Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 17, No. 10)

27 Mar, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips

Dust Off Those Golden Oldies
Some tips just never get old. Is there a classic tip that you still rely on today? Use the "Submit Tip" button below to tell us about your favorites from the past, so we can dust them off and share them with your fellow CAD users!

Viewport Layer Freeze
Tipster Hayden Clarke shares a tip with us about using viewport layer visibility controls in AutoCAD. "This tip is really a double-barreled tip relating to viewport freezing. The first part is an oldie but a goodie; the second is new to AutoCAD 2012." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Zoom Extents — Where Did Everything Go?
Frequent contributor Danny Korem shares a trick he uses to clean up an AutoCAD file if the screen looks blank after a Zoom Extents is performed. "While browsing the Cadalyst CAD Tips, I saw Tip No. 3800, Zoom Extents Alternative. It reminded me of a standard procedure I've been following for some time now." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Plot Files to PDF
In his second tip this week, Danny Korem discusses plotting an AutoCAD drawing to a PDF file instead of to paper. "Sometimes you won't be able to plot directly to a plotting device from within AutoCAD. Instead, you can plot with the DWG to PDF device using the same parameters (paper size, scale, resolution, etc.)." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Inventor Tip: Assorted Inventor 2012 Time-Savers
David Edward Gaskill sent in a long list of small Autodesk Inventor tools, techniques, and shortcuts that he likes to use. "Double-click an arrowhead node to change the arrow style." View the complete tip and post your feedback.


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 in the latest version of AutoCAD by Contributing Editor Brian Benton. Use all tips at your own discretion, please. We're sorry, but Cadalyst staff cannot provide assistance with technical problems. Please refer to Cadalyst's LinkedIn and Facebook communities for assistance with AutoLISP and other AutoCAD customization questions.

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PTC Releases PLM Video and Case Study
PTC has released a video titled, Managing Product Data That Will Live Forever, which discusses how product data management, global collaboration, and PLM (product lifecycle management) help make "design anywhere, build anywhere" a reality for oil-field service provider Weatherford. PTC also released a case study that explains how PLM supports the company's vision.

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Opportunities & Honors

3Dconnexion, GrabCAD Launch Video Challenge
For its 3D Mouse Demo Video competition, 3Dconnexion is asking participants to create a video showcasing what they like about 3D mice and how they use them. All entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges for a chance to win prizes of cash and 3D mice. The deadline to enter is April 18, 2012. Winners will be announced on the GrabCAD and 3Dconnexion sites.

Contex Scanner Receives Honors from Independent Testing Lab
Contex, a developer of wide-format scanning and imaging products, has received high honors from Buyers Laboratory (BLI), an independent equipment testing lab, for the HD Ultra 4290i+ wide-format scanner. BLI's productivity and image-quality testing includes a series of single-page A1 landscape scans.

Stratasys Annouces Finalists in 3D Printing Competition
Stratasys has announced the finalists in its Dimension brand's eighth annual Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge. From the 10 finalists in each category, a panel of independent judges from industry and the engineering media will select the winners this spring. Dimension will award each of three student winners $2,500 or $1,000 scholarships.

FISHER/UNITECH Earns Recognition as Top Stratasys Reseller
FISHER/UNITECH achieved number-one Stratasys reseller status in the Americas in dollars and unit volume in 2011. The company, a PLM (product lifecycle management) solutions provider and Stratasys partner for more than 15 years, supplies the Dimension 3D Printer and Fortus 3D Production equipment to discrete manufacturing companies in the Midwest region of the United States.

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Mark Your Calendar

International ARCHIBUS Users' Conference
April 29–May 2, 2012
Boston, Massachusetts
This event will comprise four days of case studies, panels, technical briefings, and best practices sessions. Read more

Thought Leader Symposium: Driving Business Excellence through Enterprise Technology Integration
May 16–18, 2012
Dillon, Colorado
The Geographic Information & Technology Association (GITA)'s symposium will provide an opportunity for attendees to discuss the next frontier of geospatial information and technology. Read more

International Conference on Additive Manufacturing
July 10–11, 2012
Nottingham, England
This conference will focus on the research and application of additive manufacturing for the production of end-use components, including process, materials, design, and software development together with supply chain and management issues. Read more

COMSOL Conference 2012
October 3–5, 2012
Boston, Massachusetts
The COMSOL Conference will focus on advancing cross-disciplinary modeling and simulation techniques and sharing best practices. 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

Cast Your Vote in Cadalyst's New Poll
Do you wonder how much time your CAD peers spend working in 3D? Simply scroll to the bottom of the Cadalyst home page and vote in the latest Cadalyst poll to find out! You can even bookmark the results page and come back later, to see how the results change as more voters weigh in.

CADspeed Blog Post:
How Much RAM Should You Buy for a CAD Workstation?

Start with the minimum RAM recommendation for your primary software, then get a feel for how much more memory you'll get with incremental spending. Read more

Luxology Launches Modo 601 and New CAD Loaders
Updates take the content creation solution to a new level of support for the 'CAD to ad' workflow. Read more

Learning Curve AutoCAD Tutorial: Taking Another Look at 3D
FlatShot isn't the only way to generate 2D views from 3D models — try the Solid View, Solid Draw, and Solid Profile commands as well. Read more

Webcast: Digital Signatures, Hosted by Cadalyst and ARX
John Marchioni, vice-president at ARX, leads attendees through the basics of digital signature technology for the AEC workflow and a look into the functionality of the CoSign digital signature solution. Read more

Femap Tips and Tricks: View Femap Loads as Contour Plots
Verify the correct loading definition in a model by creating an output set and contouring it. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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Lynn Allen

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