Monday, February 16, 2009

Efficiency and quality

I was given a short job to do the other day. Just a flow diagram. I looked at it and said to myself that this should take 15 minutes. It took 45 minutes. I can only say in my defence there is a lot of typing in this drawing, and maybe I am a slower typist than I think.

Have a look, and if you feel keen, see if you can break the 45 minutes. I am sure some will do it in 15 minutes.

Which got me thinking: should I have used dtext instead of mtext? Is there a lisp routine around that draws boxes around text? Bet there is...

On another job, I received back from an outside firm some of my drawings, with corrections. It was a bit embarassing as they found all sorts of minor things like missing section titles and so on.

So all this comes down to:"How am I doing, quality-wise?" Answer: Could be better!

With 3D, it is all to easy to have dimensions/text in paper space that become unhinged when you are correcting the model. Maybe there could be a correction detector that operates within Autocad and points out the little disparities. At the moment, you might get on the command line a comment like "dimension disassociated".

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Drawing a proposed cycle-way

Here is my proposal for a bike cycle-way design.
On my various rides I have thought about various features a good design might have:

1. It must be as flat as possible, or going slightly down-hill if at all possible.

2. It must keep off the rain and sun, yet still offer the riders a view of some sort,as well as ventilation.

3. The route should be as direct as possible.

4. There should be enough width for 3 cyclists coming and 3 going. The reasoning behind this is that if you are cycling with a friend, you will need 2 spaces, and that leaves one space for quicker passing cyclists.

5. There should be a barrier, about 800mm high between the opposing flows of traffic.
6. If possible, it should look modern and elegant.

The upshot of all of the above, is a cycle-way that is about 6.3m wide, if weallow for 3m each side and say 100mm for walls and barrier.
One thing is that these would be made in a factory and it is probable the length would be limited to how much length the roads can take.I have guessed at 32m.

Other aspects of my design could be criticised:
1. 6.3m wide is quite wide: could this be cut back by having the other opposing traffic in its own span?

2. There is a privacy issue for people living beneath one of these things-It is possible there could be screens over the window openings.

3. Every 32m there would have to be a very solid tower to hold it all up. This tower would have to be capable of having a truck run into it, if it is anywhere near a road...which is likely.

All we need now is a concrete designer to work out the loadings!
Re Autocad R2010:after my last post, I checked out RobiNZ cad blog (see the link in the links part) and had a look at the official web launch demo. I think the 3D free form modelling seems to have a lot of good things going for it, and the demo shows off the parametrics quite well.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Autocad R2010.

You can go to other places to find out which commands have been added and indepth analysis of all that is new with this. Here, you will only find my short take on what has been added.

Firstly, nothing dramatically new as far as I am concerned, because I am a 3D user. The only things I can think of as far as 3D is concerned, is that there has been a heavy effort on the part of the programmers to tighten up the display - ie when using 3d shading. The shading in previous versions has sometimes not looked the greatest, (it seems to vary from drawing to drawing), so this is most welcome, and is the part I look forward to most in the new release.

It seems a far more responsive program than before, but this is hard to judge as I've only tried it on an old Athlon 3500 with a cheap video card, on Windows XP. I'm curious as to how it goes on Vista.

For 2D users and new users the picture is different: A rearranged ribbon for commands, and for the first time, parametrics and constraints. Not to be left out, dynamic blocks have been revamped to make them easier to use.

Because the parametrics are only usable in 2d, I don't plan on using them. My work is so varied that dynamic blocks are not much use to me either.

Some 2D draftees will no doubt get excited by the parametrics. When I say 2d, this is not strictly true, as one enterprising person made two 3D blocks that each contained lines in them, and did a stunning animation of a rack and pinion.

There is a new file format, R2010.

Just in case you don't know what parametrics are, all it means is say you draw a rectangle and tell it that the two horizontal lines are always to be parallel (ie constrained) and the same for the two vertical ones, then if you stick one of the new special dimensions on the rectangle, then this gives you the ability to click on the constraint dimension and change it. This will cause the geometry to change. Quite a leap for Autocad, shame it is not available in 3D!

There is now the ability to bring a pdf file into your drawing. I have just tried this out and it is quite impressive for two reasons:
1. In a multipage file you are given the option of picking which one you need.
2. You can draw lines etc over the top of the pdf and it will snap to sensible parts of the pdf!

There are other items, such as measuring that have had an extreme makeover and I look forward to having these tools available. For instance there is now an area tool that highlights it's boundary so you can tell what is being measured. A small thing, to be sure, but if you add up all these small things, they start to add up to a compelling release.

Remember the fun of hatching using Autocad? There is now a new helper in your war: little red circles showing where the problem is. Again a small thing....but.

Express Tools now come ready installed on the menu bar, which by default is turned off!
If you want it back, there is a little down arrow next to the printer button.....this is the only thing you need to remember!