24 April 2015

Important Free Update for All progeCAD 2016 Users

Sydney, Australia 24 April 2015 - An important update has been released free for all English version progeCAD 2016 Professional Single, USB and Network installations. progeCAD 2016 is a general-purpose 2D/3D DWG/DXF-native CAD, the optimum cost-effective alternative to AutoCAD® and AutoCAD LT®. progeCAD 2016 Professional reads and writes AutoCAD® DWG versions 2.5 - 2016. progeCAD 16.0.6 has been released as both an automatic update and as a fully downloadable package on the CADDIT website. The following is a non-exhaustive list of important improvements have been delivered in progeCAD 2016.0.6.6:
  • Fixed COPYCLIP between progeCAD and other software products
  • Fixed EXTRUDE of not closed polylines but with equal end and start points
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed SPACEBAR to change grip function
  • Layer Manager: Fixed creation of layer group filters
  • Removed wrong ortho glyph used with ETRACK on NWUCS
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed not allowed chars
  • Annotative Dimension: Added regeneration of annotative dimensions to avoid disappearance
  • Fixed BOX command starting from not 0 Z
  • Fixed update of angle with rotation in Z axis in VIEWCTL dialog
  • Fixed ROTATE3D X/Y/Z options in NWUCS
  • Fixed CONE/CYILINDER specify radius with Z point
  • Fixed creation of BOX by length in NWUCS
  • Fixed command WEDGE length option
  • Dynamic UCS: Fixed exception in some cases
  • Disabled OSMODE for command LOFT
  • Annotative blocks: Fixed assign of annotative scale after SAVE and re-OPEN
  • Annotative blocks: Added BLOCKSCACHE variable to disable cache of blocks
  • Annotative blocks: Fixed BLOCKSCACHE change removing automatic reload of current drawing to avoid hang
  • Annotative blocks: Added check to annotative blocks changing active annotative scale, if found pcad asks the user to disable blocks cache and reload drawing
  • Added check to avoid useless and slow set of pdf printer margin
  • Fixed JPEG printer
  • Fixed LOFT command. Now it accepts parameters from LISP
  • Fixed crash/exception saving (also autosave) drawing with thumbnail
  • Fixed save of last used path to allow to set it by external IRX
  • Fixed lisp PRINT and PRIN1 with "\\"
  • Fixed FILLET command of a closed polyline
  • Fixed FLATSHOT and implemented dragging of created blocks
  • Fixed error when autosaving a 2013 drawing
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed CONE, SPHERE, CYLINDER commands typing diameter instead of radius
  • Added new contextual menu items for viewports. "Viewport Clip", "Display Viewport Objects" and "Display Locked".
  • Command VPORTS : Fixed ON/OFF for option Lock
  • Fixed ESNAP on ACIS with NWUCS
  • Dynamic UCS: Added dynamic UCS to CONE command and direction of extrusion
  • Dynamic UCS: Added Dynamic Ucs to WEDGE command
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed NNx and NNxp annotation in ZOOM command
  • Fixed extrude command with mouse direction and esnap
  • Fixed a wrong option in the ucs menu
  • TBSIZE variable set to readonly
  • QLEADER position error (with modified ucs)
  • Fixed specify of height of CILYNDER depending from mouse direction, ESNAP or ORTHO 3d
  • Fixed specify of height of BOX depending from mouse direction, ESNAP or ORTHO 3d
  • Dynamic UCS: Fixed Cylinder command with dynamic UCS
  • Changed the saving version parameter for command line
  • Fixed freeze with files with OLE objects
  • Removed colon at the end of EasyArch object's attributes in the edit object mask
  • Cloud: Fixed save to cloud without fonts
  • Fixed INSERT command setting angle with keyboard and POLAR
  • Fixed Missing Arc Aligned Text label in QSelect
  • Fixed ROTATE command setting angle with keyboard and POLAR
  • Added some check to avoid exception in NCOPY
  • Fixed DWGPREFIX and DWGNAME variable for files in 2013 format
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed dimension pointed lines scale in imperial/metrics drawing
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed height of text in dynamic dimension in drawing if current text style has fixed height
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed FLATTEN prompt for options
  • Dynamic Input: Moved dynamic controls away from cursor position
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed prompt text of command TEXTMASK and MOCORO and various messages in express
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed display of unselected text in dynamic control
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed draw of caret in active edit control
  • Fixed Hatch of dynamic blocks
  • Fixed BREAKLINE command in NWUCS
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed PAN and ZOOM during selection in localized version
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed cursor on mandatory option list after select (PEDIT, IMAGECLIP,...)
  • Removed grips from solid face perpendicular to view direction
  • Fixed position of tooltip of ESNAP/ETRACK/POLAR
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed RAY and XLINE input
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed reset of value in GetString mode
  • Dynamic UCS: Fixed dynamic UCS during RTPAN/RTZOOM
  • Fixed the "File" menu when closed all documents
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed display of dynamic input controls after RTPAN in REVCLOUD command
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed display of selection set coordinate controls after RTPAN
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed options in RASTER commands
  • Dynamic Input: Fixed update of controls and dimensions using only keyboard
     

25 February 2015

Block Data Extraction in progeCAD 2016 for Simple Bill of Materials Reporting

Wikipedia defined a Bill Of Materials, BOM or product structure as "a list of the raw materials, sub-assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, parts and the quantities of each needed to manufacture an end product". Most BOMs are expected to report intelligence about materials, suppliers, part numbers and other attributes of a design's components in a way that is already specific to a certain domain, such as building or machine design or electronics, etc. AutoCAD or progeCAD, on the other hand, are seen as more general-use design standards. These programs are potentially suitable for any of those specific domains when given little extra thought from the user.

To begin with, both progeCAD and AutoCAD support the use of external and internal blocks in a drawing file. Blocks are drawings which can be re-used multiple times in another larger drawing. For example, say we use the same fastener several times in a drawing. Rather than actually drawing the same fastener detail from scratch every time it is needed in a view, our fastener block can be inserted as a reference entity everywhere we want the fastener to appear, saving both data space and drawing time. And if we have a 3D block of the fastener, we can also re-use that block again in all of different views of our drawing. Changes to the block will be reflected everywhere it is used in the drawing. Blocks also offer a great way to represent design components that we want reflected later in a bill of materials. In progeCAD 2016, internal blocks can be made "annotative" so that they scale automatically according to the annotation scale of the viewport. Custom attribute information can be inserted using the ATTDEF command while in the block's "local editing" workspace. A block's custom attributes can be viewed and edited using the BATTMAN command (for ATTEXT they need to be checked with DDATTE - see reason below).


Above is an example of using a simple three-line block defined and inserted in progeCAD, and some additional attributes which we defined using ATTDEF. NOTE: if we are inserting a lot of blocks with a lot of attributes, we can prevent progeCAD from asking us every time to confirm each attribute by setting ATTREQ to OFF. Below see the block attributes listed in BATTMAN:
 
Once we have our blocks inserted and block-attributes defined, we can generate our BOM list. There are several ways we can do this. The easiest way is to use the EATTEXT command (menu "Tools -> Data Extraction.."), choose the default settings offered and select the block attributes desired from the window that follows. progeCAD will display an export preview similar to this one: 
 
 Once we click next, we are offered a variety of output formats, including tab- or comma- separated CSV file which we can then import into a spreadsheet for final touches or incorporation into a larger existing product structure list. We can also output the attribute data to a drawing table. progeCAD has supported TABLES in DWG since version 2014.
 
Another way to generate a basic BOM in progeCAD is using the older ATTEXT command (menu "Tools -> Extract Attributes.."). Note that ATTEXT will only recognize block attributes if they were defined BEFORE the block was inserted into the drawing. EATTEXT does not have this limitation. Using this command allows you to export entity attributes using a pre-defined template file which must be created first. According to progeCAD documentation, the format for this template file is ASCII text series of single line records made of name-format pairs. Each record pair specifies a single attribute to be exported, in the order you wish the attributes to be exported. Here is a list of standard attributes:
BL:LEVEL          NFFF000   (Block nesting level)
BL:NAME           CFFF000   (Block name)
BL:X              NFFFPPP   (X coordinate of block insertion point)
BL:Y              NFFFPPP   (Y coordinate)
BL:Z              NFFFPPP   (Z coordinate)
BL:NUMBER         NFFF000   (Block counter; same for MINSERT)
BL:HANDLE         CFFF000   (Block handle; same for MINSERT)
BL:LAYER          CFFF000   (Block insertion layer name)
BL:ORIENT         NFFFPPP   (Block rotation angle)
BL:XSCALE         NFFFPPP   (X scale factor)
BL:YSCALE         NFFFPPP   (Y scale factor)
BL:ZSCALE         NFFFPPP   (Z scale factor)
BL:XEXTRUDE       NFFFPPP   (X component of block extrusion direction)
BL:YEXTRUDE       NFFFPPP   (Y component)
BL:ZEXTRUDE       NFFFPPP   (Z component)

...and this syntax is used to extract custom attribute data
'C'     literal 'C' indicating character format -or-
'N'    literal 'N' indicating numeric fields
FFF     Width of field (000 - 999)
PPP     Decimal places (.0 - .999)
0         Literal zeros - i.e. character fields have no decimals see below.
for records in the format of:
            CFFF000
            NFFFPPP

For example, to export the "DEMO-MATERIAL" attribute from our example above we would add the following record pair to our template file:
          DEMO-MATERIAL C060000
Which means "character field, maximum length 60, no decimal places"

So, to export, say, block numbers, block names, our material attribute, our cost attribute and lastly our supplier attribute for the drawing of triangle blocks used above we would write this actual template file in notepad and save as, say, "mytemplate.txt":

BL:NUMBER N010000
BL:NAME C060000
DEMO-SUPPLIER C060000
DEMO-COST C010000
DEMO-MATERIAL C060000



NOTE: Creating old ATTEXT templates is evidently a bit tricky. A faulty template file will result in 0 records extracted. It is also reported that these templates have a couple of obscure rules when used in AutoCAD. Each record must be followed by a full DOS carriage return, including the final record (so, no blank lines in between records - but a final blank line with no spaces in it). At least one custom attribute must be in the template otherwise it will silently fail. Because of these problems we recommend using EATTEXT instead of ATTEXT.

We select Comma Delimited Format option for output (this is the same as Excel's CSV file format). The results of ATTEXT in our case came out like this:
 1,'test','Demo Building Supply Pty Ltd','60','Treated Pine'
 2,'test','Demo Building Supply Pty Ltd','60','Treated Pine'
 3,'test','Demo Building Supply Pty Ltd','60','Treated Pine'


These value can be inserted into a spreadsheet or other software for processing into the final Bill Of Material.

24 February 2015

progeCAD 2016 Released with New "Dynamic" Features

Sydney, Australia 24 February 2015 - CADDIT Announces the release of progeCAD 2016 Professional CAD software. Since 2007 progeCAD has delivered the leading low-cost AutoCAD-alternative product for Australia and many other regions. progeCAD offers an affordable way to read and write AutoCAD files, using similar commands and toolbars as used in previous releases of AutoCAD itself. Many choose progeCAD over AutoCAD LT because of it's low cost (currently a little over AUD $500) and features like 3D modelling and AutoLISP which are blocked in AutoCAD LT. progeCAD is commonly used in a wide variety of industry domains, including building design, electrical and plumbing, telecommunications and fibre-optic diagrams, civil land survey, engineering, fabrication, joinery and much more. With progeCAD Professional 2016, a CAD drafter can create very large complex drawings and save directly to AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT without data loss or conversion, as shown:

DWG 2015 Test TrueView
  Left, AutoCAD 2015 DWG, Right same file read in new progeCAD 2016

Existing users who upgrade to progeCAD 2016 version will enjoy a host of new features, including dynamic input at the screen cursor, dynamic UCS for selecting 2D drawing planes on-the-fly, solid grips for editing 3D solids dynamically and support for annotative objects.

progeCAD Dynamic Input
Dynamic input allows the user to enter options and values for drawing commands via context-sensitive "tooltip" boxes and menus which appear near the graphics cursor. progeCAD dynamic input works with geometry, text and dimensions. For some users, this graphical input system seems more "user-friendly" than the traditional command prompt and use of relative polar notation.

Dynamic UCS allow users to choose a 2D planar coordinate system (UCS) merely by starting a drawing command like LINE and "hovering" over supported entities which will temporarily appear 'dashed' indicating a temporary UCS is selected. Both Dynamic Input and Dynamic UCS can be switched off at any time via their buttons on the bottom status bar.

progeCAD Annotative Detailing and Notation
Annotative Objects were introduced in AutoCAD 2008. Using Annotative Objects in progeCAD allows the user to create dimensions, text and even hatches which scale automatically scale according to the viewport or plot scale they are presented with. With more flexible detailing, drafters will not need to create as many text and dimension styles. Those which are created can be more flexible. In progeCAD, to make any supported detailing style or hatch "annotative" simply by clicking the new "Annotative" option provided.

progeCAD 2016 also offers a new ARCTEXT command with a very similar interface to the one provided by AutoCAD Express Tools. You can define text justified to an arc (not a full circle) with options on spacing, height etc. as shown here.
text along arc in progeCAD

New commands also include support for saving drawings and configurations to and from supported Cloud Storage accounts including Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. Since we now live in a time where cloud storage is more common, this new feature may prove very convenient for some users. Other new features include a new BREAKLINE command, updated icons and a larger selection of interface skins to choose from.

progeCAD 2016 Professional is available for immediate download form CADDIT. The new version will run for 30 days with all features enabled, thereafter a license must be purchased. Existing users can purchase an upgrade to progeCAD 2016 Professional from their current version. Any other questions about the new progeCAD 2016 release can be submitted on the CADDIT Contact Page.

19 February 2015

Geomagic Design 2015 (v17) Released, 32 Bit Support by Special Request

Sydney, Australia 19 February 2015 - CADDIT Announces the immediate availability of Geomagic Design 2015 V17 Release. This is somewhat a stability / bugfix release but with several new and important features requested by users in Australia and around the world. 3D Systems demonstrates its commitment to making Geomagic Design an improved tool for 3D mechanical design and drafting with this release. The most significant (and perhaps most understated) enhancement is the long-awaited Global Parameters feature. What are "global parameters"? Basically, a global parameter is a design value or equation which is shared across multiple parts and/or assemblies. The concept is very similar to SolidWorks global variables. Global variable data is stored independently in a newly released format called an ".AD_GLP" file. Any part or assembly can be associated to the values stored in an AD_GLP file.

A new set of Global Parameters can be created in Geomagic Design from the file menu -> "New" -> "Global Parameters" as shown in the Home window screenshot below:

Selecting this file type opens the new Editor interface for Global Parameters as shown. Create new parameters and save the final data as a new AD_GLP:


Your new Global Parameter file can thereafter be selected from any part or assembly and be used in that design by clicking the new "Global Parameters" supplied in both the Part and Assembly menu ribbons. Click "Select File" and choose your newly created AD_GLP file from the folder where it was saved to.




Other new features include: The Isolate command has been added to design instances in the Drawing Explorer. It is used to isolate a design instance in a drawing view, especially ones that are affected by an assembly feature. Standard fundamental deviations and International Tolerance (IT) grades can be selected to create Fit Tolerances on a hole and shaft, which will determine the type of fit. The dialog boxes for creating Reference Geometry have been updated to more intuitively show how reference geometry is created and to visually assist users on the various creation methods that can be used in different reference geometry creation situations. A new "Summary BOM" can now be created from an assembly. It can be used to override the Treat as part in BOM when used as a subassembly option. This is useful for quickly creating a BOM that shows all parts in subassemblies if multiple subassemblies have been set to be treated as a part.

A 32-bit version of Geomagic Design 2015 is still available but only by special request. Users should contact CADDIT for link and availability. Legacy users of Alibre Design Pro and Expert are strongly urged to renew their software maintenance subscription if they wish to take advantage or these new features and the remaining 32-bit -platform support. Subscriptions can be renewed online using this webpage: https://www.caddit.net/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=74&language=en
Google.