AutoCAD: Dynamic Blocks

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

The Standard for Reusable Content

Blocks are the oldest form of reusable content and in AutoCAD. Dynamic blocks add a level of power that substantially reduce and streamline your existing block libraries. Discover how to apply Parameters and Actions to new and existing blocks using the Block Authoring Tools.

Parameters and Actions: two elements that define Dynamic Blocks:

  1. Parameters:
  • Identified on screen by a blue grip.
  • The shape of the grip varies based on the type of Parameter. Parameters define the features of the geometry of the objects you want to change.
  • Must be attached to a block
  • Properties of parameters can be set to specify increments as well as minimum/maximum values.
  • The lookup parameter is used to assign multiple sizes of a specific block
  • The visibility parameter is used to assign multiple definitions (appearances) to a block, such as front view, side view, or plan view.

Below shows what the Dynamic grips look like for the different Parameter options.

 Picture12. Actions:

  • Identified by a lightning bolt icon
  • Are attached to parameters to define how those parameter will modify the geometry in the final block, such as scale, stretch, move, etc…
  • Parameters can have more than one action

This example will show the breakdown of adding a Point Parameter and the Move Action to a Block: using a block called – Strainer:  Strainer 1
Step 1: Activating the Block Editor:

Block Editor 2A.  Select the Block Editor icon from the Insert tab, Block Definition panel, Block Editor Icon. This opens the Edit Block Definition dialog box. Select an existing block (Strainer) to modify. Then select OK. This opens the (contextual tab) Block Editor. Or if the Block was visible on the screen you could double click on the Block and it will also open up the Block Editor.

Block Editor 3
Step 2: Place a Point Parameter: Point Parameter 4

Strainer w-point 5B. Select the Point Parameter from the Parameters tab located in the Block Authoring Palettes.
 At the prompt: Specify parameter location or [Name/Label/Chain/Description/Palette]:for this example Pick the Midpoint of the vertical line marked A. (Example 1)

 At the prompt: Specify label location: Place the label Position to
the right of the geometry. (Example 1)

 

 

 

Step 3: Place a Move Action: Move Action 6

Strainer w-action 7C. Select the Move Action from the Actions tab located in the Block
Authoring Palettes.

  • At the prompt: Select parameter: Select the Point Parameter label Position that was just place in the Block Editor.

At the prompt: Specify objects: Select all of the geometry and the Point Parameter with a (window selection) and then Enter. (Example 2)

  1. D. Select the Close Block Editor button:

Close Block Editor 8Select Yes to Save Changes to the block (Strainer.) This brings you back into the drawing mode of AutoCAD.

Save 9
Step 4: Test the Block:

E. Insert the block: at the prompt: Specify insertion point or [Basepoint/Scale/Rotate]: Select the Ctrl key to see the block move from one insertion point to the next. (Example 3)

Strainers explained 10


The first insertion point is defined by creating the left vertical line of the flange at zero, zero. The second point of insertion is added with the Parameter Point and the Move Action.

Learn more about Command Line Features and other NEW AutoCAD 2015 features by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.

AutoCAD: Creating Blocks

Written by Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Block: is a collection of selected entities that has a defined insertion point and combines all entities into a single group with an assigned a name . *This is created in the drawing and is accessible only within this drawing.

Why create Blocks: Blocks are a great option to use – they consolidate the drawing size, keep consistency within drawings and projects, saves time as the items do not need to be drawn every time (just inserted) and they are easily modified and will update all instances withn=in the same drawing when modified. “ WBlock the Block if you want to save it into a directory for all to have access to the block at any time. This is the best idea.”

Steps to create a Block:

  1. Select the Create Block button: This is located in the Insert Tab, Block Definition Panel – Create Block Button.Block 1

2. This opens up the Block Definition Dialog box. Here you assign a Name, Select a Base Point, Select the geometry – annotation (select all that needs to be part of the Block) to be included in the block.

A: Name:

Here you define the name of the Block. It is preferred as with drawing names to

keep them descriptive but not too long.

B: Base Point:

There are three options to define the Base point to the geometry.

1st options is to select the box which places a check mark in it. When you select OK it will them bring you out into the drawing and prompt you to select the Base Point.

2nd  option is the Pick Points button: Once this button is selected it brings you into the drawing to select the desired Base Point.

3rd option is place define the location in the X, Y, Z (if applicable) areas in the dialog box.

Block 2

*The Base Point also known as the Handle is where the Blocks insertion point is. Defining a good base point makes the insertion of the Block much easier. Think of what is being inserted and how it relates to other geometry. Such as this Sink I used Object Tracking to reference it 2.5” away from the mid-point of the back of the sink. This allows the sink to be inserted at a reference point such as a counter and it will be placed in correctly and no need to relocate.

C: Objects:

There are two ways to select the geometry to be included into the block.

1st options is to select the box which places a check mark in it. When you select OK it will then bring you out into the drawing and prompt you to select the Objects.

2nd Select the Select Objects button, this brings you into the drawing to select what is to be included into the Block.

Options within this section:

Retain if selected it creates the Block but does not convert the selected entities into a Block they remain as they are.

Convert to Block if selected this creates the Block and converts the selected entities into a Block and it remains visible in the drawing.

Delete if selected creates the Block but deletes the selected entities from the drawing.

D: Behavior:

Annotative – allows the Block being inserted to adjust per the View Port Scale Factor.

Scale uniformly – keep the Block from being inserted at a different X and different Y scale.

Allow exploding – this option should be selected if the block may needs to be modified at a later time, and if the Open in Block editor is not selected you won’t be modifiable.

E: Block Units:

Here are many options to choose from. This option is important to define if you create the blocks in one form of Units and then insert the block into  another drawing using another form of Units. Ex. Create Block in Inches but it will be inserted into a drawing using Kilometers.Insert Units 3

F: Description:

Describe the block.

G: Open in Block Editor:

With this selected it will open in the Block Editor allowing additional modifications to the Block.

3rd Select OK and the Block has been created and is available within this drawing only.

Creating a Block: Note the block is created on Layer 0 (zero)

Inserting the Block: Notice the Block takes on the properties of the current Layer and the insertion point is attached at the cross hairs.

Things to keep in mind when creating Block:

*The preferred method -create Blocks on Layer 0 (ZERO) – this is the layer that when you start with any AutoCAD template file it is available. When created on Layer 0 the Block will adjust per the Layer properties and will then be able to represent different options per the Layer properties.

Ex. If the Block is placed on another layer (other than Layer 0) and the properties are different those properties will be reflect in that instance of the Block.

Layer 0 the Properties are color White and a Solid Linetype.

Layer Hidden the Properties color Red with a Hidden Linetype.

**Blocks inserted on Layer Zero will reflect the properties of that Layer which is White with a Solid Linetype, The same Block inserted in the same drawing on the Hidden Layer the Block will reflect those Layers properties, Red with a Hidden Linetype.

Blocks can be created on any other layer – keep in mind when a block is created on any other layer the properties won’t update when placed onto a different Layers. There are cases that this approach would be needed.

Learn more about Command Line Features and other NEW AutoCAD 2015 features by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.

AutoCAD: Command Line features/Display broken down

Written by Cindra Drowne-Walsh

These features/options help the user to be more productive. Part 2 of 2 – Continued:

1 Command Line 4-5 options
*See the previous Command Line part 1 of 2 blog for options 1 – 3.

4. Recent Commands: shows the latest used Commands:

Select the Arrow located in the lower left at the Command Line input area. This gives a
drop down of the last few commands.

2 Command Line example a
5. Customize: option when docked / un-docked (floating).

4 Options un-docked
Input Settings: Toggle option to turn ON or OFF the Input setting, quicker access.
Saves a step from accessing the Input Search options Dialog box.

5 Input Settings

Lines of Prompt History: This starts the system variable CLIPROMPTLINES:
When the Command Line is floating and set to display just the prompt line.
(*the Registry value must be set to 3) This system variable controls how many lines display above or below the Command Line.
This can be set between 0 – 50 lines.

Input Search Options: settings for AutoComplete, AutoCorrect, System Variables /
Commands and Named Content. These are a toggle ON or toggle OFF option.

*Installed settings displayed below (a check mark or a solid circle represents those options are active.6 Input Options

Transparency: Opens a dialog box that give the user opacity control over the
Command Line.

Options: This opens up the Options dialog box.
(This is also accessed through Right-Clicking in the Command Line / and in the drawing, also through the Application menu.)

*An alternative option to access these features is to Right-Click in the Command Line:
This option also offers Cut, Copy, Copy History, Paste, Paste to Command Line.7 Rt-Click Command lineLearn more about Command Line Features and other NEW AutoCAD 2015 features by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.

 

AutoCAD: Command Line features/display broken down Part 1

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

These features/options help the user to be more productive.

Part 1 of 2

Command Line 1-3 options

  1. How to move the Command Line when docked / un-docked (floating):

2.   How to turn ON or OFF the Command Line window:

Turn OFF:

  • Select the X on the left side of the Command Line window.
  • Type in COMMANDLINEHIDE then Enter this will close the Command Line window.

Turn ON:

  • Type in COMMANDLINE then Enter. (even though there is no Command line window it works.)

On or OFF Toggle options:

  • Ctrl+9 keys selected together
  • Command Line button: Located in the View tab – Palettes panel.

Button toggle
3. Bring up a larger view of the Command Line window.

a. Select the up arrow in the lower right corner (only available when un-Docked not n Docked) it displays a larger list of the Command history.
b. Keyboard options: (toggles both ON and OFF)
F2 key when Floating – a pop up from the Command line is displayed.

CTRL +F2 key when un-Docked – opens up the full Text Screen Window. When

F2 key when Docked – opens a larger view of the Command Line Window (Text Screen Window.)

c. Select the View Tab, Palettes Panel, Text Window Button.

*You can scroll back through previous input with all options.

Sequence of selection for the Text Screen in the video is:

1st. Arrow located in the lower right hand corner selected with the mouse–floating Command Line
2nd F2 key- floating Command Line
3rd CTRL + F2 key – floating Command Line
4th F2 key- Docked Command Line
5th Text Window Icon – floating or Docked Command Line

*Keep in mind typed in commands are not case sensitive.

**Part 2 of 2 will cover Recent Commands and the Customize options.

Learn more about Command Line Features and other NEW AutoCAD 2015 features by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.

AutoCAD: Cursor Badge(s)

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

New in 2015:

This enhancement displays at the cross hairs or pick box. The symbol changes per the active command. This feature is nothing more than a visual aid.

“Autodesk refers to this visual as contextual feedback.”

Examples on how the Badge symbols will display within some commands, not all commands offer a Badge display.

When accessing the following Utilities commands the display will be a ?.

Examples. Measure, Radius, Angle, Area, Volume and ID Point

Utilities 1

When accessing some of the Modify commands a Badge will display but a badge does not display for all of the Modify commands.

Examples. Move, Copy, Scale, Rotate

Modify Move 2 Modify Copy 3  Modify Scale 4rotate

 

 

 

When in a selection mode such as the Implied Window / Polygon, Crossing Window / Polygon and Lasso, the below Badge symbols display.

The X displays when in commands such as Erase, Trim and Extend. This represents the portion of the geometry that will be removed from the drawing.

Selections Implied 6           Selections Crossing 7Selections 8

 

 

 

 

Within the Rotate Command this is the Badge display. If the Clockwise feature is modified from the default setting the visual of the Badge flips.

Modify Rotate 10Modify Rotate 11

Rotate setting 12

 Mtext 13There is also a Badge that displays when in the Multiline Text Command. (MText)

 

 

 

*If you prefer that the Cursor Badge feature does not display it can be turned off by changing the System Variable CURSORBADGE to the option of 1. This is a new System Variable available only if Service Pack 1 has been installed onto your system.

Learn more about Cursor Badge(s) and other NEW AutoCAD 2015 features by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.

AutoCAD: Breaking overlapping Dimensions lines

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

DIMBREAK command allows the user to modify overlapping Dimension Lines with a break (This

creates a space in one of the Dimension Lines that overlaps another Dimension Line or other Geometry) Helps create a more technical looking drawing. 

Where to Access this Command:

Command Line type in DIMBREAK and enter: 

Ribbon: Annotate Tab – Dimension Panel – Break

Break 1

DIMBREAK has been available for a few releases, it allows for one or multiple Dimension Lines to be modified at a time. The Dimensions stay Associative, this is important / helpful when and if the geometry is modified as the Dimensions will update with those changes.

Break 3 Break 2
Command sequence:

Command: _DIMBREAK

Select dimension to add/remove break or [Multiple]: select the Dimension Line that
you want visually broken.

Select object to break dimension or [Auto/Manual/Remove] <Auto> : select the
Dimension Line that intersects the previously selected dimension line.

Select object to break dimension: Enter to finish the command.

Command sequence – Using the Multiple option:

Command: _DIMBREAK

Select dimension to add/remove break or [Multiple]: M (M and Enter to utilize the option Multiple)

Select dimensions: At this prompts you want to select the Dimension you want the Dimension Lines broken on. Using the crossing window option I selected the Horizontal dimensions.

Select dimensions: Once done selecting Enter for the programs next prompt.

Select object to break dimensions or [Auto/Remove] <Auto>: Select the Dimension Line(s) overlaps the dimension previously selected that will be broken.

Select object to break dimensions: This is a running command keep selecting all Dimension Lines necessary for the results needed, once done Enter to finish the command. 

Break Command options: [Auto/Manual/Remove]

[Auto] is the default <Auto> so simply Enter at this prompt and the program will break all intersecting Dimension Lines of that first selection.

[Manual] no need to make it the default option because if you select with the mouse on a Dimension line it will respond correctly.

[Remove] will remove all breaks from the selected Dimension(s).

Dimension Break command using the Multiple option:


The key is to remember that the First selection(s) is the Dimension Lines that will be visually broken.

These Dimensions are considered to have a Smart Break which means that the break areas of the Dimension Lines will adjust accordingly if modified with grips or a modify command the.

Prior to this command we either ignored overlapping Dimension Lines or used the Explode command on those dimensions then using a different Break command (located in the Modify Panel) break out the section of the Dimension Line that is wanted to be removed. Draw back to this approach is the Dimension is no longer Associative and is now multiple segments.
Break 5

Learn more about Text Alignment and other NEW AutoCAD 2015 features by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.

AutoCAD: NEW in 2015

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Text Alignment features:

AutoCAD is consistently improving the Annotation features. This command offers Vertical and Horizontal alignment along with the option of spacing between the groups of text selected. This features works with Attributes, Single Line and Multiline Text.

Access to the Command:

Located in the Ribbon, Annotate tab, Text panel is the Text Align Icon. Or in the Command line type in TEXTALIGN.

Text Align 1

Options within the command that will be shown in following videos:

Distribute
Set spacing
current Vertical (this is the default setting)
current Horizontal

Text Align command sequence:

1. Start the Text Align command
2. Select the text to be aligned
3. Enter
4. At the prompt – Select text object to align to (this selection of the text is the text that will stay stationary and the rest of the text will align to it).
5. At the prompt – Pick a second point – Move the cursor in this case straight down with Ortho or Polar mode On, once the text aligns select a point on the screen with the mouse to place the text.

This video shows how the Vertical alignment is created (which is the default setting for this command).

*Notice that the spacing does not adjust automatically this needs to be set within the Option feature of the command and will be shown in the other video. (Make sure that Ortho or Polar mode is on, this makes the vertical placement easier.)


This video shows a Vertical alignment along with how the Distribute option is used then how the Set spacing option is used.

*Distribute option places the text evenly.
*Set spacing option allows the user to set a specific distance.

Text Align command sequence:

1. Start the Text Align command
2. Select the text to be aligned
3. Enter
4. At the prompt – Select text object to align to (this selection of the text is the text that will stay stationary and the rest of the text will align to it).
5. RT-Click: select Options: select the needed option.
(first shown is the option Distribute / next shown is the Set spacing option)
6. At the prompt – Pick a second point – Move the cursor in this case straight down with Ortho or Polar mode On, once the text aligns select a point on the screen with the mouse to place the text.


This video shows both Horizontal alignment along with the Set spacing option. The Distribute option could also be used the same as the previous video.

Text Align command sequence:

Same as above but at step 5 the option Horizontal is selected then you RT-Click again to select the option Set spacing, set the distance and enter. Continue through the prompts to place the text.


This option allows alignment to the justification of the text. (The default justification aligns to option LEFT) this can be changed to any one of these. Once you have selected another justification that stays as the default until it is changed again.

Text Align 2Text Align 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text Align changing the justification command sequence:

1. Start the Text Align command
2. Select the alignment option / choose desired the justification. Here I selected the option Right.
3. Select the text to align.
4. Enter
5. Select text object to align to (this selection of the text is the text that will stay stationary and the rest of the text will align to it).
6. At the prompt – Pick a second point – Move the cursor straight down with Ortho or Polar mode On, once the text aligns select a point on the screen with the mouse to place the text.

Learn more about Text Alignment and other NEW AutoCAD 2015 features by registering for the 32-hour Fundamentals class. Click Here to request more information.

PBN Recognizes NEIT with its Collaboration in Manufacturing Award

:  From left: PBN Publisher, Roger Bergenheim;  NEIT’s Vice President for Corporate Education and Training, Steven H. Kitchin;  Facilities Manager for Electric Boat at Quonset Point, Sean Davies;  and Director of Polaris MEP and event co-sponsor, Christian Cowan.

From left: PBN Publisher, Roger Bergenheim; NEIT’s Vice President for Corporate Education and Training, Steven H. Kitchin; Facilities Manager for Electric Boat at Quonset Point, Sean Davies; and Director of Polaris MEP and event co-sponsor, Christian Cowan.

New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) was recognized by Providence Business News (PBN) for its development and implementation of the Shipbuilding/Advanced Manufacturing Institute known as SAMI. In answer to Rhode Island’s labor market needs for skilled workers in these industries, SAMI’s goal is to identify and train Rhode Island’s unemployed for high paying jobs as welders and machinists and to serve as a link for these new workers and local employers. Click here to read PBN’s recently published article on SAMI and NEIT’s recent award entitled, “Working Together Reaps Rewards.”

AutoCAD: Quickly select similar geometry in a drawing

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Quick tip:

Quickly Select similar geometry in a drawing without know any of its properties:

Select Similar will select the same type of geometry. (Lines, Circles, Polylines…)

Select an item in a drawing

Right Click – this opens a pop up window

Select the option Select Similar.

All geometry with the same type and same properties will be selected per what is defined in the Select Similar Setting dialog box.

Select 5

One window is selected Right Click / Select Similar command

Select 6

All windows are selected

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Select Similar Settings Dialog box:
Within this dialog box is where the features are chosen that will be selected:

At the Command prompt type in SELECTSIMILAR then access the option Settings. This is done either by typing the SE (not case sensitive) or selecting the option [Settings] in the command line.
Within this dialog box select the appropriate options:
Select 7

Santaniello is Appointed to New Directorship

Fred Santaniello

Fred Santaniello

Fred Santaniello of Lincoln, RI, has been appointed Director of Workforce Development Grants and Programs for the college. He has served as Senior Account Executive in NEIT’s Center for Technology and Industry (CTI) since 2006 and as a Project Manager from 2004-2006.  Santaniello will be responsible for the identification, solicitation, development, negotiations and implementation of both private and publicly funded workforce training programs conducted by CTI. He will build relationships with the business community for the purpose of identifying career opportunities and program development for individuals served by grant funded training activities.

Santaniello holds a Master of Education Degree and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Rhode Island College.