Archive for March, 2006

AutoCAD 2007 Announced

28 March 2006

Autodesk has announced the availability in Australia of AutoCAD 2007.

The release focusses on enhancements to 3D modelling and also to improvements in the user interface. I won’t go into the fine details here. Steve Hunter will tell us all about it at the next meeting (3rd April), and there are many resources on the web describing these new features.

One site you may wish to visit (along with of course) is Ellen Finkelstein’s site at where you’ll find one of the best descriptions I’ve seen of the new 3D features.

Pricing in Australia hasn’t been announced, but is expected to rise in line with the USA price increase. It’s now US$3995 in the USA.

April 2006 General Meeting Notice

23 March 2006

G’day Folks

The April 2006 Vicaug General Meeting will be held on Monday 3rd April at the usual venue, i.e. 55 Walsh St West Melbourne. The meeting room is opened around 6pm and we serve pizza and drinks around 6:30. The presentations kick off at 7pm. Speaking of which, these will be

News for the Pews by Mark Miller


AutoCAD 2007 by Steve Hunter of Onset Design

Apparently, Mark has a whole lot of news for us, from far and wide and about topics not just AutoCAD but of the world of gadgets and computing stuff. And, of course, Steve Hunter needs no introduction to most of us. He’s a recognised expert on AutoCAD and specialises in CAD, imaging and document management solutions. So, come along and find out what all the fuss is about with AutoCAD 2007!

Locking Tool Palettes

23 March 2006

How do I lock Tool Palettes?

Yes, you can lock them.  You can lock them all at once by making the “AcTpCatalog.atc” file read only.  Or you can make individual ones locked by making their respective atc files read only.  You will then see a little image of a lock on the tool palette the next time you start AutoCAD.

Minutes of General Meeting – February 2006

15 March 2006

(Victoria Associations Incorporation Act 1981(as at 01 July 1998) Registered No. A 13467)

Postal Address: PO Box 466, ELSTERNWICK VIC 3185







As per Attendance Book.

Apologies were received.


As recorded on the Attendance sheet.

The President, Mark Miller, welcomed everyone attending, requested them to ensure that they had registered on the Attendance sheet, and opened the February 2006 General Meeting at 6.30 pm.

Minutes of Previous Meeting (December 2005):
The Minutes of the previous General Meeting held on the 12th. December 2005 as circulated with the Notice Paper in the “Newsletter” were received, adopted and approved. There was no business from the Minutes of the previous Meeting.

The President’s Opening Address (the Prez Sez):
The President opened this our first meeting of 2006 and of VICAUG’s 21st. year and welcomed all in attendance.

He reminded members that did not attend the December 2005 meeting and/or did not receive their laptop bag can collect it from the Treasurer (Gordon Adams).

He advised that VICAUG is a “User Group” with its focus being on advancing the interests of its members. To this end, it would be better if more members were be involved in the group’s activities. A way of meeting this objective is for members to deliver presentations on subjects of common interest. An example would be AutoCAD tutorial sessions. The President sought volunteers from the members to deliver presentations.

New/another/alternate Venue required for bi-monthly General Meetings:

The President advised that:

a. Members should regularly “log on” to the VICAUG Weblog (“blog”) site to keep themselves aware of items of interest;

b. This particularly applies to the venue for future General Meetings as it is by no means certain that we will be using this venue beyond or after the next meeting on Monday 03 April 2006. This is due to the Department of Human Services (DHS) “moving house” soon and we will need to find another place to hold our meetings.

c. Members are requested to assist as a matter of urgency as this issue/matter needs to be resolved urgently;

d. if you have any ideas, let a committee member know or drop an email to Peter Godfrey at pgodfrey at netspace dot net dot au. (replace the appropriate words with punctuation or course); and

e. Keep “logging on” to the VICAUG “blog” at: for regular updates of/on this and other matters.


1.  “AutoCAD Testing” –  by Mark Miller, President of VICAUG Inc.
A considerable problem in the “AutoCAD” “industry” is the selection of candidates and staff to use AutoCAD. It is very difficult to discover who “knows” and can competently “use” AutoCAD – and/or its many variants/”releases” and “sub-sets” – which also applies to other Autodesk products as well.

Several relatively simple tests were or can be used to assess the basic competence of a potential AutoCAD operator (either as “staff” or as a “(sub?) contractor”).

Even though some of the questions seemed to be no more than “fairly basic”, it was a surprise to see how much discussion there can be with regard to what are relative simple commands. The command format may have changed in later “releases” than as it was in “earlier” versions of AutoCAD – hence how and when the test was set had a significant bearing on the test outcome/s. Inadvertent or unintentional real or imagined ambiguity in the question/s are also factors that can affect the test “outcome/s”.

Needless to say, there was considerable “discussion” – and some “red herrings” and tangents” that arose during the course of some “interesting” and entertaining discussion.


2. “Tips and Tricks” – by Mark Miller:
Mark Miller demonstrated and informed of many useful ” tips and tricks”  to streamline and maximise efficiencies in the use of AutoCAD.

The “Tips and Tricks” referred to are to be published as separate articles/items in the “Tips and Tricks” section of the VICAUG Weblog (aka “blog”). 


3. “More AutoCAD Techniques” –  by Chris Needham

(a director of the C3 Consulting group (

Chris Needham is very obviously a very good presenter with a diverse knowledge of the intricacies of operating AutoCAD. His presentations justify careful attention as there is a lot to be learned from them by AutoCAD users across the whole competency spectrum. It is intended that Chris be a regular presenter at VICAUG General meetings as his presentations are very popular, educational and thought-provoking.

Chris commenced with some extraordinary images of work by Santiago Calatreva, a very well regarded architect .

It is easy to see that this sort of work would suit AutoDesk “Revit” very well as the works and “Revit” seemed to be made for each other.

Again, Chris Needham’s topics are to be published as separate articles/items in the “Tips and Tricks” section of the VICAUG Weblog (aka “blog”). 

“Thank You’s”:
The President thanked the presenters for excellent presentations. He also thanked members who had attended and participated in the presentations.

Reporting on Technical Aspects relating to Technical Aspects of Presentations Etc:
These minutes are of a general(ised) and “précis” nature only.

A more focussed, technical and topic-specific report by “others/another” will appear in the VICAUG  Weblog (i.e. “blog”) – which is published on a “continuing/ongoing” basis at:

The “blog” report/s will also include all links relating to the subject matter of these Minutes.
Next Meeting:
The next General meeting is intended to be held on Monday 6th. June 2006 at a venue yet to be determined and advised as it is quite possible that we will not be able to use the current venue – i.e. the Conference Room, 1st. Floor, 55 Walsh Street, North Melbourne -commencing at 6.30 pm.

Members will be advised in due course of the date and venue as this matter is addressed.

There being no further business, the President thanked all for attending, and closed the meeting at 9.30 pm.


Secretary and Public Officer.

Notes on the February 2006 Meeting

14 March 2006

Mark opened this, our first meeting of our 21st year!

A reminder that any members who weren’t at the December meeting and thus didn’t receive their laptop bag can collect it from Gordon Adams.

Being a USER’s group, it’s best that all of us get involved in the group’s activities. One way of acheiving this is by way of doing presentations, perhaps AutoCAD tutorial sessions. Mark called for volunteers from the general membership to give presentations.

Venue required
Keep an eye on this page for announcements re. the venue for the next (April) meeting. The Department of Human Services is moving soon and we will need to find another place to hold our meetings. Please give this some thought as we do need to resolve this issue urgently. If you have any ideas, let a committee member know or drop an email to me at pgodfrey at netspace dot net dot au. (replace the appropriate words with punctuation or course).


Mark Miller – AutoCAD Testing
One of the problems we face in selecting staff to use AutoCAD is finding out who can actually use AutoCAD! We looked at a number of simple tests which can be used to guage the basic competence of an AutoCAD operator.
Although some of the questions appeared at first to be fairly basic, it’s surprising how much discussion can ensue from a relatively simple command. Perhaps the command has changed its format in the current release (compared to when the test was written) or perhaps there was some ambiguity in the question. Either way, it generated a lot of entertaining discussion!

Mark Miller: Tips and Tricks
Mark gave us a whole lot of useful little tips and tricks to streamline your AutoCAD use. I’ve published them as separate articles in the Tips and Tricks section of this blog. See these links:

Chris Needham: More AutoCAD Techniques

New member Chris Needham is a director of the C3 Consulting group ( and is a keen presenter. He clearly displays a vast knowledge of the ins and outs of using AutoCAD on a day to day basis. As such his presentations are not to be missed. (Here’s one for the rumour file – there’s another Chris Needham presentation coming up soon!)

Chris started the presentation with some really beautiful images of works by the renowned architect Santiago Calatreva. This sort of thing is a natural for Revit.

Again, I’ve published Chris’s tips as separate articles. Here are the links:

Dimension Style Families

14 March 2006

Key Tips:

1.          Each type of dimension (RADIUS, LINEAR, DIAMETER, ANGLE etc.) can appear differently but remain part of one dimension style.

2.          By using the properties window, or some customisation, you can create a single dimensions style for all occasions – meaning the user never has to change the style!

3.         In AutoCAD 2006 you can now have fixed length extension lines, varying linetypes for each extension line, jogged radius dimensions, and arc length dimensions.