Bevy of CAD Blogs

While I do work primarily in the entertainment industry, I like to keep an eye on the larger world of CAD news.  Here’s the current list of CAD related blogs I keep up with…

Design and Motion

SolidSmack – Product Design, CAD, Prototyping, etc.  Of EvD Media fame, highly recommend their podcast, Engineer Vs. Designer.  Oh, note to self, podcasts are a post for the future…

MasterGraphics blog – these guys have some good tips and tricks, found them while searching from info on Inventor tips.

Lazy Drafter

CAD Insider – This one goes way out of my discipline, but its still interesting to read up on general industry and CAD/CAM/CAE news

The CAD Setter Out

 

Autodesk Personnel

Ellen Finkelstein’s Blog – Usually more basic tips, but every once and a while there’s an obscure bit.

Heidi Hwewtt’s Blog – heidihewett.blogs.com

Between the Lines – from Shaan Hurley

Through the Interface – Coding (mostly in .net) for Autodesk products, from Kean Walmsley

 

Twist Lisp

Did you know you can precisely rotate the current view of modelspace?  This is a killer way to simplify drafting and dimensioning objects on an angle, especially if you have a way to align the current view to an object.  (And we do, keep reading.)

The longhand command is Dview > Dviewblock > Twist.  Enter the angle you want to twist the current view to, and you’re set.  Why type that out every time?  This lisp will do that and more – just type “TW” to invoke.

Download it here.

Command : TW

  • Enter the twist angle explicitly (e.g. 45 or -134.25) or…
  • Align: set twist angle by picking two points (Point 1 is 0,0 and Point 2 is positive x-axis vector)
  • Relative: set twist angle relative to current twist angle
  • After twisting the view, the list will prompt yes(default)/no to realign the UCS to the current angle.

Right now the script only does the twist in modelspace, I’m planning on expanding it to work in paperspace & viewports as well.  When I get some free time that is.

Until next time – keep it lazy.

Layer State Switcher

This AutoCAD lisp command transparently saves the current layerstate.  Subsequent invocations switch between the saved state and the current state.  You can go back and forth until your eyes pop out.

Download and enjoy!

command: LSS
– on first run, it will save a layerstate and exit the command
– option: Previous – (default option), saves the current layerstate and switches you to the original saved layerstate.
– option: Update   – saves the current layerstate for future retrieval.
– option: Clear    – delete the auto-generated layerstates that this script creates.
– option: eXit     – duh.

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Improved Layer Isolate

This Autocad lisp combines the layeriso & layeruniso commands into a single command.  Use once to invoke, use again to turn off.  You can use fade mode or off mode.

Download and enjoy!

command: LI – layer isolate with Fade Mode @ 60% (default)
command: LI` – (that’s a backtick, next to the 1 key) layer isolate in Off Mode

aCAD: Text Override Tool Update

Download Text Override Tool v2.7 – while in AutoCAD type “TO” to run this routine.

I’ve recently updated my text override tool for AutoCAD.  In case you didn’t know, you can make the text field in a dimension read anything you want.  Ask some hardcore cad users about it, and your castle might be set upon by an angry mob.  Why do some drafters revile the text override?  Reason: lies, lies, and more damned lies.  If you can’t trust the dimensions in a drawing, what can you trust?  After years of misuse by impatient and/or lazy cad users the text overrides have developed a bad rap.  Here’s the truth, with great power comes great responsibility.  Take a gander at the screen shot below, and you’ll see what I mean.

Text Override in action!

Cool huh?  Note that none of the actual measurements were harmed in the picture above.  In the text overrides, “1 1/2″ O.C.” is actually “<> O.C.”  Autocad swaps out the <> with the measurement.  That’s some sweet stuff.

Normally to access the text override you have to plow through the properties palette and change it manually.  Pain in the ass.  I wrote this utility to simplify the process, & now you too can access the text overrides through a friendlier interface.  I built in my own frequently used text overrides (shortcuts, if you will).  I also included a few new features from the last go around.  If you open the file in a text editor, you can change the shortcuts to your liking.  Its as easy as changing a list.

Go forth and have fun!  And remember, if you use this for evil the CAD gnomes will sneak into your bedroom and smother you in your sleep.

Changes:

  • Code completely re-written from version 1.  Functions more like a lisp application and less like a script.  (Its also much prettier.)
  • Much more efficient and bomb proof.
  • Added options: literal and match.

Options:

  • L: Literal – not using a shortcut?  Use the L option & type spaces.  Requires a return/enter key to finish.
  • M: Match -make any dimension’s text override match (does groups too!)
  • blank line: Reset = Erase the dimension override.

Existing shortcuts: (<> = autocad’s measurement)

  • e.g. shortcut key = replacement text
  • C  =  <> O.C.
  • CT = <> O.C. TYP.
  • G = <> GAP
  • GT = <> GAP TYP.
  • T = <> TYP.
  • TH = <> THRU
  • NCT = <> [newline] O.C. TYP.
  • S = <> (SKIN)
  • P = (<>) [Parenthesis]

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Scratch! v0.8 Released.

Scratch! has been updated to version 0.8.

Download Scratch! v.8

This version adds a couple of features and bug-fixes:

  • The AutoCAD text window no longer pops up when running the EST command.  Thank goodness, that was annoying.
  • A new confirmation (with a cool view of all items on the temporary layer) has been added to the EST command.  This allows you to see what you are deleting before you do.  If you want to empty the temporary layer without the confirmation, you can use the EST` command.
  • If the temporary layer is off or frozen when invoked, it is automatically thawed and turned on.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Scratch! is an Autolisp utility for AutoCAD that provides a quick & simple way to utilize a temporary scratchpad layer. Scratch allows you to quickly switch in & out of the scratchpad layer, and empty it away whenever you want.  You can read more about it at the original article, Scratch! (an AutoCAD Scratchpad Utility)

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Scratch! (An AutoCAD Scratchpad Utility)

Scratch provides a quick & simple way to utilize a temporary scratchpad layer in AutoCAD. Scratch allows you to quickly switch in & out of the scratchpad layer, and throw it away whenever you want, leaving the rest of your AutoCAD drawing untouched.

I’ve been using it for

  • transferring geometry
  • building complex shapes (I use the boundary command later to create objects)
  • throwaway dimensions (when estimating & sketching ideas)

Download

UPDATE: Scratch v0.8 is now available.

Download Scratch v0.7 now!

Use

Scratch is super simple, there are only two commands (+1 bonus command).

  1. cst – will toggle you between the magenta scratchpad layer and the original layer.
  2. est – deletes the scratchpad layer and everything in it.
  3. 1` – changes your current layer to your prior layer.

Crosshair Colors

Loading the second file scratchColor.lsp enables the crosshair color switcher.  Whenever you make the scratchpad layer current, the crosshair color will change to magenta.  This provides a constant, unobtrusive reminder when the scratchpad layer is current.

Notes

  • Scratch runs on AutoCAD v2000 – 2010 (v2006 and earlier require the Express Tools.)
  • Scratch stores your original crosshair colors; if you have them customized, it will not clobber your original settings.
  • You can change the name, lineweight, color, and linetype of the scratchpad layer in the top of the scratch.lsp file.

scratch
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