Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Autodesk University 2007

You are probably hearing about AU 2007 everywhere now. Almost every blogger is posting something about it and you will probably begin receiving emails and post cards from Autodesk about AU 2007.

This is the very best training you can get anywhere. It's real training on specific topics of Autodesk products. There are almost 600 classes to choose from and you get to download additional class content for all the classes for you and your co-workers.

Don't let the price scare you. I can speak from experience that it is well worth it.

This year there are several newAU presenters, me included, along with a long list of very seasoned presenters. Presenters include users, AUGI members, Autodesk employees, reseller employees, and professionals in every industry. So you are learning what you need to know from people with experience and not just sitting in one class all week that may or may not teach you what you need to know.

You will find information on AU 2007, a list of classes, a list of special tracks, and Joseph Wurcher's blog with lots of information.

My class seems to have landed as the first class on the list and the first session of the first day. Don't I feel special?

My class will target exactly what I try to do year round with my clients. Show them in small steps what they can do to be more productive with tools they already have.

In this case, it's aimed at AutoCAD Architecture (or ADT) users who have been using it as AutoCAD because perhaps they felt overwhelmed and just didn't know where to get started. It also applies to those users who are migrating from AutoCAD to AutoCAD Architecture and don't know what the differences are. Either way, if you want a hands-on experience from someone who's been doing 1:1 training with lots of users to do the same thing, then be sure and sign up today.

There is a discount for all AUGI members and those that sign up early or who have a discount coupon from attending a CAD Camp.

I'll post the links on the official day registration opens, August 7th I believe, as the address may change slightly. You can read what is going on now and see a preliminary list of classes at the Autodesk University Blog.

CAD License & Venting--Standards!

Mark Kiker's CADDManager.com Blog has had a series lately on Common Sense CAD. Recently I had reason to really blow my top over someone that shouldn't be given a CAD license.

I tend to be a little opinionated on a few topics. For one, it is my belief that CAD users should be granted a CAD License similar to the driver's license we must posses to operate a motor vehicle. There are a few people out there whose license I would revoke or who, more than likely, would never even pass the test in the first place.

What fired me up so much on this occasion? Well, I received a drawing with an xref of the site and an xref of the general outline of the main architectural features. This was by far the most messed up drawing with relation to layers that I have ever experienced!

Let me explain a couple of "common sense" or understood terms in the world of AutoCAD.
  1. If you want blocks to take on the properties of the layer that they are inserted on, they should be created on layer zero (0).
  2. Defpoints does not plot.
  3. You can set other layers not to plot. (Printer icon beside the layer)
  4. Set colors and linetypes by layer.
  5. Don't draw everything on layer 0. That's why we have layers.

What seemed like it would be a fairly simple task of changing layers within each xref turned out to be a nightmare 4 hour ordeal because of so many things being on layer 0 and having to open each xref since they were nested. I couldn't even turn off or freeze layers because there was no rhyme or reason to the objects and what layer they were associated with.

Please, don't send me drawings for me to produce sub-contractor drawings if you don't know what you're doing. I'd much rather help you learn the "right" way to draw than put up with your mess again.

Thanks for letting me vent. When you write it down, it suddenly doesn't look as bad as it really was at the time. I can't post screen captures as my source could recognize it.

Just remember this piece of advice. You may not be the only one working on a drawing. Please take this into consideration. Plan what you draw for the next person that is going to touch it.

Ever hear of a thing called CAD Standards?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

AutoCAD Revision Cloud

I can remember starting with the first version of AutoCAD LT. In the early several releases of AutoCAD LT, it was far more exciting than it is today (in my opinion) because it was a test bed for the full version of AutoCAD. We had revisions clouds and tool palettes in LT before they ever made their way to AutoCAD.
I'm still amazed at how many users don't even know about the REVCLOUD command.

For AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT users, you'll find this on your Draw toolbar or from the Draw pulldown menu. For users of AutoCAD Architecture or AutoCAD MEP, this is an AutoCAD command. This means that you can type the name of the command, but since you don't have a Draw pulldown menu by default you will need to create a custom tool for it.

The Revision Cloud has options and related variables.

Minimum arc length: 4'-0" Maximum arc length: 4'-0" Style: Normal

Specify start point or [Arc length/Object/Style]

First, the arc length defines the size of the "bubble" in the cloud. Second, The Object option allows you to choose a closed polyline (could be rectangle or circle as well) and turn it into a revision cloud.

There is a DELOBJ variable that is set to 1 by default. This variable allows the Object to be deleted when the REVCLOUD is created from an Object.

I'm not sure when the Style option was added. I'm fairly certain that it wasn't available in 2004, but it is in 2008. Autodesk doesn't tell you about every command change and option so often nuances such as this just appear and it may take a release or two to even notice if you do notice.

The Style option has choices for Normal and Calligraphy. The Calligraphy style looks almost like brush strokes when you zoom into it. It has thin and wide portions on the arcs.


Yes, I know that the new CUI makes a lot of users feel crazy. But to add the Revision Cloud to your toolbar, you don't even have to open the CUI dialog box. Here's a simple way to do it and one that will make you feel almost like the way we used to modify toolbars in the past.

By right-clicking near a toolbar (not on) in the gray area where there is no toolbar or by right-clicking on the striped area at the head of any toolbar you will be able to choose Customize. You can also do this by going into the CUI file, but this is more of an abbreviated version.

Find the command you want and drag it to your toolbar. Tada!

One more note about Revision Clouds. They are based on DIMSCALE. So if you are creating one in model space vs. paperspace, you might notice a difference because of your dimscale. Just a word to the wise. I've seen this cause a problem once so I'm passing the tip on to you.

So go revise something!

Friday, July 06, 2007

U.S. Independence Day & Geeks

So what does the 4th of July have to do with geeks?

You must be a geek if you go to the local fireworks show and notice someone in the crowd (another geek no doubt) wearing an Autodesk back pack. Hey, at least I wasn't enough of a geek to run up to back pack-wearing geek and ask what version and type of Autodesk product she used!

Here is an interesting website dedicated to the U.S. Flag.