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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Littlest Track Dog (mark II)

This is the mark II design for the tiny track dog I posted earlier.   This version features a sandwich style construction, which has several benefits over the mark I design.

Littlest Track Dog (mark II)

Securing the aircraft cable through this dog should be vastly easier than the first version.  It’s as simple as two set screws, a few copper inserts, and four flat head machine screws.  Machining the cable path in the first version wasn’t too hard, but cleaning meeting two small, blind holes 135 degrees apart did prove a challenge.  As a result, threading the cable through dog #1 was an exercise in aggravation, something I do not care to repeat.

You’ll notice the top part of the sandwich is steel, which allows us to weld the knife in place through a milled slot.  Since we’re still waiting on details of the tracking furniture, we can build the dog now and leave the knife design for later.  Also, dog #1 featured a removable knife, which is nifty, but seriously impractical at such a small size.

Speaking of size, this dog will be the same as the last one – 15/32″ x 3/4″ x 3 1/2″.

The shop should get one of these built within the next few weeks.  Perhaps I’ll find enough time to slink away from the office and do it myself.  In either case, I’ll post an update, and let you know if all my wishful thinking was for naught.

Littlest Dog Evar?

Is this the littlest track dog ever?  Perhaps.  Either way, it’s sooo cute!  This prototype track dog measures in at 3/4″ x 15/32″ x 3.5″ and is milled from a solid chunk of UHMW.  (Ignore the oily grime, its fresh off the bridgeport.) The 1/8″ aircraft cable is secured with two set screws in the opposite face of the dog.  I’m thinking the mark 2 will feature a sandwich style construction with a fixed knife.  Stay tuned for later revisions to this project.little-dog

Laser Scissors!

A few weeks ago the ladies of the costume shop found the latest and greatest leap in scissor technology ever.  At some point during the laughter, they bought it and are now planning to use it’s terrible powers for theatre-wide domination.  Just be careful, you could put an eye out with that thing.

pewpew

Dykes Moulding – CAD Blocks

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

Download the Dykes Moulding file here. (381 kb)

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.

Happy CADDing.

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)

Stock Power Supplies… Revisited

Months ago I wrote a brief ditty about modifying commonly available computer power supplies to power low voltage DC effects.  You’ll find the original article here.  I wasn’t completely satisfied with the first one I modified.  You can see it in the picture below, it’s the ugly one to the left.  After perusing a Mouser catalogue this summer, I found what I was looking for – barrier strips with pass-thru terminals.  The ones seen below are made by Molex, specifically referred to as Solder Turret Style Terminal Blocks.  Catchy, isn’t it?  The Mouser part number for this specific model is 538-38720-3208.  They come in several different sizes, and I’m sure that other manufacturers make them as well.  Turns out the solder pins are just the right size to snugly fit female insulated spade connectors.  Super convenient, and pretty to boot!

terminal_turret