Archive for October, 2006

AutoCAD 2007 Hotfix Announced

27 October 2006

If you’re having dramas with your shiny new AutoCAD 2007 (or 2007-based products such as Mech Desktop or the Revit series) crashing on you, then this Hotfix update from Autodesk might be useful.

According to Autodesk, AutoCAD® 2007-based products may crash when closing drawings. This problem can also manifest itself while saving or plotting drawings.

Find the update at


Great CAD Disasters

26 October 2006

I was thinking the other day (always dangerous) about how some things have changed in CAD, yet others haven’t. One of the things that hasn’t changed is the ability of, ahem, shall we say, less than perfect operators to be really stupid. Here’s one example that came to mind.

Many years ago, I worked in an office when Acad was introduced, R2.5 I think. One of the partners decided that this new fangled CAD was the way of the future, so he set about learning by doing it. All very noble, I’m sure.

Anyhow, he was working on a big drawing, weeks of work, all day long. Somebody had said that it’s best to leave computers running 24h per day, so that’s what we did.

Our partner wasn’t a power user, so he typed in every command longhand, e.g. ERASE, OFFSET etc.  This time he mis-typed OFFSET and didn’t notice it.  We work in metric, units are millimetres, so he typed something like OFSET 10000 to get a 10 metre offset. Only thing was, the previous command was UNDO. If you type an unknown command, you got the previous command back, in this case UNDO. So, in effect he undid 10000 commands!

There was the amazing look of horror on his face as he watched his drawing literally unravel before his eyes. A little knowledge is said to be a dangerous thing, so, naturally, the next thing he does is to SAVE the drawing. Not once, but 2 or 3 times. Bear in mind that the computer was not switched off overnight, and this is well before the
days of networks and multiple backups. There was no way around it, he had overwritten all his work with an empty drawing.

As far as I know, he hasn’t touched CAD since.

Where Are My Linetypes?

19 October 2006

As the “CAD Guru” for one of Melbourne’s larger architectural practices, I’m often called on to solve problems that users face. I’ve found that the same questions tend to surface with rather monotonous regularity, so I’ll include a few of them on this blog. I thought that readers may (possibly) benefit from them. The first one is a relatively long one, so please bear with me. If you have any comments or suggestions, don’t hesitate to email me at (remove trousers to reply!) For this tip at least, I’m most interested if you can come up with any other ways to fix linetypes.

Where Are My Linetypes?

Often, people have trouble getting linetypes to display correctly. Typically, a line which should show as dashed looks like a continuous line. Some of the most common reasons for this are:

1. The drawing’s LTSCALE is not correctly set. For a 1:1 drawing (like a plot sheet in paper space) this should be set to 1.0. For other scales, use the plot scale as the LTSCALE. For example, a 1:100 drawing in model space might have LTSCALE = 100. Note that your office may vary if you use a different linetype definition.

To change the drawing’s LTSCALE, type .LTSCALE at the command prompt. Note the “.” before the LTSCALE. This ensures that the built-in LTSCALE command is used rather than one which may have been undefined or altered by, say, a lisp routine.

2. Layer definition. An obvious one, perhaps, but still worth checking. The layer the entity is on should be defined with the desired linetype.

3. Object linetype should be “bylayer.” Sometimes objects can be defined with linetype “continuous.” This will prevent the object taking on any other linetype such as dashed. Find this in the MODIFY dialog box, accessed by typing MO at the command line. It’s in the General section of the dialog box.

4. If this looks OK, then check the LT scale of the actual object. The object LT scale acts as a multiplier of the global LT scale referred to above. This should be 1.0, but sometimes people change this to another value. Again, find this in the MODIFY dialog box, accessed by typing MO at the command line. It’s in the General section of the dialog box.

5. If you’re having trouble with linetypes in paper space, switch to model space and see how they look. If the linetypes show correctly in model space, but not paper space, check the PSLTSCALE setting. It should be set to 1, not 0.

6. Linetype definition. If all this fails to solve the problem, you might have an incorrect linetype definition loaded into the drawing. Use the LINETYPE command to reload the chosen linetype. Check with your CAD Manager to check which linetype definition file you should use. In our office, the linetype file to load is called ACAD.LIN, not ACADISO.LIN. It might even pay to check that the ACAD.LIN file hasn’t been altered: open it in Windows Notepad and check the definitions in it.

Minutes of Committee Meeting 10 October 2006

19 October 2006

(Victoria Associations Incorporation Act 1981(as at 01 July 1998) Registered No. A 0013467S)
Postal Address: PO Box 466 ELSTERNWICK VIC 3185

There were five Committee members in attendance.


Three apologies were acknowledged.

The President thanked all for attending and declared the meeting open(ed) at 8.30 pm.

Minutes of Previous Committee Meeting (30 August 2006):
Minutes of the Committee meeting of 30 August 2006 as circulated were received and adopted as a true record.

Business Out of the Minutes of Previous Meeting:
GST system – VICAUG to stay in or “Opt Out” from the “GST System”?:
There was no further discussion on the merits and effort of VICAUG remaining in the GST system or whether to “opt out” of it.

2006/07 membership subscription:
Members have been notified by an emailed Tax Invoice of the amount of the 2006/07 membership subscription/s and the “due date” (07 October 2007) for payment of this/these amount/s.

Treasurer’s “Finances and Membership” Report:
Bank Balance/s:

2006/07 Membership Report:
numbers and payments are satisfactory under the circumstances.

Financial management:
Not discussed other than in very brief and general terms as all was deemed to be satisfactory for 2006/07.

MS “Excel” *.xls format (spread-sheet) Membership data report:
Discussed – no changes to be made.

Vice President’s Report on Membership data-base (MS “Outlook” *.pst format):
Discussed – no changes to be made.

General Business:
Vicaug web site – upgrade:
The Vicaug web site requires “updating”. This matter is being progressed but due to other commitments the web-page will be deferred for about 2 -3 weeks when a draft will be circulated to Committee members.

Dates for General Meetings for 2005/06 (subject to confirmation):
General meetings will continue to be held on the first Monday of “even” months of each year at:
RMIT Building 94, 5th. Floor, 23-27 Cardigan Street, CARLTON VIC 3053 (“Melway” Reference: 2B-E11) commencing at 6.30 pm.

The dates for General meetings, subject to confirmation, are:
– 2006: 04 Dec.
– 2007: 05 Feb; 02 Apr; 04 Jun; 06 Aug; 01 Oct; and 03 Dec

Notices of General Meeting/s:
Members will be advised individually by email of Notice/s of Meetings. Notices/advices will also be published on the “VICAUG News” web log (“blog”) for the wider distribution to and interest of/by “other interested parties”.

Presentation Topics:
a. December 2006:
– “Dynamic blocks” (Part 1): Peter Godfrey;
– “News from the Pews”: Mark Miller;
– “Tips and Tricks”: Mark Miller;
– (any) :others”: to be advised (by Mark Miller)

b. February 2007:
– “Layers – management”: Peter Godfrey
– “Dynamic Blocks” (Part 2): Peter Godfrey;
– “Struct Plus”: Peter Coburn – Mark Miller to advise.

April 2007:
– AutoCAD 2007: Steve Hunter – Mark Miller to advise.

d Possible topics for future meeting/s (to be determined/confirmed):
– Security of Drawings and files
– Presentations of Drawing Standards and AS1100 – Mark Miller
– Various computer/computing-related general interest and AutoCAD-specific interest items – by various Committee members
– AutoDesk “Inventor” – Mark Miller to advise.
– “Shareware” and “Freeware” (various) – Mark Miller to advise.

4. General Discussion and Speculation (On-going):
General discussion on CAD, computer, training and employment matters.

5. Secretary & Public Officer not to nominate or to be (re)nominated for 2007/08:
The Secretary & Public Officer advised and confirmed that he will not nominate or be (re)nominated for election/appointment at rhe 2007 Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held in August 2007. His tenure as Secretary & Public Officer of Vicaug Inc. will thus cease at and as from the 2007 AGM

The Committee will deal with this matter in due course.

Committee Listing:
A listing of the 2006/07 Committee members, restricted to Committee members, updated by the Secretary, has been sent to the Committee.

Minutes of Committee Meetings:
Full copies of the Minutes of Committee meetings in email (i.e. *.eml format) form are to be forwarded by the Secretary to all Committee members for review and comment.

“Summarised” versions/copies of the Committee Meeting Minutes are to be forwarded as emails by the Secretary to Committee members for review and comment prior to the “blog” administrator/Editor (Peter Godfrey) forwarding it/them by email to subscribing members.

A general interest summarised version of the Minutes will be provided for up-loading to the “blog”.

“Vicaug Newsletter” “weblog” (“blog”):
Not discussed.

Not discussed.

Dates of and venues for Committee Meetings:
Committee Meetings are run in accordance with the agreed Agenda which will be included in the Notice of Committee Meeting which is to be e-mailed to all Committee members prior to each and all Committee meetings.

Dates of Committee meetings – held monthly – are:
– “even” months: the Wednesday evening of the week following a General meeting; and
– “odd” months: Wednesday evenings four weeks (28 days) after the “even” month Committee meeting.
– 2006: 15 Nov; and 13 Dec.
– 2007: 24 Jan; 14 Feb; 14 Mar; 11 Apr; 16 May; 13 Jun; 18 Jul; 15 Aug; 12 Sep; 10 Oct; 14 Nov;and 12 Dec.

Venue for Committee meetings:
Committee meetings are to be held at the residence of a Committee member.

“Other” matters:
There were no “other matters”.

Next Committee Meeting:
The next Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday 15th. November 2006 at the residence of a Committee member.
The Secretary is to email Notice of Committee Meeting/s to Committee members on receipt of advice from the President.

There being no further business, the President thanked all Committee members for attending, thanked Peter and Ruth Godfrey for having us as guests.

He then Closed the meeting at 10.30 pm.

(M.J. Ginnane)
Secretary and Public Officer.

Minutes of the October 2006 General Meeting

17 October 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.

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

Minutes of Previous Meeting (August 2006):
The Minutes of the previous General Meeting held on the 7th. August 2006 as circulated in “Vicaug News” – (weblog – aka “blog”) 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 in his opening address, welcomed all in attendance. He advised that we have an excellent presentation this evening.

Keeping up to date with VICAUG news and any other matters:
The President advised that members should regularly “log on” to the VICAUG Weblog (“blog”) site at and VICAUG’s web page at – both of which are (to be) regularly updated – to keep themselves aware of items of interest.

“SketchUp” 3D-modelling multi-purpose CAD program: by Chris Needham and Jeremy Tan, both of (the) c3group Consulting Services, PO Box 1198, HAWKSBURN VIC 3192 Phone: (03)9731 1113; Mobile: 0434 954 274 email: Net:

Chris and Jeremy – both Directors of the c3Group – gave an excellent presentation of “SketchUp” – a 3D modelling CAD package – and really put it “through its paces”.

The range, scope of ability, applications and versatility of “SketchUp” were quite amazing – particularly when being “driven” by such an experienced operator as Chris Needham.

SketchUp is not too difficult to learn at all. The interface is remarkably intuitive and the operator can focus more on the required design than “driving” the application as is all too often the case with “other” “heavy” CAD software.

A very comprehensive “question and answer” session was incorporated into the presentation as were demonstrations both by way of clarification of issues and questions from the audience.

The presentation covered many applications and disciplines and some who might have been sceptical at the start were very impressed indeed.

“SketchUp” is owned by (“the”) “Google”. There is a truly “free” downloadable version which is very capable. A much more versatile and powerful version can be down-loaded and purchased at a very reasonable cost.

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.

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

Next Meeting:
The next General meeting is intended to be held on Monday 4th. December 2006 at this venue i.e. RMIT Building 94, 5th. Floor at 23-27 Cardigan Street, CARLTON – commencing at 6.30 pm.

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 October 2006 Meeting

15 October 2006

We started the evening with a presentation of Sketchup by Chris Needham. Chris is an independent consultant working in training and employment placement.

Sketchup leans towards architectural design, but can be used for other purposes such as mechanical applications. Chris started the demo by quickly constructing a site plan with contours which were then smoothed out to produce a credible looking surface.

Chris showed us how to create a model of a building on the site. The main purpose of Sketchup is as a presentation tool. Modelling in, say, Revit and presenting in Sketchup is a powerful combination.

Sketchup models only faces, not solids, so it’s relatively fast compared to solid modelling software lile Revit or Inventor. Performance is quite snappy on the laptop computer that Chris used for the demo.

The latest version of Sketchup is Version 5. It costs about AU$800.

To finish off the evening, Mark led us in looking at some humour from one of the CAD magazines and then at the latest issue of Cadalyst magazine. The July issue focussed on graphics cards for CAD, especially ATI and nVidia. These reviews are interesting because they concentrate on the cards’ performance in CAD rather than the more usual gaming applications. By the way, it seems that the cards to get are the nVidia Quadro series, either the FX1500 at about AU$800 or the FX3500 at about AU$1500.