12 04 2014

#Free #CAD RT @CADCAME: Free CATIA to IGES translator without CATIA license. Download it today from CCE Labs. http://t.co/5V7iGkQ9Tr

you pronounced my name correctly @asplin

16 07 2013

you pronounced my name correctly @asplint: “You don’t win on the strength of your argument but of your relationship.” http://t.co/L6FbVo7FBD

AutoCAD Tip of the Week: VPLAYER

1 04 2013

One of the maxims of good Database design in general, and of Computer-Aided Design in particular, is to avoid and diminish the unnecessary repetition of data. In other words, “Draw Things Only Once.” And I don’t mean, “Draw once and then copy many times.” What I’m talking about is how to avoid copying entire floor plans so you can then create separate version to show only existing conditions, another for a demolition plan, another for new construction, a foundation plan, framing plan, roof plan, electrical, plumbing, interiors, RFC, etc.

That is using CAD as a mere electronic pencil. Modern CAD is more like a smart relational database system, where data isn’t unnecessarily repeated or even copied.

20130401 0919 Begin Capture

In fact, one of the tell tale signs of CAD’s real power going unused is to see model space crowded with rows and columns of mostly the same entities with slight changes to accommodate a long list of different drawing plans and types as listed and illustrated above. Paper Space and its super cool feature: Floating Viewports can help simplify the drawing above.

Maxim: Create entities in only one place, and control their visibility in specific viewports using layers. AutoCAD provides at least two different commands to help you: LAYER and VPLAYER.

Most AutoCAD users begin by learning the LAYER, LA or –LA commands. But then stop. No wonder they never get to love AutoCAD. This command is good for controlling the global visibility of layers. It’s an all or none proposition. With this command, you can either see a layer’s content or not. This is usually the command of choice when you’re working in Model Space while TILEMODE is set to 1. I call this “full model space mode”, or “beginner’s mode.”

The real fun begins when you set TILEMODE = 0. Incidentally, you can also simply select one of the paper space tabs, unless you’ve hidden those to save precious screen Real Estate. The VIEWPORTS command still works, and you’re gaining new functionality. Now viewports can float, overlap and more. They’re freed to take full advantage of modern CAD features. I call this “Expert mode,” where you can do everything you can in beginner’s mode and more!

VPLAYER: How to Survive Without It

VPLAYER, most likely named after ViewPortLayer, allows you to control layers on a per-viewport basis. First you will likely need to begin by thawing and turning on all layers globally. This will do the trick:

-LA T * On * <ENTER>

or if you don’t mind typing the entire option names: –LAYER Thaw * On * <ENTER>

To control specific viewports, double-click inside your target viewport and make sure its model space is active. Then you have two methods. Let’s begin with my favorite one. Please type:

VPLAYER F <ENTER> and then select an entity whose layer you want to hide / turn off / freeze, in that viewport only, then press <ENTER> a couple more times until you’re back to the command prompt, as shown below:

20130401 0954 VPLAYER Capture

Alternatively, type VPLAYER F and then type the name of a layer or layers separated by commas, that you don’t want to appear in that viewport.

Finally, let me show you one very different method using the LAYER command, which will allow you to circumvent and live without using VPLAYER, as shown in the screen capture below:

20130401 0919 LAYER Capture 

Notice how the layer command’s dialog box / palette has two sets of columns for Color. The left ones are for global changes throughout your entire drawing. You’re most likely already familiar with those. The ones to the far right, VP Freeze and VP Color, are the subject of this tip. They allow you to control those settings on an individual viewport basis. There’s more to the far right, but that can be the subject of another weekly tip. Enjoy!

8 01 2013


Great inspiration to use Revit’s API…

Originally posted on Boost Your BIM:

Writing about the Copy/Monitor UI, Steve mentions that “It would be cool if Revit identified the elements and types that are actually in use in the linked file”

The Revit API can’t modify the Copy/Monitor UI, but the API can be used to identify the elements and types that are actually in use in the linked file.


publicvoid levelTypesInLink()
    Document doc = this.ActiveUIDocument.Document;
    foreach (RevitLinkType linkType innew FilteredElementCollector(doc).OfClass(typeof(RevitLinkType)).Cast<RevitLinkType>())
        string usedLevelTypes = "";
        string notUsedLevelTypes = "";
        Document linkDoc = getLinkDoc(doc, linkType);
        foreach (LevelType levelType innew FilteredElementCollector(linkDoc).OfClass(typeof(LevelType)).Cast<LevelType>())
            if (new FilteredElementCollector(linkDoc).OfClass(typeof(Level)).Cast<Level>().Where(level => level.LevelType.Id == levelType.Id).Count() > 0)
                usedLevelTypes += levelType.Name + ", ";
                notUsedLevelTypes += levelType.Name + ", ";
        TaskDialog.Show("Level Types in " + linkDoc.Title,
                        "Used\n------\n" + usedLevelTypes + 
                        "\n\nNot Used\n---------\n" + notUsedLevelTypes);

private Document getLinkDoc(Document doc, RevitLinkType linkType)

View original 16 more words

The 10 CAD Commandments Version 2012

31 12 2012


Unlike the Biblical Ten Commandments, some of these are likely to need updating as time goes by, though most, hopefully, will remain timeless pearls of productivity wisdom. ;-)

I. Without getting into a theological / religious discussion, there is one G_d but there are clearly many CAD offerings, each one with its own strengths and weaknesses, from features, industry support to cost of ownership or use. Therefore, don’t be #CAD or #BIM software dogmatic. Instead, pick the right or best tool for the job. To know a program is to love it. However, beware there may be a much better way that you simply don’t know about, yet. Keep an open mind. Or at least, make sure you’ve reasonably exhausted and mined all the CAD power accessible to you. Try something NEW today.

II. Draw / Model full actual size. Don’t invent dimensions that don’t exist. A 2 x 4 stud is much closer to 1.5" x 3.5". If you have more exact or statistically meaningful dimensions from your lumber supplier, such as 3-5/8" (or whatever material or source), then use that!

III. Whenever possible, work in 3D. It’s better, faster and easier. Learn how to do it, if necessary. What else would you expect for the 3rd dimension commandment?


IV. Don’t use programs like it was 1999. Find a way to add material, labor, time and cost data. This has actually been possible for a long time, arguably since 1989. Increase the value and wisdom of your CAD data and design wisdom by juggling more than mere geometry when making decisions. BIM and PLM are about entire product and building life cycle, so is smart and wise Computer-Aided Design/Drafting (CAD). To remember this commandment think of space-time continuum or 4th dimension.

V. Use Smart, Rules- Family- or Style-based, Parametric Objects whenever possible and practical. Think of this as creating your own custom designer DNA, cookie cutter or money making machine. Graduate beyond generic 2D geometric primitives at the first chance, no matter what industry you work in.

VI. Before creating custom content or details research any applicable industry content already in existence. Don’t unnecessarily re-invent the wheel. Don’t use borrowed content without essential improvements or without permission. Run you business legally.

VII. Before inventing company or individual company standards research any applicable industry standards. Don’t unnecessarily re-invent the wheel. Don’t use borrowed content without essential improvements or permission.

VIII. Make the best of what you have, both in the hardware and software side of your practice. Remember, the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence. It’s greener wherever you water it. You may feel it was greener in the past. Actually, it never gets any greener than green. It will look great whenever and wherever you take good care of it. Therefore, assume you CAD tool is omnipotent. Make it do whatever you want, the way you want.

79645_hastewaste_smIX. Draw / Model things once and use / clone many times. Being a lazy draftsman or modeler in this fashion is actually being wisely lazy. Make it so! Recycle data, specs and details whenever possible.

X. Want immediate improvement? Don’t rush. Haste makes waste. CAD productivity doesn’t come from rushing. It comes from good planning and organization. Finally, please care and give a damn. Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, because in that case “All You Need Is Love.” Otherwise, please change professions to something where you can invest all your hear and soul, and therefore be happy, because you only get to live once.

Please comment about your own favorite words of CAD and productivity wisdom.

Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, because in that case “All You Need is Love.”

Best wishes for the best be yet to come for you in 2013 and beyond!

Ho Ho Ho! #Free Holiday Give Away #CAD NVIDIA GeForce Video Card

21 12 2012


I bought an extra video card awhile back as a back up and luckily have never had the need to use it as my cards have all performed flawlessly. So I am giving it away while it is still relatively useful, especially to those of you who are tweaking old systems to extract the most performance possible before being forced to upgrade.


It’s amazing how far video card technology has gone. This particular card sports Dual-Link DVI_I, VGA, HDTV + TV Out ports. This is an 8400 GS model and it requires a PCI Express mid height slot.

There are an unprecedented number of people out there working with older systems as the poor economy has impacted the number who can afford upgrades. Not everyone working in CAD has the latest and greatest cutting edge technology at their fingertips, yet almost everyone can do something to improve the speed and quality of their system performance. This card, while not spectacular, will decrease redraw times using almost any CAD program, but AutoCAD in particular. I’d say this video card is optimized for versions 2002 to 2010. The best match is probably with Version 2008.

Old System Tune Up Tips

If you have a system older than 2008, there are three things you should focus on:

1. Upgrade to a Solid State Device (SSD) technology drive. This is the single, most dramatic upgrade you can experience immediately. Depending on the size, this will cost between $80 to $200. The sweet spot is a 256 GB SSD drive at under $180. In an older system, you probably have a SATA II interface. Don’t worry. Buy SATA III as it is backwards compatible, and you will be able to reuse the same drive when you upgrade your system.

2. Upgrade your Operating System (OS) and max out your RAM. Upgrading to Windows 7 or XP 64-bit alone, especially if you’re upgrading from 32-bit Windows Vista (yuck!) alone, will speed and stabilize your system. It will also allow you to break the 3.5 GB memory barrier. Do not install more memory than 3.5 GB of RAM, as 32-bit OS’es can’t take advantage of RAM beyond that point. Chances are you have 1, 2 or 4 GB of RAM and your computer’s motherboard can most likely handle 8 GB. Upgrading your OS will probably cost over $100, but the ability to use more RAM can justify the cost. RAM prices continue to drop. However, it’s surprising how the new and fast RAM is a lot cheaper than the old type you probably need! It can be expensive to buy old memory. Shop for it carefully through eBay or Craigslist. If you’re patient and diligent, you will find bargains. Perhaps you can inherit some from a friend who upgrades, but don’t count on it.

3. Upgrade video card and other key components. In the case of CAD workstations, a great video card may outrank and outdo the performance improvement from the SSD, OS and RAM upgrades above. This is particularly true if you do a lot of 3D editing, such as 3D modeling, and you need to view relatively large and complex scenes. In fact, it is a joy to use Navisworks coupled with a great video card to navigate around a 3D model. It feels like running a video game!

How to Win

I will send this new, unused, in the original box, video card, free, to the person who submits the best tip related to CAD video performance, judged by the number of “Likes” received on the LinkedIn group posts by midnight December 31, 2012. There will be free shipment to the continental US only, so if you are outside of this area, you can still get the card if you have your own shipping account, can pick it up or make alternative shipment arrangements with me. Please note, I don’t have any connection to NVIDIA, though like most users, really enjoy using their products and often recommend them to my clients. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

To win you must post your comment here: http://lnkd.in/sPPMEv

Ace CAD: Make Learning It Social & Simple

23 11 2012

Learning to Fly by Tom Petty

While there exist the undeniable human nature components of Extroversion and Introversion, I don’t think these two traits lie along a single continuum. Instead, I believe they take up two different channels and are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, the E vs. I debates, are usually about personal preference, not about which one you have and which one you don’t.


Therefore, take advantage of any ounce of Extroversion you have and motivate yourself to learn more by learning with others or in a group, as large as this one or as small as two. There are multiple advantages to this approach, including but not limited to:

A. Accountability. If you know you have to show up because others will, too, you’re more likely to do it. This works particularly well with physical exercise but it also applies to learning in general.

C. Comparison. You must tread very carefully here. Comparing yourself to others may lead to all sorts of misery. But some comparison can be healthy and a great motivator. For example, learning that three year old children can use (sometimes to an amazing extent) iPads and iPhones might inspire you to learn figuring, "a child can do it!"

E. Economy. While small, personal learning groups are great they are also expensive and not always the best medium to learn. You can achieve more than great economies of scale by learning in a group. Even better, you can experience "cross pollination" as you hear the questions your classmates or peers contribute which you would have missed learning on your own.


Put the power of ACE (Accountability / Comparison / Economy … not Architecture Construction Engineering) to work for you to learn CAD today. How? Here’s 3 easy and convenient ways to get started:

1. Simply ask a CAD question here: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/CAD-Community-Connection-ACADCOMnet-125991/about?trk=anet_ug_grppro This link will take you to my LinkedIn A CAD Community Connection CAD Professional Networking Group, a great place to discuss any CAD program with almost 9,000+ fellow CAD pros & mentors.

2. Share a CAD problem or challenge right here, through my Blog’s comments.

3. Call me through my website http://caddguru.com to discuss your learning goals and CAD wishes privately.

And remember that it is in giving that we receive. Think you know something? Try to teach it. Share it with others. As Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” He is one of the most famous Introverts (INTP if you’re into temperament typing) and a great source of inspiration to keep learning and teaching simple.


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