Showing posts with label AutoCAD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AutoCAD. Show all posts

AutoCAD: List of Dynamic Block Objects

The list of entities/objects used in dynamic blocs.
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The last post on the series Lists of AutoCAD Objects. This time about the objects used in Dynamic Blocks, and links to relevant posts that dealt with some of them.

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AutoCAD: Extracting Data to Excel

Do you need to extract the object properties to an excel sheet? Easy, don't do it manually.
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Sometimes we might need to get information of some of the objects exported to an Excel Sheet to do some further calculations there. A good way to automate this process if we have a lot of objects is to use the DATAEXTRACTION wizard.
To access it simply type DATAEXTRACTION and follow the instructions. You'll be able to select which objects you want to export data from (or alternatively all the objects on a drawing or several drawings, see below)

You can always select which properties of the objects you want exported (length, object type, layer, color, etc) making it simple to later differentiate the objects in Excel.

By default, Object Name and Count will also be exported. Object Count means that if you have 2 objects with their properties being identical (those that you are exporting), the exported excel sheet will only show 1 row, and a count of 2. Name, is basically the type of object. See the image with 5 lines, and the excel sheet obtained after exporting only the layer and length of the objects.

As you can see the lines with equal length and layer show only once in the table, with a count of 2. If we had included other properties in the export settings (like start X or start Y) the lines would not have been grouped because the data extracted would be different.

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AutoCAD: List of Reference Objects

A complete and Organized list of the AutoCAD reference Objects for Annotation and links to those explained in CAD Addict.
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Following the previous posts about Lists of AutoCAD Objects here comes the next list. This time about the objects intended as references (ie, XREFs, Blocks, Imafes, etc).

The series of "list of AutoCAD Objects" will have one last post about Actions and Parameters for Dynamic Blocks.

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AutoCAD: List of Annotation Objects

A complete and Organized list of the AutoCAD Objects for Annotation and links to those explained in CAD Addict.
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Following the previous posts about Lists of AutoCAD Objects here comes the next list. This time about the objects intended for annotation.
  • 3 Point Angular Dimension
  • Aligned Dimension
  • Angular Dimension
  • Arc Length Dimension
  • Attribute
  • Attribute Definition
  • Diametric Dimension
  • Jogged Dimension
  • Leader
  • MText
  • Multileader
  • Ordinate Dimension
  • Radial Dimension
  • Rotated Dimension
  • Text
  • Tolerance

If you think there is any missing Annotation Object, please post a comment here

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AutoCAD: List of 3D Objects

A complete and Organized list of the AutoCAD 3D Objects and links to those explained in CAD Addict.
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Following the List of 2D Objects posted last week here comes this next post of the series.
  • 3D Face
  • 3D Polyline
  • 3D Solid
    - Box
    - Cone
    - Cylinder
    - Pyramid
    - Sphere
    - Torus
    - Wedge
    - Extrusion
    - Sweep
    - Revolve
    - Loft
  • Body
  • Helix
  • Polyface Mesh
  • Surface
    - Extrusion
    - Loft
    - Planar
    - Revolve
    - Sweep

In this case, some of the Objects appear mostly as parts of other objects, like Body or Surface Objects.

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AutoCAD: Save All The Open Drawings

An Express Tool command allows you to save changes on all open drawings.
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The Express Tool Command SAVEALL allows you to easily save changes on all open drawings, no matter if you have only one drawing open or you have 15 of them open.
This, as simple as it sounds can be useful when for whatever reason we are working simultaneously on many drawings updating all of them. With this command, we can save changes on all the drawings in a very simple way.
Similar to this command is the CLOSEALL Express Tool command. What this one does is to close all the open drawings asking if you want to save changes in those that have been modified. So next time you need to save and close a lot of drawings, you can simply type SAVEALL and then CLOSEALL and all the drawings will be saved and closed in only a few seconds.

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AutoCAD: Draw Walls Using the MLINE command

Plain AutoCAD can draw walls too. You Just need to learn how.
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AutoCAD has a pretty unknown command called MLINE that allows you to draw Multilines. Multilines are ideal for drawing walls in plain AutoCAD. You simply need to create the wall style through the MLSTYLE dialog Box and then draw the wall as you would draw a line. See the dialog box.

And a MLINE I created to represent ta wall section.

MLINE Objects do not cleanup automatically with each other like AutoCAD Architecture Walls. There is a dialog box accessible via right clicking an MLINE and selecting Multiline Edit or simply typing the command MLEDIT that will let you choose how do you want the Multilines to join/cleanup between each other. This is the dialog box.

An this is how from an uncleaned intersection between two MLINEs.

You can get a nice cleanup, in this case using the Merged T intersection.

See that to create this multiline wall I used a special linetype to represent the Insulation. You can get it for a small Paypal payment. (email delivery)

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AutoCAD: List of 2D Objects

A complete and Organized list of the AutoCAD 2D Objects and links to those explained in CAD Addict.
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There are many different types of Objects in AutoCAD. On an effort to keep updating the directory of here comes a complete list of the 2D Objects and the links to those articles that explain their use. I will try to keep adding lists of objects weekly and at the end I will create a post that works as a main directory for this series of posts.
2D Objects

There are 2D objects that are created through other commands, but regardless when created they are in one of these categories. An example of this would be Polygons, Rectangles or Donuts which are actually Polylines.

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AutoCAD Express Tools: Replace Blocks

Replace all the instances of a Block for a different one with this express tools.
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I use quite often simple Blocks as placeholders for parts of the drawing that might change or get more detailed in the future. This might apply to windows, doors, toilets, staircases,etc. We might want to put a placeholder to have a rough idea of the space needed for those objects, and later on we might want to replace that placeholder for the final and more detailed block. How do we do that in a simple and fast way?
We use the BLOCKREPLACE express tool. With this command, we can easily pick the block we want to replace and the Block that will replace it. When we enter the command, we will get the following dialog box, where we enter the name of the block to be replaced. If we don't remember the name, we can simply press the pick button and select the block on the screen.

After selection the block to replace, the same dialog will ask us for the block we want to use as a replacement. For this command to be effective, we must have two blocks that have their 0,0,0 coordinate (their insertion point) at the same location, and not be rotated differently. Otherwise, the new blocks will not show in the proper location or with the proper rotation.

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AutoCAD: Breakline and Dimjogline

Draw the breakline symbol and dimension elements that contain this symbol properly
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When doing detailed sections and other similar drawings, we tend to not draw the entire length of a facade. Rather, we detail certain parts and represent them in a sequence. To separate those different parts we use the break line symbol. This symbols also used on floor plans to represent the point where the stair intersects with the cut plane of the floor plan (at school they always told us to consider 1.5m as the cutting plane for floor plans)
AutoCAD has an express tool to draw the break line symbol, no big secret. Simply enter BREAKLINE or go to Express --> Draw --> Break-Line Symbol. You will enter the 2 points you want the break-line symbol to reach, and the third point you pick is where the jogged line will appear. See how in the detail below, 2 break line symbols have been used to separate the different parts of the detail.

If there is an element that we want to dimension that gets cut by this break line, we might want to represent the dimension symbol with a jogged line too, so whoever reads the drawing understands that the dimension shown is the real dimension not considering that we have cut part of the drawing for representation purposes. To do this, we need to use the command DIMJOGLINE, that will allow us to add the jog line to an existing dimension. The result being something like this.

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AutoCAD: Use Curved Frames to Clip your References

Clip your Blocks or XREFs using curved polylines, circles, etc
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A common problem found when using the XCLIP command is that it doesn't clip properly if the polyline we use has curved segments. The same way we can't use circles to clip Blocks or XREFs. If you try to clip a block using a polyline that contains curved segments you will see that along the curved segment the clipping is not done properly. See the following image. The block was clipped using the yellow polyline. The result is not satisfactory at all.

The first image shows the original block, the second one is the block clipped with the XCLIP command. As you see we need a work around this result. The work around is to use an Express Tool Command.

CLIPIT is an express tool command that will allow us to do what we wanted to do. CLIPIT will ask us to select the new clipping frame, that can actually be a POLYLINE, CIRCLE, ARC, ELLIPSE, or TEXT object. It works the opposite as the XCLIP command. With CLIPIT you first select the frame and then the Block, Image, Wipeout or XREF you want to clip. See the following image with the result.

What CLIPIT does, is turn the curved clipping frame into a set of segments. If you switch on the XCLIPFRAME and select the block, you will see that the frame is actually made of straight lines. See it below.

The only bad part of this express tool, is that so far (till version 2009) it doesn't allow inverted clips. We talked about how useful inverted XCLIPS can be on a previous post. Hopefully in future versions of AutoCAD this will be solved.

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AutoCAD: Select all Connected Geometry.

Wonder how to select with a single click all connected geometry? AutoCAD can do it, you just need to know the right command.
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Usually my day at work involves designing and drawing both in AutoCAD and SketchUp (and eventually in Rhino depending on the complexity of the geometry of the project). Switching back and forth from one software to another makes you miss on one program some of the functions that the other program has. This was the case of the "Select all Connected" option in SketchUp. It is so useful to select all connected geometry (it can be accessed through a right click menu or by triple clicking any line on the drawing). But can something similar be done in AutoCAD? The answer is yes.

There is an Express Tool for AutoCAD called FASTSEL (accessible also via the FS shortcut) that allows us to select all the geometry that is connected (touching) any element on our drawing. The elements that can be used using this commands are LINE, POLYLINE, LWPOLYLINE, CIRCLE, ARC, ATTDEF, TEXT, MTEXT, ELLIPSE, SPLINE or IMAGE objects. BLOCKS or XREFs containing these objects will also work.
AEC Objects from some of the vertical products such as Walls or AEC Polygons are not supported. In case you have a Block or XREF containing both supported and unsupported elements, the command will only use the supported elements.

The command can be accessed transparently while using other commands by typing 'FS while the command is running. Also, use the FSMODE System Variable to control if the FS command selects all connected geometry (FSMODE = ON) or only the geometry connected to the first object (FSMODE = OFF).

Note that this Express Tool Command is mostly intended for 2D since I tried to use it in 3D and lines that are actually not touching other geometry did get connected. I find it specially useful when I accidentally explode polylines, with this command you can select all the lines that where previously connected with a single click. Select faster than a private jet with this express tool!

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AutoCAD: Delete a Layer that Contains Objects

Do you need to delete a layer but the purge command doesn't do it? No worries, there is an express tool for that.
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One more day of problem solving at work. Ryan asked me today if I knew how to delete a layer that the purge command doesn't delete. The solution is to use one of the Layer Express Tools. And of course I thought: let's write about it here during my lunch break! It is raining anyways.

LAYDEL is an Express Tools Command that allows us to delete a layer even if it contains objects. This is useful to delete layers we want to purge but because they might be included in some block definition we are not using anymore, the purge command can't delete them. Be careful though, since it will delete the layer and its contents. TO use it simply make sure that the layer you want to delete is not current, type LAYDEL and select an object on that layer (alternatively you can access this function through Format --> Layer Tools --> Layer Delete).

There is an alternative method to delete a layer but keep its objects. The LAYMRG Express Tool Command merges one layer into another and deletes the first one. It is very useful when trying to simplify the layer structure of a drawing but we want to keep all its graphical information. To use it, type LAYMRG (alternatively you can access this function through Format --> Layer Tools --> Layer Merge)select the layer to delete and merge, press ENTER, then select the target layer where you want the information to be merged to.

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AutoCAD: Offset Ellipses and keep them as Ellipses

Tired of getting SPLINES when you offset you ellipses? Maybe you want to try this quick video tutorial.
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One of the biggest issues of working with ellipses is the fact that if we offset them using the OFFSET command, they become Splines. Splines are entities that are hard to work with, especially when we need to trim parts and later we want to extend them again. Tired of toggling the PELLISPE system variable many times, i wanted to see if there was a way to offset an ellipse but keep it as an ellipse. I did found the way to do it. It is a bit slower than using the OFFSET command, but if you think you might need to edit the resulting ellipse maybe you want to give it a try. See the video below.

The steps are simple:
  1. Draw two lines from the quadrants of the ellipse. Their length should be the distance you want to offset the ellipse. (To be able to Snap on the qadrants, turn them or access the quadrant osnap with through the OSNAP contextual menu)
  2. Select the ellipse, move one of the grips next to one of the lines to the other end point of that line while holding the CTRL key.
  3. Move the grip next to the other line you previously draw to the other endpoint of the line
That´s it, your resulting parallel ellipse is still an ellipse and not a SPLINE.

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Autodesk Announces Support for MAC Boot Camp Users

One step closer to be able to use AutoCAD on your Mac 100% hassle free.
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Autodesk has a website were it announces support for Boot Camp Mac users. This doesn't mean you will be able to run AutoCAD on your MAC OS, you still need bootcamp, but at least now Autodesk is making sure AutoCAD (and other products such as 3Dmax, Inventor and Revit) run properly on Boot Camp. I can't tell if the rumors of a deal between Autodesk and Apple to have a MAC version of AutoCAD are true (I've read numerous posts about it) but at least this is little step forward.

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AutoCAD: Use the autosave files to recover your work

Make sure you activate the autosave option and see where to recover the files from.
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We had an awful day at work today with lots of FATAL ERROR crashes, probably due to some circular references on the XREFs. Some of the files ended up being completely unrecoverable so we had to find the most updated backup files we could find. This made me write an e-mail to everyone explaining how to find and use the backup files that are created with the auto save option in AutoCAD.

Although for "light" crashes, these files can be accessed through the recovery wizard, this was not our case, so it was a question of searching and finding those auto-save files to replace the corrupted ones. I thought I'd share here that information in case someone doesn't know about the auto-save feature and how o locate those files.

1. Go to Tools --> Options
2. Inside Options go to the “Files” Tab (far left)
3. Inside the files tab go to: “Automatic Save File Location” and see where the autosave files are stored. (mine where stored at C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Local Settings\Temp)
4. Then access that folder and try to find a file with the same file name but different extension. (The autosave files should have a either a .BAK or a .SV$ extension) (if you can’t see the folder, you need to go to Tools --> folder Options --> View --> and Make sure "show hidden files and folders" is SELECTED) .
5. Check the "date modified" of those files, if the date and time makes sense according to when you had the last file crshes, there is a good chance that those files contain the information you need, so there is no need to redraw everything.
6. Change the file extension of the file you think it might be the good one from .bak or .sv$ to .dwg (to be able to change the file extension you need to be able to see it. To do that, on any folder go to Tools --> Folder Options --> View --> and make sure that "Hide extensions for known file types" is UNCHECKED)

If your auto-save feature is disabled, you can enable it in AutoCAD by going to Tools --> Options --> "Open and Save" Tab --> and there make sure that the "Automatic save" on the lower left corner is active and preferably set to every 10 minutes or less. To easily change the time of the autosave feature, use the SAVETIME system variable (this last tip thanks to lazydrafter)

Hope this helps, it saved me 2 hours of work. Using it properly is like having good car insurance. You never know when you'll need it!

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AutoCAD: Make object's layer current with an Alias

Switching between current layers is one of the most common operations in AutoCAD, make it an alias instead of clicking on the icon to work faster.
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Those who have been reading me for some time will already know that I am a keyboard freak when it comes to enter commands. I strongly believe it multiplies the speed you work on with AutoCAD as oppose to clicking on icons. This becomes even more important with those things we do hundreds of times a day.

Making an object's layer current is one of these operations we repeat and repeat every day many times. By default, you have to select the object, then click on the icon on the right of the Layer Properties Toolbar.

This operation can be sped up by setting up an ALIAS for it. If you pay attention to the command line, every time you click on the previous button, the command that it actually triggers will appear there. This command is either LAYMCUR or AI_MOLC depending on the AutoCAD version you have. All you have to do is to edit your acad.pgp to create an Alias for either of these commands. I have my acad.pgp set up with LK to point to AI_MOLC. It is a time saver.

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AutoCAD: Using Annotative Scale for Texts

Annotative Scale Texts are an awesome way to speed the annotation process when a drawing needs to be shown in different Scales.
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Since AutoCAD 2008, there is a property for several entities called Annotative Scale. What this property allows us is to show the objects differently according to the Active Annotation Scale. This is specially useful for Text notes.

Imagine a floor plan of a project shown at 1:200 scale with a lot of descriptive notes. The notes you have will be the right size to be printed at 1:200. But you might want to use the same drawing to show an enlarged plan of certain portion of the project. The problem is that if you just blow it up, the notes will be twice the size that shows "properly" when printed. Annotation Scale will help you solve this.

If you select the text and go to the properties Tab, there is a property called "Annotative". By default this is set to NO. Change it to YES to turn the Text into an Annotative one. There is a system variable, ANNOAUTOSCALE, that controls if new annotation Scales are added automatically or not, it has a lot of values, from -4 to 4, so see here what each value does.

In general, it is not recommended to have the ANNOAUTOSCALE set to automatically add annotation scales to all the objects, since that would increase the file size quite a lot. Alternatively, set the annotation Scale of the drawing by selecting it on the lower right side of the screen.

Then, you can simply select those objects you want to add new annotative scales too, right click --> Add Current Scale.

One more thing you can do is set different orientation for each annotative scale. This is very useful, because you might have an overall plan aligned to the World UCS (or North on top, or whatever) and then enlarged plans aligned according to the portion of the building/project you are focusing on. If you rotate the Text using the ROTATE command, it will rotate all its Annotative instances. If alternatively, you select the text, and on the properties tab you enter a new rotation, the new orientation will apply only to the current Annotative Scale. See the following image.

The 1:200 text is aligned in one direction, while the 1:100 text (the smaller one) is aligned according to the enlarged plan orientation. I am still trying to figure out how can I in AutoCAD Architecture, do the same for Space Tags. Will definetily post it whenever I find the way.

Annotative Scale applies to other AutoCAD objects such as Blocks, I will deal with that in a different post soon. Stay tuned

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AutoCAD: Find those Commands You can't Remember

Does it happen to you that you remember a command but not exactly and thus can't tye it properly? AutoCAD will help you with your lack of memory.
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The list of commands we use in AutoCAD is often longer than we can remember. Nevertheless it is more possible that we remember how a command begins but not the rest of it. We'll, AutoCAD can help you find the end of that missing command in your memory.
If you type the first couple or 3 letters of a command, and then press TAB, AutoCAD will cycle through all the commands that begin with those letters. Keep pressing TAB till you find the command you had forgotten.
It is actually a good way to discover new commands too. By looking a forgotten one you might stumble upon a very useful command you didn't even know that it existed.

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AutoCAD: Control How You Mirror Texts

Do you want to Mirror Text but AutoCAD keeps it the same way? There is a system variable for that.
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The System Variable MIRRTEXT controls how texts are mirrored. The default Value 0, mirrors the location of the texts, but it does not actually mirrors their orientation. If you set the value of MIRRTEXT to 1, then you will be able to Mirror the Text or Mtext as if it was any other object, Block, etc. Chek the image below. First is a text mirrored with the MIRRTEXT system variable set to 0, the second one has the variable set to 1.

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