Monday, March 23, 2009

AutoCAD MEP 2010-Better Parts Catalogs

AutoCAD MEP, and before that Building Systems, has always offered content in the form of catalogs. The catalogs have been somewhat rigid and you had to take all or none though.

Now with AutoCAD MEP 2010, we have separate catalogs that make more sense.

Pipe is especially important to me. See how the catalogs are broken down by type. I can use just the catalog types that I need.

Thanks, Autodesk.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

AutoCAD MEP 2010-DWF & PDF underlay

AutoCAD 2009 subscription customers had a bonus several months ago to download additional tools to use .pdf files as an underlay. This is a real benefit and shows that perhaps Autodesk finally understands that while we'd love to have the perfect world file sharing that is certainly possible with the electronic age and with Autodesk or CAD products, it isn't the way the world works.

Due to liability issues from what I can understand, many firms will only send .pdf files and not .dwg files. Sometimes though this is also the least common denominator among general contractors distributing documents to many subcontractors. These general contractors may not be well versed in .dwg files or CAD. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

I spent some time trying to explore this subscription bonus for 2009 only to sadly discover that it was for AutoCAD only and not for the vertical products of AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD MEP. For 2010, now we finally have the tools. Here's a look at what you'll see

First, when you go to the Insert tab of the ribbon, you'll see a new Reference Panel.

You can set layers now for your underlays and turn snap on to snap to objects, though I didn't have any luck with the sample .pdf I tried.

Notice that when you choose to attach a file you have many more files types available now.

Here, I've chosen to attach a .pdf file.

You won't see this PDF Underlay tab on the ribbon unless you right click on the border of your .pdf. This shows you several options available.

This is a real plus for AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD MEP 2010.

I referenced several blogs in a previous post that discuss features of AutoCAD 2010 in general. If you didn't already come across it, you'll want to read the AutoCAD 2010 Preview Guide from Heidi Hewett.

Monday, March 02, 2009

AutoCAD MEP 2010

Beta testing for the 2010 Autodesk products is over and it's that time of year when the new releases of software starts shipping.

AutoCAD is always the first with an approximate ship date of March 24. Every few weeks after that a new Autodesk product will ship. If you want to know the exact date your particular product will ship if you are currently covered by Autodesk Subscription, contact your reseller.

One thing I would certainly like to see would be a renaming of the products. I don't mean to call Building Systems software AutoCAD MEP, but to get away from the years as part of the product name. I doubt that anyone else really cares and Autodesk has been using year names since their 2000 product lineup when we went from release names. The last release before release 2000 was R14.

The reason that I am not happy about the year names is that it is rather confusing to some of us. We have to get used to writing 2009 after January 1 and then we're talking about 2010 in terms of software. Maybe it's just me, but some days I have a hard time knowing what year it really is by the calendar because of the software year names. I talked about 2009 all last year so when 2009 rolled around on the calendar it seemed old.

Autodesk has gone to a lot more work on the piping side of AutoCAD MEP for the 2010 release. They've made some improvements to sloped piping and pipe fittings. Pipe catalogs have also been divided out in such a way that you can load or unload catalogs that you may or may not need and keep PVC pipe separate from Schedule 40 pipe.

In general in AutoCAD 2010, the ribbon and interface has taken the next logical step towards greater customizations which of course rolls over to AutoCAD MEP. And AutoCAD MEP has separate ribbons now per discipline.

Content from Autodesk Inventor is also reported to be easier now.

Hatching is one improvement I like in AutoCAD 2010.

Here are some general AutoCAD 2010 blog entries that you may wish to review to familiarize yourself with the new line. And, yes, the file format did change. See a list here of file formats for different releases and years.

Shaan Hurley's list of blogs on 2010

I would also check out these blogs for good information, tips, and tutorials on how to do things in the newest version of AutoCAD.

Between the Lines-Shaan Hurley
AutoCAD Insider-Heidi Hewett
LT Unlimited-Kate Morrical
Lynn Allen's Blog-Lynn Allen

I'll have more on new features in AutoCAD MEP 2010 in upcoming posts.