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.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

On the 9th day of CAD...

On the 9th day of CAD I give to you... AutoCAD Electrical Language Conversion.

In this global industry with machines being designed here, shipped there and vice versa there is a strong need to provide documentation in different languages. AutoCAD Electrical comes with a language conversion tool and some typical terms already pre-defined. You can completely modify this to accomidate your terms and your language needs. Check out the video below.

In the video I point out the ability to add languages, delete languages, add, copy and delete phrases as well as how to run the tool on a drawing. Keep in mind you can do this project wide.

Friday, December 19, 2008

On the 7th day of CAD

On the 7th day of CAD I give to you...  Web View for components in AutoCAD Electrical.

As we already know, AutoCAD Electrical is a very powerful tool with many hidden features that it could take years to learn most of them because there are so many. In default_CAT.mdb there are many catalog entries that already have a web view already associated with them. When choosing your part number to assign to a device you can select web view and if you have an internet connection it will take you to the web site associated with it. You can also modify these to be your own internal standards site potentially, maybe telling you your own information about the device and how your organization uses it.

Note: You can also make this open a pdf file stored on your network drive, I don't show this in the video as I believe it could quickly become out of date information if it is a manufaturer pdf that you downloaded.

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Stay tuned for more days of CAD

Thursday, December 18, 2008

On the 6th day of CAD

On the 6th day of CAD I give to you...  the ability to trace wires in AutoCAD Electrical.

I had a friend ask me about some issue he was having in AutoCAD Electrical where the wire numbers and source destinations were not working properly. It was as if the main device on the page, a light curtain relay, had internal jumpers setup in it so that the wire was actually connecting through the terminals of the device. So I took a look at it and the problem was the block name but anyway I figured it out by using the check/trace wire in AutoCAD Electrical.

You can find the Check / Trace Wire command under the wires pull down menu in AutoCAD Electrical. After selecting this you then are asked to select a wire. By selecting the wire you tell AutoCAD Electrical that you want to follow that wire network from start to finish. So what happens is, ACE puts a temporary highlight onto the wires that are part of the wire network. When components are set up to have "internal jumpers" the wire network goes through the device. The nice thing is that you press the space bar to see each segment at a time.

Check it out, and I hope it 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.

Friday, December 12, 2008

AutoCAD Electrical missing files in Vista

For those of you who attended my sessions at Autodesk University here is the post about the Vista issues with the non English version. Thanks to Ebbe Bundesen from Autodesk.

"As promised I hereby send you a short description of the problem I had here on Windows Vista on a Danish language pack from Vista:

Here is something that makes it difficult for people that is not working from an English version of Microsoft Vista.

By installing AutoCAD Electrical on your hard drive you will see some files be placed in different folders, some of them are placed in locations like below. See example.

If you are working on an different Vista version (not English) with a local language, Vista makes the same library but named in the local language.

This will not affect the program of AutoCAD Electrical But!. It will be very difficult to find the files on your machine without knowing where to look.

The way to find the files:  Copy the string in AutoCAD Electrical and paste it direct into Explore, explore will then find the path..

Must be done:  Settings in Windows Vista:  “Control Panel”  ”Folder options”  “View”  “Files & Folders”  “Hidden files & Folders” there you must tag the: Show hidden files and folders otherwise the folder with the files is not shown on the drive.

Example:

English:   C:\Users\Your_name\Documents\AcadE 2009\AeData\proj\   <= (This file exist on a Danish machine too but you can’t see it.)

Danish:   C:\Brugere\Your_name\Dokumenter\AcadE 2009\AeData\proj\"

I hope this helps.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Flip This, Reverse That...

Alright, here is an AutoCAD Electrical post for you. The problem is symbols that have the right information but are the wrong direction. For example a limit switch that might be need to be shown in the opposite position for whatever reason. I have had some clients tell me that they want to switch the direction of the symbol so that it represents the way it is wired more accuratley.

In regular AutoCAD they would just mirror the block. In AutoCAD Electrical you can't do that because of the wire connections expect the wire to come from a specific direction. For example if the wire is coming from the right the attribute x?term01 would be x1term01. This would mean that the wire would start at the right of the symbol and terminate at the insertion point of the attribute. The issue comes in when you mirror the symbol now the attribute is on the left side of the symbol but the attribute tells AutoCAD Electrical to trim the wire from the right.

AutoCAD Electrical has a tool called "Reverse/Flip Component", this is located under the Component pull down menu. This tool gives you the option to Reverse the component which would be basically mirroring the component from left to right. This takes care of the wire connection attributes so that the wires connect up correctly. This tool also allows you to select Flip which is basically mirroring the component from top to bottom. In addition to these two options, the user has the option to select graphics only which would not update the attributes.

Hopefully this helps.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Glad to be back...

As much as I love AU I am glad to be back in the wonderful cold michigan environment. Randy Brunette sent me a couple of photo's from some of my classes. As you can tell, it was a pretty full room. I will make a post later with the final tallies of attendance.


Rob Stein-01 

Rob Stein-02