Saturday, November 29, 2008

AU 2008 Itinerary

Sunday, 11/30
  • 10:35 PM Arrive Las Vegas
Monday, 12/1
  • Wedding Anniversary
  • Registration & Check-in at Speaker Ready Room
  • 6:30-9:00 Speaker Social
Tuesday, 12/2
  • 6:30-8:30 Breakfast
  • 8:15-9:45 Managing the AutoCAD CUI and Empowering Users
  • 10:30-12:00 AU Keynote Address, General Session "Design Innovation"
  • 12:00-1:30 Networking Lunch - Birds of a Feather
  • 1:00-2:30 Tips and Tricks: Get The Most From Your Desktop or Laptop
  • 3:00-4:30 Content Theory for AutoCAD MEP
  • 4:00-5:30 Blogger Social
  • 5:00-7:00 International User Community Meeting
  • 7:00-10:00 Exhibit Hall Opening Reception
Wednesday, 12/3
  • 6:30-8:30 Breakfast
  • 9:00-9:50 Unplugged Session on AUGI
  • 10:00-10:50 My Unplugged Session on CAD Standards: How to Get Started
  • 12:00-1:30 Lunch
  • 1:15-2:45 Lab Assistant to Creating Desktop Training Videos
  • 3:00-4:30 Lab Assistant to A Quick Spin on Project Navigator
  • 5:00-6:00 AUGI Annual Meeting
  • 5:30-6:30 MEP Meeting on Kraken beta with Product Manager
Thursday, 12/4
  • 6:30-8:30 Breakfast
  • 8:15-9:45 Creating and Maintaining a CAD Manual
  • 10:15-11:45 Developing Custom Websites and Applications with DWF
  • 11:30-1:30 Lunch
  • 1:15-2:45 The National CAD Standard-Revitized
  • 5:15-6:45 My Class on CAD Standards: How to Get Started
  • 6:30-9:00 AU Party
Friday, 12/5
  • 6:30-8:30 Breakfast
  • 8:00-9:30 Easing the Transition from AutoCAD to AutoCAD Architecture
  • 10:15-11:45 Designing Trainers
  • 3:20 PM Leave Las Vegas

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tip for successful Tool Paletttes

A Quick tip. Before you begin creating tool palettes in AutoCAD Architecture or AutoCAD MEP, close any current projects you may have open.

From the File pulldown menu, choose Project Browser. Even if you've never used Project Browser to create a project, typically there is a project active. You'll see one project in bold if it is active. Simply right click and choose to close the project.

Then it's safe to create new tool palettes and not loose them.

When you create a tool palette when a project is active, it becomes associated with that project only. That's why we closed all active projects first.

For those of you attending AU, I'll be arriving Sunday night and hope to see you there.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

AutoCAD MEP: Take advantage of architectural tools

One of the little known features of AutoCAD MEP is that it is built on AutoCAD Architecture and contains commands and content for architectural design.

I often show this feature when teaching AutoCAD MEP classes because while Autodesk shows how well a 3D model created in AutoCAD Architecture comes into AutoCAD MEP that is not often the way it works in the real world.

Unfortunately, even if an architect designs a 3D building in AutoCAD Architecture, that doesn't mean that is the file that will be sent to you. You could receive a .pdf file or a flattened drawing with all the objects exploded to 2D linework.

Some cases are due to liability to the architects and some are simply a means of sending a file in the least common denominator. In AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD MEP there is a command under the File pulldown menu to Export to AutoCAD.

If someone doesn't know that you have an Autodesk product that can take advantage of their 3D model, this Export to AutoCAD reduces their design to a plain AutoCAD 2D file that more people can use they figure.

Also, often General Contractors will request .pdf files from everyone involved in a project. They don't know or perhaps understand proper ways to share files and collaborate designs.

With any luck, you can contact the designing architect and request the 3D model so that when you add your 3D MEP objects you can view and interference check with the architectural objects. In some cases, architects are reluctant to provide their designs citing liability issues. In fewer cases, they may even request a fee to provide their designs in 3D.

Because of all of this, you may find it useful to create some quick 3D walls. You can do this by tracing over an xref of the 2D linework with the wall command.

One way to use the architectural tools is to change your workspace to Architectural.

This will provide you with the Architectural Tool Palette. The Design Palette will give you simple design tools. If you'd like to know more on how to create with these tools, I invite you to review my material from AU 2007.

You can also install AutoCAD MEP to have a shortcut for AutoCAD Architecture. The advantage of this is if you launch the AutoCAD Architecture shortcut, you have all the tools as if you only had AutoCAD Architecture. If you think you may use architectural tools more than an occasional wall or have a separate person that may take on some of those duties, this is the best option.

I recommend renaming the shortcuts though to MEP and Arch though since you have to expand each one with the default installation or you won't know which one is which.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

AU 2008 is only a week away!

I get really excited the closer it gets to AU! Forget Thanksgiving. AU is where my geeky brain is focusing right now.

When we get down to the last two weeks, I listen to all the webcasts for speakers again, look over any mention of AU anywhere, focus on my session, and review my calendar.

I have my flight reserved, hotel reserved, and am participating in more this year than ever before. Last year was my first year to present at AU and I did a lab where I feel most comfortable. Unfortunately I handed out a number of business cards and provided my email address for students to contact me with questions, but when I returned from AU I found myself fired from the Autodesk reseller where I had worked for the past 4 years with no opportunity to even access my email account. Their loss.

This year I have been on my own all year and survived. I am presenting a 90 minute session that is not a lab. So far there are 160 students signed up for it. I'm a little nervous about speaking in front of such a big group, but since the topic is CAD Standards that I am so passionate about I have to believe that I am just there to share my knowledge and experience with a bunch of people. Oh, gee, I just read that the session is also going to be about another reason to be nervous!

I also was requested to be a lab assistant for one class and signed up to help another instructor as a lab assistant so I'm assisting two labs.

Last year was the first year for what was called Unconference topics. I volunteered and was accepted to lead one that was the same topic as my class. I volunteered again this year to also have one that would be in line with my class and will again be doing an Unconference.

The Unconference is a meeting of the minds and not an instructor teaching, but simply a leader bringing up topics to get the group talking and sharing information on the topic.

Unfortunately this will be the first year that I am traveling alone. I realize that there are a lot of friends and acquaintances at AU and lots of people all around, but I won't have anyone to come back to in the evening this year. My husband, Peter, is in the hospital in Little Rock, AR where he is having a stem cell transplant to treat Multiple Myeloma. We've attended every AU together so far so it will seem lonely there without him and somewhat stressful with me leaving him at the hospital to board a plane for Vegas. Last year after AU was over we were married at the Valley of Fire in a private Celtic Ceremony.

I leave for AU a week from today. If you want to meet up with me during my stay, I'll be at the Venetian and will be checking my email daily. I'll also be at the Speaker Social, the Blogger Social, an AutoCAD MEP special invitation event, and probably will end up doing some usability testing or whatever I can as I did last year.

Hope to see you there and to post on this blog while I'm at AU.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving to those of you that will be celebrating the holiday. There is always so much for which to be thankful. Don't just wait until Thanksgiving to give thanks.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Annotative Scaling with Tags for AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD MEP

It was a great thing when AutoCAD Architecture made it easier to create schedule tags. Anyone can do it.

I was teaching a class on AutoCAD MEP last week and for the first time annotative scale came into play with the tag creation and didn't have the behavior I was expecting. Since I honestly haven't made a tags with annotative scaling, I contacted AutoCAD Architecture expert, David Koch. He was nice enough to put information on this on his blog this weekend. Thanks, David!

If you want to know about anything AutoCAD Architecture or annotation of any kind that would also carry over to AutoCAD MEP, be sure and visit David's blog.

For other information on general AutoCAD annotation scaling, be sure and visit Heidi Hewett's blog. She has the best information out there on that feature.

If you choose Annotation from the list of categories on the left, you will find many useful posts specifically about annotation in AutoCAD.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

MEP Content

I was just reading the AutoCAD MEP blog and see that there is now new content available from Autodesk. It is only available to subscription customers.

You will find more information on content at on the blog.

There is also a second service pack out now for AutoCAD MEP. Be sure and download it here. You'll need to have the first service pack installed before installing the second service pack. See all service packs and hotfixes.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Top 9 AutoCAD Tips

I had the pleasure of working with some of the nicest people in Perry, OK last week. I went to their firm to help them learn AutoCAD MEP and helped them set CAD Standards and incorporate them into AutoCAD. It was a fantastic facility with a great training room. What a pleasant experience!

They were really receptive to so much that I showed them and tips and tricks that I gave them that I wrote down each time they were overly impressed and expressed themselves. I have nine tips, so it's not a Top 10 list.

Here are Beth's Nine Tips to Know in AutoCAD
  1. Right click get rid of that stupid shortcut menu when you right click to end a command.
  2. get rid of the default Selection Preview when you move over geometry or objects
  3. Ortho Close...for closing walls in a rectangular shape
  4. Scale option under the Scale command when you don't know or want to match the size of an object you are modifying
  5. QNEW...sets your default template for when you start AutoCAD or select to create a new drawing from the icon
  6. Shift + Right Click for OSNAPS
  7. Add add an object with the same properties
  8. CONVERTPSTYLES...converts a .ctb drawing to .stb or vice versa
  9. Isolate....the 'light bulb' icon in the drawing status bar to isolate or hide objects rather than trying to freeze layers