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

Posted 2012.12.21 by caddguru
Categories: Uncategorized


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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.

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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

Posted 2012.11.23 by caddguru
Categories: Uncategorized


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.

eysenek-wheel

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.

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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.

Successful BIM Diet: No Spaghetti Please!

Posted 2012.11.16 by caddguru
Categories: 3D BIM CAD, 3D Modeling, Autodesk, Education, Things that matter, Training, Uncategorized


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Time is ticking and you don’t want the construction schedule to slip. You must decide wisely who must move. Who are you going to call?

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
― E.F. Schumacher

In construction projects there’s been a customary and historical pecking order among team players fighting for space to place their equipment, connectors, fittings, pipes, conduits and the like, that goes like this:

1. Architectural – They say, “Make room, move out of the way you mere mortals… Here comes the Architect!” Winking smile

2. Structural – They warn, “Do you want the building to collapse?”

3. Plumbing – They threaten, “Do you want the toilets to back up?”

4. HVAC – They whine, “We will run out of space unless you move!”

5. Fire Protection – They’re told, “Hey, you have plenty of pressure left in those pipes, move!”

6. Electrical – They’re commanded, “Sparky, move! For heaven’s sake, you don’t even have to worry about voltage drops!”

7. Everyone else – “Place your equipment in whatever space is left over.”

20121116 0536 Messy Spaghetti images

Please, don’t build a mess!

This might fly in a retrofit project. For new construction, aim for something better and simpler.

Unfortunately, running BIM coordination using that overly simplistic approach leads to building designs that are unnecessarily difficult to construct and later maintain during the life of a building.

To create a building we can all be proud of, designers and builders must think holistically and simultaneously. Give up the “us versus them” attitude. When coordinated properly, building systems are easier to follow and understand, and therefore, easier to fix and maintain. But they are also a lot cheaper to install, erect and construct.

Straight runs should generally rule over multiple turns and twists. Indeed, Model Building Codes limit the number of bends you can have before you’re required to provide cleanouts, access panels, junction boxes and the like.

To avoid trouble it is ideal to start project trades coordination as early in the design process as possible. Unfortunately, I have seen large Architecture / Engineering companies, who employ architects and engineers under the same roof, work as independently as if they worked for totally different owner firms.

Perhaps the main problem in general is the need to design buildings by committee. Things are just too complex for a regular human being to master all the nuances of building design.

I think the design by committee approach is too time consuming and wimpy. Somebody, either an architect or experienced BIM coordinator, needs to take their best shot at placing building system components in the ideal location and then get the approvals and blessings or improvements for each of the individual building trades.

Simplicity, safety, efficiency, constructability and economy should be the guiding principles. As an architect or building designer, learn to provide enough space for the equipment and required installation and maintenance clearances. Straight runs are nice. Short runs are even nicer. Less pressure loss or voltage drops due to friction or resistance. Please avoid placing equipment in ways that will require extra mile long runs.

20121116 0541 Pecking Order images

Starring from left to right: sparky the Electrician, FP or their buddies, HVAC, Plumber, Structural and the Architect, Project Manager or Lead BIM Coordinator at the far right. 🙂

After all, there are only so many miracles we can perform at the job site. There are times when it’s simply better to go back to the proverbial drawing / design boards. To avoid that at all costs requires one or possibly two ambitious individuals to give a design layout their best shot, without regards to playing favorites among trades.

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While it’s generally true that you can’t make everyone happy, don’t minimize your chances by playing favorites!

Indeed, for construction projects to work well, somebody must perform the role of the wise parent that doesn’t play favorites. That also means not letting a whiny, “squeaky wheel” child run the show by throwing tantrums. Impartiality and taking care of each individual trade’s need should be the guiding light. It is balancing seemingly opposing tensions that makes building design such a beautiful challenge. Don’t give up. Find a way to make it work!

Top 13 Navisworks 2013 Shortcuts

Posted 2012.10.30 by caddguru
Categories: 3D BIM CAD, Autodesk, Basic Essential CAD, Education, Training, Uncategorized


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Navisworks is an amazingly simple yet powerful CAD and BIM program. It sometimes feels like AutoCAD, Revit and 3D Studio Max all rolled into one program but with the friendly simplicity of a video game for kids. It really is a fun program to work with!

To make your Navisworks Learning experience a pleasant and efficient one, I suggest you pay close attention to the Default Keyboard Shortcuts I will mention here. As time permits, I will create short and sweet videos demonstrating the essential steps and ingredients for Navisworks success.

Here’s a table with my current Top 13 Favorite Default Keyboard Shortcuts for Navisworks Manage 2013:

Shortcut Description Comment
PgDn Zooms to selected objects Very handy.
SHIFT, CTRL Used to modify the middle mouse button actions You must learn *all* these in the first 30 minutes!
ALT Turns the keytips on or off I must admit having second thoughts…
Ctrl + 1 Turns on Select Mode To snap out of the most useful shortcut Winking smile
Ctrl + 2 Turns on Walk Mode Most useful shortcut. This is where Navisworks shines!
Ctrl + 7 Turns on Orbit mode If you learn SHIFT and CTRL mouse combos this is less relevant
Ctrl + A Displays the Append dialog box Bring ‘em in!
Ctrl + F Displays he Quick Find dialog box Remember, BIM is about using relational databases. Here’s a good start!
Ctrl + F2 Opens the Clash Detective window Learn this in the first 90 minutes. This is where the real Navisworks begins.
Ctrl + F12 Toggles the Selection Tree window Another window to the database and BIM
F11 Toggles Full Screen mode This and shortcuts will make the world think you’re a wizard!
F12 Opens the Options Editor Know everything here
Shift + F7 Toggles the Properties window More data friendly features here.

As time permits I will post follow-up videos demonstrating why each of these shortcuts is the best invention since slice bread. Enjoy learning these! It will pay off in more ways than one.

When learning new #CAD software go for t

Posted 2012.10.26 by caddguru
Categories: Uncategorized


When learning new #CAD software go for the Most Frequently Used & Important commands first. Don’t study like reading a dictionary. 😉

The Omnipotent 3D EXTRUDE Command

Posted 2012.10.12 by caddguru
Categories: 3D BIM CAD, 3D Modeling, Basic Essential CAD, Education, Training, Uncategorized


I love omnipotent, Swiss-Army knife, jack-of-all-trades type commands. ALIGN & EXTRUDE fit this category beautifully, and they’re both very useful in a 3D world. 20121010 1411 Extrude CaptureHere I will focus on the EXTRUDE command.

To whet your appetite for learning this command, let me just say that for many of you this will be about the one and only command that you will need to model over 99% of the objects you will ever want. If not, you will probably need to explore LOFT.

First, EXTRUDE allows you to turn a flat 2D shape such as a rectangle or circle into a 3D BOX or CYLINDER. The workflow is very straightforward: 1. Create a rectangle, circle or similar closed, but not self-intersecting 2D shape using PLINE or 3DPOLY. 2. Execute EXTRUDE command. 3. In response to “Select objects to extrude or [MOde]: ” prompt, select the 2D shape by clicking it, using the L(ast) object created option or your favorite entity selection method, then press space bar or enter to let AutoCAD know you’re done selecting objects. 4. In response to “Specify height of extrusion or [Direction/Path/Taper angle/Expression]: ” prompt, specify the distance for the height of the extrusion. You’re done. You’ve become a beginner 3D modeler. Here’s a video showing you how to do it:

Extrude Command’s Height Option

Theoretically, this is all you may need to model everything you’ll ever need. If you’re skeptical, think in terms of Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and FEAR not!

Secondly, you can use EXTRUDE to create not just a cylinder but also a CONE and even a simple hip and valley roof. What makes this possible is the Taper Angle option. Experimenting with this command earlier today in preparation for writing this message, I noticed some new interactive features that make AutoCAD feel like turbo charged Sketchup. More on this later as time permits.

Extrude Command’s Taper Angle Option

Thirdly, you can use EXTRUDE to create more complex shapes such as a sugar cane candy or stair handrail. You do this by taking advantage of the Path option. For the sugar can candy a 2D polyline will work fine. For a more complex shape that isn’t limited to a 2D plane, you must either use a 3D poly or break the operation into multiple parts that you can later join using the gluey, sticky UNION command.

Finally, as if this wasn’t enough, you can get more creative and use the EXTRUDE command to replace the DONUT, DOUGHNUT, TORUS, SPHERE and REVOLVE commands. Talk about Swiss-Army-knife-like ability!

This is certainly one of the commands I would want to have if I was to be limited to a certain number. I consider this command to be one of the Top 10 most important commands for 3D modeling.

You can certainly learn basic 3D modeling in about 90 minutes. Start learning 3D today. Ask if you get stuck. Remember: Ask and you shall receive an answer. If you have any questions about the EXTRUDE command, I’d like to hear and will love to answer them.

Surfing & CAD: Staying at the Leading Edge

Posted 2012.08.31 by caddguru
Categories: Uncategorized


It’s interesting to see the similarities between surfing and technology: It’s an art figuring out when and how to catch a wave, whether in technology or in the ocean. Starting to paddle forward too soon or too late can spell the difference between being at the leading or the bleeding edge.

If you start too soon, you might expend too much unnecessary effort. In the case of technology, you usually have to pay a premium for the latest hardware and software.

If you wait too long, you miss catching the wave. You can’t catch a wave by passively floating. You must swim/paddle forward. It takes some effort, sometimes a lot of effort. It’s great exercise. In technology, waiting too long means that you waste the opportunity to gain strategic advantages and to enjoy the benefits of new technologies. It’s like being stuck using bicycles for transportation, when a car or a plane would be better choices.

As the Summer slowly comes to an end and we all get ready for the next school semester, I’ve been trying to spend as much time at the beach as possible. This has given me the opportunity to reflect and I’d like to share some of my insights:

1. If you haven’t already, upgrade to a Solid State Device (SSD) drive. They’re a lot faster, don’t make noise, have no moving parts (unless you consider electrons) and use up a lot less power. In some cases, I’ve seen booting times drop from over 8 minutes to under 1 minute! Applications that took over one minute usually load in less than 20 seconds. This kind of performance improvement is something you want right away.

I recommend getting either a 240GB or so drive for about $200, 180GB for $160 or at a minimum, 90GB for $60 after rebates ($80 at the store). I’m very happy with The Corsair Force 3 series. And no, I don’t work for them nor receive any incentives… (yet? )

Max out your RAM. If your computer is older than 5 years, seriously plan upgrading. When you buy a new computer, unless you upgrade frequently, it is wise to pay a premium for either the latest or almost the best.

Time is money. Be wise how you spend both. In the final analysis, be inspired by knowing that the human brain is still the best design tool AND that one secret to success is to learn to do the most with what you already have.

Warm regards from Los Angeles,

Emmanuel