layer. Using this command, we've found a few surprises that otherwise might have slipped past.

Revision Changes
Ronald Maneja sent in his method to determine the changes between two revisions of the same drawing:

  1. From one drawing, copy everything, then paste it into a new drawing as a block with the original coordinates. Then make it all one color -- for example, blue.

  2. From the other drawing, copy everything, then paste the block on the same coordinates in the new drawing, except make the newly pasted block a different color -- for example, red.

  3. You now have a new drawing with two blocks — red and blue — with each color being either the old or the new revision. Now you can inspect the drawings for any changes. If you put the red block on top of the blue one (draw order to front), you will see mostly the red. But if you spot any blue ones, it means that area has changes. Do this interchangeably to see what changed between the old and new drawing. You are not modifying the original of either drawing this way. You could have some blocks in the drawing that are not blue and red, which could be exploded for the purpose of inspecting the two colors.

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: Thank you for the helpful tip. Coordinating and documenting revisions isn't exactly a new problem; similar issues relate to old paper-and-mylar prints too. Alternatively, one could temporarily xref in one drawing and change all the new xref's layers to be one color, then proceed as described above.

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

Follow-Up: Easy Client-Specific AutoCAD Settings
Our August 4 tip about different AutoCAD settings for multiple clients inspired Dave Kimmey, Anthony Scala, Wayne Skrove, and Kenneth Dispoto to take it one step further by suggesting the creation of a desktop or Windows taskbar shortcut for each client. For example:

"C:\Program Files\AutoCAD 2008\acad.exe" /p "Client-ABC-2k8" /nologo

MicroStation Tip: Move Part of a Cell
Need to move part of a cell in MicroStation, but your CAD manager tells you not to drop any cells? Here's a way to do both.

Today's MicroStation tip courtesy of The Envision Group.

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.

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Resources

CS-Map Enters Public Domain
Autodesk deposited the source code for Mentor Software's CS-Map into the nonprofit Open Source Geospatial Foundation's (OSGeo's) open source project archive. Now available free, the code library includes MapGuide, a Web-based platform for developing mapping applications, and feature data object, an application programming interface for managing geospatial data. Read more

Engineering Document Management White Papers Available for Download
First Trace has posted new white papers that are available for download at no charge from the company's Web site. The white papers discuss a variety of topics related to engineering document management.


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Deals & Freebies

Back-to-School Deals on HP Workstations
HP is offering "Smart Buys" for students on its personal workstation computers this fall. The HP xw4550 includes a dual-core AMD Opteron processor and an NVIDIA Quadro graphics card. The HP xw4600 workstation includes Intel's new quad-core processor with flexible memory and a choice of NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards. HP Workstations also are available for students at www.journeyed.com.


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Opportunities & Honors

LightWork Design Announces Image Competition Results
LightWork Design announced that the winner of the latest LightWorks Image Competition is Mathias Allely of KeyOX, a product design company in France. Allely uses NX5 with an integrated LightWorks rendering engine. The deadline for entry in the next quarter's competition is September 30, 2008. Read more


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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

Hardware: Accura Xtreme and Protogen 18920
ABS-like stereolithography materials from Quickparts are said to look and feel like durable molded plastic and are impact resistant. Read more

Visualization: 3DXplorer v4
Browser-based Web 3D platform from Altadyn reportedly allows multiple visitors to explore and interact in real time with avatars on any computer and browser. Read more

CAD: MEDUSA4 Design Automation Suite v3.1
Application from CAD Schroer Group introduces productivity tools in the areas of drafting and 3D and plant design. Read more

AEC: Revit Content Libraries
Yellowbryk launched Revit content libraries for medical equipment, data communications equipment, and fill patterns. Read more

AEC: On-Site Solutions 2008
Nemetschek Allplan software for data capture at construction sites allows planners, surveyors, site managers, or workmen to enter and evaluate measurements, defects, and other technical data on-site. Read more

GIS: FloodRanger World
Discovery Software product combines mathematical modeling with climate change scenarios in 3D computer visualization. Read more

MCAD: ViaCAD 2D/3D
Updated release from Punch! Software includes feature enhancements related to usability, 2D drafting, 3D modeling, performance, and data sharing. Read more

CAM: BobCAD-CAM EDM Software
Company's 2- and 4-axis wire electrical discharge machining (EDM) CAD/CAM software is for manufacturing precision parts with BobWIRE v22 system. Read more

PLM: ENOVIA Apparel Accelerator for Sourcing and Production
Jointly developed by Dassault Systemes and Zymmetry Group, the solution is designed to connect global sourcing production offices and external parties with brand and retail headquarters, all on one PLM platform. Read more


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Mark Your Calendar

Northeastern SolidWorks User Conference
September 18, 2008
Westford, Massachusetts
This conference will offer 12 different technical sessions and four unique developer sessions in four time slots. Attendees will also be able to visit the product showcase and network with some of the best SolidWorks users. Read more

Southern California CAD Summit
September 25, 2008
San Diego, California
Sponsored by U.S. CAD, the Southern California CAD Summit attracts hundreds of participants from the western region's architectural, civil, manufacturing, geospatial, and building engineering fields to learn about the latest Autodesk technologies and fine-tune their skills. Read more

Objet Users' Meeting
October 27-29, 2008
San Diego, California
Objet Geometries' first user conference in North America will include both general and customizable breakout sessions and will teach participants about workflow efficiency, advanced 3-D printing, postprocessing, and rapid tooling. Read more

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


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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