REVERSE – Now a “real” AutoCAD Command

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If you’ve been keeping up with the blogs, you’ve probably already read your share about parametric constraints/drafting, contextual ribbon, 3D modeling, and the like.  Not to say those topics aren’t appreciated additions to AutoCAD, but to me sometimes the little things make all the difference in the world.  If my memory serves me correctly AutoCAD 2006 brought us the JOIN command.  Sure I used to have a LISP command that would join two objects together, but there's one thing all AutoCAD commands have that LISP commands don’t – support!

AutoCAD 2010 - First Look at Parametric Constraints

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I just recently returned home from San Francisco, CA where I was privileged enough to join some of the most popular AutoCAD bloggers in the blogosphere for the AutoCAD 2010 release event in San Francisco. Although we stayed incredibly busy throughout the day Thursday, I must say I really did have a great time at the event. It’s always a golden opportunity when you get to have meaningful chats with the people who manage and develop AutoCAD.

Going to San Francisco for a Special Event at Autodesk

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Aside from a few odds and ends, I have finished packing & am incredibly excited to be travelling to San Francisco, CA.  Tomorrow (Thursday 2/5/09) I will join some of the most esteemed bloggers in the AutoCAD blogosphere for a Special Event being hosted by Autodesk.  From what I hear just the Autodesk Gallery at One Market venue is a destination in and of itself.  As if that wasn’t exciting enough, there’s all the fun to be had at the event itself.

Labeling Pipe Crossing Inverts

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This is a bit of an oldie, but goodie.  Civil 3D Pipe Label Styles can give me the Invert In or the Invert Out of a pipe, but not the invert between point a and point b.  That limitation is never really an issue until you go to label the invert of a crossing pipe.  If you’re like me the first time I encountered this issue, I first searched and searched the Plan Profile Pipe Label Style options.  My disbelief grew with each minute, until I happened to look at my Google Talk and found one of my Civil 3D buddies online.  It wasn’t until then I really believed Civil 3D couldn’t label a crossing invert…well that was until I expanded another node in the settings tab.  That node? Station Elevation labels for Profile Views.

The Style

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For my crossing pipe invert label, I created a new style under: Profile View > Label Styles > Station Elevation.  Opening the style will reveal a simple, yet effective style.  All I have done is added a text element that says INV=, and then includes the ‘Profile View Point Elevation” property.  By employing this method I’m labeling the profile, not the pipe.  It just so happens whenever I use this style, a pipe will be nearby.  From a presentation standpoint, the label being a profile style verses a pipe style is indifferent. However from a data linking & management perspective, the separation is huge.  Since I am using a profile style to label a pipe, if the pipe updates, the label will not.  I’ll have to manually move the label to update the elevation to a new invert.

Labeling Inverts

Rather than going to pipe labels, I’ll go to Profiles > Add Profile View Labels > Add Profile View Labels…

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Next, I’ll select my Pipe Invert Label Style from the Add Labels dialog, and click [Add]

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After clicking [Add], Civil 3D will prompt you to select your profile view, then pick a station & elevation.  To pick the station and elevation, use your Endpoint snap to select the same point twice.

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Once you have selected the profile station & elevation to label, Civil 3D will display your profile label that so badly wants to grow up and become a pipe label style.

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Creating & Using Blocks With Multiple Insertion Points

As you may have noticed, there hasn’t been much activity here on The CAD Geek since AU.  The reason for that is quite simply I have been on vacation since December 13.  Today however was the end of my three-week break from the office, and gasp; AutoCAD.  As much as I love to play with and explore the depths of AutoCAD, I must say my vacation was a much needed break from CAD.

But now that I have returned to the office and the holidays are behind us, I shall also return to this, my humble corner of the blogosphere.  I must admit, after taking a 3-week break from AutoCAD it was hard to think up a blog topic, but I remembered a post from August titled “Dynamically Aligning Your Blocks”.  It was with that post I realized how few posts I had about the most versatile  Dynamic Blocks.

It’s a fundamental law of AutoCAD Blocks, blocks shall have an insertion point.  And frankly, this is a good thing.  Sure, AutoCAD needs to know this location so it can remember where you placed the block, but face it – you need this insertion point too.  When drawing blocks we’re taught to place this insertion point in a meaningful location.  Maybe it’s the face of a curb in a civil plan, or a wall in an architectural plan.

AU 2008 – Day 3

So at this point I’m actually sitting in JFK International Airport waiting for my connecting flight.  Shouldn’t be too much longer, but while I was here I figured I’d get caught up on my AU blogging.  AU 2008 seemed to absolutely fly by (no pun intended as I am sitting in an airport).  I’m sure part of that was greatly due to my schedule of assisting 3 labs, presenting 1 class, and spending what time I could helping AUGI.  Nonetheless, Thursday was my big day at AU.  As I have mentioned a few times before, I was invited to speak for the first time at AU this year.  My class for those just tuning in was Power to the Parcel, a class covering parcel design within AutoCAD Civil 3D. 

I have to admit, I have never been much of a morning person, so frankly my biggest fear of presenting at 8:00am Thursday was oversleeping.  Despite staying up a little later than I probably should have Wednesday evening rehearsing my class, I did manage to make it to my class on time.  While I made it to class on time I was not able to make it through my class without any technical glitches.  Despite everything working perfectly during my rehearsals, my last topic (parcel reports) bombed.  Parcel reports being my last topic, it was an absolute nightmare that I had to end my class on a low.  Thankfully however, everyone seems to have forgiven me for the technical glitch, and have given me positive reviews.  With that, hopefully they’ll have me back as a speaker again next year.

AU Day 2

DSC_0980 As exhibited by my lack of a dedicated AU Day 2 post, it goes without saying my Wednesday was pretty busy. I’ve heard many say every AU they attend becomes busier than the previous; a statement I can personally attest to.  Nonetheless, I got my Tuesday started as a Lab Assistant; this time it was for John Beltran’s Hands-on Introduction to Dynamic Blocks.  Even as a Lab Assistant I found the class most enjoyable, picking up a few pointers I didn’t previously know about along the way.

After helping out with John’s lab, I was able to be an attendee for the rest of the day, well most of it at least. Among the sessions I attended was the one casual class I registered for; The Making of Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who.  No the class had absolutely nothing to do with Civil 3D, or anything else I personally do with Autodesk products, but it was incredibly neat to get a behind the scenes look at how the movie was made.  As I recall they had datasets of some 140+ GB for each scene.  Somehow I don’t think I should attempt such a dataset with Civil 3D.

AU 2008 – Day 1

DSC_0901 Today marked the official start to Autodesk University 2008, and boy what a busy day! For me my morning got started being a lab assistant for Andrew Hill of AEC Systems in Australia. In that class he presented his “Project-Based Title Blocks using Fields, Attributes, and References”.  Andrew certainly had a lot packed into his class, but I must say it was all very awesome content.  Looking to the stats of this blog, among my most popular posts of all time is Update Block Attributes Using Excel. If you’re an AUOL member be sure to find Andrew’s class and download it’s content.  Among the goodies in his dataset is a LISP which updates attributes using Excel.

After my morning wakeup lab, it was off to the AUGI Volunteer Meet & Greet.  Since my lab conflicted with the event, I barely made it in time, but made it nonetheless.  Seems like there was a good showing of volunteers, which is always a good thing.  After all, without volunteers like you AUGI cannot be the organization it has become today!

AU 2008 – Day 0

DSC_0893 So Autodesk University 2008 doesn’t officially get started until tomorrow (Tuesday).  That small detail didn’t get in the way of some very cool sessions and gatherings from being hosted. For me my day got started at the Richmond International Airport, for a quick flight to New York (JFK).  My layover was only supposed to be long enough for me to get from one gate to another, but as “luck” would have it – my flight from JFK to Las Vegas was delayed for about an hour.  Better late than never, I finally made it to The Venetian (host hotel for AU 2008) just in time for the AUGI Community Leadership Conference.

MindManager 8 Released

image Back in May I happened to mention Mindjet’s MindManager product in a post titled Some Nifty Tools.  Back then I was relatively new to the product, but it has quickly become an indispensible part of my daily workflow.  These days I use MindManager for everything from mapping (planning) out my day, planning and documenting my Civil 3D projects (data shortcuts), even down to documenting my Civil 3D Style library.

Tracking your position in View/Edit Corridor Section

When compared to Land Desktop’s View/Edit Sections command, Civil 3D has always been the winner.  Still it was easy to get lost modifying your corridor.  Did I need to modify station 13+25.17 or 13+25?  Prior to Civil 3D 2009 I always found myself flip-flopping between plan view and the View/Edit Corridor Section command.  Civil 3D 2009 introduces some secret superpowers to the View/Edit Corridor Section command.

You may have to dust off your AutoCAD for DOS manual (from the bygone era when Autodesk gave us printed manuals) to remember the VIEWPORTS command. For the uninitiated, no I am not speaking of paper space viewports, I’m talking about model space viewports. Simply stated the VIEWPORTS command will split your model space view into a designated number of windows.

Ditch excess RegApps & Speed Up Your Drawings

image So you have this drawing, and despite clearing our your Annotative Scale List, running the PURGE command, even clearing out your layer filters the gosh darn drawing is still slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter.  And even after all of that, your drawing is still 1 MB in size – what gives?

The issue is most likely due to these little things known as regapp ID’s which can lurk in a drawing and substantially impact drawing performance.  The term regapp is actually short for registered application.  The basic premise of these so called regapps is a connection is made between AutoCAD and some external applications (ie AutoLISP, ObjectARX, .NET, etc).  When this connection is no longer needed, a regapp of that former connection is retained inside the AutoCAD DWG database.

Removing RegApps from a Single Drawing

Thankfully getting rid of these unreferenced regapps is rather simple.  Being one of AutoCAD’s best kept secrets, the hardest thing is just knowing about them.  The secret to getting rid of these is the command line version of the -PURGE command (note the hyphen).

If you type –PURGE at the command line, you can then specify R for RegApps.  Finishing the command will subsequently remove these unecessary objects from your drawing.  Now save and watch your file shrink!

Removing RegApps from Multiple Drawings

The above method is great if all you have is a couple drawings to purge the RegApps from.  Autodesk recently posted a Regapp ID Cleanup Utility which will allow you to remove these pesky things from multiple drawings at once.

 

Further Reading