Thursday, July 23, 2009

But wait....there's more!

Further to the cunning plan for a pdf-dwg partnership: This does not allow for the fact that quite often we make use of tabs in a drawing, which leads to the unfortunate case where we might have Layout 1 being issue B and Layout 2 could be issue C.

What then? Well, how about naming such drawings as 1234XB.dwg? The X would indicate that this is a multi-layout drawing and the B would mean that at least one of the layouts was issue B.

This still does not get around the problem of the pdf viewing person knowing if say Layout 1 was up to date or not. A possible solution could be a simple txt file kept in the same directory, named the same as the drawing, for instance 1234X.txt. In this file might be:
The program mentioned in the previous post might access this file and display these contents.

The hard part is, now we have loaded up the poor old draftsman with yet another piece of beaurocracy, the last thing he needs. I have seen somewhere a program (lisp/script) that does do updating of revisions-maybe this might be the method?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A search for an Autocad Viewer

Ah....Progress. Once upon a time our network enabled us to have access to our c: drives and if we asked our administrator nicely, he would install such goodies as the free Autodesk Viewer called True View. Due to whatever, this access was removed-probably it is safer that way! We are now administered from a different country.

New network whatsits were duly installed, and True View was removed (they said it clashed with the network...) and replaced with a different one. The replacement however, was obviously designed only for use with 2D drawings. Apparently, in some countries, 2D drawings are all the rage! So I guess it's my fault for doing all those 3D drawings.

Feeling a bit guilty, I have started a search for a drawing viewer that can view and print 3D Autocad drawings.

My first port of call was eDrawings, from SolidWorks. On first use, this appeared to do the job, but to get hidden views, you have to shade the viewport. On shading, the hiding appears not to be 100%, although I suppose if one were stuck it could be used. I have to say that in model space the shaded model works really well with my Quadro 1500 card. The only hitch with the 3D orbit being that it could do with an "Autocad Style" constrained orbit tool. Anybody listening at Solidworks?

One of my suggestions a year ago was to just have me print out the drawing as a PDF and store that on the network drive. After all, everyone has Adobe Reader, right? It was pointed out there is one serious flaw with this idea: How can anyone be sure that that this PDF is the latest issue? Which brought up the curly subject of issues.

Where I work, I am mostly the only draftsman, and most of the drawings are for internal use. So we have been relaxed about issues, just occasionally doing them, not really serving any purpose. The drawings that I know may get issued outside, get revisions.

There is an answer of sorts here: If the file is labelled say 1234B.dwg and the pdf is 1234B.pdf, then we can be reasonably sure that they are in sync. Maybe the answer is a small program that acts as a front end, so if say a person wants a particular file, they look it up using this program, which checks the filename of the pdf against the dwg filename, then shells out to a viewer such as Adobe or Foxit. By the way, Adobe/Foxit, if you are listening, how about checking how Autocad uses the mouse for zooming and panning?

One of the next viewers I tried, which will remain nameless, did not seem to run on Vista, so I could not try it out.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Two screens or not two screens?

My new work computer came with one screen, a 22" widescreen. Initially, I thought, let's not be too precious here....I can work on one screen just like all the other draftees I know.

The answer was, yes, you can, but what a pain! What I really missed was the properties pallete, and the tool palletes. When I first looked at the back of the little HP, I could only see a vga port, indicating to me that this would only take one screen.

One of my fellow workers then pointed out that there was another outlet and that you could indeed have two screens. The other port looked just like a USB, but apparently is a special HP thing for having another screen. It needed a special adaptor to connect to my 20" Philips LCD, but apart from that I was soon up and running. My old computer looks a bit minimalist now, with just a 17" screen.

At this point I realised how faded the old monitor had become-or was it always like that?!
I have turned brightness to 100% and upped the contrast, so it is still usable.