Monday, November 29, 2004

Autodesk's Garbage Can Icon

One of the big holidays of the year (at least in the U.S.) is behind us now and it's back to work. I'm working on some class material for ADT 2005.

I write almost all of my own training content. I don't feel comfortable teaching out of a book and would guess that if you gave any students a big, fat book with a class most would never touch it again. Instead, I try to write in my own style and aim at just the highlights with good screen captures. I tell the students that we don't follow the material in class, though may reference it, but it is for their use on the job when they get back to the office and want to look up something we talked about. It's just my way.

I was working on some of the basic interface for anyone upgrading and having a discussion with a fellow AUGI member. (I won't mention her name, but she's probably the most famous AUGI person next to Lynn Allen, who also has her own new blog now too. ) Anyhow, the interface was mentioned and I was asked what the garbage can icon was. Garbage can icon? I don't have a garbage can icon! After some descriptions, it turned out to be the new Clean Screen icon in the lower left of the Status Bar. I never compared it to a garbage can before. Oscar the Grouch doesn't pop out of it when you click on it, but you learn something new (even if not useful) every day.

The icon in question, is in ADT 2005. Clean Screen has been an option for some time now, but not in the form of an icon. Clean Screen is the sister to Full Screen. Both make for good practical joke material for co-workers. (You didn't hear that here!)

Clean Screen removes everything on your screen except your pull-down menus and command line. If you're using vanilla AutoCAD, you can find this under the View pulldown or with Ctrl+0 (zero).

Full Screen does the exact opposite. It gets rid of your pull-down menus. Or it appears to get rid of them to a panicked co-worker. They are really grayed out. When you move your cursor to where they should be you can see them and click back to toggle this feature off. Full Screen is found in the Express Tools under Tools.

Both of these commands are toggles. You can toggle them on and off.

If you're reading this from AU, not that you'd have time, be sure and stop at the AUGI booth and ask CADMama about her garbage can icon! Be sure and attend her class on the AUGI Tips and Tricks, too. She's a fantastic presenter.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

ADT Stair Tip

Recently was involved in troubleshooting a stair problem with ADT 2005. Thought I'd pass along the information.

Stairs can be tricky without a doubt. They are generally easier to create than in previous versions, but viewing what you want involves several options.

First, you have an option as to how your stairs display with relation to cut lines and directional arrows. This is a by-drawing setting so changing it once will have no impact on future drawings unless you change it in your template.

From Options, choose the tab for AEC Object Settings. There you will find Stairs in the upper right hand corner. With this box checked, you will not see the cut lines. This may be your desired result. However, should you want to not show either stairs up or down on a particular level, you will have no control with this checked.

You must have the box unchecked, and SHOW the cut lines, the be able to manipulate the display of up and down.

I am currently working on a Stairs Class. I have found that ADT is so deep that it is much easier to digest in smaller portions. Therefore, once a month I host an ADT Seminar on just ONE topic. My January topic will be Stairs. This also helps me to really delve into that one topic while I'm preparing, which is also a benefit.

If you're anywhere near Roanoke, VA, please feel free to email me on the dates and times of the Stairs Class.

I'm not an expert on ADT, nor do I play one on t.v.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Good Plotter Tech

I use an HP750C D-size plotter for my home business, CAD Fuel Design. My primary work is doing drawings for my former employer, Jones & Frank Corporation, where I was CAD Manager for 10 years before they closed all CAD operations within the company. Since August of 2001, I have been doing the same drawings for them on a contract basis. Not enough work to live on, but a good part-time income.

I do drawings of fuel systems such as gas stations. One of the biggest jobs I do is for the Flying J Travel Plazas. I've done the fueling drawings for a good portion of those around the country.

I originally bought this plotter as CAD Manager. I bought it from the company in August of 2003 and had it completely serviced. Last week the ink cartridges wouldn't seat themselves and I prepared myself for some down time while the plotter went to the shop and for the expense of the main carrier for the pens.

I was without the plotter for a couple of days and brought it home Saturday morning. No major repairs were needed. I am fortunate enough to have a MacGyver-type technician who can fix anything with Windex and a paperclip! He fiddled with it and also cleaned and lubed it while he had it and returned it to me in perfect working order. Good techs are hard to find in any line of work. Any trained chimp can yank something out and replace it. I'm thankful to have such a valuable contact.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Viz Resources

Whether you're new to Viz (Viz Render or Viz) or looking for Viz info, here's one of the best resources.

I had the pleasure of meeting the "Viz Master" and creator of the site, Steven Papke, at the recent CAD Camp in Jacksonville, FL. He's just a super nice guy and very knowledge as well as down to earth.

The site offers a wide range of help for Viz users as well as information on Max and Photoshop. There are tutorials and forums there and a host of other information. The users that frequent the site are always happy to help you no matter what your comfort level is with the product. I think it's safe to say you can never know everything about visualization. I don't even know enough to fill a peanut shell, but already feel better after sitting in on one of Steven's classes.

I can't begin to tell you what all you'll find there, so check it out for yourself.

My only regret? That this community isn't within the AUGI community. What a wonderful world that would be!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

CAD Camps and AU

It's hard to believe that Autodesk University is less than two weeks away. If you haven't been, it's the one worthwhile event I suggest you invest in each year. You can get good training and do some great networking in one place.

AUGI's first CAD Camp was just last week. It's already been deemed a success and a date has been set for next year's Jacksonville CAD Camp. Mark your calendar for September 27, 2005. AUGI will be scheduling more CAD Camps for 2005 across the country. Where would you like to see one? What types of classes would be helpful to you? Is one day enough or would you prefer two? Share your thoughts here.

For coverage of last week's CAD Camp, check these links.
And Shaan Hurley has some really good coverage on his site as well. (scroll down to find his entries)

AUGI is also looking for ATP volunteers to teach classes and to do technical editing. Check out the AUGI ATP program at or email for more information.

It looks like 2005 will have some great training opportunities for all Autodesk users!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Everyone else is doin' it!

I don't normally cave in to fads and recent trends. Heck, I still have several 8-tracks and a couple of 8-track players between car and house. (Not sure those CD's are going to catch on.) I frequently visit the Autodesk blogs of Shaan Hurley and Chris Yanchar . I've also noticed more and more blogs popping up in the CAD world.

Being the packrat that I am, I keep notes and links to everything that I think may be helpful when troubleshooting an AutoCAD problem or answering a question for a student or client. Hence my entry into the blog world. Maybe I can do better with placing all my notes and information in one place, as well as share my knowledge with others. So ends the first entry into Beth's CAD Blog.