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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Autodesk University

Well, it is about half way through the year, give or take a couple weeks and i am already looking forward to Autodesk University.  It is in Vegas again this year and I can't wait. I am presenting one class on AutoCAD Electrical and just figured I would let everyone know now that they should really try to get out to Autodesk University this year. I know there will be several classes on AutoCAD Electrical this year and it should be really informative. My class will be completely new this year from the one i did last year so that is exciting. My class is called AutoCAD Electrical 2007 QuickStart. That is about all I will say for now about the class. Come on, I have to leave something to talk about for the last half of the year. I will give more updates on my class throughout the rest of the year. I have to submit my outline this week so that will force me to finalize a few things. I will also get back to posting a couple times a week probably right after the holiday since I have a few things to finish before the holiday.

Here are a few links you might find useful.

When looking at the fees remember that it is for 4 days of top notch training and seminars.

Have a great holiday and if I don't post before then I will post after.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

On the road again

Headed to Columbus Ohio and testing my remote posting abilities.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Two Hotfixes and an Update

I am not sure when it happened but I look at the Autodesk website today and noticed that there are two new hotfixes and an update.  Since I work for a reseller I try to check back a couple times a week so that I can update all of my software (Inventor R11, AutoCAD, AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD Electrical and Productstream 5).

Hotfix - Cut and Paste

This hotfix is supposed to fix a problem when cutting and pasting in quite a few applications. Check out the Autodesk website here to see this specific hotfix.

Hotfix - Fatal Error During Save

This is supposed to fix a fatal error that happens randomly when saving a drawing. again this one is for quite a few applications so check it out here.

Certified Hardware XML Database Update

There are several reasons you might need this. mostly graphics related.  Check it out here.

These are all single files that need to be updated so be sure to read the readme for each of them.

Exploding Attributed Blocks.....

Boy the end of last week was pretty busy, I had quite a bit of things to finish but now I am back to the normal schedule and should be back to posting quite a bit. 

Back in the day I remember using this express tool quite a bit named burst. Maybe it wasn't an express tool but something I downloaded off of the web. Regardless it was a great tool for when you had a block with attributes that you needed to explode and maintain the text value that was in the attributes.

On the Conversion Tools tool palette there is a command called Special Explode. This provides users the ability to explode an existing block with attributes into regular AutoCAD geometry with AutoCAD text. This tool is great for converting Vanilla AutoCAD drawings that your company may have done in the past. This tool in conjuction with some of the other tools on the Conversion tool palette should get you there. More to come on the other tools on this palette.

Have a great week.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Promis-E Conversion to AutoCAD Electrical

Quite a while back I was working with a company that used Promis-E for around 7 or 8 years to try to get them to use AutoCAD Electrical.  After a couple demo's of ACE they decided that ACE is pretty cool and does everything they need. The biggest concern was their legacy data and having to either redraw or go back to Promis-E any time they needed to work on an old project or copy one forward.  At the time I was demoing ACE 2005 but 2006 was really close to coming out, the problem was I couldn't talk about it.  They decided that the value of all of the ACE stability and tools provided enough to change to the new software.  And so it was, we started working on an implementation project with them.  During the implementation phase we implemented 2006 and I was able to show them the conversion tools for Promis-E.

Promis-E to AutoCAD Electrical basic workflow:

  • Select Promis-E conversion tool
  • Decide on Active Drawing, or Entire Project.
  • Select the Promis-E names.ec2 file that has all of the Promis-E project information.
  • the user has the options to change location for converted files and some file naming items.
  • Let it run.

This tool works pretty darn good for a conversion utility. I had the opportunity to convert a project with over a few hundred drawings in it and it worked rather well. There was a little clean up with it, but most of that was from either exploded Promis-E symbols or symbols that had been mirrored or rotated. Overall I think this tool can help many of the customers that would like to make the switch but can't justify the legacy data concerns.

I plan to post more in the future on specific use of the tool but wanted to get some exposure on it.  Send me an email if you are interested on seeing more detail on how to use this tool and I will move it up in the list of topics.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Best Practice Series 4

I was driving to work this morning thinking about what basic things I have forgotten about regarding the Best Practice Series.  I was trying to think about what I see students doing in my classes that is an AutoCAD habit. The first thing I came up with that I haven't discussed already is Cutting Wires.

Cut Wires not Trim Lines

Whenever a user needs to trim out a wire remember about the Trim Wire command, or as I refer to it as the Wire Cutters. The icon looks like wire cutters and is located on the ACE:Main Electrical toolbar.  Basically this command when acivated allows the user to select the "Wire" to be cut, then it will "look" in both directions for connection dots or the end of the wire.  Once this is found it will remove the connection dots and cut the wire.

Cut Wire Benifits

  • Less Clicks than AutoCAD Trim
  • Automatically Removes Connection Dots

When working in AutoCAD Electrical it helps to think of your drawings as your design, your lines as your wires and your blocks as your components.

I hope that everyone likes this series. Please feel free to email me some feedback and any suggestions of things you have found as best practices.


Cars.... A must see.

This weekend we took my twin 2 year old boys to see the movie Cars. This was their first time at the movie theater and I have to say they did very well.  They sat on our laps most of the time eating popcorn.  I was very surprised at this, but happy to see that my wife and I have done a good job.  Now on to the movie. The movie's animation was amazing, and the characters were hilarious.  Overall I have to say I am glad I went along for the ride to see the movie.  It is a must see if you have kids, and for adults it is pretty funny too.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Best Practices Series 3....

As I mentioned in the past Best Practice series this session would be about ladder tools.  So as we go through our day to day designs let's try to use some of the tools I am about to talk about.

When a component is deleted using standard autoCAD commands, and occasionaly with the Delete Component command the wire does not heal.  Classically AutoCAD users would erase one end of the line, and then extend the other line segment to the power rail. 

Healing a Rung

When you use the AutoCAD Electrical Add Rung command this will provide you with a quick method to heal the rung.

Revise Ladders not Edit Text

Often times we need to change the rung numbers on a drawing.  We used to do this by editing the AutoCAD text.  Today in AutoCAD Electrical we can do this by using the Revise Ladder Tool.  Located on the Insert Ladder flyout toolbar, this command provides us with a method to redo the Wire Number Format, the start and end reference numbers, the rung count and the rung spacing. The one thing that does not happen when you adjust the rung spacing is the rungs don't actually move, just the text. (Keep this in mind).

Revise Ladder Benifits:

  • One Location to Edit
  • Edit multipple ladders at one time
  • quickly change ladder rung count

Until next time have fun with AutoCAD Electrical and if you have any best practices you wish to share, please email them to me at rstein@incat.com and i will post them with your name on my site.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Extra, Extra, Read All About it......

I am proud to announce that INCAT is sponsoring a new and exciting AutoCAD Electrical MFG User Group Meeting.  This is going to be done as a Web Based User Group, what this means to both INCAT and it's AutoCAD Electrical community is that we can reach users from coast to coast in a relaxed environment.  Each user will attend the user group from their own desk using Live Meeting and their phone.  Here are the specs.....

When: July 21st

Time 9am EST - 10 am EST


  • Roundtable discussion on Frequently Asked Questions
  • Step by Step demonstration of:
    • Creating and Editing Wire Type layers in ACE 2007
    • Using Wire Types with Wires and Ladders
  • Open QA

You can Register for this event Here.

Special thanks to all of the INCAT team that had a part in making this happen:

  • Dan Miles
  • Jenifer Swiderski
  • Rob Stein

Be sure to check back here for updates on the specific topics that will be covered as we get closer to the Inaugural INCAT Autodesk AutoCAD Electrical MFG User Group. (The Web Chapter)

Autodesk AutoCAD Electrical 2007 WEBCAST

DATE:    June 15th
TIME:    1 PM to 2 PM EST
Register at this link:
or call Jennifer at 248.699.1986 for more details

Spend an hour with us and you’ll get an overview of Autodesk AutoCAD Electrical 2007 as well as a demonstration of the time-saving automated functions that will eliminate errors, reduce design time and keep you more productive.

See how Autodesk AutoCAD Electrical 2007 allows you to create and modify electrical controls designs that seamlessly integrate with your AutoCAD design environment:

  • Automate time-consuming manual processes, like the tedious cross referencing of coils and contacts, creating ladder drawings, and tracking wire numbers and component tags.
  • Automatically create PLC I/O drawings from a spreadsheet and create smart panel layout drawings which are intelligently linked to your schematics.
  • Be more efficient with in-the-box data management tools which organize your design data and protect it from inadvertent changes.