Alias to Illustrator

This weeks tip covers sharing Alias files with Adobe Illustrator. This is something I came up with years ago when I did a lot of Graphic Design and needed a way to get CAD data into Illustrator. Illustrator can read postscript information and Alias's print function has the ability to save a file in postscript. Problem solved!

Click HERE to watch the video

Created by Aaron... your Alias CAD Geek

Latest Autocad Electrical Hotfix - Project Database

Today's post is really just a reminder that it pays to always check to see if there are any new hotfixes or service packs you may be unaware of. While thinking about items to talk about I took a look for the last time a service pack was released for AutoCAD Electrical 2009 (SP2 released on Oct. 27 2008). To my surprise there is a new hotfix that was release on January 19 2009 that should fix a problem one of my current customers was having a couple of weeks ago. No matter what Autodesk software you run today it never hurts to see whats new. The latest Electrical service pack fixes an issue with the project file database having random crashes. If you have experience this you know exactly how frustrating it can be.

Follow this link for the latest hotfix and remember you need to be on service pack 2 also with administrative privileges

Thanks to the Autodesk AutoCAD Electrical Team

One last important item -



TIME - 10:00 AM EST.


If you have never attended please join us you can register at:

Created by Dave one of the Cad Geeks

Mechanical - Hide the What?

Filling in for one of my colleagues today, I'd like to show one of my favorite Mechanical features - 2D Hide Situations. Usually when I show people this command alone, it convinces them that they should be using Mechanical instead of vanilla AutoCAD. If you create drawings that have hidden lines showing what objects are in front or in back of one another, you know how tedious it can be to break all of those lines and change the linetypes. Worse yet, make a change and you have to do it all over again. Yuk! Check out some options with the Associative Hide command in AutoCAD Mechanical...

John (trying to fill in for Jim) with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Design Accelerators - Part 3 - Shafts

Today we'll keep working on our belt design utilizing another aspect of the Design Accelerators. Watch how easy it is to create a simple shaft using the shaft generator tool. It is quite easy to add standard features such as wrench flats, chamfers, reliefs, etc. As with the other Design Accelerators, the shaft tool allows you to verify that you design works as intended without worrying about the tedious process of creating solid models. Let's take a look...

John with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Shortcut Organization in Vault

I have previously pointed out the benefits of using shortcuts in Vault to keep track of the active jobs or designs I am working on, but some Vault users have a lot of different common areas they access. If you have as many shorcuts on your desktop as me, you most likely could use some housekeeping on your Vault shortcuts as well. This can be accomplished by creating new Shortcut Groups in Vault as shown above. These are essentially like creating extra folders to sort your shortcuts and make it easier to get to just the right Vault location in a hurry.

Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Alias Copy Shader Parameters

Being able to copy all the parameters from one shader to another is a huge time saver. A lot of users will write down all the settings of a shader and then fill in the blanks on the shader they want to modify. This method will save you from that process.

Click HERE to watch the video

Created my Aaron... Your Alias CAD Geek

ZIP IT AutoCAD Electrical

The project enviroment gives us the abilty to have great organization of our electrical files. It also provides us a very easy way to capture and share files with using zip. Using zip not only gives us the ability to share all or some of our drawing files but also the ability to capture our project file (.wdp) and the option to capture the database file (.mdb) for the project itself.

This is often used for archiving projects and is great when trying to trouble shoot a problem with someone working at a helpdesk since only sending a single drawing may not be enough information to trouble shoot the problem at hand.

Tip: For any drawing to be zipped it can not be active.

Lets take a look.

Created by Dave one of the Cad Geeks

Dim Scales on Detail Drawings

One of the really nice features that AutoCAD Mechanical has going for it today is its ability to manage your dimscale factor on the fly.

How many times have you created a drawing and then ran out of space on the sheet and had to change its over all scale?

Well with AutoCAD Mechanical those worries are over. The dimensions will update to the sheet scale on the fly for you.

Check out this video:

Jim.....Another INCAT CAD Geek!

Design Accelerators - Part 2 - Keys

Exploring the Design Accelerators a little more, leads us to the next part of our design process. Today we'll add a keyway and key to our V-Belt design we created in Part 1. These tools allow us to design in the context of our assembly and concentrate on functionality rather than modeling individual components. Let's take a look...

John with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Vault - Double Click View or Open?

Depending on your workflow, you may want to change one of the default settings in Vault or Productstream that controls the double click response. The default response is to Open the file in its native application, but some people would rather get a better View of the design or drawing without taking the time to open it in the CAD software. Try changing the double click setting in the options dialog box if you want to change the behavior.

Check out this video for an example:

Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Alias Place Tool

The Place tool is an awesome tool when you need to locate or move geometry to a specific location. Have you ever imported some geometry and it's not located in the correct location? This can be a little frustrating to say the least. The Place tool makes moving that geometry into position a piece of cake!

Click HERE to watch the video...

Created by Aaron... Your Alias CAD Geek

Item Numbers AutoCAD Electrical

Something new added to the 2009 release of AutoCAD Electrical is the ability to assign item numbers on a per part basis. Each multiple catalog assignment can receive its own item number.

Your item numbering options can be found on the components tab of your project properties.

Item numbers are tracked across the complete project which gives you the ability to assign the same item number to the same catalog assignment.

When ballooning the software supports multiple balloons so if a component carries multiple item numbers the multiple balloons are added automatically. Lets take a look at item numbers and balloons.

Created by Dave one of the Cad Geeks

Faster Views with Contours

Another one of the many tools that are inside the AutoCAD Mechanical tools is the "Contour Tools"

When you are creating geometry and need to quickly create optional views from things you have drawn, using the contour tool can save you time and effort in knowing that the optional views have been created identicaly to the original view.

This is a very quick to learn and easy to use tool that will pay off in no time at all.


Jim....Another INCAT CAD Geek.

Vault Viewing - Text Searching Trick

One of my recent finds in the View tab in Vault and Productstream is the ability to do a Text Search within the current visualization file. This allows you to locate specific text on a drawing directly inside the Vault or Productstream interface. Just right click on the view and pick "Search".

Take a look at this short video example:

Watch Video Here

Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Alias - Building Springs

Springs, Coils, Threads... There are many products out there that require us to model these kind of shapes. Until the day comes when Alias has a "Build me a spring" tool we need to build these things manually. In reality it is pretty easy to do and you have a lot of freedom to adjust the way they look...

Click HERE to watch the video

Created by Aaron... Your Alias CAD Geek

Easily Change Verbiage AutoCAD Electrical

Almost every company I work with re-uses design data when it comes to controls engineering. Most common changes maybe descriptions that different companies use, location changes when reusing information at the end of the day there are never or very few times that something does not need to change when reusing designs. There is a great feature inside AutoCAD Electrical that can help making these changes painless. Find/Edit/Replace Component Text command, lets take a look at the steps you need to follow:

Step 1
Select the "Find/Edit/Replace Component Text" command from the "Retag Components" fly out toolbar located on the Main Electrical Toolbar.
Step 2
Select either "Project" "Drawing" or "Active Drawing (Pick)". This selection is used for what drawings / items will be processed in the find and replace.
Note: If you select project the next step would be to select the drawings from the project to include in the process. You can select one or all or any amount in between.
Step 3
Select the check marks by the items you wish to search for. Then give the "Find" string of text and the "Replace" string of text. Then click "Start Search".
Step 4
Cycle through the results. A dialog box is show with the first result found. The user will see all of the attribute information for that component in the result dialog box. Any item can be changed here before moving on. The user has the option to "Skip to Next" "Replace" or "Replace All".

Let's take a look
Created by Dave one of the Cad Geeks

Getting View Projections Right in AutoCAD Mechanical

From time to time it seems it always becomes necessary to create a drawing for something in 2D.

It could be just a quick sketch or a fully detailed drawing none the less. One thing that is common in them is the need to have views that are projected correctly and that we can be confident in how we generated each view.

One of the nice features in the AutoCAD Mechanical tools is the "Construction Lines" and "Construction Editing Tools"

These sets of tools empower the 2D designer to make faster more accurate views of anything they want to create.

Check out this Video:

I hope you will enjoy using these tools as much as I did when I was a full time designer.

Jim.....Another INCAT CAD Geek!

Design Accelerators - Part 1 - V-Belt

The Design Accelerators in Autodesk Inventor allow you to concentrate on your designs and if they will function, rather than worry about creating solid model geometry. These tools are part of the core functionality and in my opinion, are not utilized enough. In the next couple of weeks we'll explore some of the powers that can be utilized to create designs right the first time without the need for manual calculations or prototypes. This week we will focus on creating a belt drive into an existing assembly configuration...Let's take a look.

Hope that helps, see you next week.

John with the INCAT CAD Geeks

Too many file versions in Vault? - Time to Purge.

I have often suggested that a Vault administrator set up a periodic purge of old file versions, but many people are worried that something important could be lost in an automatic scripted purge. If you occasionally run across a few files with way too many versions stored in Vault, you can manually purge just the versions you can do without. Just right click on the versions to remove in the History tab and pick "Purge".

Take a look at this video based example:

Contributed by Ben of the INCAT CAD Geeks

Alias Iso Angle Tool Color

The Iso Angle tool in AliasStudio is a great tool for the evaluation of highlights on a surface. Some people just don't like the default color scheme of black, white, and red. This quick video will show you how to customize the color of this tool.

Click HERE to watch the video

Created by Aaron... Your Alias CAD Geek