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.

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.

Rules Based Design for Autodesk Inventor

While I was "stationed" at Autodesk University I had an opportunity to go see some old friends in the exhibit hall where I came across this cool tool for Autodesk Inventor. iLogic from Logimetrix Inc, allows designers / engineers to enter rules into their design. For example let's say I had a model of a Parker Cylinder, something we all use quite often I am sure, I could enter the rules for that design into iLogic. Let's just say these rules are the same rules that would be needed to build one of the part numbers so things like series, stroke, etc.... I can now have anyone in my organization utilize this one model for any of that family of cylinders and always have the correct ordering information. I can also ensure that they don't accidentally make design mistakes due to forgetting to interpret one of the rules based on the manufacturers website.

I found this tool to be very useful within the first 20 seconds of talking with Dave from Logimetrix. Dave is the Director of Development and was able to easily articulate the purpose of this software. The great thing I found about this add in was the flexibility to build rules into anything I can think of to design. You have access to all of Inventor's API's as well as some built in iLogic tools to help with this rules based design. A rule doesn't have to be a design rule either, it could be something as simple as show a dialog box. Autodesk has another product called Inventor Professional Automation which allows you to do a lot of the same things, but this one seems to be easier to use. It also seems that it is much easier to create your own dialogs to use in your rules based designs. One last thing about this product versus the Inventor Automation product (I am not an Inventor Automation Expert) is it seems that with Inventor Automation you change a bunch of values in your "worksheet" then apply those changes to your model. After applying those changes to your model, Inventor Automation then modifies parameters in your model giving you the end result. With this iLogic tool it seems as when you change a value in your worksheet it updates the model almost instantly.

Don't take my word for it, go check it out at Let me know your thoughts and maybe we can all learn a little something along the way.

Thanks again to Dave from Logimetrix Inc for getting me hooked on this product. :-)

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

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 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.

Last day in Vegas

It is now Sunday, two days after the end of the Autodesk University conference and I am getting ready to head to the airport. A while back when I made the arrangements for my trip to AU I decided to stay until Sunday morning so that I could go hit the tables, see a show and not interfere with any of the other AU events or classes.

Friday night I went to see Wayne Brady at the Venetian and it was amazing. I have wanted to see him for several years and I finally decided to spend the money and do it. Totally worth the cost of admission. Also on Friday I finally decided to figure out where I was going to be staying Friday night. (I used some Hilton points from all of my travels and stayed at one of the many Hilton properties in Vegas.) I didn't get back to bed until about 5 am, slept for a few hours then met up with some friends and played in a poker tournament at Planet Hollywood after walking the strip for a while and getting some of the "Free" slot money at Casino Royale and Imperial Palace.

After losing in the Poker Game, we started heading back down the strip toward the Venetian where my friends had their bags stored at and my wifes Aunt would be picking me up. Along the way we stopped back at Imperial Palace and played the 1 cent slots for probably about an hour to hour and a half. I spent 5 bucks in the slot machine, and spent 5 bucks on tips for drinks. 

After my wifes Aunt came to pick me up we hung out for a while, had some dinner then I crashed. I have about 45 minutes before I head to the airport now so I figured I would write up something quick before I head out.

One last thing about Vegas. Every time I come here I always say I am never going to stay this many day's again because it is just too long. Well I didn't listen to my own advice this year and I am going to say it again, I am never going to stay this many days again.


Friday, December 05, 2008

Links that were promissed...

During a few of my classes there were some web links discussed for finding more support, or specific things on peoples blog sites. Below is a brief list for your review.

Nate mentioned myfeedback, which is a place where you can become involved (if approved) with the beta versions of certain Autodesk Products. This site is

I mentioned that Nate Holt runs a blog site, you can find this at: You will find great information on AutoCAD Electrical here.

I did not mention this but Jared Bunch will be starting a blog at Actually it is started but I am not sure when he will be making posts.

You can also view some of my old friends blogging at There is a new post weekday's monday through friday. Different topic's every day, from many of my old friends at INCAT.

If I have forgotten anything please let me know, you can email me at

Meeting Kean

Last night walking through the Venetian I finally had a chance to meet Kean Walmsley, an Autodesk employee focussing on programming support and consulting. Over the past few months I have been following his blog site quite a bit as I ramp up to do some of my upcoming projects.

It was very cool to meet some of the people that I have been following their blogs, and exchanging emails with back and forth. Over the years when I was doing consulting work I met a lot of people and had people tell me that it was nice to finally meet me. That they had been reading my blog, or saw a presentation I did and I now I feel the same way about meeting some new poeple as my career path changes.

Kean, Thanks for your to introduce yourself to me, and I wouild love to chat more in the coming months as my company gets on board with the Autodesk Developers Network. (

To everyone at Autodesk University, have safe travels back home, wherever that might be.

My Apologies

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone in my lab at AU that stuck through the licensing issues. I really apreciate it and am extremly happy that you were still able to get something out of the course. Remember, I will be updating my blog site over the next week with updates from the AU courses I presented, as well as Video's wherever possible.

Thanks again for attending my courses and can't wait to see you all again next year at AU.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Two down, One to Go...

Alright, I just completed the Lab on EC301-1L ~ Become a Circuit Ninja with AutoCAD Electrical 2009 Circuit Builder. I am going to make two posts on this, first is everything I have compiled at this point which is what you saw in the class in power points and exercises. I plan to come back and record this as video's so you can follow it easier. This should be accomplished next week at some point.

You can download the current files here, then I will post a new one that will be a combination of the items at the time of the class, plus any new things. Download EC301-1L ~ Become a Circuit Ninja with AutoCAD Electrical 2009 Circuit Builder

Now my next class.