AutoCAD: Attributed Blocks keeping order

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Creating a block with multiple Attributes and making sure you are prompted in the order you want to be prompted in, may take time upfront when creating the block but in the long run will save you and your company time which in turn is a money saver. 

*Attributes are a huge time saver and helps keep consistency within the drawings. I refer to Attributes as intelligent text. Attributes are text that is associated to a block definition and can be modified as needed.

Here we will discuss the steps to make sure the prompts for the Attributed Blocks are in the order the creator wants them to be. 

The key to this is when creating the block to select the Attributes in the order you want to be prompted. This prompt sequence shows up in the Command line, with in the Attribute Editor dialog box, when you insert the Attributed Block or edit the Block at a later time.

Process:

Step one: Draw the geometry (if applicable) of the item to be blocked.

          Step two: Add the Attributes that are needed. (ATTDEF   1 Attdef Located in the Home Tab / Block Panel drop down) needed.

Step Three: Create the Block – First select all geometry and non-Attribute information. Second using the Pick Selection option select the Attributes One at a time in the order you want them to list.

Step Four: Test the Attributed Block out and make any corrections if needed.

Step 1 and 2:

The geometry is created and the Attributes are defined as the X. This is the TAG section that must be filled in when creating an Attribute.

The X was my choice in hopes that it would stand out for this image.

2 Attributes placed ready to be blocked

Step 3:

Using either the Block or WBlock Command create the block definition. Keep in mind (select all geometry and data first then, while still in the command select the Attributes one at a time in the order you want the prompts to go.

Step 4:

Checking the Block to make sure the Attributes are where they are needed and to make sure the prompt sequence is correct.

Here displays the Attributes defined per the company’s and drawings information.

3 Block with Attributes filled in

This Block contains 14 Attributes:

ATTDIA: is a system variable with the toggle of 0 or 1. When set to 0 the Attribute prompt will display at the Command Line, when set to 1 this opens up the Attribute Editor dialog box when a Block containing Attributes is inserted. To get the second page to display select Next. (See example below) 

This shows the Attribute prompt set up for the above block. The left side is the prompt the user added when defining the Attributes, the right side is the information added once the drawing is created.

4 Attribute Editor5 Attribute Editor

* Always save your Block(s) / WBlock(s) in a directory that everyone has access to. This is a time save – others won’t have to duplicate what has already been completed and will keep consistent within the companies drawings. 

Attributes can be defined by themselves or with geometry, the key to success is they must be selected within a Block / WBlock to function.

AutoCAD: Calculate the Area

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

No math involved: Calculate the Area, find out the Perimeter of your geometry quickly.

Need to make sure the new tank will fit into the open space, want to calculate the square footage before a rug install, or figure out how much material will be wasted?

The AREA Command:

AREA command allows quick calculation of the area and perimeter geometry.

Where to access of the AREA command:

Ribbon:            Home Tab, Utilities Panel, Measure Button drop down, select Area.

Command Line: type in AREA or MEASUREGEOM (If you can remember) then enter. Either approach offers the same command options.

*Area is a running command, meaning it does not finish by itself you need to finalize or stop the command. When you are done you either select the ESC (escape key) or select the eXit option in the command options line or type an X in the command line and then enter.

Steps to calculate the area of a geometry: *this only works when the geometry is straight lines. (see video 1)

Command: Area

Select the endpoints of the lines: Working your way around the geometry (clockwise or counter clockwise either direction works, the selection cannot overlap itself)

AutoCAD fills in the area with a light green display to help make sure the area being selected is what the user is looking for.

Enter once, the area has been completely selected.

The Area, Perimeter even Length information is displayed within the command line


*Change this geometry into Polyline and the process is quicker. You can utilize the Object option which allows a single selection of the entity.

Steps to calculate the area of an object. Geometry that are polylines  (see video 2)
Command: Area
Enter to start the Object (command option) – this is the default option so  it does not have to be selected.
Bring your cursor into the drawing and select the Object / polyline to be calculated.
Enter
The Area, Perimeter even Length information is displayed within the command line


*When calculating geometry with arcs or curves the geometry must be converted into a Polyline (one entity) as the area command doesn’t calculate arcs when selecting individual points on the screen but will when selecting an Object which a polyline is considered to be.

Steps to calculate the area of complex object containing arc (see video 3)
Command: Area
Enter to start the Object (command option) – this is the default option so it does not have to be selected.
Bring your cursor into the drawing and select the Object / polyline to be calculated.
Enter
The Area and Perimeter is displayed within the command line


Steps to calculate the area of an object that contains an areas either being taken up by another solid or a void where a piece has been removed, (Islands)
This process includes additional steps that must be followed in exact order. Think of it as a mathematical problem, start (ADD area) with the largest number (in this case the largest object) then (SUBTRACT area) the smaller number (in this case the smaller geometry items inside the larger geometry) to be removed from the calculation.

Steps to calculate the area containing Islands (see video 4)
Command: Area
Add area
Object – select the outer / largest Objects
Enter
Subtract area
Object – select the interior / smaller Objects


Note:
GREEN filled in area represents the area being calculated.
RED filled in area represents the area being removed from the calculation.

Ways to access the Area Command options are either typing from the keyboard the capitalized and blue letter of the option, selecting the option with the cursor that are listed within the Command Line prompts or by Right-Clicking and selecting the command options from the popup window.

AutoCAD: How the Ribbon displays

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Has your Ribbon display accidentally changed or worst disappeared?

The Ribbon can display as one of four different ways and also can be turned off.

  1. Minimize to Tabs: Only Tab Titles are displayed.
  2. Minimize to Panel Titles: Only Tab and Panel Titles are displayed.
  3. Minimize to Panel Buttons: Only Tab Titles and Panel Buttons are displayed.
  4. Show Full Ribbon: All Tab Titles, Panels and Buttons display.

Ribbon 1Ribbon 2Ribbon 3Ribbon 4

To quickly cycle through the Ribbon display options select the small rectangular button with a black arrow in it, located at the end of the Ribbon Tabs. This automatically cycles through the Ribbons when selected.

Ribbon 5

To select these options from a drop down list select the drop down arrow at the end of the Ribbon Tabs.

Ribbon 6

Cycle Through All: Cycles through the all four ribbon displays.

*To Display or not to Display the Ribbon:

From the Command Line: type in (not case sensitive) RIBBONCLOSE and Enter. This is automatic, and the Ribbon is turned off.

Turn the Ribbon back on type in RIBBON and Enter. The Ribbon automatically appears.

From the Ribbon: Right click in a blank area on the Ribbon just past the Tabs. A pop up window appears with the option to Close. Select and the Ribbon turns off.

*The Ribbon by default is located at the top of the screen just below the Title Bar. The user can undock the Ribbon and relocate it to a side or even in the middle of the drawing area.

SAMI Receives Its Second $2.5 Million Grant

New England Tech has received its second $2.5 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand programs currently offered through the college’s Shipbuilding/Marine Advanced Manufacturing Institute (SAMI), located at the college’s Post Road campus. This additional $2.5 million will allow SAMI to offer new programs that will include Shipfitting, Pipe Welding, Sheetmetal, Pipefitting and Robotics.

SAMINEIT’s initial $2.5 million TAACCCT Grant awarded in March, 2013, is slated to train 400 SAMI participants with the technical skills needed in the shipbuilding/marine and advanced manufacturing industries Now, an additional 200 Rhode Island residents who are either unemployed, underemployed, TAA-eligible, veterans, and/or recent high school graduates will be served through the increased funding. More than 140 individuals are currently enrolled or have completed SAMI’s welding or advanced manufacturing programs, and the majority of program completers have been hired by SAMI employer partners.

 

AutoCAD: Another time saving approach

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Polar Tracking:

How it works – when the cursor is in the area of the pre-set Increment
and/or Additional Angle(s), the cursor tracks automatically in the direction of those angles. Polar Tracking is a toggle ON/OFF feature found in the Status Bar. (Blue = ON or active / Grey = OFF or inactive). The F10 key works the same way.

Polar Tracking 1

Where to access the Polar Tracking tab:

Polar Tracking settings are found in the Drafting Settings Dialog Box within the Polar Tracking tab. This can be accessed by Right-Clicking over the Polar Tracking Icon located in the Status bar then selecting the option Settings, (quickest most direct option) or by accessing the Drafting Settings Dialog box any of the other numerous ways AutoCAD offers.

Polar Tracking 2

How to set up Incremental angles:

Within the Polar Tracking tab the pre-defined Increment angle options are located within the drop down list. Select the appropriate angle.

AutoCAD offers a list of eight pre-defined angles, 5, 10, 15, 18, 22.5, 30, 45, 90. Example of an Increment angle selected: if the angle of 30 is selected your cursor will track on all angles of the increment of 30. Ex. 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, and so on.

*Only one Increment angle can be selected (active) at a time.

Polar Tracking 3

How to set Additional angles:

If you need an angle that doesn’t fall into the range of any Increment angle, AutoCAD offers right below the option of Additional angles. Select the box in front of Additional angles (this places a in the box), then select New. This placed a text box to the right for the Additional angle(s) to be typed in. If another angle is needed repeat the process.

AutoCAD allows up to eight angles to be added. Theses angles are not incremental, they are for the specified angle only. Example: the Additional angle of 8 will track only when in the range of angle 8, along with whatever the Incremental angle is set to.

*Watch out for over kill, too many Additional angles may slow your drawing time down rather than increase it.

Polar Tracking 4

*Ortho and Polar Tracking cancel each other out, they cannot be on at the same time.

*Key here is to put in the most commonly used angle(s) for the type of work you do. For the randomly used angles access them the old fashion way by typing them in as we have always done.

Try this, set the Incremental angle to 30 and make sure Polar Tracking is ON. Start the Line command, pick any point anywhere in the drawing area and slowly move your cursor around a 360ᵒ direction. You should see the green tracking line snap to those Incremental angle of 30ᵒ, along with a tooltip not only the angle but the distance you are away from the selected point. This feature is not limited to the Line command it works with other Draw and Modify commands.

AutoCAD: No need for construction geometry

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Object Tracking used by itself or along with Temporary Tracking (TT) may take the place of your construction geometry. At a minimum it will save you time once you retraining your brain to use this approach.

Object Tracking: Object Tracking allows you to place new geometry or re-locate existing geometry by reference one to two points off of exiting geometry. This feature works with the Object Snap feature. Both features must be active (ON), the Object Snap(s) pre-set or (Running). Object Tracking references the pre-set Object Snap points and automatically activates when you hover the Cursor over the corresponding geometry a (+) appears to show where the cursor is tracking from. No selecting the geometry when you hover just let AutoCAD do its thing.

These features are found as a button in the Status Bar, toggle On or OFF, and also accessed through your function keys.

F3 = Object Snap

F8 = Ortho

F11 = Object Snap Tracking

(Objects Snaps were referenced a few weeks ago in a previous blog).

Object Tracking button - 1
Temporary Tracking (TT): Temporary Tracking allows you to reference from an existing piece of
geometry out to a new point in space, then from that point to a second point. Key to this option is to type in the TT at the first point prompt.

Examples:
Object Snap Tracking, Drawing a Line using One Point of reference from existing geometry:

Object Snap Tracking, Moving a Circle using Two reference points (Midpoint) of a Rectangle:

Temporary Tracking, (TT) Placing a Rectangle referencing existing geometry for the first point out to a second point in space:

*Do not bring your cursor back over the (+) as that will remove it and you will have to start again.

*The default setting for Object tracking is to track off of 0ᵒ, 90ᵒ, 180ᵒ, 270ᵒ. If other angles are needed Polar Tracking can be defined.

NEIT Hosting Alternative Fuel Vehicle Inspection Workshop

In Collaboration with Ocean State Clean Cities Coalition  

New England Institute of Technology will host a two day workshop on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Vehicle Fuel System Inspections on October 24, 2014, and October 31, 2014. This training is funded by a U.S. Department of Energy grant awarded to Maine Clean Communities, a program of the Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG), and other Northern New England Clean Cities Coalition grant partners.

These workshops will focus on CNG vehicle fuel system inspections and are designed for fleet managers and technicians who want to learn more about compressed natural gas and its considerations for vehicle use. New England Tech faculty will present the following topics: theory, equipment, safety, and good work practices; types of cylinders and fuel system components; how to visually inspect CNG cylinders and fuel system components for damage and deterioration; construction techniques and material types used in CNG cylinder manufacturing, safe storage of CNG cylinders, recognizing various failure models; safe handling of CNG cylinders and fuel lines; and required reporting procedures.

In addition, hands-on activities will provide participants with the opportunity to perform CNG vehicle fuel system inspections on a CNG vehicle.

“This workshop is a terrific opportunity for New England fleet managers and technicians to learn more about compressed natural gas and the technical considerations of fueling and cylinder inspection,” said Wendy Lucht, Ocean State Clean Cities Coordinator.

This two day workshop will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at New England Tech’s Access Road campus, 101 Access Road, Warwick, RI.  Preregistration is required in order to attend, visit http://goo.gl/cm2ni9.

NEIT gets 2nd federal grant of $2.5 million for shipbuilding institute

From The Providence Journal:

The New England Institute of Technology has won a second $2.5-million federal grant to expand the shipbuilding and advanced manufacturing institute it created when it won its earlier grant in 2013.

Steven H. Kitchin, vice president of corporate education and training at New England Institute of Technology.

New England Tech will add five programs to its two core training programs at the institute, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Those new programs will offer shipfitting, pipe welding, sheetmetal, pipefitting and robotics classes to 200 Rhode Island students.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed hailed the grant Sunday night as the kind of business-education partnership Rhode Island needs to get people back to work and improve the economy.

New England Tech is one of 71 grant recipients the federal labor department is expected to announce Monday, with $450 million in grants to community colleges around the country.

This is the final round of a four-year program to invest nearly $2 billion in a career and training initiative, the department announced. The idea behind the federal stimulus money is to expand the ability of community colleges — and those like New England Tech that offer two-year associate’s degrees — to partner with local employers and create training programs to prepare people for jobs in high-demand careers.

The U.S. Department of Labor has invested nearly $11 million in Rhode Island over the last four years — “part of a long-term commitment to ensure that workers have access to training for the specific skills employers need to stay competitive in the global economy,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said in a statement.

Reached earlier Sunday night by telephone before Reed’s office had confirmed the grant, a New England Tech vice president said he welcomed the prospect of additional federal funds.

“The college is obviously thrilled by the support that the U.S. Department of Labor is providing to our college to continue New England Tech’s 75-year history of preparing people for positions in the labor market,” said Steven H. Kitchin, vice president of corporate education and training at the Warwick institute.

Since New England Tech won its first $2.5-million grant in March 2013 for its shipbuilding and advanced manufacturing institute, the school has also raised $440,000 in funding for the program from the Governor’s Workforce Board and $50,000 from the Rhode Island Foundation, Kitchin said.

The shipbuilding institute currently has close to 140 participants working to earn certificates of completion, Kitchin said. The curriculum is designed for students to work in one of two labs — a manufacturing lab, which prepares them for work in basic machine operations and advanced computer numerical control, and a welding lab.

A federal project officer recently visited the program to monitor its progress, Kitchin said.

“We received high praise for our linkages with the private sector, that our curriculum was indeed focused, and they were quite pleased with the labs we had created,” he said.

The federal labor department hoped its funding would encourage colleges to find ways to sustain training programs after the federal funding runs out, Kitchin said. He said one way to do that is to turn the programs from certificate programs into degree-granting programs. New England Tech expects to announce soon that it will be adding certain degree-granting programs, he said.

The shipbuilding institute has a flexible admissions policy. Anyone interested in applying can find more information online at samiri.org.

via N.E. Tech gets 2nd federal grant of $2.5 million for shipbuilding institute | Business Notes – Business | providencejournal.com | The Providence Journal.

AutoCAD: Hover don’t select – Object Snaps

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

When using Object Snaps the first thought is to snap to the geometry once we see the AutoSnap marker display. Selecting (pick) works with all but these two Object Snaps Parallel and Extension. Instead of selecting the geometry when the AutoSnap marker displays we hover the cursor over the geometry allowing time for the Object Snap symbol to displays then move the cursor into the direction needed and the Auto Tracking feature kicks in ready to continue with your command.

Solution:

Parallel: This example shows how to draw a Line Parallel to an existing line. The angle is not known.

Steps:

  1. Start the Line command
  2. Pick a start point for the Line
  3. Access the Object Snap Parallel
  4. Hover the cursor over the existing line
  5. Once the Parallel symbolParallel symbol displays move the cursor into the direction of where the Parallel line will be placed. When the cursor finds the parallel location (green dashed tracking line displays) and is now ready for the next input point of the line.

 

Extension: This example shows how to start a Line X units away from an existing line

then place a Line X units long into the drawing.

Steps:

  1. Start the Line command
  2. Access the Object Snap Extension
  3. Hover over the Endpoint of the line
  4. Once the green tick mark displays move the cursor away from the line in desired direction. (a green dashed extension line appears)
  5. The green dashed line is tracking on the same plane as the referenced line, input the distance away you want the line to start.
  6. Access the Object Snap Extension feature again
  7. Hover over the Endpoint of the line again
  8. Move the cursor in the direction the line is to be placed. (Object Tracking kicks in weather it is active or not with this command).
  9. Input the Length of the line.

* With both Object Snap features a green tick mark will display on the original line until the next point is placed. Do not move the cursor back over this tick mark as it will remove the tick mark and you will have to start the process all over again.

Better Corporate Training Means More… Lemonade?

When it comes to training your employees, there’s no such thing as “too much.” Hal Becker, a “nationally known speaker on sales and customer service” recently wrote an article touting the benefits of having properly trained employees, and broke it down into the simplest of terms.

He asked readers to think back to their days of opening lemonade stands in their parents’ front yards, and emphasized the importance of training employees in the most basic terms, “Who trained your employees not to drink the profits? Who trained them to ask for a nickel or a dime and not give the lemonade away? The better the training, the more lemonade you sold.”

While you may not be training your current employees on the best practices of selling lemonade – or selling anything at all – training your staff in is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business.

The Center for Technology and Industry (CTI) at New England Institute of Technologies (NEIT) specializes in creating customized programs for your company and employees. Whether you’re looking to train your employees on the latest technological advances in their field, or get them certified in the newest piece of equipment, we will work with you to create a program to fit your company’s needs.

For more information on working with CTI, give us a call at (800) 736-7744.