# Scratch! v. 1.2 released

Scratch – the scratchpad layer utility for AutoCAD – has been updated to version 1.2!

Hard to believe its been over a year since I released an update to Scratch.  This update is kind of a sea change for the program, see the notes below.  On another note, this is the last release I am going to issue; I use it every day, and it hasn’t been an active development project for a while.  I might post a short screencast describing how to use it.  I hope you get as much use out of it as I have.  And be forewarned, I’ve got some really cool stuff I’ve been working on.

Usage:

Note: the  symbol is a backtick (next to the 1 key)

• command:  – toggle between scratchpad layer and the current layer
• command: e – erase scratchpad (menu)
• option: a – erase everything in scratchpad layer
• option: p – preview all objects in scratchpad layer
• option: s – erase only selected objects in scratchpad layer
• command: m – move selected objects to the scratchpad layer
• command: 1 – jumps to previous layer

Release notes:

• consolidated scratch into one file
• changed CST command to
• changed EST command to e
• added options to the erase constructions (e) command
• added move object(s) to scratch layer command (x)
• general bugfixes
• general performance refinements and code slimming

# 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.

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.

# Pianos & Steel. CAD Block Giveaway!

I just realized I never posted those grand piano cad blocks I promised months ago.  You can snag them here (version 2k).  Egg. face. mine.

While I’m at it – this is a link to some commonly used steel profile blocks.  Some of them are dynamic, so you’ll need a newer (2006? I’m too lazy to look it up right now) version of autocad to utilize them.  Inside you’ll find:

• Common (small) rectangular tubing (d-d-d-d-dynamic!)
• Angle Iron (dynamic)
• 1 5/8″ Unistrut
• 280 Track
• Iron Pipe (dynamic)
• 2×4 metal stud

# 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.

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.

# 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.

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

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.

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]

# Scratch! v0.8 Released.

Scratch! has been updated to version 0.8.

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)

# Dykes Moulding – CAD Blocks

Looking for a collection of the Dykes Lumber moulding profiles in CAD format? Here you go.

The profiles have been compiled into a single file, each profile a separate block. (Design Center users rejoice!) This file is in v2000 format. Much thanks goes to Adam Godbout for providing the file.

Edit: The following download contains the collection of Dykes profiles in individual dxf files. These profiles aren’t saved as blocks, just as raw geometry. Dykes Moulding – Individual Profiles Download (664kb)

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)

UPDATE: Scratch v0.8 is now available.

### 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.

### 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.

This is an update to the Cadalyzer script that I posted a few months ago. It will count the number of commands you have used in AutoCAD; it does this by examining your AutoCAD log files. (You can enable log files in AutoCAD’s options dialogue box.)

New features are listed below

• Counting mechanism has be rebuilt, the script now computes 25 times faster than the previous version!
• shows the total number of commands used (Apparently I’ve invoked approx. 38,000 commands since this previous October. Ouch.)
• several command line options have been implemented:
• unused – shows all the commands you didn’t use; this is helpful when you want to learn more commands
• compile – compiles all of the logs in the directory and saves them to a single file
• results – saves the results to a file
• percent – formats the each command as a percentage of the total commands used

You will need Ruby installed (tested on 1.8.6 and up.) You can find the Ruby download here. If you don’t use Ruby but would like to learn to program, I highly recommend it. Ruby is an excellent language for beginners and advanced alike.

The only other thing you will need is to tell the script where to find your log file directory. Open the Cadalyzer.rb file and look for the line path = '/Path/to/log/files/” Replace the/Path/to/log/files/ with your path and run the script.

Happy analyzing!