AutoCAD Optimization Tip: Updating the Certified Hardware Database

AutoCAD Optimization Tip: Updating the Certified Hardware Database SNAGHTMLa199df8 thumb

As I make presentations about AutoCAD throughout the year, some of the most common questions that come up have to deal with optimizing AutoCAD; the software is slow to start, the software is very sluggish when I try to draw, and the list goes on. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for issues like these, something I’ve found to help more times than not is updating the Autodesk Certified Hardware Database. In some extreme cases I’ve actually seen this solution take an AutoCAD installation that ran so slow and unstable it was absolutely useless, and make it usable once again.

Modern releases of AutoCAD have become much more dependent on your machines graphics card and the underlying drivers. In a nutshell, the Autodesk Certified Hardware Database matches the capabilities of your machines hardware to the capabilities of AutoCAD.

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Modeling Photographs in 3D with Project Photofly

Modeling Photographs in 3D with Project Photofly image4

Yesterday Autodesk released a very impressive new technology they call Project Photofly. With Project Photofly you can quickly and easily generate 3D models using nothing more than photographs taken with your digital camera. Although Photofly will certainly work with fancy SLR cameras that cost their owner their first-born; your smaller, more compact, and much cheaper digital camera will work just as well.

Photofly will take the photos you load into it, upload them to the web, do the necessary bean counting on a server much more powerful than your personal computer, and automagically download a 3D model to your computer. You can then view the model inside the Photofly software, or even export the points to AutoCAD. Here’s a quick video I recorded as I created my first Photofly model:

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Text in AutoCAD Linetypes the Super Simple Way

Text in AutoCAD Linetypes
Linetype with Text

Before signing off to get married I started a series entitled Linetypes the Super Simple Way. So far I’ve covered creating a simple dashed linetype, creating shapes, and complex linetypes with shapes. To continue that series, today I’m going to take a look at creating linetypes with text contained within them.

Chances are, by reading the other posts in this series, you’ve become quite proficient with the Make Linetype (MKLTYPE) command; so I won’t spend too much time on that. Instead, I’d like to focus on some of the gotcha’s of creating linetypes with text, and how to overcome them.

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FROM: The Forgotten OSNAP

wedding To say it’s been an memorable few weeks would be an understatement. The last time I posted it was to say I was signing off to get married. Well I’m incredibly happy to say the wedding went off incredibly well, and despite a brief appearance from then tropical storm Alex, the honeymoon was equally wonderful. I haven’t quite made it back to the “real world” yet, as I’m enjoying the Outer Banks of North Carolina this week. Still I wanted to take a quick break from my sun drenched vacation to say hello to all of you, and offer up a very quick, but very useful (in my opinion) tip.

Object Snaps inside AutoCAD let us accurately place objects based upon some sort of geometric parameters. We all know INTersection, ENDpoint, and the like, but what about some of the lesser known osnap’s like FROM?

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Complex Linetypes with Shapes the Super Simple Way

Complex Linetypes with Shapes the Super Simple Way AutoCAD Linetypes with Shapes

Line drawn using linetype So far my “Linetypes the Super Simple Way” series has covered creating a simple dashed linetype and creating shapes for a linetype. In this post I’m going to continue the series by exploring how to create a linetype using the shape we created earlier. Although the actual linetype is still defined within a .lin file; a linetype with a shape or text within its definition is called a ‘complex linetype’. I’ll cover adding text to linetypes in a later post, but for now we’ll remain focused on shapes within linetypes.

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Save $480 on AutoCAD LT 2011 until July 16, 2010

image Catching up on some unread blog posts in Google Reader this morning, I came across a post R.K. McSwain made on his CAD Panacea blog (a personal favorite) earlier this week titled AutoCAD LT rebate. AutoCAD LT 2011 retails for $1,200, but Autodesk is running a promotion on their own site until July 18, and on until July 16 that will save you an additional $300. Can’t say why the promotion runs two-days longer when bought directly from Autodesk, but you can save an additional $180 when you purchase from for $720.

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Shapes for AutoCAD Linetypes the Super Simple Way

Draw Shape with LinesLast week I started a discussion about creating Custom Linetypes the Super Simple Way. Today I’m going to continue that discussion by talking about yet another component to creating custom AutoCAD linetypes – shapes. As this post will outline, linetypes cannot contain Blocks, but may contain a lesser known object known as Shapes. AutoCAD Shapes are similar to AutoCAD blocks, however they have several restrictions that are not otherwise present when creating blocks.

My best bit of advice to anyone looking to create a custom shape; think simple. I say that due to the limitations of shape definitions within AutoCAD. These limitations include:

  • Shapes must be composed of straight line segments; arcs are not supported.
  • Each line segment must be drawn in one of the 16 supported directions; increments of 22.5 degrees.
  • A line may be no more than 15 units long. Remember linetypes are multiplied by a scale factor (LTSCALE).
  • Shapes must be continuous. Think of drawing with a pen without lifting the pen away from the paper.

To summarize; if you can’t draw it with an etch-a-sketch, you probably won’t be able to draw it with an AutoCAD Shape.

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AutoCAD 2011 No Experience Required named as an Autodesk Official Training Guide

AutoCAD No Experience Required Cover The announcement came late last week, but just in case you missed it Wiley publishing will provide Autodesk Official Training Guides for Autodesk’s 2011 products. Ten titles from Sybex, an Imprint of Wiley, will be exclusively designated as “Autodesk Official Training Guides”. I’m excited to announce my upcoming book AutoCAD 2011 and AutoCAD LT 2011: No Experience Required was among the titles to receive this designation.

I just recently finished reviewing the last of the page proofs for my book, and let me say the folks over at Wiley did an incredible job at assembling the manuscript! I’ll write a more in-depth post once the book is actually released, but my editorial team, which included fellow blogger Melanie Perry (aka Mistress of the Dorkness) as my technical editor, consistently impressed me throughout the entire project.

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Custom Linetypes the Super Simple Way

Creating LinetypesLinetypes play an integral role in visually separating certain elements of our designs. Most of the time one of the 40+ linetypes that come with AutoCAD will suffice, but what do you do when you need a custom linetype? While its true linetypes must be developed, the good news is that it’s not as difficult as it sounds.

In their most basic form, an AutoCAD linetype is really nothing more than a .txt file with a .lin extension. It’s completely possible to create linetypes using nothing more than your bare hands and Notepad (the digital variety that comes with MS Windows). For those who prefer a more graphical approach, check out the Make Linetype (MKLTYPE) tool found on the Express Tools Ribbon tab > expanded Tools panel. If you know how to draw and trim lines in AutoCAD you can also create custom linetypes.

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Dynamically Combine AutoCAD Data Extraction Tables with Excel Tables

DataExtraction Anyone who follows me on twitter got a heads up about this post yesterday. Ever since its introduction in 2008, Excel table linking has been one of my favorite features inside AutoCAD. Likewise, it seems I’m not alone with that notion, as my posts discussing AutoCAD and Excel interoperability are consistently some of my post popular posts here at The CAD Geek. Another one of my personal favorite features inside AutoCAD are Data Extraction Tables. The idea is that you can get AutoCAD to create a dynamic table from the information contained inside your drawing or drawings (yes Data Extraction tables can work with multiple drawings – very cool).

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