As you know, I'm passionate about palettes (professionally speaking), so I have finally gotten around to covering how to add another block as a visibility parameter on a dynamic block (which imminently ends up on a tool palette). I'm also keeping the ball rolling with yet another custom button on the tool palette; this one you can call "Wall Maker" or "Duct Worker" or whatever suits your particular application.
The discoveries I wanted to pass along are those related to layer filters and PDF files. I read an article in an eNewsletter that I subscribe to through Cadalyst which spoke about the Filters command that can be used to keep or delete layer filters you may encounter in a drawing you receive. Then one of my students was asking about bringing a PDF into AutoCAD, and when you think about it, it's nothing more than inserting it as an OLE object. Both of those I thought were pretty slick and I hope you agree.
I hope these insights bump your productivity a bit today so you can have a few more minutes with your family or favorite activity.
If you would like to contact me directly, you can do that also.
Blessings to one and all,
The easiest dynamic block feature - for me - is the Visibility Parameter. The result is essentially several blocks within one block. All that's required is to make more than one block, place them on top of each other, then make a list and connect the right block to the right name. OK, that's the Reader's Digest version, but it really is that simple (see Michael's Corner, July 2006).
The question comes when you need to pile on and add another block to the currently defined dynamic block. The following presumes you have a dynamic block with multiple visibility parameters and have made another block to add to it. In the exercise, I add a Quad receptacle to an existing dynamic block.
Note: It would be a good idea to cycle through the other visibility states, just to make sure their states are properly configured. Use Make Invisible as necessary.
Note: For a review of how to add an Alignment Parameter, see the Power Tool, November 2005.
This month we'll put the Dline routine on a button with a pre-assigned Width for creating a wall, justification (Dragline option) and Layer. For more on this wonderful little tool, take a look at August 2003 (where you can also download Dline.lsp) and the Odd Spot in September 2005.
|;||Presses Enter; it's easier to discern a semi-colon than a space when pressing Enter in a macro.|
|W||The Width option of the command.|
|D||The Dragline option which enables you to specify the Justification of the wall.|
|R||Right justified based upon the direction of "travel" as you're picking each point of the Dline.|
Tip: Using Dline for Mechanical Ductwork…
When creating ductwork using Dline, I would set the Dragline to Center, but remember that you can change the width of the double-line while the command is still active. This is great if you want to transition, say, from a 14″ duct to a 10″ duct. The result, however, is a notch rather than the proper look of a transition or reducer section of ductwork, as shown in the first illustration, below.
To resolve this - and to create the proper length for the transition - after completing the Dline command, use the Stretch command to stretch the transition "notch" to the appropriate length. (See May 2006, Basics for coverage on using Stretch.) After stretching the transition, use the Line command to add the lines between sections as shown in the dimensioned illustration. [My thanks to Tim at KLM Mechanical for his industry expertise, www.klm-mechanical.com.]
Although many of the AutoCAD tips and insights in my articles come from things I think of while presenting my training courses across the country, I also subscribe to Cadalyst Magazine's Tips & Tools Weekly.
In one of those weekly eNewsletters several months ago, Faith Merriman (Mullins & Sherman Architects, Sanford, NC) sent in a tip that I really have to pass along to you all. In the product formerly-known-as Architectural Desktop, there was a buried command that also goes back to at least AutoCAD 2006.
The FILTERS (plural) command opens a dialog box that enables you to Keep or Remove all those snarky layer filters you may encounter when receiving a drawing from another vertical market version.
As for that Unreconciled Layers notice you may have encountered, AutoCAD's Help database has the following review of the LAYEREVAL variable. For a broader review of related Unreconciled Layer topics including Concept and Procedure, go into Help and Search on this variable.
LAYEREVAL: Controls when the Unreconciled New Layer filter list in the Layer Properties Manager is evaluated for new layers. The setting is stored in an integer using one of the following values:
0 - Off
1 - Detects when new Xref layers have been added in the drawing
2 - Detects when new layers have been added in the drawing and Xrefs
AutoCAD 2008 first introduced a PDF driver developed by Autodesk by which you can print a PDF from within AutoCAD, but I'm beginning to get questions on how to bring a PDF into an AutoCAD drawing.
How about we insert it as an OLE object, shall we?
Banana Strings - I'm not sure where my son said he heard this, but if you peel a banana from the bottom up, those stringy parts peel off with the peel itself. Thanks, Bear! You Rock!
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Note from Michael: I want to thank all of my customers for continuing to retain my training services (some for over two decades!) and let you know your donations do not go to me personally, but to the ongoing maintenance of the CADTutor ship as a whole and to support the yeoman efforts of my friend and CADTutor captain, David Watson, to whom I am grateful for this monthly opportunity to share a few AutoCAD insights.