Archive for the ‘The Hmmm Zone’ Category

Lost your Block Authoring Palettes?

8 July 2009

Yesterday one of our more advanced AutoCAD users had a peculiar problem. When using the Block Editor to edit dynamic blocks, he was not seeing the usual block authoring palettes (these are the tool palettes containing actions, parameters etc.) Instead he was seeing only the regular office tool palettes. So he was unable to create dynamic blocks.

Well, after a bit of messing around, I found that the path in Options/Files/Authoring Palette File Locations had been fiddled with to include one of the office palettes. I’m not sure how this happened, but I know that one of our CAD “gurus” has been playing with tool palettes. Anyhow, removing this stray entry fixed the problem.


14 March 2008

It’s about time for a little bit of Friday humour. Here’s one for the DIY/mechanics amongst us.

Found at

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted vertical stabilizer which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.
WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light . Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned cleco calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, “Oh sh*t!”
ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age.
SKILL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.
PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.
BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.
HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.
VISE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
WELDING GLOVES: Heavy duty leather gloves used to prolong the conduction of intense welding< /SPAN> heat to the palm of your hand.
OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub you want the bearing race out of.
TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.
HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.
EIGHT-FOOT LONG YELLOW PINE 2X4: Used for levering an automobile upward off a trapped hydraulic jack handle.
E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool ten times harder than any known drill bit that snaps neatly off in bolt holes thereby ending any possible future use.
BAND SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminium sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.
TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.
CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 24-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A very large pry bar that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposite the handle.
PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids and for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt, but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.
STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws.
PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.
HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to make hoses too short.
HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit.
MECHANIC’S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.
DAMMIT TOOL: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling “DAMMIT” at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.

The Wonderful Wide Web

5 March 2008

Ellipse Template

For those of us who get all misty eyed in the nostalgia of ellipse templates, rapidograph pens and adjustable triangles, check out the Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies:
It’s amazing how quickly these things have become symbols of a past, glorious, era.

Ya Gotta be Effing Joking!

25 January 2008

I don’t need to tell you that spam is a real problem in email, but sometimes the sheer ineptitude of spammers amazes me. I got one today flogging engineering mold making services which contained this line:

All our Engineers are with good level of English understanding, which give them the ability on communication with the customers.

‘Nuff said, really.

Is Your Ass Too Small?

3 January 2008

While looking for a big ceiling fan to circulate air in a public swimming pool building, we came across this company:
Yes, it’s actually real –it’s an American company who makes ceiling fans from 6ft up to about 24ft (that’s 24 FEET!) in diameter. The web site is full of zany humour: it actually makes fun of a pretty tedious job to select a fan. (It includes answers to essential questions like: Who abducted Riley Martin? and Do I have to kneel before Zod?) Check it out.

Handy Hint

1 April 2007

From the Autodesk Autocad 2007 Newsgroup:


I exploded a complicated tube frame. I now want to turn it back into a solid so i can perform a ” subtract” operation between two volumes.

How do I reverse “explode”?