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.

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.

AutoCAD is only as precise as the input that it is given

Written by: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Exact coordinates may not always be available, but accuracy is imperative. Making sure geometry is placed correctly is easy when referencing existing geometry and utilizing Object Snaps.

Solution:

Object Snaps: Allows the user to select an exact locations on existing geometry without knowing specific coordinates. When the prompt is for a “point” Objects Snaps are accessed individually by either typing in the complete Object Snap name. For a quicker approach, type in the first three letters of the Object Snaps name (1) (not case sensitive) or hold down the Shift Key then Right-Click (2) also if you Right-Click without the Shift key you will receive a pop up window- select Snap Overrides for the Object Snaps pop-up window. (3)

  (1) end      =  Endpoint                                       tan       =  Tangent

                            mid     =  Midpoint                                       per      =  Perpendicular

int       =  Intersection                                   par      =  Parallel

app     =  Apparent Intersection                 nod     =  Node

ext       =  Extension                                      ins       =  Insert

cen      =  Center                                            nea      =  Nearest

qua     =  Quadrant                                      none   =  None

Object Snap 2Object Snap 3Running Object Snaps: Are preset in the Drafting Settings Dialog box (3) located in the Object

Snap tab. Selected Object Snaps are active (available) all the time and ready to use when the prompt is for a “point”.  To access the Drafting Settings dialog box through the command line type in DSETTINGS then enter, or Right-Clicking over the Icons on the left side of the Status Bar, this activates a pop up window – select Settings (4). Hint: Right –Click over the icon you want and it will open the Drafting Setting dialog box to that specific tab. (Example place the cursor over the Object Snap icon, Right-click, the Drafting Settings dialog box opens and the Object Snap tab is current).

Object Snap 4Object Snap 5Snap Override: This feature is used when you need an Object Snap that is not Running for a one time selection. This puts a temporary hold on the preset Running Object Snaps. They are accessed by the above examples (1, 2 and/or 3) while in a command that prompts for a point.

* Object Snaps are saved within the program not within a drawing, they stay set until changed.

* Time saver: To toggle the Running Object Snaps, ON or OFF, select the F3 key or select the

Object Snap Icon located in the Status Bar.

Object Snap 6* Accessing the Drafting Setting dialog box repeatedly, to modify the Object Snap options, results as a time consuming event. Suggestion: preset your most used Object Snaps (three to five) as Running Object Snaps, then, incorporate Snap Overrides when needed. Using both approaches will lead to a smoother flow when drawing and improve your drawing time.

Cranston Woman Breaks the Mold at Welding School – Business | Cranston, Rhode Island Patch

Kierstyn Ebbeling just completed an eight-week training welding training program that helps unemployed Rhode islanders connect with jobs.

From the Cranston Patch:

Wearing a helmet and wielding a fiery torch is in all in a day’s work now for a Cranston woman.

Kierstyn Ebbeling has just completed an eight-week training welding training program that helps unemployed Rhode islanders connect with jobs in the marine trades and manufacturing industries.

The Shipbuilding/Marine and Advanced Manufacturing Institute (SAMI) at the New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) recruits, screens and trains individuals for high demand careers in these industries at no cost to participants.

“I thought of the SAMI program because I was at a point in my life where I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I had always been interested in mechanical things, but, being a small-framed woman, my options were obviously limited,” Ebbeling said.

“Through the SAMI program, I was able to meet the instructors and they opened me up to the world of welding, which I had tried in high school and I really enjoyed, but had never thought of as a career path,” she said.

According to NEIT, 90 percent of SAMI graduates are already working for companies including Blount Boats, Senesco Marine and Electric Boat, which hired Ebbeling after graduation. She cannot believe how far she has come since beginning the training program in March.

“I love welding. I could do it all day. I could watch YouTube videos about it all day. It’s something, you know, to be able to go and work at Electric Board and have them set me up welding right away. That is like a dream come true,” she said.

Ebbeling even stars in a video that is being used to promote the SAMI program to potential students.

“Some of the first women that you saw welding were the Wendy Welders of World War II, and those welders were working on marine crafts. Wendy the Welder was a ship builder. I’m going to end up going into shipbuilding and it’s just kind of cool having that connection between the present and the past,” she explained.

NEIT staff worked closely with local companies to develop the curriculum, training programs and laboratories that will give Rhode Islanders the skills needed to be successful in the job market.

“It’s a terrific example of how Rhode Island’s private educational institutions of higher education can help the state in its effort for economic development,” said NEIT President Dr. Richard Gouse. “New England Tech is going to train those employees with those specific skills. So from that point of view, it’s a win for everybody and an important thing for Rhode Island.”

Funding for the program came from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Governor’s Workforce Board and the Rhode Island Foundation.

“We saw this as an opportunity to link unemployed and under-employed Rhode Islanders with local employers, leverage the training resources of a local institution, and highlight the importance of these industries to our community,” said Foundation president and CEO Neil Steinberg.

The Foundation’s $50,000 grant for SAMI grew out of its Make It Happen RI initiative, which develops proposals that will jumpstart the state’s economy.

“This funding achieves two goals. Helping companies grow by closing the so-called skills gap and getting people trained quickly so they can get back to work and into solid, good-paying jobs,” Steinberg said.

Cranston Woman Breaks the Mold at Welding School – Business | Cranston, Rhode Island Patch.

AutoCAD: A great start to every drawing is

Written By: Cindra Drowne-Walsh

Inconsistent drawing file – Taking too much time plotting – Re-creating Layers, Borders, Layouts, Text and Dimension styles just to name a few potential issues of inconsistency within your electronic files.

Solution:

Template file has the extension (.DWT). A Drawing Template allows the user to customize a drawing to their standards. Within a Drawing Template the following setting can be configured, Drawing Units, Layers and all properties associated to the layers, Linetype Scale, Dimension Styles, Text Styles, Layouts their Viewports and Scale factors to those Viewports, Title Blocks and Plotting configurations. Lastly Blocks can be added to Templates but Blocks take up space and can slow a drawing file down so a good practice for Blocks is to have a Library directory out on the server for all CAD users to access. For consistency purposes you want all users to use the same information so they are not taking time to recreate what is already available and when the file project is printed the representation of the symbols are the same throughout all sheets.

Yes AutoCAD offers a few .DWT files and all new drawings start with a Template file either AutoCAD’s (ACAD.DWT) or your own. The benefit of a customized template file is endless but to cover a few: A template file will save the company and you time and money – it will keep your electronic data stay consistent – the printed files will conform to each other – it will help when bringing in new employees as there is a solid base for them to follow.

This being said yes it is a CAD Managers nightmare to set up these standards but once it is complete the drawing process will flow smoothly. The last hurdle for the CAD Manager is to inform all CAD users of these standards and make sure they are working for the end users and that the end users are following the standards.

Let’s get started: This I will cover that need to be completed for the templates to work for everyone.

A Template file can be created from most of AutoCAD’s electronic files. From any Drawing or Template file. It is easiest to start with a drawing file. Create a Template directory on the companies’ server to store and access these files. *Path all computers to the Template directory so that everyone has access to the same information.

Creating a Template from and AutoCAD Template file:

Step 1: Open AutoCAD

When you start AutoCAD it opens up a blank file for you. This is the acad.dwt file, located in the Autodesk Template directory (unless it has been pathed out to a custom directory already).

Step 2: Using this file you would go in and configure those items we mentioned above and Save the drawing as a DWG file. (keep this DWG file on hand in case the Template files ever gets corrupted.

Step 3: Lastly the DWG file needs to be saved as a DWT file. This is done using the Save As

Select the Application Menu – hover over the Save As option, this will then give the fly out window to select the Drawing Template option. This opens up the Save Drawing As window. (1) Notice at the bottom where it has Files of type: it is already set to save this file as a Template. At the top where it has (2) Save in: select that drop down to Path yourself out to your companies Template directory. Make sure the (3) File name is what you want then select the button (4) Save. This saved the file with the extension .DWT

Template 1B*You will notice in the Title area the description is what you named the drawing/template with the extension .DWT.

Step 4: Close the DWT template file. You only want to open a template file if changes need to be made to the standards in that file.

Creating a Template from an existing drawing file.

Step 1: Open the AutoCAD Drawing file you want to base your Template file off of.

Step 2: When using an existing file there may be a need to erase and purge information out of the drawing so it isn’t cluttered with unnecessary information. This should be done prior to adding your standards into the file. Configure those standard items we mentioned above and Save the drawing as a DWG file. (keep this DWG file on hand in case the Template files get corrupted.

 Step 3: Follow Step 3 from the above example or you can also access the Save As command typing that into the Command Line or from a Save As icon.

How to start a New Drawing with your Template files:

Here is how:

Now that you have the Template file(s) created you want to use these files for all new drawings. Access the New Command (found in the Application Menu, Quick Access tool bar, or by typing it in at the Command Line). This opens up the Select Template dialog box. (if you have not pathed the program out to the template directory you will need to find that directory by selecting the drop down next to Look in: locate the template directory and select it. The Templates should now be listed below. Select the required Template. Then select the Open button.

Time Saver:

Path all AutoCAD programs out to the Template directory. (The Template directory must be located where everyone can have access to it.)

Here is how:

  1. Open the Option dialog box. (type Option in at the Command Line, Right Click in the drawing area and access it from the pop up window, or select the Application Menu and the Option button is located at the bottom of that window.
  2. Select the (1) Files Tab
  3. Expand the option Template Setting,
    1. Expand the (2) Drawing Template File Location
    2. There can only be one file location (one directory listed here) select the (3) Browse button to path out to the company Template directory. Select (4) OKthen Select the (5) Apply button in the Options Dialog box then select (6) OK.
    3. Now when you access the New command that directory will automatically be listed.

Template 2B

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.

 

Navigation 4

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.

Navigation 5

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.

Navigation 6

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

 

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

Benefits of Corporate Training Programs

Corporate training has long been debated for it’s necessity. Of course, every employee needs an initial training and on-boarding session to become familiar with their new role and the policies of their new employer, but what about continuing education and training once they’ve been hired?

According to Economic Voice, there are five major factors that companies should consider when debating whether or not to provide corporate training to their employees:

  • Addressing Employee Weaknesses
  • Improving Performance
  • Keeping Your Employees
  • Tech Training
  • Maintaining and Understanding Good Corporate Culture

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.

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.