Management

Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 13, No. 37)

6 Oct, 2008


This Week's Software Tips

Scaling Distorted Objects
R.T. Rinehart sent this tip for scaling distorted vertical objects back to 1, or vice-versa, using the x, y, and z options of the Insert command, which he uses with Civil 3D/AutoCAD 2008. "I use this trick a lot when I need to add or take away vertical distortion on an object. For instance, when I draw roadway typical sections details, I draw them at 1:1. However, I find that they are easier to read at 3 vertical.

"Once I have completed my detail, I make a block of it, giving it a random name. Then I just use the Insert command to bring in the block. On the Command line, I enter X, Y, or Z, and it will ask for the scale factor for that direction. For vertical distortion, I enter Y and a vertical scale. When the block is reinserted in the drawing, it will be vertically distorted by the number.

"This tip is also very handy when drawing bridge details. I will take the roadway/bridge profile typically distorted at 10 vertical and make a block of it. I insert the block in a new drawing at a y scale of 0.1, and voila! The profile is now at a 1 vertical scale, and I can begin dimensioning, etc., for the bridge detail. There are probably hundreds of other uses for it in different disciplines."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: This tip is a classic. We do this same thing for the exact reasons. Sometimes details, sections, and views are difficult to understand when displayed at a scale of 1:1. Sometimes distorting them to exaggerate features to make them more visible is an appropriate drafting practice.

One variation of this method is to make the item a block and edit the y scale factor in the Properties Manager Palette instead of reinserting it, which might save a step or two. Useful tip, R.T.!

Outer Limits
Steve Knopf writes: "Since about AutoCAD release 14, the drawing limits have been inconsequential, except that zoom;all takes you there, like restoring a named view. Type Limits, then type or pick the lower left and upper right as you would for a window. Also in paper space, zoom;all shows the entire sheet, so you can see how your title block sits on it."

NOTES FROM CADALYST TIP PATROL: We agree. Several methods now can accomplish what formerly could only be done with limits. But limits can still be useful. Setting limits will control the area of the file where the grid will be displayed when activated. Users can turn on or off the Limit Checking setting. When on, this setting will allow the user to insert points only within the limits. Lines and objects may extend past the set limits, but it will only allow input inside the limits area. It can help to keep a file under control.

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

Follow-Up: Rotate View in Paper Space
In another follow-up to our September 15 tip, Mats Ericsson wrote to say he uses Dview / Twist to rotate views in paper space.

Follow-Up: Quick Leader Attach
As an alternative to the original September 29 tip, Michael Grutter sent LEADER_NONE.LSP, which works with all versions since AutoCAD 2000. "To create a new quick leader, pick the arrowhead location first, then pick a location anywhere in the drawing. You're prompted to select the annotation to attach to the new leader. You will jump to the insert of the annotation based on its justification setting.

"This is also a viable alternative to the Mleader option in AutoCAD 2008 and later if you are using leaders for annotation and not balloon callouts. Note that this routine still uses the Qlattach command from Express Tools, which needs to be loaded regardless of which method you choose. The header of the AutoLISP file has a defun line to add to your ACAD.LSP or ACADDOC.LSP file."

MicroStation Tip: Adding a Wave to a Planar Surface
Four simple steps can add a wave to your flat planar surface. Read more.

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

New Whitepaper: "Five Pillars of Engineering Document Management"
Now available in Cadalyst's Whitepaper Library, free to those who register, this resource from First Trace outlines the basic functional areas necessary to implement a successful engineering document management solution in your engineering enterprise.

Online Autodesk Student Community Gets Facelift
The enhanced Autodesk Student Engineering and Design Community offers new features and benefits including community networking, career center, profile sharing, RSS news feeds, and blogging capabilities. The company also launched the Autodesk Student Engineering and Design Community Facebook page to connect users of Facebook and CAD software.

CIMdata Publishes New Review of MSC SimEnterprise
CIMdata's new review, MSC SimEnterprise: Providing Simulation to the Enterprise, describes the program for managing and working with complex engineering analyses and their results within a PLM (product lifecycle management) environment. It also provides a description of the Enterprise Simulation Management (ESM) market.

Monrovia Plants Added to Vectorworks Landmark 2009
Nemetschek North America has partnered with Monrovia, a grower of ornamental plants, to enhance the plant database in Vectorworks Landmark 2009. The addition more than doubles the number of plants in the database, Nemetschek reports.

Kolbe Offers 3D Models for Revit, SketchUp
Kolbe, a manufacturer of windows and doors, is offering 3D models of its products, which CAD users can download for use in Revit and SketchUp architectural models. More than 1,000 models are now available.

UAF Offers SolidWorks Models for Two Popular Air Filters
Universal Air Filter has added online 3D CAD capabilities for two of its most popular filter models, Windowpane and Flex-Frame. Now, SolidWorks users can configure these filters and visualize them from all angles before downloading models into their final designs. Access the 3D models through UAF's Web site or SolidWorks' 3D ContentCentral Web site.


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Deals & Freebies

iCADsales.com Offers Free Upgrade to progeCAD 2009
iCADsales.com is offering anyone who purchases its 2D/3D CAD application, progeCAD 2008, after October 1, 2008, a free upgrade to progeCAD 2009 upon its release. Features of progeCAD 2009 will include a new purge dialog, quick dimensioning, compatibility with AutoCAD 2009 DWG files, and export to Google Earth. Current users of progeCAD 2008 Professional may upgrade to the new version for a small fee.

ESRI Releases New GIS Portal Toolkit for ArcGIS
ESRI's free GIS Portal Toolkit for ArcGIS implements local, regional, national, and global spatial data infrastructure (SDI) portals and provides the capabilities needed to deploy a GIS portal for an organization's SDI. Read more


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Opportunities & Honors

3D Printing Contest: Does Your Character Have Character?
Animation World Network, in collaboration with Shapeways, is now running an exclusive contest for 3D printing/prototyping. Judgment is based on character representation and execution, with a focus on design and creativity.


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Books & Training

ArchVision Launches Revit Content Video Tutorial Series
The video tutorials focus on a variety of topics, including rendering with mental ray, swapping and modifying RPC content, and placing RPC content. Read more


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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

Hardware: ProJet CPX 3000 3D Printer
3D Systems' high-definition 3D printer is designed for high-volume, high-resolution production of RealWax patterns. Read more

General Software: CopySmart Wizard
Colortrac software supports Canon's 44" high-speed printers. Read more

General Software: Roland VersaWorks v3
Roland RIP software is available free for download by Roland users. Read more

Collaboration: QuadriSpace 3D PDF Module
QuadriSpace module is for use with its free Document3D Personal Edition for 3D CAD file communication and documentation. Read more

AEC: LightWorks v7.9
Design visualization software from LightWork includes ambient occlusion, complex reflectance shaders, and HDR. Read more

MCAD: aPriori v6
Newest version of product cost-management software boasts new capabilities that provide real-time, predictive, and product cost assessments. Read more


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Mark Your Calendar

Building Geospatial Business Systems Seminar
October 8, 2008
Brussels, Belgium
At this seminar, Oracle and ERDAS executives will discuss strategy, sharing perspectives on enterprise-business solutions that integrate geospatial information. Read more

Build Boston 2008
November 18-20, 2008
Boston, Massachusetts
This three-day event, sponsored by the Boston Society of Architects, is a regional tradeshow and convention for the design and construction community. More than 350 exhibits and 225 workshops will be featured. Read more

2009 3D Collaboration and Interoperability Conference
May 17-20, 2009
Estes Park, Colorado
Longview Advisors invite anyone interested in improving the efficiency of their global product design, development and manufacturing operation, to engage in a series of presentations. 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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