Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 17, No. 16)

7 May, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

This Week's Software Tips

Do You Speak LISP?
When it comes to CAD code, Hot Tip Harry knows a good tip when he sees it! Use the "Submit Tip" button below to send us your LISP routines. If we publish your tip, you'll earn a $25 gift card you can use to purchase a T-shirt or other prizes in the Cadalyst Store.

Export Layer Properties to a Spreadsheet
Frequent tipster Danny Korem explains how to export AutoCAD layer properties to a spreadsheet. "With this method, you can create an Excel spreadsheet out of your Layer Properties Manager to distribute to the design team." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Units, Areas, and Acaddoc.LSP
C. Frank Kellogg shares two small bits of code that he uses to quickly switch the "read-out" units for text in AutoCAD. "This is a nice bit of simple code," said Cadalyst Tip Reviewer Brian Benton. "They are just macros, but they quickly set your units to the settings you want to use. You could edit these to fit any of your unit needs." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Extra Features of the Middle Mouse Button
Nick Antonov, a senior GIS draughtsman, discusses using the third mouse button in AutoCAD. "I double-click the middle button on a three-button mouse to zoom extents. When mice equipped with a scroll wheel came out, I started using the middle button to pan too — just press and hold the middle button and move about your drawing." View the complete tip and post your feedback.

Inventor Tip: Apply Constraints in Inventor
David Gaskill, a CAD designer, sent in an Autodesk Inventor tip about applying constraints to an assembly. "Have you ever had components in an assembly placed at the correct location without constraints, and wanted to add a constraint without having the part move?" 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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Deals & Freebies

SolidWorks Extends eDrawings to iPad Platform
Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks has released its eDrawings for the iPad app ($1.99), available via the Apple iTunes App Store. App users can review AutoCAD DWG and DXF files as well as native SolidWorks parts, assemblies, and drawings; open files from e-mail, iTunes File Sharing, or an internal network; and display 3D animations, 3D standard views, and 2D drawing views.

Laser Design and GKS Services Announce Sale on 3D Scanning Systems
Laser Design and GKS Services, providers of 3D scanning systems and 3D measurement services, are offering a temporary discount on two high-accuracy 3D laser scanner models in the Surveyor ZS series. The inventory surplus sale includes:

  • Surveyor ZS 3030 for $159,000 (original price $190,000)
  • Surveyor ZS 4060 for $180,000 (original price $240,000).


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Opportunities & Honors

Luxion Opens KeyShot 3D Rendering and Animation Competition
Software developer Luxion has launched the Keyshot 2012 3D Rendering and Animation Competition, challenging artists to render and/or animate a watch design using its Keyshot 3D rendering and animation software. The competition ends on May 26 at midnight PT.

Bentley's Glen Worrall Wins Fiatech STAR Award
Glen Worrall, a Bentley Systems solutions architect, was presented with a Fiatech 2011 Superior Technical Achievement Recognition (STAR) Award at the sixth annual Celebration of Engineering & Technology Innovation Gala, held April 3, 2012, in Miami, Florida. Worrall received the award for his contributions supporting Fiatech's "Collaborating with a Neutral 3D Model" project.

C.ideas Garners FDM Award from Additive Manufacturing Organization
C.ideas, a 3D printing service provider, won the the first FDM Dinosaur Award for its fused deposition modeling (FDM) expertise. AMUG (Additive Manufacturing Users Group) board members presented the award at the 2012 Additive Manufacturing Users Group Conference, held April 22–26 in Costa Mesa, California.

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Mark Your Calendar

Let's Go Design: Consumer Products
May 14, 2012
2 p.m. ET
This free webinar from Fisher/Unitech will address importing a 2D drawing or sketch rendering, creating surface sweeps, inserting surfaces as reference geometry, and C2 boundary meshing. Read more

Introduction to Vuuch
May 30, 2012
3 p.m. ET
This webinar will explain how product development teams can use Vuuch to help optimize communication and get products to market more quickly. Read more

August 5–9, 2012
Los Angeles, California
Now in its 39th year, the SIGGRAPH conference is an international event focused on computer graphics and interactive techniques. The event, which includes a three-day commercial exhibition, is expected to draw more than 20,000 professionals involved in research, science, art, animation, gaming, interactivity, education, and the web. Read more

Autodesk University 2012
November 27–29, 2012
Las Vegas, Nevada
Autodesk University (AU), a conference and exhibition for Autodesk product users, will bring together design and technology professionals for networking, exhibits, innovation forums, and a new curriculum of more than 800 lectures, roundtable sessions, and hands-on labs. AU members may register beginning August 28, 2012; registration will open to all users on September 5. 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

Cadalyst Poll: How Much Did You Spend on Your CAD Workstation?
Do you ever wonder how much money your peers spend on their CAD systems? 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:
Use of Point Clouds for Revit Modeling

Here at CADspeed, we've touted the need for CAD hardware that will get the job done. We are equally intrigued by the growing use of building information modeling (BIM) in our industry, which requires even more hardware capacity and usage power than standard CAD programs. Read more

NCS: Common Language for CAD Users
Version 5 of the U.S. National CAD Standard is available in an online, searchable format to further streamline collaboration at every stage of a building project. Read more

Circles and Lines Tutorial: Don't Be Shy — Try Out AutoCAD's New UI!
AutoCAD introduces plenty of reasons to move beyond that old, familiar user interface. Read more

All-in-One CAD Tip #3:
Rename Xref Layers in AutoCAD, Customize Inventor Ribbon, Update Your Resume

Discover how to improve AutoCAD file management by renaming xref files; customize your Autodesk Inventor ribbon menu; and keep your resume updated, just in case. Sponsored by the HP Z1 All-in-One Workstation, the world's first all-in-one 27" workstation. Read more

Cadalyst and Leica Geosystems Webcast: Point Clouds for Revit Modeling
In "Optimize the Use of Point Clouds for Revit Modeling," attendees will learn about the basics of 3D laser scanning of as-built structures, how to prepare point cloud models, and how to optimize the use of point clouds within a Revit workflow. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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