Hot Tip Harry: Tips from Our Readers -- January 2006

11 Jan, 2006 By: Bill Kramer Cadalyst

Generate 3D text, create a yes/no dialog box, maintain text height and convert polylines and 3D solids into 3D face objects with these tips from Harry’s readers.

Download code for this and all articles. Look for JAN06.exe in Get the Code. Downloads are free and are provided "as is" without warranty or support.

Tips are tested using AutoCAD 2006, unless otherwise noted. By submitting code to Cadalyst, 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, and it is not to be used for commercial purposes.

Important note: Be sure your submission contains all elements required for it to run independently using AutoCAD 2006. Tips that are missing functions or other necessary elements will not be considered.

All published tips earn the author a Cadalyst
t-shirt, and the tip judged best each month earns the author $100. Click here for details about the Hot Tip Harry Challenge 2006.

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Welcome to the New Year! Let me start off by saying that this year brings a new change in Hot Tip Harry. Actually, it is a change back to the old way of doing things. Each month, Harry will select a top tip, and its author will earn a $100 prize. Authors of all published tips will be entered into the end-of-year grand prize drawing for some excellent prizes. So without further ado, let's get to them!

The top tip of this month is 3DText (Tip #2081) from Aaron Werning. This fantastic tool adds depth to a text object so it shows up nicely in a 3D drawing. Instead of creating text objects 3DText generates a series of polylines in blocks that trace the text characters and have a z depth. To use this program, load the LSP file and type 3DTEXT at the AutoCAD Command prompt. Press Enter to start the creation of a new 3D text graphic or select an existing 3DText object for edit. You must use the 3DText command to edit the text in the 3D text graphics. Each text sequence is stored as a block and each character is drawn as a block behind the scenes. Documentation on special characters and other aspects of the utility are provided in the header of the LSP file. This version supports only one font type and creating a new font for it may be tedious work unless you write a LISP routine to create the data lists. Congratulations on being the January top tip, Aaron. Nice programming!

Spline to Polyline Conversion Redux (Tip #2082) is an improved version of Tip #2039 from June 2005, supplied by mysterious sources.

Nick Hofland supplied Yes/No Dialog Box (Tip #2083) for LISP programmers. The dialog box is defined by a simple DCL file that you must place in the AutoCAD search folder for this utility to operate correctly. Load the LSP file and use the function in your coding as (Yes-No "My question"). The function returns T if the answer is Yes, nil otherwise and sets the symbol NUMYN to either 0 for No or 1 for Yes. A handy utility to keep ready for when needed. After all, users love dialog boxes!

Jamie Spartz sent in two related functions. Convert Polylines to 3D Face Objects (Tip #2084) is used to prepare a drawing for 3D rendering. Load the LSP file into AutoCAD and type 3C at the Command prompt to activate the function. Select polylines that have three or four vertex points for conversion to 3D face objects. Convert 3D Solids to 3D Face Objects (Tip #2085) works along the same lines and for the same purposes converting 3D solid objects into faces. Jamie's main reason for creating these cool tips was to convert 3D drawing information into faces for editing. Thanks for sharing, Jamie!

Leonid Nemirovsky provided a nice utility for maintaining text heights in Text Selections (Tip #2086). Once the LSP file is loaded, type TXT at the Command prompt to display a dialog box holding three buttons. Pick one of the buttons for the style of text you want to create and then proceed directly into the Text command with all the parameters set. Saving button picks and menu hunts is important for productivity in the CAD/CAM workplace. Leonid provides us with yet another of his excellent tips.

Each month Harry looks for new tips and tricks that can help you, the AutoCAD user, do your job faster and better. This year Harry is starting something new -- a forum where you can request tips and get help from the tip authors and other Hot Tip Harry readers. Harry thanks you for your support over the last year during the transition to an online format and looks forward to hearing your comments and suggestions in the forum.

About the Author: Bill Kramer

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