String Theory - October 2013

The forums are, as always, a busy place. Ask a question, and you might see half a dozen varied methods and work arounds posted in a single thread. If you have not had any questions yourself, I would still like to encourage you to pop into the forums and see if there are any problems you could solve, especially if you use one of the less adopted products. There will always be many helping hands in the AutoCAD and Revit forums, but, what about the mechanical products or design visualization or structural detailing forums? Peek in and see if you can share your experiences and wisdom with the community.

I confess that I only scour the English speaking forums for content for this article, but, please keep in mind that there are forums available in *twelve* other languages, so users have the option of asking for support in their native tongue.

AutoCAD – System Variable Discussion

This topic started out when a user couldn’t delete. Their solution was ultimately the PICKFIRST variable, but, the discussion continued to evolve to safeguarding other variables automatically, just to protect against a loss of settings in the event of a crash. User Coloradomrg offered this safeguard:

Norton_cad also suggests DIMLFAC, EXPERT and BLIPMODE be added to the list.

Revit – Underlay Behavior Explained

Mschroeder opened the discussion with: If you have ever wondered why some walls don't show up in underlays or show up inconsistently from floor to floor, or why roofs and view ranges affect their behavior, then read on.

First rule of underlays: Underlay view extent properties (cut, range, depth) are not user modifiable and not coupled to any other view's properties.

It's also been mentioned "If objects are visible in the view range of your current view, AND in the view range of your Underlay, they are automatically hidden in your underlay, so there isn’t a double instance."

Users  twiceroadsfool and dbaldacchino helped clarify the effects by posting sample models and pertinent data from the Autodesk Knowledgebase and Autodesk Support. Visibility, View Range, Detail Level and Cut Planes are all touched on in this discussion. Need clarity on how to make the most of Underlays? Check into this thread on the forums.

LISP – Making a Dialog Box Retain Its Selections

The lisp forum always has such fascinating topics, it is hard to decide which to highlight. From locking OSNAP options to setting Explode options, along with troubleshooting of existing code.

But, the discussion surrounding the tutorials and methods to retain selections in a dialog box was varied and lively, so, I had to check it out. Treaves04413213 even posted a sample .dcl file when he was finished.

AutoCAD Electrical – Lines Being Labeled as Wires

Dinochrome says that one of his coworkers has reported a problem with regular AutoCAD lines being labeled as wires.

Crosswire35 advises: Try checking your wire type edit dialog box, and make sure the "make all lines valid wires" check box is unchecked.

And IMCO goes on to say: Using the vanilla line command in ACADE will still place that line on a wire layer. Change your lines to layer 0 and ACADE will not give them a wire number.

AutoCAD Structural Detailing – Tutorials

The consensus is that this product is a little confusing to figure out, and that most of the tutorials out there are older. Most products have a few videos floating around on YouTube, but, this one does not seem to have too many yet.

Jpo82 chimes in with: I guess only tutorials for this software are those found at Autodesk website. They are for versions 2010 and 2011 but still valid.
I'm not sure but sometimes I feel that the only new feature in ASD 2013 is that it's more stable than previous releases.

Lucis29 goes on to say: Also you might check some movies: but they are very old.

Spenner then linked to his reporting of the Service Pack and issues it addressed, hoping that it addressed some of the issues that came up in this discussion.

Navisworks – Improve Animation Export Quality

Different methods are discussed, from exporting individual image frames, to exporting a video (and how long), but, I will leave you with this bulleted list from Revit For Breakfast:

Here are the secrets to movies in Navisworks:
1. Don't use materials - You make your render time much longer.
2. Use the PNG export option 15fps.
3. Make your video export twice as long as you need. Then speed it up for a faux 30fps. This is faster.
4. Look up the Navisworks blog by Lee Mullin and Paul walker about gooch and phong. There is your faux render setting.
5. If you have NW 2012, you won’t have gooch or phong but you will have better export options. 2013 has gooch & Phong but less export options.
6. The flickering occurs when multiple shapes overlap. If you care, delete them in your export model. Sometimes flickering occurs in the generation of your frames on the PNG export. You may have a frame that is 'off'.
7. Set your anti-aliasing to 4x or better on the png export.
8. Check out my old post:

CAD Management – Network Drive Changed by IT Without Warning

Blackbox advises edinsmore595165 straight off to utilize the Reference Manager program that comes with AutoCAD, in order to reconnect all of the external reference paths that were broken when the IT department upgraded their archaic servers. He further points out that moving from hard pathing to relative pathing would make things easier in the future.

Feargt offers another twist: Another option which would work on a need only basis when you open the specific drawing. Change XREF and Image paths in drawing to Network path through script on a need only basis. Basically this will only change paths
Place this line in a acaddoc.lsp file
(command "script" "\\\\yourserver and path\XREFREDIRECT.scr")
and the following in a script file
B: ;enter name of path to be replaced
P: ;enter new path

There was also a debate in this thread about obstacles and benefits of user-managed and it-managed drive mapping.

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