Dialog Box December 2005

14 Dec, 2005 By: Cadalyst Staff Cadalyst

Readers have their say.

To be considered for publication, you must sign your letters and include your company's name, address, and daytime telephone number. Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity. Send letters to:
Cadalyst Dialog Box
859 Willamette Street
Eugene, OR 97401
fax: 541.984.5328
Review of Realistic Systems?
I am one of several people following with interest a thread on the Autodesk discussion groups in the hardware forum about your recent review of high-end systems. Dream machines are nice, but not practical for most users. What are really needed are reviews of those in the price range that most CAD people use. You may want to do a survey to find that price range, but a general consensus is somewhere between $1,500 and $3,000 without a monitor, rather than the $4,700 to $8,000 range.

I refer people to the reviews on the Cadalyst site all the time, but they are in the same boat as myself, we know what hardware we need, but we don't control the IT budget.

I show my boss a review of a workstation that costs $6,000 and he laughs in my face, as I currently use the same setup as my secretary. Thanks for taking the time to read my feedback, I really do appreciate all of the work you put in on your publication, and I can't give you enough props for that.

— Melanie Stone, via Internet

Editors respond:
We are surprised and somewhat appalled at the number of readers who wrote in asking for reviews of more moderately priced systems. Take a moment to complete our Quick Poll so we can see how widespread this concern is.

Need Speed?
I am one of several people involved in an AutoCAD discussion about your recent review of high-end systems, and the one who thought we should write Cadalyst to express our everyday needs.

In particular, I am interested in what will run Land Desktop and C3D faster with large image files attached. This may take a matrix or numerous articles to cover the individual needs, as civil engineering needs are much different than mechanical or architectural. Maybe a bigger concern is to define the wastes of money in spec'ing hardware for specific uses. For example, what will speed up procession points in Land Desktop or plotting to Acrobat? What won't?

I am also concerned how the HP computer scored no lower than an A- in the individual categories, but gets a overall grade of B+. Was that a typo?

— Bradley William Yarger, P.E., P.T.O.E., via Internet

Editors respond:
Thanks for your email. Again, please take a moment to complete our Quick Poll so we can see how widespread this concern is.

In regards to the HP grade, B+ is correct in comparison to the other workstations. We should have adjusted the other grades to help it make more sense. We apologize for any confusion.

AEC Tech News Feedback
I know it's not an accepted alternate for most architects but has anyone looked at AutoCAD LT for use if one does only 2D? Does it support xrefs, layers, etc? Have you evaluated it?

— Ron Mauger, via Internet

Editors respond:
LT works basically the same as AutoCAD, except that it does not support AutoLISP, 3D and some fairly new features such as true-color support. It does use layers and xrefs. For 2D work that doesn't require any custom routines, it should do fine.

Areas in Fields
Is there a way I can add area fields in AutoCAD 2005? I read your article Learning Curve: Having a Field Day.

— Rakesh Rajhkoomar, via Internet

Bill Fane responds:
Not a problem. As the article suggested, all you need to do is:

  1. Pick Insert \ Field to start the Field dialog box.
  2. In the left-hand column, pick the Object field name
  3. In the top center of the dialog box, pick the icon at the right-hand end of the Object Type window.
  4. The Filed dialog box goes away, and you are invited to select an object. When you do, the Field dialog reappears. If you pick any object that encloses an area, such as a circle, polyline, spline or arc, then the Property window includes Area as one of the options. Click it, then click Okay.
  5. The dialog box disappears and you are invited to place the field text.
Hope this helps.

2D Drawing with 3D Lines
Bill, I have question and I was hoping you could help me. I have a large 2D drawing of a plant layout, with buildings, roads, pipe racks, etc. The problem is some of the objects in the drawing are on different z elevations, making it very hard to edit the drawing. Do you know of a way to get everything back on the same z axis? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

— Pat McElroy, via Internet

Bill Fane responds:
There are two possible solutions.

The fastest and easiest requires that you install the Express Tools.

Select Express \ Modify \ Flatten Objects. All selected objects have their z coordinate reduced to zero. Circles drawn at an angle to the X=Y plane project properly into ellipses. The bad news is that all lines are turned into polylines, but you can then explod them back to normal lines.

The other solution is to select Modify \ Properties. If all selected objects are of the same type (i.e. lines only or circles only, etc.) then you can set the start, end or center z values to zero. To simplify this, use selection filters to select all lines in the drawing, or all circles, and so on.

Hope this helps.

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!