AutoCAD: Increase your drawing area…

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

View Cube and Navigation Bar (are located on the right hand side of the drawing area) by default are active on your screen when you start with AutoCAD’s default drawing. When on they can impede access to geometry that lays behind them. If needing to access geometry that resides below the View Cube or Navigation Bar you have to reposition (Pan or Zoom) the drawing before you can work on that area.

Navigation 1

View Cube and Navigation Bar features are very useful when drawing 3D or Isometric drawings, the Zoom and Pan options are easily found using the mouse or keyboard.

Solution:

Turn off the View Cube and Navigation Bar in the active drawing or set up a Drawing Template so that it will always be turned off. (Drawing Template – I’ll discuss another time)

View Cube and Navigation Bar visual display: ON/OFF

Command Line:

1. View Cube: Command Line type in: DISPLAYVIEWCUBEIN2D

(Autofill will help find this when typing) There are two options ON or OFF.

Navigation 2

2a. Navigation Bar: Command Line type in: NAVBAR

(Autofill will help find this when typing) There are two options ON or OFF

This option allows you to either type in your choice or select the option of ON or OFF.

Navigation 3

2b. Navigation Bar: Command Line NAVBARDISPLAY

(Autofill will help find this when typing) There are two options 1 = ON or 0 = OFF

This option allows you to either type in your choice or select the option of ON or OFF.

 

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Ribbon:

Located in the View Tab, User Interface Panel, to the User Interface Button drop down you will find the option to toggle on or off visual display for the View Cube and Navigation Bar. A check mark next to the feature means it is active (visible on the screen) no check means it is turned off.

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Drawing Area:

Or a much easier approach than recalling what to type in is to access the Model Space Viewport Controls located in the top-left corner of the drawing window. This allows quick access to turn off the visual display.

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Viewport Controls [-]:

Select the Viewport Controls symbol [-] (with the Left Mouse button) this opens up a pop up window.  The View Cube and Navigation Bar can be toggled on and off here.  The Blue box with the check mark represents that the features are displayed on the screen. To turn the display off or on move the mouse over the feature it will highlight blue – select it and the feature will either display or not.

Navigation 7Navigation 8

 

How 3-D Printing Will Change Our Lives – WSJ

3-D Printing, it has gotten a lot of attention over the last year. It is changing everything from the automotive industry to the medical industry. At New England Tech our focus is on Advanced Manufacturing. Our Mechanical Engineering Technology grads are in demand because we are teaching skills that are in demand, like 3-D Printing.

From The Wall Street Journal.com:

The technology could change how we do everything from packing for trips to what’s made in our kitchens

EARLIER THIS YEAR, a hapless penguin at the Warsaw Zoo lost his lower beak, either in a fall or a fight, and there were concerns that the bird might starve to death because the damage left him unable to eat. Omni3D, a Polish 3-D printer firm, came to the rescue, offering to produce a new beak—based on a dead penguin’s, to get an idea of the dimensions—from materials including nylon.

To read the entire story click the link: How 3-D Printing Will Change Our Lives – WSJ.

If you would like additional information about any of New England Tech’s over 40 Associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs, including Mechanical Engineering Technology.

More Information | Apply Now

Contact the Admissions Office at 800-736-7744 or email NEITAdmissions@neit.edu 

AutoCAD: CAD files slow to opening or slow to regenerating?

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

When working with large files, and electronic files that have been active through many releases of CAD or just a very involved file there may be excess information that is not relevant to the project anymore that could be slowing you down.

Solution: Purge command offers a quick way to clean out your drawing files of unused, unwanted information.

*Caution: The command Purge should only be used when and if you know the data you are purging will no longer be needed in this drawing or any other drawing file. *Once an item is purged it is removed from that CAD file and is not recoverable. Yes you can recreate the information that was purged but that is now a time consuming factor, especially when blocks are part of the mix.

Purge command is found:

  1. Through the Command Line type in Purge then Enter.
  2. Through the Application Menu select Drawing Utilities then select Purge
  3. Both options bring up the same dialog box.

Command line: (1)

Purge 1

Application Menu: (2)

Purge 2

Purge dialog box breakdown:

Purge 3

Example – A: Purge – Confirmation dialog box.

Purge 4

AutoCAD: Have a need to start a Line Tangent to an Arc?

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Now you can easily in AutoCAD 2014

Solution:

Place an Arc in your drawing, immediately following the Arc command start the Line command. At the command prompt “Line specify first point” ENTER, (*do not select the end of the Arc). The Enter selects the last placed Arc endpoint and places a line Tangent to the Arc. Continue with the Line command as you normally would.

*The Tangent Line attaches to the endpoint of the last (3rd) placed arc point.

End results:

Line Tangent

Line TangentLine TangentLine TangentThe success to this command is that the Line command immediately follows the placement of the Arc.

AutoCAD: Have you lost time and wasted paper

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Have you lost time and wasted paper with incorrect plot configurations?

Solution: Page Setup Manager

The Page Setup Manager allows you to predefine each Layout with specified parameters to a specific printer/plotter. A Page Setup is associated to a Layout(s), this allows you to easily configure Layout settings within each Layout and simply print the Layout without having to define the plot configuration every time you print.

*Page Layouts can be defined and then saved in a Template file which in turn makes them readily available in every drawing created from that Template file (.DWT).

Page Setup Manager can be accessed through the following approaches:

Option 1: Command Line:

Typing in the command Page setup then entering ←

PS1

*Remember when typing commands in the command line no spaces are allowed and the commands are not case sensitive.

 Option 2: Right Click:

Hover over a Layout tab you want to configure a Page Setup to then Right Click. A pop up window appears – select Page Setup Manager…

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Option 3: Application Menu – found in the upper left corner of the screen.

Select the Application Menu – Print – Page setup

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New to 2014

Option 4: Output tab – found in the Ribbon

Select Output tab, within the Plot panel select Page Setup Manager

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Each option above opens the Page Setup Manager dialog box shown below.

Select New… this opens the New Page Setup dialog box

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New Page Setup dialog box:

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Once you define the Setup name select OK.

*My preference is to name the setup name with the paper size of the end printed results and the name of the printer/plotter it will print out on.

Example: 8.5×11 Office Jet Pro – 8.5×11 (represent the paper size (A) that the drawing will print on), Office Jet Pro (represents the printer it will print to)

Next step is the Page Setup dialog box:

Here you configure the end printed results you are looking for.

PS7

Select OK once done configuring all areas of the Page Setup dialog box. This brings you to the last step to associate the Page Setup Name to the specific Layout(s).

 

*Depending on the information you want plotted the configuration of the Plot area, Plot Scale, Pen style table and the Shaded viewport options may need to be modified. The Plot offset, Plot options and Drawing orientation refer to the printer/plotter and each make has unique plotting qualities so it may take a few prints to make sure your Layout prints the way you want it.

Within the Page Setup Manager dialog box, make sure the Page Setup Name (you just created) is highlighted – select Set Current – select Close to complete the configuration.

This associates the Page Setup Name to the current Layout.

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PS8PS8

Now that the Page Setup is configured to each Layout correctly these configurations don’t need to be edited or modified before plotting. Ready to plot a Layout (make sure the Layout is active) then select the Plot/Print command, (it’s the same command just has a different name depending on where you access the command from) this brings up the Plot dialog box you will see your pre-defined configurations in that dialog box, then select OK. Your print has been sent to the plotter.

*Save these configurations within your company templates on the company network for everyone to have access to. This offers consistency within the electronic files and saves printing/plotting time which equals money saved.

How 3D Printing Can Transform Your Business

3D printing is not replacing traditional manufacturing it is improving it!

From Forbes.com

Hripko recently spoke at a NorTech event that discussed how additive manufacturing can transform businesses and entire industries. He pointed out several benefits of the technology that make it a revolutionary production method:

  1. Efficient use of resources: Additive manufacturing requires fewer processing steps, little assembly and less energy. It also minimizes waste.
  2. Small-lot production: Additive manufacturing eliminates the need to produce parts or products in large quantities. As a result there is no inventory or stock cost.
  3. Rapid manufacturing: The technology allows makers to go directly from design to manufacturing. It dramatically reduces cycle times since it doesn’t require a tooling process.
  4. Agile manufacturing: Additive technology can create spare parts on demand and thus simplifies supply chains and logistics.
  5. Reverse engineering: Parts for legacy systems can be easily replaced with the help of a scanner and a 3D printer or other additive manufacturing technology.

Hripko stressed that additive manufacturing is not replacing traditional manufacturing, but complementing it and creating new markets within the industry. It is capable of making parts that cannot be manufactured by traditional processes and enables new technologies that are lightweight, customizable and complex.

One company that specializes in making these complex parts and products is rapid prototype + manufacturing (rp+m), based in Avon Lake, OH. The company is partnering with America Makes on numerous projects and supplies some of the largest OEMs in the aerospace and defense industries. It makes anything from CT scanner parts to lightweight air ducts and works with a range of materials including tungsten, stainless steel and ultem.

“Additive manufacturing is going to be a future core technology of the engineered products industry,” rp+m Chief Technology Officer Anthony Hughes said at the NorTech event. “As we are shifting our focus from purely rapid prototyping into direct digital production, we are opening up new markets and channels really fast.”

In addition to aerospace and defense, these markets include the medical, oil & gas, automotive, consumer products/electronics, and tooling industries. Within these industries, additive manufacturing has already become more than a prototyping method.

via How 3D Printing Can Transform Your Business.

AutoCAD: Model Space View Controls

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Available right in the drawing area no need to access the View Tab for the View or Visual Styles panels.

For quick manipulations of different views of your Isometric or 3D drawings, quick access is available to your visual controls right on the screen in Model Space within the Model Space Viewport Controls area:

Viewport Controls [-], View Controls [Top] and Visual Styles control [2D Wireframe] are located in the top-left corner of each Model Space Viewport. (drawing area)

The bracketed area displays the current viewport settings. [-] [Top] [2D Wireframe] Select (with the left mouse button)within a bracketed areas to change views, visual styles, and other settings.7-1

Solution:

Viewport Controls [-]

Select [-] for options to maximize the viewport, changing the viewport configuration, or controlling the display of navigation tools.

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View Controls [Top]

Select [Top] to choose between standard and custom views. Quick access to manipulate your view of an Isometric or 3D drawing.

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Visual Style Controls [2D Wire Frame]

Select [2D Wireframe] to choose one of several visual styles. Most of the other visual styles are used for 3D visualization. Quick access from a 2D view to see your 3D drawings in different visual styles.

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* Note when you see the Blue Box with a Check mark in it this represents the active or current features. When another option is needed, select that feature with the mouse and this will make that the current style option.

* Note also that the options in the brackets [ ] change to the new option that is selected.

AutoCAD: Select items on the screen, let us count the ways

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Are you slowing your production down with the way you select items on your screen?

AutoCAD offers many ways to select geometry even if it’s not listed as an option with the modify commands.

Geometry can be selected prior to activating a Modify command or preferably start the Modify command and at the prompt “Select Objects” these options are available (with the exception of the Stretch command, see below *), by default or by typing in the Alias Key function of the Selection Set you want to work with. These options are not listed within most of the Modify commands but are still available, here is how. These options are called Selection Sets.

Solution:

Selection Sets: Pick, Implied Window, Crossing Window, Fence, Window Polygon, Crossing Polygon, type in All, Previous or Last.

Pick: By default this is available within the Modify commands with no additional input from us. The Crosshairs turn into a small box you bring this box over the item you want to select and with the left mouse button select the item. This selects one item at a time.6-1

Implied Window: This option is available by default within the Modify commands with no additional input from the user. The Crosshairs turn into a small box, bring this into an open area (not on any geometry) near the items you want to select, pick on the screen with the left mouse button (let go of the button) move the mouse to the Right of your first pick creating a box or window around the items to be selected, then with the left mouse button select again in an open area on the screen to finalize your selection. This creates a box with a solid line on the outside and inside the box is blue. This options selects everything completely encompassed within the windowed area that was selected.6-2

Crossing Window: This option is available by default within the Modify commands with no additional input from the user. The Crosshairs turn into a small box, bring this into an open area (not on any geometry) near the items you want to select, pick on the screen with the left mouse button (let go of the button) move the mouse to the Left of your first pick, creating a box or window around the items to be selected, then with the left mouse button select again in an open area on the screen to finalize your selection. This creates a box with a dashed line on the outside and inside the box is green. This options selects everything it touches and completely encompassed within the windowed area that was selected.6-3

Fence: When in a Modify command at the Select Objects prompt type in F and enter. This switches the pick box to crosshairs, select in open area (not on any geometry) then move your mouse placing Fence lines through the geometry to be selected. Picking as if placing a line. The creates a dashed line that will go through the geometry and select everything it touches.6-4

Window Polygon: When in a Modify command at the Select Objects prompt type in WP and enter. This switches the pick box to crosshairs, select in open area (not on any geometry) then continue selecting areas around or through the items you want to select. This option selects everything that is completely encompassed with the selection of the Window Polygon. This creates a solid outside line with the inside of the polygon shaded blue. It may be placed in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, it just cannot overlap itself.6-5

Crossing Polygon: When in a Modify command at the Select Objects prompt type in CP and enter. This switches the pick box to crosshairs, select in open area (not on any geometry) then continue selecting areas around or through the items you want to select. This option selects everything that is completely encompassed along with what the Crossing Polygon is touching. This creates a dashed line with the inside of the polygon shaded green inside. It may be placed in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, it just cannot overlap itself.6-6

All: When in a Modify command at the Select Objects prompt type in All and enter. This selects all of the geometry on the screen that is not Locked within the Layer Controls and also will select All geometry that resides on Layers that are turned Off. Geometry on a Frozen Layer will not be selected.

 Previous: When in a Modify command at the Select Objects prompt type in P and enter. This option will select the previous items that were last modified.

 Last: When in a Modify command at the Select Objects prompt type in L and enter. This option selects the last item that was drawn not modified on the screen.

 * The Stretch command is the modify command with the exception to the above options. The Stretch command prompts you with two Selection Sets that works with this command. They are the Crossing Window and the Crossing Polygon.

AutoCAD: Quicker access to all of Open drawings and their Layouts:

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

File Tabs: New to AutoCAD 2014 

AutoCAD has added another (quicker) way for us access the Model Space and all Layouts in open drawing. File Tabs display the drawing file name and allow quick access to your open drawings. These tabs are located at the upper left corner of the drawing area.

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Solution:

All open drawings can now be displayed in these File Tabs. To activate a different drawing select the File Tab you want. This makes that drawing the current (active) drawing, and opens it up in the last view it was worked in.

To preview prior to selecting a view hover the mouse (cursor) over a File Tab. This displays a preview of both the Model Space and all Layouts within that drawing. (As the Quick View feature in previous versions displayed those options) To select the Model or a specific Layout Tab hover over the File Tab, move the mouse to the view you want to select, select the view, this will make that the current (active) view on the screen. This allows for a quick approach to select what view you would like current.

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If you are not seeing the List View you will need to change how the system Variables are defined.

At the Command Prompt type in Filetabpreview this is a System Variables that control of how File Tabs are displayed:

Filetabpreview: Controls weather you see a List View or a Thumbnail view when you hover over a File Tab.

Filetabpreview <1> as the default it will Displays a Thumbnail View

Filetabpreview <0> as the default it will not Displays a List View

AutoCAD: To display or not to display the File Tabs

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

File Tabs have been added to the top of our drawing space. These take up some of our drawing real-estate area. Although they offer a great way to quickly access another drawing you may want that area back to increase your drawing area. The following two options will show how to toggle on and off the File tabs:

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Solution:

From the Command line type in one of two commands, FILETABCLOSE or FILETAB.

To turn OFF the File Tab feature – in the Command Line type in (one word) FILETABCLOSE then enter.

To turn ON the File Tab feature – in the Command Line type in (one word) FILETAB then enter.

From the Ribbon we have the File Tab button available that toggles On or Off the option. This button is located in the Ribbon – View Tab then within the panel User Interface the second icon is the button for the File Tab.

When the button is blue the File Tabs are displayed, when the File Tab is gray the File Tabs are not displayed.

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