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.                                                  ...

In certain circumstances “out of the box” software, is not all that is needed or necessary. What may be needed is more to accomplish a task, perform some calculations, or finish the project faster. This is where developing Custom Development comes into play. The thought may immediately invoke a long process of what is needed, specifications, fees, testing, and fears of will it work or do the job it was intended to do. In my role as Senior Project Manager, we uncover these concerns and needs and marry them together in a harmonious union to accomplish the task at hand.   Below is an example of a Development Plan when we start thinking thru the process of creating an application or workflow.      

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 ...

Ever get fed up with connector breakpoints and what each line actually controls? Check out the diagram below with an explanation of each rectangular break-point line, and what they are actually doing. The following setup is for a rectangular connector using the "Coupling Plate" end draw type.   Gasket- This value physically separates two connected items  Horizontal Inset- Will inset the connector on the horizontal plane by the value input here. If 4 is input, 2 from each side will be removed.   Length- Determines how far the connector extends back into or away from the duct. This value can also be used to simulate Slip Joints. A positive number input here will extend the connector away from the duct. A negative value will bring the connector into the duct. Thickness- This line can be used to raise the connector away from the duct body. This is useful when Shading or rendering to get proper separation between Duct and connector faces. Vertical Width- This line will apply to the vertical side of the duct. Use this in unison with "Thickness" to get a ...

I had a client recently ask me how to get his browser node to show up as the default file name. You too, may be wondering how to do this.  To begin, let's define what we're talking about. The browser node name (located at the top of the browser window) is by default, named the same as the the file when it is saved.       To change it back to the original filename, simply click slowly twice on the node and it will activate the node in the type over mode. Simply backspace and hit the Enter key. This will delete the current name and then replace it with Filename. If that doesn't work, you may have to press the Spacebar and then Enter. In an assembly file, you may have the individual parts and subassemblies renamed.  There is a Productivity tool which will help users rename all of the nodes at once. Here's how: On the Assemble tab of the Ribbon > Productivity panel, select the drop-down arrow and select Rename Browser Nodes. In the Rename Browser Nodes dialog box, select from the ...

Of course, there are several exciting features released with this version of AutoCAD, and you can read about all of them in Autodesk’s AutoCAD 2017 Preview Guide. I will focus on the one’s that I believe are the most exciting and most relevant to you. • A simplified license manager. Have you ever installed AutoCAD as a standalone software or a trial and then needed to convert it to network software? Well, if you have then you already know that, historically, you had to uninstall the software and reinstall it as the type of software you need. It has always been a real pain. Now you simply install the software and when you launch it you are prompted for the type: If you find you need to change the type of software from network to standalone, or vice versa, you use the Infocenter > Manage Licenses option to do so: • Several dialog boxes have been enhanced to allow the user to stretch them to better view the information within that box. These dialog boxes include: Select File ...

Recently, we've begun to see this issue pop up more and more.  We've seen it in AutoCAD based products. While running the software you receive a dialog box titled, "Exception in mc3.dll / mc3d.dll ARX Command" and has an unhandled exception similar to, " Unhandled Exception C0000005 (Access Violation Reading 0x0000) at address F99260F4h":     When you click the "OK" button you then receive a fatal error similar to, " FATAL ERROR:  Unhandled Access Violation Reading 0x0000) Exception at F99260F4h:   The fix for this is as follow: Navigate to Help > Desktop Analytics (or type in DesktopAnalytics at the command line) Deselect the "Yes, I would like to contribute to this program" option:   Click OK. Navigate to Help > Customer Involvement Program (or type in CustomerInvolvementProgram at the command line): Select "No, I do not want to join the program at this time":   Click OK. Restart AutoCAD Another option is to. . ...

I'm proud to announce that my good friend and long time client, Andy Carter, Pricipal Civil Engineer at CivilE,  along with his team here in Austin, TX, have won the Excellence in Infrastrure Award for Small Projects. Utilizing the power Autodesk Infraworks 360, Autodesk Civil 3D, and Autodesk 3ds Max Design, CivilE provided civil engineering and site visualization services to better convey the project to the client prior to any ground breaking.  Their understanding of the BIM workflow and use of the software within the Infrastructure Design Suite was the secret weapon CivilE used to win this project from bigger engineering firms.  Take a look at this short video that better explain how they accomplished developing an 18-acre site with grade changes of more than 80 feet and more than 1,300 trees of various species. https://youtu.be/he1Mio9xQHU CivilE, a 5-person civil engineering firm, proves that Autodesk's tools can empower small firms to create compelling visualizations even under the constraints of the budget of a small project.  Take a look at this short video for the final product: https://youtu.be/YY0zNjPkUvo Congratulations to the entire team at CivilE!

You have purchased desktop subscription for your software or someone in your company has purchased desktop subscription for you.  There are three scenarios a that can take place here and you need to be aware of how to manage them. Purchaser is also the user - When you buy Desktop Subscription software for personal use, you enter your personal Autodesk Account information during purchase. You are assigned as the Contract Manager and a Named User with permissions to download, install, and activate your software. Your software is available for download from your Autodesk Account when you receive the fulfillment email message from the Autodesk Store. Purchaser is not the user - Account administrators, such as Contract Managers and Software Coordinators, may buy Desktop Subscription software intended for other users. One available software license is assigned to the purchaser automatically at checkout. If you don't intend to use the software you buy, remove yourself as a Named User for the software. You can then assign permissions to use the software to another user. Software users can ...

After you have successfully installed your AutoCAD 2016 products. You launch the software for the first time and get a Migrate Custom Settings dialog asking if you would like migrate you custom settings from the previous version. In the past we recommended against this due to issues from previous versions. But I have also successfully migrated clients custom settings in the past as well. Recently, I found a post on the Autodesk website and it discussed how best to handle migration and how it was intended to be used. When and when not to migrate from one version to another. This caught my attention and if you are considering migrating this is a must read. http://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/autocad/troubleshooting/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/How-to-migrate-settings-in-AutoCAD.html Migrating between computers:  You cannot use this utility to migrate between computers. No files are exported or saved that you can move to another system. To migrate settings between computers, try the following methods: Migrating from old to new computers: see link Migrating settings for newer programs that cannot be used on an older computer system: see link

A360 keeps all of the file versions of your Fusion 360 designs, allowing you to recall or promote older versions to be the current working version. Did you know that you could save archive files to your local computer for safe keeping? Copying and moving files and folders between projects is also now supported. In this post, we'll explore how to move and copy files between project folders, and we'll also look at archiving Fusion 360 design files. Copying Files The ability to copy a Fusion Design file to another project location is now straight forward. In A360, simply click on the Project folder you want to access. Click on the Data tab, and then hover your mouse over the file that you want to copy, or select the checkbox next to the file. [caption id="attachment_9490" align="aligncenter" width="600"] The A360 Dashboard. The Data tab holds all of the design files for the specified project folder.[/caption] If you hover over the file in the list, you can click on the Actions icon. In the drop-down list select Copy. [caption id="attachment_9495" align="aligncenter" width="600"] By hovering over ...

I don't usually just post links to other blogs - it makes me feel like a copycat or something, but this tip from Steve Stafford's Revit OpEd blog is definitely link-worthy. He describes how to use filters and creative renaming of grid and level types to easily suppress linked level and grid markers in any view.

Dim reference to a scene from "The Jerk" - my brain ain't wired quite right sometimes, I think... Regardless, you can download the new and improved Worksharing Monitor for Revit 2016 here: https://apps.exchange.autodesk.com/productline/en/Detail/Index?id=appstore.exchange.autodesk.com:worksharingmonitor_windows64:en A couple of notes: This only works for workshared projects - hence the name "Worksharing Monitor" - clever, no? If your project is in the A360 Collaboration for Revit Cloud, this does not replace the Communicator.

Autodesk 3ds Max 2016 Extension 1 Release Date: 2015-08-11 Extension 1 for Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2016 software offers added animation capabilities for Max Creation Graph (MCG), a new Creative Market shopping experience for 3D content, Geodesic Voxel Skinning and a new high end 3D text tool. On top of all this, for the first time ever 3ds Max will directly link to a powerful gaming engine, Autodesk's newly launched Stingray engine. This unprecedented level of interoperability between 3ds Max and the Stingray engine allows you to quickly see all of your 3D work and scenes in the context of the real-time 3D environment. To get the extensions, go to your Autodesk Account and sign in. Click on Product Enhancements and it should be the first in the list. The extension also came up in my Autodesk Application Manager    

One of the new features in Inventor 2016 is the ability to scale your models.  You might be wondering, why didn't Inventor have this ability prior to the 2016 release? Well, it does exist in prior releases of Inventor, but it's just much easier to Scale an object in 2016.  In previous releases of Inventor, a simple Scale command does not exist, but you can achieve the scale by creating a Derived Part.  It takes several steps to accomplish, and is done by creating two files, so it does leave a lot to be desired.  The good news is that Inventor 2016 solves that issue. In this example, I'll be opening a non-native CAD file and then applying the scale to it.  The first step is to open the file that you want to scale. You can choose a single part file or an assembly file.  I'm going to choose an assembly file. From the Open button, change the files of type to either read "All Files" or the specific file type you are looking for. For my example I've selected ...

Note that this blog was written on August 4, 2015.  The information below holds true until Autodesk states otherwise.  I know most of you Windows 7 (or Windows 8) users are now getting the notifications to upgrade to your free version of Windows 10.  Aside from the Windows 10 bugs that I'm reading about online (and all new releases of operating systems have bugs) there is a more important reason to not upgrade just yet.  From Autodesk: "Windows 10 is not yet an officially supported operating system across the Autodesk product line. Autodesk intends to support many of our key products on Windows 10 and will add products to the list of products supported on Windows 10 as updates and future versions are released. Product Support will provide their best effort to assist customers who have issues with current Autodesk products running on Windows 10. "  And remember, unless otherwise indicated by Autodesk, the odds are that the only Autodesk products that will be supported on Windows 10 will be the current version (2016) plus three versions back (2013, 2014, 2015) should Autodesk happen to ...

I was asked by a student last week, what had happened to the AutoCAD Classic Workspace.  He was not a frequent user of AutoCAD, and had recently upgraded to 2016.  I informed him that the workspace beloved by so many had been on the chopping block for a few years before Autodesk finally killed it in the 2015 release of AutoCAD. [caption id="attachment_9393" align="aligncenter" width="473"] Beginning with the 2015 release of AutoCAD, the Classic workspace has been retired.[/caption] This conversation reminded me that it would be a great idea to post how to re-create the AutoCAD Classic Workspace, on my blog.  So here goes... If you are accustomed to using AutoCAD from within the Classic workspace, then it really isn't difficult to re-create.  There are several simple steps that only take about 5 minutes to complete. The first step is to make visible your menu bar. [caption id="attachment_9392" align="aligncenter" width="464"] Click on the down-arrow in the workspace tab. Select Show Menu Bar.[/caption] Next, click on Tools in the Menu Bar, select Toolbars > AutoCAD > , and then select each toolbar that belongs in the ...