Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I spent Christmas in Pennsylvania with my father's side of the family. Last year I spent it in Oklahoma with my mother's side of the family. This was an unusually stress-free and uneventful Christmas. No traffic tie-ups from road construction or accidents. There was also much milder weather and no snow. This is the first non-white Christmas that I've spent up there in so long I can't remember. It didn't feel like Christmas at all.

There were several big surprises. First, I had announced many times over recent years that when I hit mid-life I'm going to have a mid-life crisis and buy a motorcycle. I've been laughed at for that several times. Well, the man in my life bought me a '74 Honda CB360. I'll post a photo soon. Here's one of it from the seller before it was cleaned up for me.

I'm also enrolled in a motorcycle class in April to learn safety, how to ride, and to obtain my motorcycle license. Being that I've never been on so much as a mini-bike ever in my life, this is going to be an all new experience!

My son surprised us and bought us a joint gift of a digital video camera. I promptly ordered a book on video for dummies.

It was so nice to be blessed with having everyone together and in good health. My fiance has bounced back extremely well after his bone marrow transplant and my father had open heart surgery a few months ago. Christmas seemed much more special this year. My wishes are that you have much to be thankful for as well. No matter how badly things seem, there are always many people that are worse off.

Peace be with you,

Monday, December 18, 2006

Easy Migration Through CAD Standards

Whether you have CAD Standards in place or you don't see the need, here are some tips for smoother migration from one software release to the next. General CAD Standard Information has been mentioned in previous blog posts. One of the ones that outlined the most was here.

You may have CAD Standards, but keep information on each workstation in your firm. That's probably better than not having any standards at all, but the real key to CAD Standards is to keep one copy of files that everyone accesses. Here are some brief examples.

Step 1
Create a directory on your server called CAD Standards.
Create sub-directories (bare minimum) for:
· Plot Styles
· Templates
· Profiles
· Titleblocks
· Procedures
· Styles (For ADT & ABS)
· Misc.
· Optional directories here or elsewhere for Drivers and one for Service Packs

Step 2
Create your CAD Standards for the above and place in appropriate directories.

Step 3
Point to these locations from the Files tab of the Options dialog box.
Add the paths to the Support File Search Path.
Point your plot style location (Under Printer Support File Path) and template location (Under Template Settings) to the appropriate directories.
Change QNEW to point to the template that you want your Autodesk program to use.
Set your own custom dictionary and put it in your Misc. directory. (Under Text Editor, Dictionary, and Font File Names)

By putting content on the server, all you are doing is pointing to where it is. When you upgrade your software or hardware, you don’t have to migrate all the content that is located on your workstation. It makes migration much faster and easier and standardizes all the content that everyone in your firm uses.

I’ll expand more in depth on each of these directories and procedures in future blog postings. I’ve had several people ask for general advice so I wanted to accommodate the requests with a starting point. I'll also cover some standardization with Revit as well.

New Service Packs and Hotfixes Available

If you have Autodesk Revit Series-System Plus 2, you also have Building Systems 2007.1. If you installed ABS 2007.1 (must uninstall 2007 first), then this service pack applies to you. If you only have Building Systems by itself, then you can skip this entirely.

Autodesk Building Systems 2007.1 Service Pack 1 for Autodesk AutoCAD Revit Series—Systems Plus 2

For straight Building Systems 2007 users, there is a Service Pack 1.

If you have ADT 2007 or ABS 2007 or 2007.1, there are some new Hotfixes available.
Hotfix – Ceiling Grid Issue After Installing Service Pack 1
Hotfix - ActiveX

For any 2006 or 2007 based Autodesk product, there is a Hotfix for running Internet Explorer 7. (One more reason to use Firefox!)

There is also an Object Enabler for users of AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT, and Map 3D all for 2007 to be able to view ADT 2007 drawings.

AutoCAD 2007 users may find an issue with hatch patterns becoming corrupt and freezing the program. This is the solution Autodesk recommends.

Friday, December 08, 2006

File Collaboration

Why do users need to share data?
To send data to subcontractors to perform work.
To send approval drawings to customers.
To send approval drawings to supervisors.
To send finished sets to field.

How can data be shared?
Sheets plotted and shipped.
Autodesk .dwg files or model(Inventor or Revit) files
Adobe .pdf files
Autodesk .dwf files

What is the end result need?
How little can this cost?
How little paper can be involved?

The solutions:
Plot and ship drawings. Requires plotting time and lots of paper and ink as well as overnight shipping costs.

Send the original file. Good for sharing the “real” data, but loses proprietary status. There are many files to share. Sometimes we forget one. Recipients may have different versions of AutoCAD.

Send a .pdf file. Good universal “language”, but file is large, not always good resolution, cannot be “read” in Autodesk file.

Send a .dwf file.
-Smaller file size
-Better image quality
-Better control
-Can be referenced to Autodesk file to make changes to original DWG
-Can include drawing information as well as Word documents and Excel spreadsheets in the same DWF file (using DWF Writer)

How do you create a .dwf file?
Plot or Publish to .dwf from within any Autodesk product.

What else can you do with DWF?
DWF can be embedded in a web page for clients to place their designs safely and accurately on the Internet. See Project Freewheel from Autodesk Labs.

Project Freewheel supports both 2D & 3D

What’s coming?
Microsoft Visa (the new operating system) will allow for viewing of .dwf files.

Microsoft .NET 3.0 Framework for Windows XP will allow .dwf viewing.

Best sources of information about DWF related topics
Scott Sheppard’s Beyond the Paper Blog


Master list of DWF related tools, viewers, and a variety of related items.

Autodesk Collaboration Page

Free Tools from Autodesk

Autodesk DWF Viewer
View 2D & 3D .dwf files; zoom and pan; view layers or in some cases block information; print a single sheet, the entire set, or a specific view. Free download from Autodesk.

DWG TrueView
Ability to open any .dwg or .dxf file. Looks almost like a mini-AutoCAD. Layer list, zoom and pan, plot and publish to .dwf or plotter. No editing, but full viewing and plotting capabilities.

DWG TrueConvert
Will convert any .dwg file up or down from R14 to 2007.

DWF Writer
Will write other documents to .dwf format.