MCAD Tech News (#266)

28 May, 2009

Cadalyst Labs Review: AutoCAD 2010

The times, they are a-changin' — and when it comes to new 2D parametric drawing, change can be very, very good.

By Bill Fane

Your boss comes out of a meeting with an important new client. As the two pass your desk, your boss hands you a marked-up printout showing seven changes to the client’s design that must be implemented before they get back from lunch.

Before the two can finish putting on their coats, the printer spits out a revised drawing.

Your boss looks at the printout and says, "How would you like to join us for lunch?" -- making a mental note that you had even picked up on the revisions to the R2.000 and 4.500 dimensions that were necessary to match the revised diameter.

Are you a magician or a time traveler? No, but you are smart enough to have updated to AutoCAD 2010. AutoCAD now includes 2D parametric drawing functionality so anatomically correct changes are made to the drawing pretty much as quickly as you can enter new dimension values.

In case you are unfamiliar with the terminology, let's start with a couple of explanations.

Parametrics involves two basic functionalities: geometric and dimensional constraints.

Geometric constraints. Geometric constraints effectively are sticky object snaps. Assume that you are drawing a line in standard AutoCAD, then object snap it to be tangent to an existing circle. The line only knows about the circle for the brief instant that it takes for AutoCAD to calculate the tangency point, and the circle never knows the line exists. On the other hand, if we apply a geometric constraint to the two objects, they both remember that the other object exists and that they must always remain tangential to each other. If you move the circle, the line will also move to remain tangent

The twelve available geometric constraints include fun ones such as collinear, parallel, symmetrical, and equal. The equal constraint can be applied to line lengths or to circle or arc radii. Horizontal and vertical constraints can apply to points as well as lines, so the center of a circle will always be located vertically (same y coordinate) as the center of an arc or the end of a line.  Read more »

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Bill Fane is a Cadalyst contributing editor, a registered professional engineer and a retired instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, where he taught mechanical design courses in AutoCAD, Mechanical Desktop, Inventor, SolidWorks, manufacturing processes, and design procedures.



Solid Edge Tutorial: View Manipulation Shortcuts

By Russell Brook

When using most CAD systems you instinctively use dedicated view commands to pan, zoom, and spin your model around as you design. But if you want to change view in the middle of a command, this often interrupts your workflow. Solid Edge shortcuts this process by including super efficient mouse and keyboard combinations that allow you to continue to manipulate your view even in the middle of a command or rapidly change perspective. Here's a quick tutorial explaining how. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

Autodesk Imagine Tour

Through June 4, 2009
Various Cities
At these events hosted by Autodesk, attendees will learn how to visualize, simulate, and analyze the real-world performance of ideas, as well as optimize designs. Read more »

Siemens PLM Connection Americas 2009

June 1-4, 2009
Nashville, TN
PLM World's four-day conference is a forum for users of Siemens PLM products to exchange software knowledge in technical sessions, attend training sessions, and network one-on-one with other users and professionals. Read more  »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on


What’s New at

3D Printer Buyer's Guide
This new resource from Z Corp., available now in Cadalyst’s Whitepaper Library, describes how tough economic times make a powerful argument for investing in 3D printing. The paper explains how such investments can yield long-term strategic value -- enhancing design and speeding time to market – and conserve money now by raising throughput and reducing labor needs. This paper covers how 3D printer products differ; terminology; and how to quantify costs. Free to users who register

First Look Review: HP Officejet 7000 Wide Format Printer
Low-cost, B-size inkjet printer is an excellent choice for small CAD, engineering, and DCC offices. Read more

Cadalyst Partners with Tenlinks for News Delivery
Agreement brings timely, comprehensive news coverage to visitors.
Read more

AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor and Autodesk Technical Evangelist 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!

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Visit the Cadalyst Whitepaper Library