Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 15, No. 3)

25 Jan, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips

Call for Tips: Working with Data
Although most of the tips included in Tips & Tools Weekly are related to AutoCAD, we know your job also requires other kinds of special skills and secret techniques. Send us your favorite tips for working with data outside of AutoCAD, such as spreadsheets, text files, and images. If we publish your tip, you'll earn a gift card you can use to purchase a T-shirt or other prizes in the Cadalyst Store. Submit your tip soon!

Find an Elevation Between Two Points
Senior engineering designer Perry Medina shares with us a method of calculating the elevation of a point between two known points. "If you want an approximate ground elevation at a point with no contours, draw a line between the two nearest 3D contours." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Improve Performance with Virtual Memory
Leigh Lundy sends a tip on managing workstation memory to increase performance. "I was having issues with my 3D CAD drawings; it would take several seconds for my program to respond to commands like Move or Zoom. I found that my computer's virtual memory was set below the recommended size." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Extrude Along a Path (Sweep Command)
Senior model builder Peter Firkins explains how he draws long, continuous solid objects from a sectional view. "I often have to model conveyor belt lines to show how different areas of the plant are linked. If the belt is too long for the program, it must be modeled in sections that are joined together afterward." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Rotate the UCS to Hatch at Specific Angles
Senior landscape architect Timothy J. Harlow shares his method for hatching at angles to match particular objects in a drawing. "When you are hatching an area that has a different orientation, such as shingle-hatching sections of an octagon roof, use the user coordinate system, then Object to align each section." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Align the UCS with a Solid
Alex Borodulin submitted Snap to Surface, a tip from his NYacad Web site for quickly setting a new UCS aligned with the face of a 3D solid, and changing the current UCS to plan view.

Submit Your Tip

Review Cadalyst's Tip Submission Guidelines, then Submit Your Tip for your favorite CAD software. If we publish your tip, you'll earn a gift card you can use to purchase a T-shirt or other prizes in the Cadalyst Store. Please remember to submit only code and other tips that are your original work (or provide the original source so we can include proper credit) and to 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.

Got Feedback? To share feedback about one of today's tips, navigate to the tip using the link provided above, then click Comment. The Comment tool is available to registered users of Cadalyst'sCAD Tips site.

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. 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 for assistance with AutoLISP and other AutoCAD customization questions.

Sincere thanks to our volunteer Tip Patrol members: Brian Benton, Don Boyer,
Mitchell Hirschklau, R.K. McSwain, and Billy Wooten.

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CAD/CAM Site Offers Free Software Demos, Webinars
BobCAD-CAM, a CAD/CAM software provider, offers English and Spanish-language demos of many of the company's software products, including Mill Standard, Mill Pro, BobNEST, and BobART ProX. The BobCAD-CAM web site also includes an archived webinar library, which includes information on BobCAD Basics, BobART Basics, Predator Editor, 2 Axis Lathe, and more.

Research Paper Discusses the Russian MCAD Market
LEDAS and upFront.eZine Publishing announced their first co-published research paper, "The Russian MCAD Market" ($126). The content of this 126-page research paper was collected by upFront.eZine editor Ralph Grabowski during his eight-day tour of Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and Novosibirsk in fall 2009. The research paper is available as a PDF via e-mail.

CIMdata Releases Autodesk Program Review
CIMdata, a product lifecycle management (PLM) consulting and research firm, released a new program review entitled "Autodesk's Evolution as a PLM Solution Supplier." This review provides CIMdata's perspective on the transition that Autodesk is executing to transform itself from a supplier of individual PLM-focused point solutions to a supplier of industry-focused solutions. Copies of the CIMdata review are available at no cost.

View Live Training Sessions from SolidWorks 2010
On February 2, 2010, those who can't attend SolidWorks World 2010 can watch live technical training sessions streamed from the conference through Blue Sky Broadcast. Choose from up to four technical training sessions, including: Ten Essentials You Must Understand to Use SolidWorks Effectively; SolidWorks Crashes and Slowdowns — It's Not Always the Software; Visualization 101 — Basics of Appearances, Materials, and Rendering; and Assemblies — Building Better Models.

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Expert CAD Manager book by Robert Green

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Deals & Freebies

ERDAS Updates Its Free 3D Visualization Client
Geospatial business systems creator ERDAS has announced the release of ERDAS TITAN Client 2010, a free, downloadable 3D visualization client that includes the ERDAS TITAN Viewer and the Geospatial Instant Messenger (GeoIM). The ERDAS TITAN Viewer supports visualization of data and Web services from a variety of enterprise applications, and allows users to create sharable data and content mashups in a 3D globe.

Free Evaluation Software for CADSTAR V12 from Zuken
The latest version of CADSTAR Express, an evaluation application from engineering software developer Zuken, is now available in a free download for designers wanting to try out the latest version of the PCB design software. CADSTAR Express v12 features functionality for managing obsolescence and a "getting started" wizard that guides users through the design setup process.

Infotech Extends and Expands Its Discount on SpinFire Software
Infotech Enterprises GmbH, a provider of digital design communication software, has extended its 15% discount on its CAD viewer software, SpinFire, until January 31, 2010. The company has also expanded its deal to include two more SpinFire bundles. The discount applies to SpinFire Professional Plus, SpinFire Professional Client with five Importer Pack Class A Bundle, and SpinFire Professional Client with five Importer Pack Class B Bundle.

Vico Software Offers 30-Day Free Trial of Doc Set Manager
Vico Software, a virtual construction software provider, is making Vico Doc Set Manager available as a 30-day free trial. Doc Set Manager is a construction drawing set comparison tool for DWGs and vector-based PDFs. The application collates and compares drawings for construction projects, identifying changes and making it easier to assign and track clouds and links to requests for information.

STHENO/PRO V4 Drafting Software Free for 30 Days with Trial License
CAD Schroer Group, an engineering software provider, has announced the latest release of the free trial version of STHENO/PRO ADVANCED. Users can download v4 of the software at the CAD Schroer Web site to receive a free 30-day trial license. The STHENO/PRO drafting solution can be fully integrated with Pro/ENGINEER, Pro/INTRALINK, and Windchill PDMLink, and is suited for consolidating model and drawing-based product development processes.

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Opportunities & Honors

Group Goetz Architects Awarded LEED Platinum Certification
Group Goetz Architects (GGA) has been awarded LEED Platinum Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for the design of its corporate offices in Washington, D.C. LEED Platinum is the highest level of certification given through a rating system that measures how well a project performs according to energy use, lighting, water, and material use criteria.

Amity International School-Saket Wins Future Cities India 2020 Competition
The Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, and Bentley Systems have announced that the project designed by the student team from Amity International School-Saket won top honors in the Future Cities India 2020 design competition. This year's project focused on the redevelopment of Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and busiest markets in central north Delhi. The winning team included members Shruti Sahrawat, Neha Ahooja, Agrim Singh, and Arjun Hans.

Autodesk Needs Help in Selecting 2009 Inventor of the Year
Autodesk, a 2D and 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software provider, announced the beginning of the Inventor of the Year voting process. The company is encouraging members of the manufacturing community to visit the Autodesk community Web site and select one of the 2009 Inventor of the Month recipients as Inventor of the Year. The program recognizes the most innovative design and engineering advancements made using Autodesk Inventor software.

Avatech Recognizes Winners of Render Us Speechless Contest
Avatech, a professional services company for design and engineering technologies, has announced the winners of the Render Us Speechless contest. Avatech selected 45 finalists from hundreds of entries submitted by designers who use Autodesk 2D and 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software.

Vectorworks Architect Software Compliant with GSA BIM Guide Series 02
CAD software developer Nemetschek North America announced that its Vectorworks Architect software has been verified by the National 3D-4D-BIM Program with the General Services Administration (GSA) as complying with the requirements of the BIM Guide Series 02, Spatial Program Validation. Vectorworks Architect software (version 2010, SP2) may now be used on GSA projects that require BIM.

ZWCAD Design Contest 2010 to Showcase Design Ideas
With the release of ZWCAD 2010, CAD software supplier ZWSOFT is having its second annual ZWCAD Design Contest 2010 to showcase and reward the imaginations and talents of CAD users everywhere! The company is looking for design submissions that represent something we will see in 2015. Ideas include a widget, gadget, new medical device, or a spacecraft.

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Mastering Revit 2009 book by Paul F. Aubin


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Books & Training

KOMPAS-3D Webinars Available from ASCON Group
ASCON Group, a developer and integrator of CAD/AEC/PLM software, is offering online training sessions for the recently released KOMPAS-3D v11. The webinars are available for current and potential customers, 3D beginners, and partners of the company. Webinar topics include KOMPAS-3D v11 features, part creation, assembly creation, and working with BOM. To register for the webinars, e-mail ASCON at

CIMdata Announces Next CIMdata PLM Certificate Program
CIMdata, a PLM consulting and research firm, has announced its CIMdata PLM Certificate Program schedule for 2010. This assessment-based program includes individual and team-based exercises, as well as individual evaluations of achievement. The first program is scheduled for March 8–12, 2010, in Andover, Massachusetts. Confirmation of dates and exact locations will be announced approximately three months prior to each program.

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Mark Your Calendar

2010 Prolog Summit
January 27–29, 2010
Various cities
Constructive Solutions and Meridian Systems will host the 2010 Prolog Summit, an event to preview the future of Prolog, the construction project management solution. Read more

SolidWorks World 2010
January 31–February 3, 2010
Anaheim, California
Attendees of SolidWorks World 2010 will explore the latest 3D technology offered by more than 100 exhibitors in the SolidWorks Partner Pavillion. Read more

CARIS 2010: Stronger Together — People, Products, Infrastructure
March 22–25, 2010
Miami, Florida
The CARIS 2010 focuses on issues that relate to the innovation and integration of geospatial technologies in the areas of chart production, hydrographic survey, ports and waterways, and Web mapping. Read more

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

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What's New at

What a Difference a D Makes
When it comes to conveying the vision of a building design, Selser Schaefer Architects found that 3D can succeed where 2D fails. Read more

AU Online Offers GIS Learning on Demand
Autodesk University's online incarnation lets you catch classes at your convenience. Read more

Archiving Installation CDs and DVDs
CAD Manager's Toolbox: Maintaining backups in case of disaster is a chore, albeit an essential one. Make it easier by storing just the files, not the disks themselves. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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