Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How to be More Efficient in AutoCAD - Part 6

CAD-a-Blog has been running a series called "How to be More Efficient at AutoCAD." Part 5 is going to take a look at using Fields to increase Efficiency and decrease errors.

Part One talks about "double fisted" cadding. I call it Double Fisted because the theory takes advantage of both of the users hands to input commands and data. One hand works the keyboard while the other manipulates the mouse. This way time is saved by eliminating mouse movements across the screen to invoke commands.

Part Two discuses Template Use. Starting a file with a template provides a file that is already set up and ready to use. Users will not have to tale the time to get the file where it needs to be in order to draw. Another time saver.

Part Three looks at referencing files. Referencing files means that users can create a data source that can be used in multiple files. Change the model, or base file, and the sheet files are instantly updated. We also, briefly, discusses referencing OLE objects, sharing data between reports, letters, and drawings.

Part Four demonstrates how Sheet Sets can be used to manage your drawing sets, files, data management and batch plotting.

Part Five saw how fields can be used to maintain data in text, reduce revision time, share data between files. Again, going with the less is less theory.

How to be More Efficient at AutoCAD
- Part 6 -

Do you use blocks to create repetitive line work? Peraps you have parts, structures, or symbols that are used over and over again. This is why we use CAD and this is why AutoCAD uses blocks.

Dynamic Blocks take us to a new level in repetitive task operations. It presents the user with a means to use line work over again and to change that line work with GRIPS. Yes, changing a dynamic block is a simple click and drag-done! Remember our hypothesis is that in order to get our work done more quickly, we need to do less work! Dynamic blocks help us do this.

A dynamic block is not static. It can be altered on the fly, to predetermined states, without having to edit the block. It allows users to have choices in their design. Before dynamic blocks, users would have to insert their company's standard block for a 1" hex head bolt. If your spec changed that bolt to a 2" hex head bolt, you would either edit the block, or insert a new one, after deleting the old one. Too much work. Now users can create a standard dynamic block that can be changed via grips to alter the size of the bolt, and even the length if so desired!

Having to change this block once or twice is not that big of a deal, I agree. But imagine if you had to change every bolt in the entire project! That is a lot of work. But with dynamic blocks you can change each block with one click and one drag, a lot less work. It is especially nice when there are specific blocks that ave to be changed.

Another benefit to dynamic blocks is in standard maintenance. Many users may not be aware of this problem because company standards are often taken care of by an individual or small group of individuals. Regardless, most users ave had to update blocks or templates at one time and it can devour our resources. Dynamic blocks help by reducing the number of blocks needed in a company standards library. Before, users had to crate blocks for every change, or option possible. Now users can create one block that has multiple options added in. If the basic design of te block needs to change, then you only change one block, not several. Again, doing less work and spending less time.
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