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Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 14, No. 1)

5 Jan, 2009


This Week's Software Tips

Got Feedback?
If you have a comment, correction, or suggestion about a tip in today's edition, we encourage you to post it on Cadalyst's CAD Tips site. Once you're a registered user, simply locate the original tip and use the Comment feature. It's that easy!

Congratulations December Drawing Winner!
Josh Jones won the December 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.

Insert or Bind: Choose Wisely
Frank Kellogg wrote to share several differences between inserting and binding files in AutoCAD. First, in dealing with the Insert vs. Bind functions, if you just want to view the xref, do not perform either. Insert and Bind both destroy the link to the original file.
View the full tip
.

Xref Path: Absolute vs. Relative
Steve Rodgers wanted to remind everyone about the differences between using absolute and relative paths in an xref. You can choose from three types of folder path information to save with an attached external reference: an absolute path, a relative path, and no path. View the full tip.

Simple Move/Copy/Paste
Frequent tip contributor Leonid Nemirovsky, sent us this useful little tip for moving, copying, and pasting while working in AutoCAD. View the full tip.

Tool Tips in the Sheet Set Manager
Paul Munford was frustrated with the new advanced tool tips feature in AutoCAD 2009, especially when using sheet sets. "I found the massive new rollover tool tip for the sheet set manager in 2009 to be really annoying and unhelpful. I couldn't find any information in the help files, other than how to turn rollover tool tips off globally. View the full tip.

Hiding Xref Layers
Andria Lynch sent us a quick way to hide all the xrefed layers when using the pulldown menu on the Layer Properties toolbar. Open the Layer Manager and select the automatically generated x-ref filter so only your xrefed layers are displayed in the manager, then right-click in the layer list and click on invert layer filter. View the full tip.

Writing Scripts With Excel
This tip, from Josh Jones' Lazy Drafter blog, works in AutoCAD 2008 and newer: "A while back, I received some survey data in the form of a comma-delimited text file containing rows of Northings, Eastings, and elevations. I needed to take that information and place blocks at every location in my drawing. At the time I only had plain AutoCAD (I wasn't using Civil 3D yet). Being lazy, I wasn't about to sit there and type the coordinates by hand. So I wrote a script! Read how I did it."


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

SolidWorks Labs Adds New Applications
Dassault Systemes' SolidWorks Labs added four new free applications to its "technology sandbox." Treehouse enables users to create and customize graphical representations; Tagger is an add-in for creating tags. Presentation Studio helps user create PDF files, and COLLADA Export exports solid models.

Software and Hardware Suppliers Database
Cadalyst has made available its online Supplier Showcase, a comprehensive database of companies that provide CAD-related software, hardware, and training products. Information, which is provided by the respective companies, can be viewed either alphabetically or by product category.


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Deals & Freebies

Free Open Beta Version of Vue 7 Pioneer
E-on software's Open Beta of Vue 7 Pioneer is available for a free download. Vue 7 is entry-level software for 3D artists and small studios. The software is used to create vast expanses of terrains, add trees, and render hyper-realistic images of landscapes in moody atmospheres. The download includes free access to the Cornucopia3D community.

ZWSOFT Unveils ZWCAD 2009 Beta
ZWSOFT is offering a free download of ZWCAD 2009 Beta, the company's productive drawing software for 2D and 3D design and drafting. New features include tool palettes, eTransmit command, aerial view window, editing with multiple grips, and dimensioning of jogged dimension and arc length dimension.

Free MEDUSA4 for Windows and Linux
CAD Schroer is offering a free, personal version of the MEDUSA4 design automation suite, available for Windows and Linux. The software includes the MEDUSA4 Smart Drafting Tool for creating geometry without construction lines and SMART Edit.
Read more
.

 

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Opportunities & Honors

Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference: Call for Papers
The Coordinate Metrology Society announced its Call for Papers for the 25th
Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference
(CMSC). Metrology users from manufacturers and science laboratories are invited to submit abstracts until April 10 for white papers illustrating their successful application of 3D coordinate measurement systems.


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Books & Training

SolidWorks User Site
SolidJott is a user-run web site where SolidWorks users can participate by posting questions to issues they have with the software or help other users solve their problems. Users can post questions, comments, and replies to SolidWorks-related issues.
Read more.

AliasStudio 2009 Textbook
Autodesk AliasStudio 2009 for Designers ($55), a textbook by Sham Tickoo of Purdue University Calumet, covers all major features of AliasStudio and takes the user across a spectrum of engineering solutions through examples, illustrations, and exercises.
Read more.

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The Week's New CAD and Related Products

AEC: Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis 2009
Autodesk's software offerings are integrated with Revit Structure and enable users to analyze complex structures. Read more.

AEC: XL2CAD
DotSoft's AutoCAD/Excel software XL2CAD enables users to import and link Microsoft Excel spreadsheets into Revit. Read more.

Collaboration: Prolog Connect
Meridian Systems' web-services platform extension for Prolog Manager improves supply chain collaboration and software integration flexibility. Read more.

MCAD: PolyWorks IMAlign Plug-in for Faro and Romer 3D Scanners
The plug-in from Laser Design allows users to scan directly into PolyWorks, providing graphical feedback of the scanning process. Read more.

MCAD: Pictures by PC V3.4
Schott Systeme's design and manufacturing software now includes sheet metal design tools for altering features and parts. Read more.

CAE: Femap V10
Femap is a PC-based CAE modeling solution and the finite-element analysis (FEA) component of Siemens PLM's Velocity Series portfolio. Read more.

CAE: MapleSim
MapleSim from Maplesoft contains tools for model design and analysis, including dynamic analysis, control design, and optimization. Read more.

CAM: CAM350 V10 and BluePrint V2
DownStream Technologies' products create and distribute the deliverables required for PCB fabrication and assembly release package. Read more.

CAM: ESPRIT Mold V10
V10 of DP Technology's mold software includes an ESPRIT FreeForm 5-axis composite machining cycle and impeller cycle. Read more.

CAM: VX Innovator
VX's software includes tools for creating and delivering 2D drawing layouts of parts and assemblies. Use it to quote jobs and check drawings. Read more.

CAM: CAM Express V6.0.1
By leveraging synchronous technology, this CAM software from Siemens PLM includes the ability to edit multi-CAD data as if it were native. Read more.

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Mark Your Calendar

Webinar: Extending BIM to the Trailer and Job Site
January 16, 2009
Noon EST
This webinar from Vico Software will show users how to download critical formwork and steel locations to the Trimble total station, and download centerlines and edge lines of piping and ductwork. Read more.

SolidWorks World 2009
February 8-11, 2009
Orlando, Florida
Visitors to SolidWorks World 2009 can attend more than 150 technical sessions and network with other SolidWorks users, partners, employees, and resellers. Read more.

Cities Revealed Event 2009
February 12-13, 2009
Cambridge, United Kingdom
This ninth annual event, hosted by Training4GIS, brings together spatial data users and industry experts to discuss geoinformation technology and research and management techniques. Read more.

SmartGeometry 2009
March 25 - April 1, 2009
San Francisco, California
Join SmartGeometry and Bentley Systems to learn about advanced computational and parametric design from industry experts. Presentations will focus on design, technology, and methodology. 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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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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