Tips & Tools Weekly (Vol. 17, No. 32)10 Sep, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff
This Week's Software Tips
Back to Tip School
After you finish packing a lunch and stocking that backpack, take a few minutes to share your tips — for AutoCAD or any other CAD software tool — with your fellow CAD users. If we publish your tip, you'll earn a gift card you can use toward a T-shirt or other prizes in the Cadalyst Store. Use the "Submit Tip" button below to send us your tip today!
Create Custom Field Values to View Outside of CAD
Tipster Steven Matchett has a way to get AutoCAD file information without using CAD. "This is an interesting idea," said Cadalyst Tip Reviewer Brian Benton. "File properties can be accessed in many different ways. One way is outside of AutoCAD through Windows Explorer." View the complete tip and post your feedback.
Manage 3D Models in Paper Space
Frequent tipster Leonid Nemirovsky shares a method he uses to manage 3D models and parts in AutoCAD. "When I develop 3D models, I first create parts (usually solids). Then I assemble them together, often 'unioning' them in the process. To ensure that I can make changes, I keep the parts in separate drawings, so my main model is clean. This cuts rendering time dramatically." View the complete tip and post your feedback.
Transfer Annotations on Mixed Drawings
Leonid Nemirovsky also sent in a trick for dealing with AutoCAD files that are annotated in both model and paper space. "Working with other people's files can be difficult," said Cadalyst Tip Reviewer Brian Benton. "The problem isn't necessarily that they are done incorrectly; it's often that they were created with a different set of CAD standards. This difference puts them in conflict with your files." View the complete tip and post your feedback.
Add Parking Spaces with a Dynamic Block
Tipster Steve Lander shares a dynamic insulation block with us that he made to help with the layout and design of parking areas in AutoCAD. "This block allows the user to add car parking spaces dynamically and has a field attached that counts the number of spaces (remember to perform a Regen to make the field update)." View the complete tip and post your feedback.
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.
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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.
CAD/CAM Portal Offers Product Reviews and Information
A new web site, CAD/CAMConnect.com, offers products, reviews, news, training, and discussion groups. Through the site, suppliers offer products and services such as CAM software, rapid prototyping, CNC machines, document scanning, reverse engineering, 3D content, translators, hosting, and IT consulting.
Paper Advises CAD Users about Product Assembly Design
A new paper from PLM (product lifecycle management) research firm CIMdata offers advice about tools for designing large product assemblies. "CAD Selection Considerations: Product Assemblies," available for free download, identifies and discusses a number of functional capabilities for designing large product assemblies within critical CAD solutions.
Project Factory.Modz() for Inventor Returns to Autodesk Labs
Project Factory.Modz() for Inventor is once again available for download from the Autodesk Labs web site. The software allows users to animate the movement of material and people inside a facility. In response to user requests for more time to experiment with the technology, the free preview has been extended until February 28, 2013.
Deals & Freebies
Free Trial of Updated ZWCAD+ Available from ZWsoft
Visitors to ZWsoft's web site can download a 30-day free trial of ZWCAD+, its updated 2D and 3D CAD software. The company reports that ZWCAD+ been rewritten from scratch with a new core and features memory optimization, improved stability, better cross-platform communication, and a ribbon user interface.The full-featured free trial includes technical support.
Autodesk Releases Free ForceEffect Motion App for Android
Autodesk has extended its conceptual simulation app, ForceEffect Motion, to the Android platform. ForceEffect Motion allows users to develop functional moving mechanical systems on their mobile devices. Users can download ForceEffect Motion free.
ProgeCAD Purchasers Can Get ProgeTable Free
For a limited time, customers who purchase the single standalone version, NLM network version, or USB portable version of progeCAD will get free progeTABLE software that links Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to progeCAD and keeps them synchronized so they can be edited in either program. Buyers must purchase progeCAD by September 30, 2012, and use the coupon code "tables-are-free" when checking out.
Autodesk Offers Free Trial of SketchBook Pro v6
Autodesk is offering a 15-day, full-featured trial version of SketchBook Pro v6 ($59.99 for the full version). The new version of the sketching, painting, and drawing software for Windows and Mac features a streamlined interface, multitouch navigation, French curves, and synthetic paint and smudge brushes.
Opportunities & Honors
Bentley Student Design Competition Open Until April 5, 2013
Bentley Systems has issued a call for submissions to its 2013 Student Design Competition. University, college, high school, and technical school students are invited to submit projects designed using Bentley software. Projects will be judged on creativity and skill in applying design and engineering principles.
Tekla Names North America BIM Winners
Winners of the 2012 Tekla North America BIM Awards competition were recognized at the company's annual user meeting. CSD Services took the BIM Award (building information modeling) prize for its Dynamo Stadium. The Steel category winner was Structal-Heavy Steel Construction, for the Investors Group Field project. KGS Group won the Concrete category prize for its Hydro Spillway Replacement project.
Books & Training
First in Series of SolidWorks 2012 Training Courses Now Available
TEDCF Publishing, a SolidWorks Solution Partner, is shipping SolidWorks 2012: Professional Modeling. The course, which teaches modeling concepts through advanced best practices, is the first in a four-part series of courses for SolidWorks 2012 to be released this year. It is available via download or DVD.
Eagle Point Adds Civil 3D 2013 and Revit 2013 Resources
Eagle Point Software Corporation, an Autodesk AEC Industry Partner, has added AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 and Autodesk Revit 2013 resources to its Pinnacle Series of training and support interfaces. Content is delivered through a concurrent user and perpetual license model, meaning organizations can buy only the software they need.
MCAD: eDrawings for iPad, Pro Edition
EDrawings Pro for iPad ($9.99) is now available from SolidWorks. On top of basic eDrawings features, the Pro edition adds dynamic cross-section views, measurements, mark-ups and annotations, and the ability to share drawings by e-mail. The app will be on sale for $4.99 through late November.
Software developer Docupoint has launched the DrawingSearcher app, which allows anyone using a common web browser to search through an organization's AutoCAD drawing files without the use of AutoCAD. The searcher can then use the app's SmartZoom feature to view each instance of the search results. A free trial of DrawingSearcher is available from the Autodesk Exchange Apps store.
AEC: Revit LT
Autodesk has added to its Revit software products with Revit LT 2013 ($1,200; Revit LT Suite 2013, $1,500). Built on the Revit platform for BIM (building information modeling), Revit LT is targeted toward smaller firms that have been using 2D workflows and wish to transition to BIM. A 30-day free trial will be released on September 18, 2012.
AEC: EdgeWise MEP for Revit
ClearEdge3D recently released its new software designed to bring 3D as-built models of pipes and other cylindrical MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) elements directly into Autodesk Revit. EdgeWise MEP for Revit extracts pipe solids from laser scan point clouds. Once connected into pipe runs, the model can be imported into Revit as pipe objects, along with information such as diameter, length, and elbow bend radii.
Mark Your Calendar
Search Better in Your PLM Session
September 25, 2012
2 p.m. ET
This webcast from Alcove9 will show viewers how they can search through an entire enterprise without leaving their PLM (product lifecycle management) sessions. Read more
Experience SolidWorks 2013
October 2–19, 2012
Various U.S. cities
At these SolidWorks launch events, Fisher/Unitech representatives will demonstrate the new features of SolidWorks 2013. Read more
PLM Innovation Americas 2012
October 25–26, 2012
Attendees of this independent event will be able to learn from experts, network with peers, and visit with PLM (product lifecycle management) solutions providers. Read more
For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Cadalyst.com. Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What's New at Cadalyst.com
Preview of the HP Z1 CAD Workstation
Take a personal tour of the HP Z1 workstation with Curt Moreno. The HP Z1 is the world's first all-in-one workstation with a 27" (diagonal) display that snaps open to let you swap out parts and make upgrades. No tools required. Watch the video
Budget CAD Workstations
Cadalyst Labs examines four desktop systems and finds that professional 2D/3D CAD power is well within the reach of money-minded users. Read more
New Tricks for Customizing AutoCAD's Quick Access Toolbar
The Quick Access Toolbar in AutoCAD makes it easy and fast to access commonly used commands. In this video from Cadalyst, Lynn Allen shows how to customize it to get the job done as quickly as possible. Watch the video
Buying a New CAD Workstation? Know Your Software System Requirements
Where do you begin your quest for the right workstation? This particular hardware search should start with your software. Read the CADspeed blog post
Autodesk Announces Revit LT
Autodesk today celebrated the one-year anniversary of Project Spark — an Autodesk Labs technology preview that is essentially a smaller, lighter version of Autodesk Revit software for building information modeling (BIM) — by announcing the impending release of Autodesk Revit LT 2013. Read the blog post
In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!