Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On the 11th day of CAD...

On the 11th Day of CAD I give to you..... Free Visual Basic and some information on connecting to AutoCAD.

Well Santa Bill (Bill Gates and Microsoft) gives us free programming tools. This is great news considering I remember back in the day when I first started doing VB stuff it was roughly $900 or more which stopped me from buying my own version. This meant I only had VBA tools, or the version at the office. Well with Santa giving us the Express Version of VB, C++, C# we can now do some coding at home and learn some really cool things. There are some limitations with this however for most of our needs I think it will work. Enough talk about how cool this is, lets give you some links to where you can get it.

One of the main things I noticed with the express editions is that you can't set an application to run when debugging. What this means to us for AutoCAD programming is one of two things, You either have to write the code to start up AutoCAD in your VStudio project to allow you to debug, or not be able to step through your code. Not a huge deal but I like to be able to step through my code when coding for AutoCAD. Now keep in mind, this doesn't mean you can't debug for projects that aren't being written to connect to AutoCAD or any other application for that matter.

One other note, is that you can get a discounted price on Visual Studio with this promotion. I found out about this at Kean Walmsley's blog. (www.through-the-interface.typepad.com) This is a great resource for AutoCAD programming using Visual Studio.

It is probably also worth mentioning that you can get some templates that help you connect to AutoCAD and pre-build some of the information you need into your VS project. See this post from Kean for more information.

I hope this helps.

Monday, December 22, 2008

On the 10th day of CAD...

On the 10th Day of CAD I give to you..... an easy way to create scripts for a specific list of drawings.

In AutoCAD There are so many times you can save yourself quite a bit of time by cutting out the repetative tasks. For example when completing a project and preparing to send your final documentation one might want to zoom extents on all of the drawings. Possibly even do more things to the drawings before sending them to your customers. In the video below I outline this on a few drawings. I hope this helps.

Note: You will probably want to turn your SDI to 1 in AutoCAD. This will automatically close each drawing after it is processed.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On the 8th day of CAD

On the 8th day of CAD I give to you...  The gift of Ribbons.

Alright, now that AutoCAD 2009 has been out for quite some time we have probably formed either a good opinion or a bad one about the ribbons. I personally like them and plan to continue to use them. I think the main reason I adapted quickly is I had been using Microsoft Office 2007 for quite some time. I think the most common reason people tell me they don't like ribbons is because it takes up too much screen space. Well in the video below I show a couple of different ways you can modify the ribbons to save screen space but still benefit from the task based ribbon design. Enjoy.

Also notice that I used the pre-defined workspaces to change between different environments.

I hope this helps.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On the 4th day of CAD

On the 4th day of CAD I give to you...       DWG TrueView 2009

DWG TrueView 2009 is a great tool for viewing AutoCAD DWG files. It can also be used to convert DWG files to previous releases of AutoCAD. After downloading the installer and installing it, start TrueView then click on the open icon to view dwg files. Or you can click on the convert icon to "Mass" convert DWG files to previous versions. You can even set it up to move the files to a new folder, or convert them in place. (I think it is a good idea to move the converted files to a new folder). 

This program converts extermly fast, I wrote a script file to convert a few hundred AutoCAD files from 2009 to 2005 and it took about half an hour to run in AutoCAD. I then took the same files and did them through this and it took a couple of minutes.

I hope this helps. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

On the 3rd day of CAD...

On the 3rd Day of CAD I give to you...

When you have multiple documents open in AutoCAD, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Mechanical, Inventor or any MDI CAD application use the Control + Tab key to cycle through the open documents.

More tomorrow.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

On the 2nd day of CAD..

On the second day of CAD I give to you...

QNEW - QNEW is the setting in the AutoCAD options dialog that allows us to set a default template that will be used any time we click the new drawing button in AutoCAD. Find this under the files tab in the options dialog, then expand Template Settings.

More to come.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

On the 1st day of CAD....

In the true holiday spirit I have decided to give 1 cad tip per day for the 12 days of Christmas. The tips will vary.

In AutoCAD if you select an entity that isn't a polyline when using the PEDIT command you get this annoying "Do you want to turn it into one" question that adds a couple of seconds to your command. By using the following system variable you can change this.

PEDITACCEPT and change it to 1.

Stay tuned for more CAD tips.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Use the Tab key to cycle through OSNAPS

Many times you will be using OSNAPS in a congested area of your drawing. So without having to go and turn off all of the OSNAP settings you don't want you can easily cycle through all of your OSNAPS that are turn on by moving your cursor to the general area and press the TAB key.

For example you have a bunch of lines, arcs and circles in an area of your drawing, you are trying to draw a line from the mdipoint of one of the arc entities. You would have the OSNAPs set like you normally would with End, Mid, Cen, Intersection etc.... Then start your line command, move your cursor to the general area and press TAB for each time you want to cycle to the next one.

Try it out.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

What CAD problems do you encounter???

Over the years I have spent a lot of time with AutoCAD Electrical, Inventor, AutoCAD and many other applications. During this time I have learned that all companies have some type of pain points they wish they could get past. Unfortunatley some of the companies don't even realize that there are better ways to do things.

Here is what I am proposing: I would love to hear what types of things you think you are taking too much time on in AutoCAD, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Mechanical or Inventor. I will try to take your pain point's and come up with some tools in the software that you are using, that you could use. Email me at eCADguy@gmail.com with any of your ideas.

I am not promissing that I will be able to solve all of your problems or even any of your problems. :-) I will see what I can do to help you out though.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

AU 2008, A learning experience...

Here I am, completed with my first presentation for my AU week. I have 2 more to to go tomorrow morning. I figured I would post a quick topic that as many of you know is near and dear to me. In the last Keynote they mentioned stopping by the AutoCAD booth and they would show us how to run AutoCAD on a MAC. As you know, I love my macbook. As you may also know, I have been running Autodesk products on my macbook pretty much since I purchased it via, Parallels, VMware Fusion, and bootcamp depending on the need and the testing I was doing.

So later tonight when the booth opens back up I will be going to the AutoCAD booth to see if Autodesk has given the option to run it as a core mac app instead of using a virtual software or a dual boot scenario. I would LOVE to see this happen for all of the MSD applications and will keep you posted as I learn more.