Friday, December 02, 2005 

Autodesk University

Autodesk University 2005 – Realize Your Ideas

I am just getting back from this years AU in Orlando and I am trying to download all of the great and not so great information which I obtained from this years event and stuffed in my mini mind drive.  In the following post I will summarize my thoughts on the courses, products, and meetings I took or investigated as they apply to my job responsibilities as a piping designer.

Note to viewer: I will be updating comments on an ongoing basis as I have more time to reflect and comment.

Classes I took:

  • Seven LISP Functions of Highly Effective CAD Users

  • Speaker: Anthony Meulemans

Summary:  This course is designed as an introduction to AutoLISP for CAD users who want to begin customizing
AutoCAD using the programming language. It uses seven AutoLISP functions to teach the basics of
the AutoCAD programming language. These functions can be used by even the novice programmer
to create effective commands.


  • Hands on Introduction to Dynamic Blocks in AutoCAD 2006

  • Speaker: John Beltran

Summary:  This lab helps AutoCAD users who create, maintain, or use AutoCAD block libraries understand how
to author and manipulate dynamic blocks in AutoCAD 2006. Understand how dynamic blocks are an
extension, and not a replacement, for blocks in earlier AutoCAD releases. Become familiar with the
Block Authoring mode of AutoCAD 2006, and how to use it to create AutoCAD blocks with custom
properties and grips that allow one block to be drawn many different ways. Users of any version of
AutoCAD or an AutoCAD vertical application who want an introduction to Dynamic Blocks and their
capabilities will benefit from this hands-on introduction.


  • Plant Design Tips and Tricks

  • Speaker: Jimmy Bergmark

Summary:  This session is a generic tips and tricks class that focuses on how to use AutoCAD features for plant design. Topics covered will be how new features in AutoCAD 2006, such as Dynamic Blocks, Block attribute extraction, and Tables can be used for creating schematics and isometrics, making calculations, and Bill of Materials. The class leader is the CAD manager at an EPC company with a focus on Plant Design. Learn from his experience, increase your productivity, and learn to have a lot of fun using AutoCAD as well.


  • What to Do with the New CUI

  • Speaker: R. Robert Bell

Summary:  The Customize User Interface (CUI), introduced in AutoCAD 2006, radically changes how you customize your environment. Along with the new dialog interface is the retirement of your .mns/.mnu files. Workspaces affect the user's interface also. How do you use this new tool? All will be discussed in this class.


  • LISP for CAD Managers

  • Speaker: Robert Green

Summary: AutoLISP/Visual LISP is a powerful way to extend AutoCAD's functionality, but many avoid using it because they think it's too hard to learn. This course lays out the basics of AutoLISP using a building block approach with practical examples you can use every day to tailor AutoCAD to your specific needs. We'll cover lists, functions, command definitions, accessing the command line, debugging, and how to set up user machines to pull AutoLISP functions from your network -- all in a hands-on lab environment. This class assumes you have intermediate AutoCAD capability and the ability to edit/save files using a text editor such as Notepad. No prior AutoLISP experience is necessary.


  • Rapid Customizing: Minimum Pain, Maximum Gain

  • Speaker: Dan Abbott

Summary:  Last year this workshop was the top-rated 3.5 hour lab at AU. This hands-on lab will have
experienced AutoCAD users customizing in no time. We will take a quick spin through some of the
AutoCAD OPTIONS; clarify the process of creating and using template files; see how to make a quick
custom linetype; create some very useful external commands (while making sure everyone knows
how to create aliases); create a new tool palette; add some custom tool buttons to a custom tool bar;
take a brief look at the ACAD menu; and then ... write some understandable, simple, but still very
useful AutoLISP programs. Can we do all this in 3.5 hours? You bet we can.


  • Integration of AutoCAD VBA with Microsoft Excel

  • Speaker: Dave Espinosa-Aguilar

Summary:  For years AutoCAD users have been trying to learn how to integrate the power of Microsoft Excel
spreadsheets with AutoCAD drawings. This course introduces intermediate and advanced AutoCAD
users to the programming concepts required to link and exchange data between these two products
through AutoCAD's Visual Basic for Applications. Two sample applications will be discussed in depth
which demonstrate how to survey an AutoCAD drawing and report the results in a spreadsheet and
how to cost estimate a drawing based on an external spreadsheet table of dollar values.


  • Making AutoCAD Do the Work

  • Speaker: R. Robert Bell

Summary:  Users often want AutoCAD to automatically do such things as changing a dimension to a specific
layer. This session will give you hands-on experience using VBA Events to perform such tasks. Upon
completion, you will have a great start on your own in-house AutoCAD customizations using events.


  • Fields and Sheet Sets: A Powerful Combination

  • Speaker: Heidi Hewett

Summary:  Basic sheet set functionality in AutoCAD 2006 enables you to easily find, open, and share your sets of
drawings with minimal effort. However, if you want to take full advantage of the powerful sheet set
functionality available in AutoCAD 2006, you must update your existing data to include fields. Adding
fields to your sheets enables you to change sheet and view data with the assurance that those
changes will automatically propagate throughout the sheet set. In this hands-on lab, you will learn the
most efficient methods for adding fields to your plot stamps, title blocks, callout blocks, and label
blocks enabling you to maximize your productivity.


  • Programming Tables to Do More

  • Speaker: R. Robert Bell

Summary:  Tables are a welcome enhancement to AutoCAD. Do you wish that they would do more? You will be
introduced to some functions created in VBA that make tables even more useful. Visual LISP
functions will also be demonstrated.


  • Keep it Inside AutoCAD: Data Extraction Direct to AutoCAD Tables

  • Speaker: David Cohn

Summary:  For years AutoCAD users have been creating tables for use as parts lists, bills of materials, schedules, and so on, by either laboriously creating them manually or extracting attribute data to an external file and then importing it back into AutoCAD. But this process is no longer necessary. Learn how to use new tools in AutoCAD 2006 to extract attribute data directly to an AutoCAD table and update those tables automatically when changes occur. You'll also learn how to perform calculations on table data directly within AutoCAD.


  • Things Every AutoCAD User Should Know – Expanded!

  • Speaker: Dan Abbott

Summary:  There are fundamental things about the computer's operating system, the principles of technical
graphics, and the software itself that everyone who uses AutoCAD should know. This workshop will fill
in some gaps in your knowledge, provide useful techniques for using AutoCAD efficiently, and
introduce you to customization techniques that can make you far more productive.


Products and Software:

  • FlexPlant
Demo CD: yes

  • AEC Design Group - CADPIPE
Demo CD: yes

  • CEA Systems – 4D design packages
Demo CD: no

  • Coade - CADWorx
Demo CD: yes

  • CADzation – AcroPlot
Demo CD: yes

  • Autodesk – Inventor Series
Demo CD: yes

  • Autodesk – DWF Composer
Demo CD: yes (2)
Fully functional Software 1-9 user licenses

Group Meetings and Events:

  • AUGI Meeting
Summary:  New logo for AUGI presented.
(image placeholder)

  • Opening General Session/Keynote Presentation


Tuesday, November 22, 2005 


AUGLY is a user group which covers many different disciplines such as CSA, MECH, and ELEC although our primary membership is piping designers who live and work in the Lehigh Valley (Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton Pa). Our users typically use Autodesk products such as AutoCAD in their daily work and this group was developed to support their ongoing needs. If you are interested in joining this user group please email me at


The Rules of CAD (Posted by mark.w.kiker on BLAUGI)

The Rules of CAD
I have been thinking about some of the spoken and unspoken rules of CAD and thought I would share some of my list with you.
Rule 1 - Production is your first priority. Getting the design to the client on time is critical. Everything takes a back seat to meeting deadlines, budgets and quality standards.
Rule 2 - Protect the data.  Backups are important. At times even production can be interrupted to get a clean backup.
Rule 3 – CAD Standards Matter. Getting everyone on the same page and understanding how, what and why we build our files in a certain way is to be constantly nurtured.
Rule 4  - Standards can go out the window in order to fulfill Rule #1. Standards and procedures are a tool to enhance production. If they get in the way, we may need to abort them to get the job out.
Rule 5 – When you break Rule #4 – go back and fix it as soon as possible.
Rule 6 – Training should never stop. We need to constantly train our people and keep them sharp.
Rule 7 – BAD CAD is a part of reality. Work it into the schedule. You will need to fix something along the way in every project.
Rule 8 - Never say no to a user—just put a price tag on the yes. It may take money, time or training, but all things (ok - most things) are doable.
Rule 9 - When you break Rule #8 – do it on purpose. Many times users will not listen until you refuse to do something. Your refusal may cause some heated words. The reason to say “no” is to get them (or someone above them) to listen.  A "no" should never really be a refusal to help.
Rule 10 – Never set policy based on your worst user. You will never gain expertise by letting the weakest link slow you down.
Rule 11 - Never set production procedures based on your best user. Do not let the best guy get too far ahead of the pack. Remember that even the worst user needs to understand how the files are created.
Rule 12 - Don't provide a new tool without training.
Rule 13 -  Don't provide a new tool until the old tools are being used.   This rule is more of a guideline.  I prefer to make sure that the old tools are well understood and used before I load my users up with more tools.
Rule 14 - Fire anyone who does not use OSNAPS.  Haven't we all learned to use these by now?
Rule 15 - Don't let your company hire someone until you have tested their ability in CAD.  It can be a written test, multiple choice test, hands on drawing test or just a lenghty conversation about CAD.  You need to know what you are getting.