Applied Software

rss

News on the latest in design, manufacturing, fabrication, construction, and engineering technology.


I am going to state right up front, this is my personal opinion.  Subjective in all its glory.  With that said, if you want to customize AutoCAD, which language should you learn?  In a past blog post, I showed how you could draw a line several ways using Scripts, AutoLISP, VBA and then C#.NET.  If all I wanted to do was draw a line ‘programmatically’ then I would go the easiest route with AutoLISP.  AutoLISP is easy.  ‘Easy’ though can also be a bit ‘clunky,' particularly using DCLs when a GUI is needed.  The more complex the programming requirement, the more you will find that you just can’t get there from AutoLISP.  Visual Lisp may be the answer which really opened up the ObjectARX COM model.  Visual Lisp can be said to be the VBA enabled version of AutoLISP.  Wait, now I have introduced VBA!  Some would say, VBA is the next logical step beyond AutoLISP/Visual Lisp.  And again, for developing a user interface, it is so much easier.  For the longest time, I used VBA for the GUI, and ...

It has always frustrated me that in AutoCAD, when I wanted to select a group of entities, as soon as I Pan or Zoom to select more, the previous part of the selection window was lost.  Finally, Autodesk has fixed this most egregious situation.  A new System Variable: SelectionOffScreen = 1 will insure flowing selection windows during Pans and Zooms. This is by in large the best new feature introduced to AutoCAD since 2008 and Annotative Scaling, in my humble (or no so humble) opinion.

There are times when I have had to "go the extra mile" to get a drawing cleaned up.  I have a methodical sequence that I will go through when a drawing is being squirrely even after a -PURGE and AUDIT.  My favorite is turn on, thaw, unlock all the layers, then use the standard Windows CTL-C to Copy everything to that nebulous clipboard that experience says is there, but never is seen.  Then open a new drawing, and use the PASTE to ORIGINAL COORDINATES.  Even after doing that, it is best to go through the -PURGE and AUDIT sequence.  And don't forget Layout Tabs, that may be needed to CTL-C and PASTE into the new drawing as well. But then there have been other times where even the CTL-C and PASTE sequence leaves garbage in the drawing...or more accurately, copies the garbage over.  That would then lead me to the next option, which is to run DXFOUT.  This often times will expose multiple hidden blocks that once revealed, can now be PURGED out to the drawing.  Remember then to SaveAs ...

Administrators of Vault can pack Inventor designs into Vault easily and in bulk via the Autoloader.  However, often times an Inventor user, who isn’t on the Admin list, has built an Inventor model or assembly ‘on the side’ and is ready to add it into Vault.  The following outlines the steps that user can take to get an Inventor personal project into Vault. Preliminary Setup: If you haven’t already, access any existing Inventor Design stored in Vault.  This is done to build the folder structure needed to add the un-vaulted design. In my example, I have a design in my “D:\Projects\Inventor Projects” folder, while the Vault workspace is set to “D:\Projects\Vault Workspace 2017”. The Inventor assembly I will be moving over is a skid containing several sub-assemblies.  I will copy the entire folder structure of the skid assembly over to my “Vault Workspace 2017\Designs\DRH Inventor Designs”.  This folder corresponds to the Vault folder where I store my Inventor projects inside of Vault. Notice in the image above, I have already moved the Centrifugal Pump over.  I did not have to do this ahead of ...

Or, is AutoCAD still going to be around for a long while?  My guess, it will be around for quite a while.  While I cannot cite any specific declaration from Autodesk, reading between the lines can be most telling.  “We aren’t at the Star Trek level of computing”.  Could you imagine for the latest crisis that Kirk has discovered, Spock and Scotty pulling out some papers to reconfigure engineering to save the universe?  Nope, me neither.  We aren’t there yet. Inventor and AutoCAD:  Regardless of the 3D modeling package you use, documentation is going to be 2D.  Paper is flat, as long as we are outputting on paper, then there will be the need for AutoCAD.  Over the past few releases, more and more, AutoCAD is becoming the default documentation for Inventor, as evidenced by two specific GUIs within AutoCAD: AutoCAD’s Layout Tab: Now, instead of pushing from the Inventor environment to AutoCAD, natively you can access Inventor models from directly inside of AutoCAD.  Another “between the lines” in Inventor, the default installation setup now defaults to the AutoCAD DWG for documentation. AutoCAD’s Parametric ...

Assuredly and quite by accident, you have turned-off the little green dot that shows snapping in your Inventor sketch environment.  But now, how to get it back on?  The first thing to check is Constraint Settings from within the sketch environment or the Application Options from the Tools Ribbon tab.  But the other day, I had a call that said the settings were correct, but they still were not getting a green dot at the origin point of the sketch plane.  Come to find out, the point had not been projected.  We added it, and corrected the setting for that as well.  See the image below for the whereabouts to check your settings.

I have been seeing a plague hitting the AutoCAD world.  A plague of bad Profiles.  How in the world does a Profile go bad?  I am scratching my head on that one.  The symptoms, obviously things are not working right.  VBA routines are not loading or worse yet, they load but then don't work.  Same with the AcadDoc.LSP not loading at all.  Yes, the paths are there in the Support Search path, but they just don't load.  I can type in at the command line, (findfile "acaddoc.lsp") and it returns right where it should be.  I can load it manually, but it won't work automatically.  The out-of-box <<Unnamed Profile>> can't be used to rebuild either.  Believe me, I tried it.  Everything looks fine, but something is amiss somewhere. Easiest thing to do? The easiest fix is run Reset Settings to Default and don't save any custom settings.  Start over on those.  The Reset replaces the <<Unnamed Profile>>, which I recommend then to use Add to List... and add back in the custom folders to the newly created Profile.  Everything seems happy ...

In training classes I am always saying there are 5 or more ways to access the command for "<enter a command here>".  The AutoCAD GUI has multiple redundancies for every command.  So, I thought, how many ways other than the GUI is there available in AutoCAD to just draw a LINE.  This isn't a comprehensive list by any means: Enter at the Command Line, either "L" or "LINE", uppercase/lowercase doesn't matter.  Then follow the prompts picking points.  But as well, LINE could be selected from the Draw panel on the Ribbon as well as the Draw Tool Palette.  So, would that count as four ways? Script (SCR):  Note the location of the cursor, a <RETURN> initiates the entry.  A script file could be created that would follow the same as the Command Line entry.  The only difference could be introducing some AutoLISP calls...which leads us to the next way.                                                  ...

The above image is an example of a common problem for Inventor users.  Though pictured is related to the Inventor Task Scheduler, it could be the same problem for the Project Editor, Inventor View, and other specific apps in the Autodesk / Inventor group.  It isn’t confined to a particular version nor to a specific operating system. It will most typically show up following the installation of Inventor service packs, updates, and hotfixes.  But it has also occurred following Windows Updates and even installation/updates to seemingly unrelated products (screen casting programs for example).  It can also happen if you bounce between two versions of Inventor, for example going from Inventor 2017 to Inventor 2016. The fixes could be one, two or all of the following.  I have ordered the fixes in the order that have offered the most success.  Please note, the following list may well require Admin privileges. 1.       Re-register: a.       Right-click the Windows Start button and select Command Prompt (Admin).  Don’t you just love DOS! b.      Type in (include quotes): cd “C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Inventor 2017\bin” <Enter> c.       Open the Windows Task Manager, go to ...

“Use the Force, Luke” The following is a few tips and tricks I introduce to AutoCAD users during training sessions.  There is mistaken belief out there that if you use AutoCAD then you know how to use AutoCAD.  Sounds like an obvious sequitur but often users of AutoCAD are too busy working to actually learn how to use AutoCAD effectively. The best place to start is with the Graphical User Interface or GUI pronounce ‘gooey’.  Sometimes just exploring the GUI you will discover commands and features that you didn’t know AutoCAD even had.  So, let’s setup and streamline the AutoCAD GUI for productivity. Where to begin?  For most, the biggest change to the GUI was the introduction of the Ribbon back in AutoCAD 2009.  Immediately, users cried, “Give us back the Classic”.  My response, “Get over it, the Ribbon is here to stay.”  Launch your AutoCAD and follow along. Review the image below and note that I am using AutoCAD 2017 and I have the Workspace: Drafting and Annotation active.  Since we aren’t actually going to be drawing, I have the drawing area ...

I have had many calls about this issue with Plant 3D 2014, so I thought I would go ahead and let everyone know the issue with creation of the Orthos folder when a Project Template is used.  This issue seems to only show up after installing the Extensions (Extension 1 & Extension 2 are available via your Subscription website).  The background: When creating a new Plant Project without a Project Template, all goes well.  But, as soon as you point to a Project Template, you discover that Ortho creation doesn't work.  Furthermore, in some cases, you get an endless loop of new drawings being created, affectionately referred to as being "spammed with new drawings".So what happened and what should have happened? To the left shows what will happen with the folder structure for Orthos, if the Project Template option is used and the standard setting for Orthos/DWGs is selected.  ...

On the Plant Exchange, there is a new (sorta new anyway) Extension that has alot of promise for BOMs in Orthos and Center of Gravity calculations, as well as some Isometric improvements.http://autocad.autodesk.com/?nd=plant_homeHowever, upon installing, I started getting errors, crashes, problems problems problems with my Plant 3D.  I tried to uninstall the Extension, but ended up having to completely uninstall and reinstall the Plant 3D. So, at this time, I would not recommend installing the Extension.  Other links to reference on the Plant 3D Discussion board:http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/AutoCAD-Plant-3D/Plant-3D-2014-regen-issue-when-changing-drawings/td-p/4354567http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/AutoCAD-Plant-3D/Ortthographic-Views-not-loading/td-p/4354367http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/AutoCAD-Plant-3D/Plant3d-2014-and-Extension-major-bugs/td-p/4356351http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/AutoCAD-Plant-3D/Uninstalling-Plant-3D-2014-Extension-1/td-p/4351720http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/AutoCAD-Plant-3D/Plant-3D-2014-Extension-1/td-p/4349963UPDATE:Here is what I have found with my reinstall of Ext 1 on a fresh install of Plant 3D.REGENALL must be performed on all Orthos and all Isos, what I mean is:  If i have multiple Orthos open, and toggle between them, I will need to REGENALL.  This will also happen if I have multiple Orthos and Isos open.  When I toggle from an Iso to an Ortho, I must REGENALL.If I have multiple ISOs open, similar to the Orthos, provided I am looking at the ISOs in model space.  Seem ok if I am ...

My very favorite new feature for REVIT.  You can disable that pesty 'dbl-click of a family' which would open it in the Family Editor.-dennis

Time to update your Revit environment:Revit Architecture: http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/dl/item?siteID=123112&id=20121970&linkID=9273944Revit Structure:http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/dl/item?siteID=123112&id=20122015&linkID=9280927Revit MEP:http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/dl/item?siteID=123112&id=20122070&linkID=12828318Revit Complete from the Building Design Ultimate Suite:http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/dl/item?siteID=123112&id=20121968&linkID=16831210dennis

Selection Sets:The capability to create Selection Set Filters has been a part of the Revit Structural for some time now.  With the release of RMEP 2013, the building engineers now have the same capability.  With this feature, a selection set of objects can have display settings applied in the Visibility Graphics just like we have done with Filters setup based on Filter Rules.  Have you ever needed to turn off several objects in a view, but didn’t want to turn off all the objects of the same category?  Have you ever wanted to color certain objects differently from the category?  Then Selection Sets may be your answer.In the view to the left, I have a water closet and a vanity sink unplumbed that I do not want to show.When I select the two fixtures, on the Modify ribbon panel, you will find now, the Selection Panel which contains the feature to Create and Edit Selection Sets.  (Yes, you are seeing that right, I use magenta as my selection highlight color.)I will give my selection set a name: MySelectionSetNext, we ...

I am very visually oriented.  I like to see what I am modelling.  However, when it comes to Spaces within RMEP, you couldn't see what you are really doing. While there is a model view of Spaces within the built-in analysis interface, I still had difficulty exploring to see where I may have missed placing Spaces or where Spaces were overlapping one another. Now, working between RMEP and Navisworks, the Space model can be visualized.  Start with the settings for Revit NW Exporter and/or NW Reader:Navisworks Option Editor for Revit File Reader  Findings as I was exploring this feature:  You do not need to check the box “Convert room geometry” which is to convert the Spaces to construction parts.  Either way, the Spaces show up.  If using the NW Exporter from Revit, I still needed to have a 3D view as the active view when I issued the command.  If you have a Plan View up, example Level 1, then I found that my Level 1 Spaces came in flat/2D while Spaces from other floors were 3D.  You do absolutely ...

For an overview of the new features and enhancements for Navisworks 2013, see the link: http://usa.autodesk.com/navisworks/features/My Favorite New FeatureGrids and Levels from RevitIn the past we had to do a lot of setup to get grids and levels to display in Navisworks, particularly difficult to acquire from Revit.  3D Grids were introduced as a Family that helped to go from Revit to Navisworks.  Now in the new 2013, standard Grids and Levels will pass over to Navisworks.  The only specific setup that I have found to have this feature work: The grid must be native to the project; you cannot just have the grid displayed from a link.  Also, to get the Level information, you need to have at least one grid line. Revit Grids and Levels show up now in Navisworks 2013My First Bug FindNavisworks Revit File ReaderWith 2013 you can now read a RVT file just like you can read an AutoCAD DWG file.  Fortunately, the folks at Autodesk did not take away the Revit Plugin so that we can export from Revit to NWC.  I write ...

First thing, if possible, use DWF.  I could end the post there, but for those that find themselves having to produce PDFs, read on.  For years I have used CutePDF and thought it was the best driver out there.  However, the weakness in CutePDF shows up when you try to use the Print Range feature in Revit to create a batch job of multiple prints.  CutePDF just fails miserably when it is fed multiple views to process.  So, I took to Google looking for free PDF print drivers.  I limited myself to FREE rather than trials.  Why you may ask?  Well, the FREE is the right price for everyone, right!?!Drivers Evaluated: 1) BullzipPDF, 2) CutePDF, 3) PrimoPDF, 4) GIRDAC, 5) NitroPDF, 6) PDF995My official findings:All PDF creators are your standard Print Driver type of process. They each have their own printer icon in the Devices and Printer dialog.  Each supports the Print Range batch process with the exception of CutePDF.  (I did get a message from the CutePDF folks that they are working on an update that will fix this issue.)Most ...

Within Revit MEP, we have two different types of Families to choose from for conduit layouts.  The first being "Conduit with Fittings" which will layout the conduit run showing separation lines between fittings and the straights.  The second is "Conduit without Fittings" which does use fittings, but does not designate them out in the layout with the division line.  In the example below you will see the greenish conduit is the "without fittings", and the cyanic conduit is "with fittings".  I used two Filters to get the "look", the first filters on the conduit and conduit fittings that contains the word "without", the second filters on the conduit and fittings that do not contain the word "without".  Notice how the junction boxes always fall into the "with" category.              Other than the "looks", there isn't much difference between the two families.  The exception is when we get to schedules.  When you right-click "Schedules/Quantities" in the Project Browser, for conduits you will find selection for Conduit, Conduit Fittings and then Conduit Run.  In my example below I chose just the "Conduit Run" and then ...