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Not just another Autodesk University Post

Now that I have everyone’s attention, I have decided to write about something I did at Autodesk University in November of 2016. I was faced with the challenge of teaching a hands-on lab. Teaching a lab can be very difficult since you have 100 people with all different levels of skill. You do not want to make it too easy, go to fast, or make it difficult for people to all follow along. I connected with friends at the AKN (Autodesk Knowledge Network) and decided to use Project PRAXIS as my way of collecting my notes and training materials.

My class, Pumping up Productivity in the Lab with Macros One Character at a Time is based on creating time saving macros in AutoCAD to be placed on a tool palette for quick access. Hands on labs at AU are not recorded which made me want to provide everyone with a way to go back to the class and review anything they missed or did not have enough time to review. The image below includes the palette provided in class as well as some additional ones I have been testing over the past few months. Macros can be very productive and fun to create!

At the time of Autodesk University in November of 2016 my paper was over 50 pages and contained 13 exercises for my class to go through in 90 minutes. I decided to document my entire workflow which you can view in here in PRAXIS. I have finally completed my additional exercises to the workflow and now have 20 total. Each exercise includes documentation and a Screencast (shown in collection below) for the user to have a printout and a video on how to complete the exercise.

Click on the image below to view my Screencast Collection on Macros in AutoCAD

PRAXIS was a great way for me to keep my notes, document the exercises, and stay organized and focused. There were some late nights and weekend hours but the end result is a fully comprehensive workflow of 20 exercises with many references to sources on how to complete macros in AutoCAD.

Select the image to be taken to my workflow on Macros in AutoCAD.

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What is PRAXIS you ask?  See below for notes from the PRAXIS site:

https://praxis.autodesk.com/praxis/getting-started.php

PRAXIS is a cloud-based app for sharing your product knowledge and best practices through simple, step-by-step workflow diagrams.

There’s nothing to download and install. Because

PRAXIS runs on your browser, you always have access to the most up-to-date version.

PRAXIS works on Google Chrome, version 20 and later, on Windows and Mac OS. We plan to support other browsers in the future.

There is no concept of files in PRAXIS. Your work is saved automatically to the cloud.

For the time being, anyone can view a shared workflow, but only in Read-Only mode.

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That’s all for now my friends. For those of you who know me I am a very huge boxing fan so I have to go now and visit with friends and family to enjoy some time together and watch a fight later tonight.

Don’t forget to register for Autodesk University 2017. Look me up, I will be there roaming the halls and attending classes just like you.

Until next month, Sam.

Projects and Places in AutoCAD

Do you know about the “Places List” in AutoCAD? I have used this technique for years and it still holds true to be one of the most effective ways to reach (find) files and projects in AutoCAD. Back in AutoCAD 2000 the “Places List” was introduced into the software on the open dialog box as shown below. It is a feature that is used to reduce your amount of time finding and accessing drawing files and folders and one of my favorites for years. Get to work on Monday and load up all your current projects for the week using this technique. Here is how you do that.

Start a new drawing and choose open. You will see the open window as shown below with the “Places List” highlighted in Red.

All of your projects are located under the name window. Using Windows Explorer navigate to the project and/or folder your files are located. Left-Click and Drag that folder to the Places List on the open pane as shown below. Here is a quick video on how to load your “Places List”.

This will NOT affect anything on the network, it is merely a shortcut for putting your projects in a quick location for you to save time. Once your folder is in the “Places List” you can right click and rename your project to a name that is logical to your workflow (see image below). This name is for you only and will not affect anything on the network.

When finished you will be asked if you want to save the names to the places list. Select YES and those folders will appear each time you load AutoCAD.

This method will save you time and help you as you multitask during your work week.

Happy Father’s day to all you dad’s (and grandpa’s) out there!  Enjoy your day with friends and family and be safe and happy.

Sam

 

Are you in Control or is AutoCAD?

Being a long time user of AutoCAD I am a keyboard person; Shortcuts, Ctrl keys, and Macros are some of my favorite settings to customize and use during the design process. This post will describe keyboard shortcuts in AutoCAD. We are going to focus on shortcuts that use the CTRL key combination. I have listed the control key combinations below as well as including a link to the AutoCAD keyboard shortcut guide.

Control Keys on the Keyboard

CTRL KEY Combinations in AutoCAD

CTRL+Q = Quit

CTRL+W = Selection Cycling ON/OFF

CTRL+U = Polar angle ON/OFF

CTRL+O = OPEN

CTRL+P = PRINT/PLOT

CTRL+A = Selecting all Entities in the drawing even under Layer OFF mode ( But not under Freeze mode ) CTRL+S = Quick save the file.

CTRL+D = Coordinate Display (CORDS) ON/OFF (F6 is the alternate Button)

CTRL+F = OSNAP ON/OFF (F3 is the alternate Button)

CTRL+G = GRID ON/OFF (F7 is the alternate Button)

CTRL+H = PICKSTYLE variable ON/OFF

CTRL+J & CTRL+M = Repeats last Command

CTRL+K = HYPERLINK

CTRL+L = ORTHO ON/OFF (F8 is the alternate Button)

CTRL+Z = Undo a single action

CTRL+X = CUTCLIP

CTRL+C = COPYCLIP

CTRL+V = PASTELCLIP

CTRL+B = SNAP ON/OFF

CTRL+N = NEW

CTRL + TAB = Switching between drawings opened

CTRL+1 = PROPERTIES window Open/Close

CTRL+2 = DESIGNCENTER window Open/Close

CTRL+3 = TOOL PALETTE window Open/Close

CTRL+4 = SHEETSET window Open/Close

CTRL+5 = INFOPALETTE (ASSIST) window Open/Close

CTRL+6 = DBCONNECT window Open/Close

CTRL+7 = MARKUP window Open/Close

CTRL+0 = Clean Screen (Hiding All Tool bars) – good for Presentations For more keyboard shortcuts check out this handy guide provided by Autodesk. Click on the image to follow the link.

Please see the attached video describing some shortcuts in AutoCAD.

Below find the link to the 150+ AutoCAD keyboard shortcuts. Follow the link and download this useful pdf file to help you in you everyday design work.

Hope you all are well and are enjoying the start to your summer. Be safe and happy….until next month.

Sam


					

Lose your Tabs in AutoCAD

The default setting in AutoCAD will display a Model Space Tab along with a Layout1 (1) and Layout2 (2) tabs as shown in the image below. The Model tab represents model space which is where you draft and design the model of your project. The Layout tab represents the paper space environment where you create layouts typically including title blocks, general notes, and a window of items drawn in model space.

01-layouts

First of all, you cannot delete the Model Tab; that is default by AutoCAD and used to create your model or geometry. The Layout tabs are paper space tabs added by default to assist you as you begin your project. When adding a new drawing or a template (3) you may see the following appear with Layout1 and Layout2 still visible. We want to delete those but do it quickly. You can select the image for additional information on switching between the Model Space and Layout tabs.

02-delete_them

To delete a layout tab manually you right click the layout and select delete. That’s a lot of picks and clicks. Notice all of the options included when you right-click. You can rename, create a new layout, insert a new layout from a template (HINT: does not have to be a .dwt file). Select the image below to be taken to a knowledge based article on importing layouts from a template. I like clean drawings and require my users to delete these tabs, rename, and cleanup while on a design project.

03-delete

Let’s create a macro to remove those tabs and cleanup your drawings. If you have followed my screencasts and classes at Autodesk University creating a macro can be very easy. For more information check out my PRAXIS workflow from Autodesk University 2016. Select the image and you will be taken to a comprehensive workflow showing how to use macros in AutoCAD. I am currently updating with BONUS exercises so check back later!  This post will be included as Bonus Exercise 14.

praxis

The easiest way for us to create and use a macro is on a tool palette. Open up any tool palette right click in the palette area and hit New Palette as shown. This will bring up a new blank palette in AutoCAD.

04-new-palette

Next, we need to get a command in there. There are a few ways to do this but in my experience type CUI at the command prompt and type the word “delete” (Step 1). I want to look for a command which I can also use the icon (or edit) so it represents something similar to what I am trying to accomplish. Left click and drag the command (Step 2) onto the tool palette as shown. At this point we are just getting the command in there with the images.

04-palette-steps

After the command has been added to the palette, right click the icon and select properties. We are now going to complete 5 steps as shown below. Actually only 4 since we already have our image in there.

  1. Drag the command from the CUI onto the tool palette.
  2. Rename the name of the command for the user to understand the objective.
  3. Give a brief description of what the command does. PLEASE give a description, it helps for the next guy or gal that goes in there and launches your new command.
  4. The most important step.  We need to change the MACRO.  We will review in detail below.
  5. The image. If you did not import an image from the CUI or another button you can right-click and specify your own image. Keep in mind there is a dark and light theme in AutoCAD which means you need to check the appearance of the image for both. I know, one extra step now but I do like the dark theme.

05-palette

In AutoCAD macros can be shortcuts to a series of commands to help make the process of design more efficient. In Figure 1 a macro is stated as a single instruction. Use the action recorder to record a series of commands and build a macro then run it automatically to repeat a series of steps. To write a macro, you type the commands in the macro properties section as you’d type them in at the command line. If a command displays a dialog box, you would place a dash in front of the command to suppress the dialog box. We will cover special characters as we begin to build our macro. Let’s examine our Delete Layout Macro.

^C^C^R_layout;d;layout1;_layout;d;layout2;

^C^C  Cancels the current command in AutoCAD – Do it twice!

^R    Turns command versioning on or off. We need this when working with Layouts.

_Layout   Issues the layout command.

;   The semi-colon represents a return on the keyboard. You can also enter a space here but I recommend the semi-colon which you can clearly identity the action.

d   Delete the layout.

_Layout1  Deletes Layout1

The macro then continues to delete another layout named layout2. If you only have layout1 in your drawing it will be deleted and no other action will be taken.  The following ScreenCast will show you how this command works.

Find this video along with other macro videos in my ScreenCast Collection Page located the Autodesk Knowledge Network.

2017-03-04_7-50-09

AutoCAD Macro Customization Collection on AKN

It’s goal setting time at work and in my opinion never too early to set a goal to attend Autodesk University 2017 in November of this year.

Set a goal that if you meet all of your targets for the year you would like to attend the premier CAD conference in the World. You may be rewarded with the ability to learn and network with your peers and create new connections along they way – like me 🙂

au2016_logo

Until next time…..Sam

Center Marks and Centerlines in AutoCAD

AutoCAD 2017 arrived last year with some new commands and features. I know it’s almost a year old but many of us take time to review the software to ensure that it’s stable and has enough features to determine whether we deploy and upgrade to the company. A couple simple yet favorite ones of mine are the Centerline and Center Mark commands which you can add to existing geometry.

Type CENTERLINE or CENTERMARK at the command prompt or on the Ribbon – Annotate Tab – Centerline panel, select the Center Mark or Centerline as shown below.  By selecting the image you will be taken to the knowledge network showing an article on these commands.

centerline_ribbon

These center lines and center marks will remain associated with the objects you selected when they were created. These lines are linked together, therefore changing the position of the original geometry the centerline and center mark geometry will change to reflect the updated position. The following video shows the two objects that are associated with the Centerline. Notice when I move the outer lines the centerline retains it’s position and remains in the center of the two lines regardless of whether I move and/or stretch the associated objects.

The Center Mark command will put center marks on a circle or arc. This command creates a cross-shaped mark at the center of a selected circle or arc shown in the quick video.

These Center Marks will have properties associated to each of those as shown in the window in the upper right of the image which can be found on the properties palette. Select the Center mark and hit CTRL+1 to see the properties palette and located the geometry section. You can control the distance, size, and display of the objects by using the properties palette as shown.

Let’s review from the image shown below with the numbers representing the geometry as shown on the properties palette in the upper right of the image.

  1. Cross Size: this will control the size of the cross
  2. Cross Gap: the gap between the cross and where the extension line begins.
  3. Left Extension: Distance from the grip on the end of the circle to the end of the line.
  4. Right Extension: Distance from the grip on the end of the circle to the end of the line.
  5. Top Extension: Distance from the grip on the end of the circle to the end of the line.
  6. Bottom Extension: Distance from the grip on the end of the circle to the end of the line.

centerline_properties

7.  Show Extension: This determines if you just get the cross or the extension lines. You have the ability to turn on and off.  The following video shows what this switch does.

These two new commands can be very helpful when creating detail sheets for projects as well as locating and maintaining the Centerlines of objects in AutoCAD.

Prior to publishing this tip, I noticed Jaiprakash Pandey – SouceCAD had previously posted on this very topic. Please take a look at his article as well as it provides additional information on the use of these new tools in AutoCAD. Take time to visit his website as he has a very large amount of AutoCAD tips, tricks, and training materials to help you as you work in AutoCAD. Thank you, Jaiprakash for all you do.

sc

Happy New Year Everyone!

May 2017 bring you health, happiness, and peace.

happy_new

Sam

 

 

Adding Hatches to the Custom Tab in AutoCAD

It’s almost November and the leaves are falling fast in Michigan. This will be my last post prior to Autodesk University 2016 and soon it will look like the photo below on my deck. I do like the winter time so I welcome the change of the season, the holidays, and the family time that goes along with it. I just finished my papers for Autodesk University 2016 (lots of weekends and late nights) and wanted to share one last post prior to the conference.

Halloween in Michigan

A Michigan Winter

Let’s talk Hatch Pattens. Recently I have had several people ask me about the custom hatch pattern tab in AutoCAD and how to populate that tab with your custom patterns. Hatch patterns are stored in a file named ACAD.PAT or ACADISO.PAT. You can edit the default PAT files that are installed with AutoCAD by using Notepad and adding your custom hatch pattern data at the end of the file. You can give your patterns a name with the format *MYNAME, DESCRIPTION followed by the pattern as shown below in the EARTH example.Example of the Earth

Example of the Earth hatch pattern.

h5

 

Let us now add some extra patterns to the custom tab. You are asking “Sam, what custom tab?” Select Hatch on the Ribbon (or type Hatch at the command prompt) then T for Settings.

h7a

This will bring up the Hatch and Gradient dialog box as shown below. Next select the ellipses as shown next to the pattern name to bring up Hatch Pattern Palette with a Custom tab shown.

h2

After selecting the ellipses you will see the Hatch Pattern Palette as shown on the left portion of the image below. Selecting the custom tab will bring up the same dialog box with nothing in there as shown highlighted in yellow in the image on the right. Let’s add some custom hatch patterns to this tab.

h4

Notice how there is nothing in the image to the right under the custom tab. Move out to your local C drive (or network folder) and create a Hatch folder, in this example we named the folder CustomHatch. We then placed all of our hatch patterns that we downloaded to that folder.  The next thing we need to do is add that folder to our Support Search Path in AutoCAD.

h6

In AutoCAD type Options at the command prompt or right-click in the command area to bring up the Options dialog box.  Within this dialog select the files tab and pull out the Support File Search Path and select the Add button as shown.

h7

You will now browse out to your Custom hatch folder and add it to the path. It will be added to the bottom of your list. Simply select the Move Up button and move to the top of the Support Search File Path (just in case you have other custom files that are loaded ahead of this file).  Hit OK and Apply and get out of the dialog box.

h8

Move back out to your command line and type Hatch or select Hatch from the Draw Panel on the Ribbon. Select T for settings once again to bring up our dialog box.

h7a

Move out to your Custom tab and your custom hatch patterns will be displayed in a list as shown. You can now have your favorite hatches in a separate folder for quick access. Don’t forget to also look at that Hatch and Gradient Dialog box where you can also set hatches to be Annotative, Associative, and even setup a default layer.

h9

If you are wondering about the Ribbon, they are added there as well. Under the pattern name select User defined as shown and your patterns will be added to the list of hatches available in your current drawing setting.

h10

That’s all for now until we meet in Vegas at Autodesk University 2016. I always look forward to this time of year to see all my friends, learning new technology, and working with some of the best and talented people in the world. That includes you!  I look forward to meeting new friends at the conference. I did tell one person (Hi Adam!) that I was going to do this when I got off the plane in Vegas!

Just kidding, you will see me with the usual hooded jacket and jeans making my way to the registration booth to get my badge. Always a great feeling and a walk I look forward to taking.  See you all there!

au_superman

I finished my handouts on time late last night and have uploaded to the AU website. I am proud of these handouts and the work that has been put into them. I am confident that you will find these as great resources for yourself as you work through my topics. I am teaching 3 classes this year and I have listed those below:

CSI: CAD Standards Implementation: The new kid to the party. Over the past year I have been working on creating standards and a standard approach to auditing and checking CAD files. This tool can prove to be very efficient in AutoCAD. I am very excited to explore this further and present at AU. We are going to create our .dws (standards file) and compare that to several non-compliance drawings and demonstrate how effective we can be.

Pumping Up Productivity in the LAB with Macros, One Character at a Time: Taking macros to the lab. Open up the the CUI (Customized User Interface) in AutoCAD and touch a command then look at the pane to the lower right. Go through the list of commands and look at the Macro that controls what the command does. Think about altering the macro, adding additional commands and putting it to work for you. If you want to meet some of the best CAD people in the business; I have 3 lab assistants who could teach this class by themselves.

Advanced Topics Using the Sheet Set Manager in AutoCAD: No Sheet! I am teaching sheet sets again. What do you prefer %%U or ALT+160 for blank fields?  The Sheet View and Model View tabs?  I believe that the Sheet Set Manager in AutoCAD is one of the most productive tools introduced and has been in the software for over 10 years. The SSM continues to be avoided by many CAD users. I believe this is mainly due to not giving it a try or believing it is not necessary for the type of work you do.

Have a great rest of your weekend and I look forward to seeing each and every one of you at Autodesk University 2016!

Sam

Previews for Autodesk University 2016

September is here and fall is approaching fast in Michigan where I live. This is the time of year where my early mornings and weekends are spent preparing for Autodesk University. This year marks the 5th year that I will be speaking at the conference in Las Vegas. I am teaching 3 classes, one of which is a hands-on-lab. This year I have decided to give you a sneak peek at what I have planned. Even though the conference is not for two months, now is the time to get ready, practice, and provide a good presentation to my fellow CAD Professionals.

NoSheet

Below please find a brief description of my classes, a link to the Autodesk University, and a preview of what to except this year.

Advanced Topics Using the Sheet Set Manager in AutoCAD: No Sheet! I am teaching sheet sets again. What do you prefer %%U or ALT+160 for blank fields?  The Sheet View and Model View tabs?  I believe that the Sheet Set Manager in AutoCAD is one of the most productive tools introduced and has been in the software for over 10 years. The SSM continues to be avoided by many CAD users. I believe this is mainly due to not giving it a try or believing it is not necessary for the type of work you do. Take this class and you will see the power behind this great design tool.

Pumping Up Productivity in the LAB with Macros, One Character at a Time: Taking macros to the lab. Open up the the CUI (Customized User Interface) in AutoCAD and touch a command then look at the pane to the lower right. Go through the list of commands and look at the Macro that controls what the command does. Think about altering the macro, adding additional commands and putting it to work for you. If you want to meet some of the best CAD people in the business; I have 3 lab assistants who could teach this class by themselves.

Rick Ellis – Based out of Portland, Oregon Rick is the President of Cadapult Software Solutions. I have to say that most of what I know in Civil 3D I have learned from Rick and his books.

R.K. McSwain –From Houston, Texas comes R.K. who is the owner of CADPancea.com and has a secret identity of Hot tip Harry.

Paul Munford– All the way from the Dorchester, Dorset, England comes Paul the owner of  The CAD Setter Out.com

All 3 of my assistants are well respected people in the industry and will be speaking at AU this year. Look them up today! We learn from each other and these 3 guys have taught me so much over the years from their books and blog posts. Don’t be shy and look them up while at AU and say hello to each of them, you will not regret it.

CSI: CAD Standards Implementation: The new kid to the party. Over the past year I have been working on creating standards and a standard approach to auditing and checking CAD files. This tool can prove to be very efficient in AutoCAD. I am very excited to explore this further and present at AU. We are going to create our .dws (standards file) and compare that to several non-compliance drawings and demonstrate how effective we can be.

That’s all for now!  Enjoy your weekend and look for me news and information from me as the conference approaches. I always look forward to seeing some friends and meeting new people at the conference.

AU2015-NoSheet

See you all in Vegas at Autodesk University 2016 – Sam

 

 

 

Quickly Edit Attributes using the QAT in AutoCAD

As CAD designers, drafters and managers we all use blocks with attributes. Many times we will have to filter through the attributes to find the one we need to edit. Have you ever become tired of scrolling through those dialog boxes to find one you were looking for?

We are going to add a button to the QAT (Quick access toolbar) to launch the ATTIPEDIT command as shown in the command line below. The attipedit command will let you select the attribute as if it was just a text object not embedded within a block, very quick and easy to access the field without having to go through the attribute editor.

10-ATT-COMMAND

HINT: You can access this command by typing at the command prompt or holding down the CTRL key and selecting your attribute.

02-Control Key

Start out and launch AutoCAD and type CUI at the command prompt.

Expand your current Quick Access Toolbar then type atti…..in the command list to search for the ATTIPEDIT command. Once found select that command and drag into your toolbar area as shown.
QAT-1

Once the command has been added AutoCAD will bring up the button image to be used and the command macro that controls the command.  Hit OK and/or Apply and close the dialog box.

 

QAT-2

Take a look at your QAT and notice that the new command has been added.

QAT-3

Test out your new command which will enable you to change the text value of an attribute within a block. If you select a single-line attribute, the In-Place Text Editor is displayed without the Text Formatting toolbar and the ruler. Right-click to display options. If you select a multiple-line attribute, the In-Place Text Editor is displayed with the Text Formatting toolbar and the ruler.Note from Autodesk Help: Depending on the setting of the ATTIPE system variable, the Text Formatting toolbar displayed is either the abbreviated version or the full version. Use the abbreviated version for compatibility with previous product releases and editing operations. Use the full version for additional text formatting options. Check out the following video to visually show you how to add that button to the QAT.

Shown below is my AU2016 Speaker badge! Excited and honored to be selected to speak again this year at Autodesk University in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The conference will be November 15 – 17 which is earlier than in the past years.  Passes can be purchased right now at the Autodesk University Website and you can get a sneak peak of the classes available.

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Sam Lucido on Autodesk Screencast

I will be teaching 3 classes this year and I am going back to the lab with macros which is going to be a lot of fun. Macros in the lab will be fun and fast paced as we will use the action recorder, the CUI and tool palettes to create some cool and fun macros to help productivity. No Sheet!  Yep, I am back with Sheet Sets again. This time a more in-depth demo on how to use some of the advanced features within the SSM. Finally, the newcomer to the party is CSI: CAD Standards Implementation. I have been working with CAD Standards tools for the past year for my company and some clients. This class will show you how easy it is to configure a standards file and keep your drawings compliant with your company standards.

AUCLASSES

Autodesk University Class List

As always I look forward to seeing some old friends and meeting some new ones during Autodesk University 2016!  See you all in November, until next month…..Sam

The AutoCAD Layer Translator

I have been spending time over the past year checking and customizing standards for my company. I have grown to love the CAD Standards Manager in AutoCAD. It is an extremely useful tool not only for checking standards but for modifying drawings received from a client.

My upcoming article in AUGIWorld June 2016 issue focuses on the CAD Standards manager in AutoCAD, check it out in June online at AUGIWorld. If you are not a member of AUGI join today, it’s free! Read through the post then watch the video at the end to see the layer translator in action using AutoCAD.

00-CSI_Title_Header_02

Within this post we will review the Layer Translator in AutoCAD.  We have a new intern who decided to draw up an access road detail (Figure 1) without consulting the CAD staff on standards. As a CAD Manager when I see all colors “white” and different colors for similar features (i.e. dimensions) it typically means there were some errors in layer control and some objects may even be on layer 0. The Layer Translator is one way to ensure these properties are corrected and quickly.

From Autodesk Help,” if you receive a drawing from a company that does not follow your company’s layer standards; you can convert the drawing’s layer names and properties to your company’s standards. You can map layers in the drawing you are currently working on to different layers in another drawing or standards file, and then convert the current layers using those mappings. If the drawings contain layers of the same name, the Layer Translator can automatically change the properties of the current layers to match those in the other layers.”

07-Detail_Violations

Figure 1: Access Road Detail

Let’s take a look and list the standard violations individually then we will use the layer translator to correct (i.e. translate). I have selected the geotextile line on the map and highlighted the 3 violations in Figure 2 below.

Layer-Trans-Props

Figure 2: Detail Drawing Properties

  1. Incorrect Layer Name. (Our standard is to have a prefix of 2 letters).
  2. Color set to “white” and not to “Bylayer” (Bylayer is our standard).
  3. Linetype set independently of the layer. (Bylayer is our standard).

To solve this problem I opened up one of our company standard detail drawings and checked all the properties and verified it was completed correctly and more importantly to our standard.  I then saved the file as an AutoCAD Standards file named MY_COMPANY_DETAIL.dws. as shown in Figure 3.  We are saving this to a standards file so we can use again to check other details against our standard. In the video we simply used a drawing file (.dwg) and not a standards file; both will work just fine.

03 Save the Standards

Figure 3: Save the standards file (.dws)

Next open up the detail drawing the intern created. Move over on the Ribbon > Manger Tab and this time select Layer Translator as shown in Figure 4.

04 Layer Translator

Figure 4: Layer Translator on the Ribbon

The Layer Translator window will pop up. Select the load button and browse to the standards file MY_COMPANY_DETAIL.dws and load it up. Notice how your current open drawing layers are shown on the left (Translate From) and your company standard layers on the right (Translate To) as shown in Figure 5.

05 Load the File

Figure 5: The Layer Translator

Next up we have to check our layer translate settings by selecting the settings button in the lower left portion of the window.  The settings button will control what we want forced on to each layer. This is important as in some instances you may not want one of these items selected.00-Standard Button

Continue by checking the properties you wish to have translated. My preference is to check the first 4 and leaving the transaction log and layer contents unchecked. In Figure 6 I have listed the descriptions of the options as shown in the AutoCAD help file.

06-Settings

Figure 6: Layer Translator Settings

List of Options described from AutoCAD Help:

Force Object Color to BYLAYER
Specifies whether or not every object translated takes on the color assigned to its layer.

  1. Force Object Linetype to BYLAYER
    Specifies whether or not every object translated takes on the linetype assigned to its layer.
  2. Force Object Transparency to BYLAYER
    Specifies whether or not every object translated takes on the transparency assigned to its layer.
  3. Translate Objects in Blocks
    Specifies whether or not objects nested within blocks are translated.
  4. Write Transaction Log
    Specifies whether or not a log file detailing the results of translation is created. If this option is selected, a log file is created in the same folder as the translated drawing. The log file is assigned the same name as the translated drawing, with a .log file name extension.
  5. Show Layer Contents When Selected
    Specifies which layers to display in the drawing area.

We now are going to map our layers and begin the translation process. There are several steps we need to follow as shown in Figure 7 below.

  1. The translate from section. Take your time and look at the names and properties of the layer you are translating from and verify this is correct.
  2. The translate to or the target layer.
  3. Layer translator mappings. In this area you can see the setting that will be converted after the translation is complete.
  4. When you are done hit the translate button in the lower right of the window. If you make a mistake don’t worry you have the opportunity to save the mapping file and start over.

07-Mapping

Figure 7: Layer Translator Mapping

Your original detail will be changed according to the translations you mapped.  The translation is quick, fast and efficient. This post is a class teaser for Autodesk University 2016! I have submitted a proposal to teach a class on how to use this important tool in AutoCAD.

Spring is here in Michigan!  Health and happiness to you all.  Until next month.  Sam

 

Move, Rotate, and Scale with Align in AutoCAD

The align command simply aligns objects with other objects in 2D and 3D. Many times as drafters and designers we need to align objects with other objects also importing data or from PDF files or images. How do we get those imported objects into AutoCAD and line them up. The Align command will do just that. With “Align” you can move, rotate and scale an object while aligning it with existing geometry or selected points (even images and pdf underlays). The align command can be found on the ribbon Home tab under the Modify panel as shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Align on the Ribbon

align-01

Let’s take a look at the following example. All we have on our drawing is a box and a polygon. We want to align one edge of the polygon to the box then scale to match the length. Type ALIGN at the command prompt or select from the Ribbon and follow the sequence as shown below in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Using Align to Move, Rotate and Scale one object to another.

align-02

Hit enter when complete and you will be asked to scale the object, select YES.   

align-03

Take a look at your results!  Like magic the object was moved, rotated, and scaled as shown in Figure 3.  Three commands all rolled up in one, how cool is that?.  Try this out when using images or pdf files to underlay as a guide while in the design process.

Figure 3: Objects have been aligned.

Align-04

See the attached video on how to complete this process in AutoCAD.

Happy February – It’s Cold in Michigan! Until next month….Sam