MCAD Tech News (#333)

25 Oct, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

Seek and Ye Shall Find: Quickly Locate AutoCAD Files That Contain Specific Entities

Learning Curve tutorial: AutoLISP routine makes short work of an otherwise arduous task.

By Bill Fane

It was a warm and sunny day. Captain LearnCurve and his gorgeous wife were staying at their summer cabin at the lake. They were relaxing between waterskiing runs, idly watching a great blue heron soaring by. The only cloud in the sky had a pointed shape ... that's it!


The topic for this article: point clouds! No, this article won't be about AutoCAD point clouds and how they work, but instead will be a learned treatise on how to automatically search through a set of drawings looking for entities that meet certain criteria.

I say again: Huh?

It all started with an e-mail from reader Dave Sasko. His problem was that he had a large number of drawing files spread through a complex folder structure, and he needed to find those files that contained at least one of the new point cloud entities. This article will show you how easy it is to find drawings that contain any particular type of entity, or even entities with specific characteristics. For example, if you need to find all drawings that contain a 12-inch-diameter circle that lives on layer "Cake," then stick around to see how easy it is.

Where to Begin

Finding drawings that contain specific entities is a very simple 4-step process:

  • First, we need to create a trivial AutoLISP program that specifies our search criteria.
  • Next, we use a good old-fashioned DOS command to create a list of all the drawing files in the folders to be searched.
  • We then use Notepad to turn the file list into an AutoCAD "script."
  • Finally, we run the script in AutoCAD. It opens every file in turn and the AutoLISP program checks for the desired entities. If it finds any, then the file name is added to the end of a log file, the drawing is closed, and the script moves on to open the next drawing. When the script has finished, then the log file is a simple text file that lists all the target drawings.

Read more »

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Bill Fane is a Cadalyst contributing editor, a registered professional engineer, and a close personal friend of Captain LearnCurve.

Medical Device Manufacturers Address Compliance Mandates with PLM

Product lifecycle management systems can help manufacturers succeed in an increasingly competitive and highly regulated industry.

By Eric Marks

Editor's note: This article comes to us from Advantage for the Product Lifecycle, a sister publication of Cadalyst.

Due to the fast pace of new technological developments, emerging market opportunities, and competition from start-ups, medical device executives find themselves in an environment where they must continually innovate with flawless execution to survive.

Judging by industry statistics, it's clear that intensified regulatory scrutiny has become a harsh reality for medical device manufacturers. Over the past several years many medical device companies have been hit with injunctions, undergone product recalls, or found themselves operating under Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consent decree. FDA regulations seem to impact every step of the medical device lifecycle, from properly classifying a device and developing a regulatory strategy to preparing FDA submissions.

So, just how are successful medical device manufacturers cost-effectively achieving compliance while meeting their product delivery targets? They are turning to their IT gurus and engineering architects for technology solutions, and discovering that next-generation product lifecycle management (PLM) systems may be the most valuable investment a medical device manufacturer can make for their product development process.

Keeping the Pace: Technology Is Key

The Millennium Research Group, an authority on medical technology market intelligence, predicts that device manufacturing executives will rely on technology solutions to overcome some of these regulatory burdens. They will also turn to technology to save costs, in hopes of recuperating lost profits from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010's addition of excise tax on medical devices.

Identifying a clear methodology and an efficient, cost-effective path through the medical device development lifecycle can increase a manufacturer's speed to market while ensuring compliance. According to Saju John Mathew, an industry analyst with research and consulting firm Frost and Sullivan, "What is key is that the right steps are taken at the right times and are properly documented for FDA compliance and approval, avoiding the need to repeat phases — a misstep that can be extremely costly in both time and capital, and can throw a medical device manufacturer way off course." Read more »

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Eric Marks is an analyst with PricewaterhouseCoopers and an author of technology strategy books.


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


3Dexperience Forum
November 6–7, 2012
Orlando, Florida
This Dassault Systèmes event will help attendees learn how to take advantage of 3DS applications and technology. 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. Read more »

SolidWorks World 2013
January 20–23, 2013
Orlando, Florida
Dassault Systèmes' SolidWorks World 2013 will include more than 200 technical breakout sessions presented for and by SolidWorks users. 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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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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