Design and Manufacturing solutions through Digital Prototyping and Interoperability

Tag Archives: AutoCAD

Scotty, MText Me Up!

Picture it, the Enterprise is being sucked into a worm hole, and appears headed for destruction. Captain Kirk is screaming for more power to the warp drives.

Star Trek Enterprise CrashingScotty: I’m giving her all she’s got, Captain!
Captain Kirk: All she’s got isn’t good enough! What else ya got?
Scotty: Um… Okay, if we eject the core and detonate, the blast could be enough to push us away! I cannae promise anything, though!
Kirk: DO IT, DO IT, DO IT!

This is what I think when I think about changes to AutoCAD’s MText. What other feature has grown, expanded, and become more powerful over the years than MText? Remember doing single-link text in pre-AutoCAD 2000? Imagine doing it again? Just when you think MText can do everything you need, Autodesk goes and adds some more.

What’s New with MText in AutoCAD 2015?

Transparency

The MText Editor is now fully transparent (with hardware acceleration), meaning you can see all the geometry through the editor. You will now see exactly what you’re going to get with MText, as you create it.

AutoCAD 2015 Transparent MText EditorMatch Properties

Match Properties is now available within the editor, meaning you can match properties between objects within the Editor. Previously it was one MText object to another, not individual components.

AutoCAD 2015 MText Editor Match PropertiescAPS lOCK

Might be my favorite MText enhancement. It’s not uncommon in the Engineering world to work with CAPS LOCKS on as you want your labels and other notes in all CAPS. However, you start hammering away at a note to realize half way through that your CAPS LOCKS was on and now the case of your notes is all off….. BUT NOT ANYMORE!

AutoCAD 2015 CAP LOCKS Feature 01Now when you type with CAPS LOCK on AutoCAD will automatically adjust the text of the first word to the proper case as you hit the spacebar (how do I make MS Word do this?) It will also turn Caps Lock off.

AutoCAD 2015 CAP LOCKS Feature 02Automatic Bullets

Any combination of special characters like .,()<> and a number or character will now automatically start numbering. So if I was to type (1) My Note and hit enter the next line will automatically start with (2). A lightning bolt will appear giving you the options of turning this off or continuing from a previous list.

AutoCAD MText AutoNumberingSuperscript & Subscript Access

Superscript and Subscript now have their own buttons meaning you no longer are required to know the auto-stacking tolerance trick to create the super(sub)scripted text. There goes one of my “tricks” when I’m teaching AutoCAD!

AutoCAD 2015 MTEXT Subscript & Superscript ButtonsAutoStacking

When AutoStacking occurs a lightning bolt will appear providing options, including adjusting the stacking and accessing the AutoStack dialog.

AutoCAD 2015 MTEXT Accessing AutoStackTabs

Contextual tool tips now appear when you hover your cursor over the tab stop providing a better idea of what it is and how it works. You can also access the Paragraph dialog to adjust the tab stop location.

AutoCAD 2015 MTEXT Tab Tool Tip

AutoCAD 2015 Tab Stops Paragraph


 

Autodesk Product & Factory Design Suite 2015 Released

Autodesk 2015 Product & Factory Design Suites Marketing WheelWe had a bit of fun last month with Mike’s post ‘Which Products will be in Autodesk’s 2015 Suites’, which stirred up some discussion, but the buck stops with today. Autodesk have announced new for 2015, Digital Prototyping software releases for the Manufacturing, Architecture, Engineering & Construction industry segments. Once again Suites and their makeup are a strong point of focus with respect to how they are enabling customers to get to market faster, cheaper, more reliably & generally just knocking out better stuff. The manufacturing design suites aren’t just about Product & Factory Design Suites, but also the related data management and simulation offerings Autodesk have. The 2015 product line brings those bang up to date with some dramatic changes across the board.

“Our suites provide designers and engineers with a complete set of tools and cloud services that allow them to simplify design, visualization and simulation workflows from product development through delivery,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president, Design, Lifecycle and Simulation at Autodesk.  “By offering solutions that are scalable, cost effective and open, our customers have the opportunity to design, manufacture and sell great products.”

Autodesk haven’t mentioned anything about which products will be in the Suites yet, other than an interesting change for the Product Design Suite. So in that regard I suppose they are just going to surprise their customers when they get access to their downloads. Worryingly, this screams there is controversy ahead to me. I’m tempted to speculate, but I might get in trouble, so I can’t. Anyway I digress….

Design and Motion will be bringing you a series of posts covering the new features in the core products within the suites over the next few days and coming weeks. Here are a few right off the bat:

AutoCAD 2015 Announced – Whats New?

Scotty, MText Me Up!

Autodesk Inventor 2015 Released – Whats New? T-Splines?

What’s new in Autodesk Simulation 2015 products?

Autodesk Vault 2015

Vault Professional 2015′s Item Master is ‘da BOM’!

Still to come….

More AutoCAD goodness from Mike.

Suite news as it becomes apparent.

Product Design Suite

“We understand that customers today don’t have a single homogeneous environment. Inventor is one of the best tools on the market today, when it comes to interoperability with other 3d tools and solutions, and being able to make changes to that geometry. You can actually do full manipulation of imported geometry with Direct Edit tool within Product Design Suite 2015.” – Jeff Wymer, Senior Industry Manager, Manufacturing

The big change here is Autodesk Product Design Suite Standard has been discontinued! All those PrDS Standard customers are being upgraded to Product Design Suite Premium. Which means those who elected to upgrade from AutoCAD 2 years ago, scored basic Inventor last year & look to be gaining Inventor Professional this year. So one would assume then, PrDS Premium seats will now be upgraded to PrDS Ultimate.

I wonder if there will be any casualties here? Will Mudbox finally be removed from the Suite? How about Alias in the Ultimate Suite? Will those Ultimate seats get any compensation for having their asset value watered down by the upgrade of Premium seats to Ultimate? Maybe Autodesk will lower the Ultimate subs rate to match the Premium subs rate of yesteryear? Time will tell.

Anyway, there is some very solid stuff appearing in this years PrDS, a lot of what I can bring up here is covered in Gavin’s Inventor What’s New post. So I will just share some pretty pictures highlighting an overview of the new goodies:

Freeform/T-Splines

Autodesk Inventor 2015 Freeform T-Spine Seat

Autodesk Product Design Suite 2015 Freeform TrailerFreeform tools provide an alternate modeling approach to explore and create freeform shaped models.

Direct/History free modelling

Autodesk Product Design Suite 2015 Direct Edit FlangeThe new Direct Editing tool lets users easily manipulate native or imported geometry and parametrically move, size, rotate, and delete imported solid models or native Inventor files.

Improved Start Up & Learning Experience

Autodesk Inventor 2015 Home Tab

Autodesk PrDS 2015 Learning ExperienceWhile I’m far from impressed with the first version of the Home Tab shown above, I do REALLY like the learning paths including the continuation and expansion of the interactive tutorials. These really are a nice & modern touch for first time users. Hopefully this is a solid indication of where Autodesk are going with this new Home tab experience.

Factory Design Suite

Autodesk Factory Design Suite 2015 Themes

Autodesk Factory Design Suite 2015 Point CloudsAccess point cloud tools more easily with Autodesk ReCap.

Autodesk Factory Design Suite 2015 FDS BOMThe new Bill of Materials command on the Factory ribbon in Inventor software allows users to quickly create, edit and process a list of equipment used in factory layout.

Autodesk Factory Design Suite 2015 Process Analysis 360This is an interesting addition to the Factory Design Suite in my opinion. I’m really looking forward to taking it for a spin, but I hope it’s indicative of a future direction for the Autodesk Suites…. Core software is Desktop based, with Cloud based power tools which take advantage of server farms & collaboration where appropriate. That would mean only snippets of IP would be exposed to the Cloud, while maintaining ultimate control inside your firewall or within your private Cloud.

Conclusion

Other than the doubt about which products will actually be in the Suites (due to no announcement at this point) and the heavy focus on Inventor’s new features being pivotal to the Suite story this year, it does look rather promising. There are some great new features in Inventor & AutoCAD for that matter, but once again Factory Design Suite is the stand out, it’s workflows are maturing nicely and it’s increasingly becoming an excellent product to work with…. we just need some AutoCAD Electrical love in there please Autodesk.

I’ve been using Inventor 2015 for a while now as a Beta product, and I miss it whenever I step back to 2014. There are some stunning new tools in the sketch environment, which translate to huge productivity gains & if you do have to perform any rework, the new tools really help you out. I just can’t wait to get my hands dirty and start tying everything together across the products. FDS, iLogic, Vault Data Standard, PLM, 360 & even Microsoft Office 365. It’s a Geeky exciting world out there & 2014 is shaping up brilliantly.

You will start to see products appearing for download in Subscription Center from now & over the next week. AutoCAD 2015 is already there & so is Autodesk Vault 2015.

Thanks for reading guys

UPDATE:

Based on this image released by InventorTopix there are some big losses in the Product Design Suite:

Showcase removed from Product Design Suite 2015So that means the following applications have been removed from the Product Design Suite:

  • Alias Design is gone from Product Design Suite Ultimate
  • Autodesk Showcase has been removed from all the suites
  • Autodesk Sketchbook Designer has been removed from all the suites
  • Autodesk Mudbox (as predicted) has been removed from all the suites.

To compensate for that, the buy price of each suite has been reduced & so has the price of the standalone products (which may mean the subscription costs will go down as well). I wonder if there will be similarly dramatic changes with the Factory Design Suite?

Also I would put good money on Showcase 360 making an appearance sometime soon, with access via Cloud Credits, which if you are on Subscription you will have a chunk of included with your Suite. Soooo it may end up working out. Again, time will tell.

I can also confirm that Autodesk Showcase 2014 WILL NOT import Inventor 2015 parts & assemblies.Inventor 2015 to Showcase 2014 import failureMake sure you politely express any frustrations you have with your Reseller, there may be something they can work out with Autodesk. You never know, power to the people & all that. It’s possible they made this decision based on CIP data, how many opt out of that? User interface changes are based on CIP data, so if you want to make sure your input counts, be sure to opt in for CIP.

Most of the Images shown hereon were furnished by Autodesk, Inc.


 

AutoCAD 2015 Announced – Whats New?

The new AutoCAD 2015 is here so why is it the best release ever?

Enhancements Help Customers Connect Workflows Across Integrated Desktop, Cloud, and Mobile Solutions

AutoCAD 2015 Badge (Large) Ahhhh, spring is in the air. Its warmer outside, the birds are chirping, the sun is rising before I go to work, and Autodesk is announcing the new line of software releases. As per usual, the first major announcement is with AutoCAD. The focus of this release is to “Boost productivity“, with the new features falling into one of four categories: User Interaction, Document, Design, or Connect. Look for AutoCAD to “Jumpstart design workflows“, “deliver a richer visual experience“, and “bring the real world into the AutoCAD canvas

Autodesk AutoCAD 2015, the latest release of one of the world’s leading computer-aided design (CAD) applications, jumpstarts design workflows, delivers a richer visual experience and brings the real world into the AutoCAD canvas.  Also, for the first time, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT will also be available on a pay-as-you-go subscription basis.

User Interaction

The User Interface (UI) is dramatically different! Not from a usability standpoint like the introduction of the Ribbon or Dynamic Input, but from an appearance and overall look and feel. The UI is darker and very modern looking. My first thought was Photoshop and the Adobe Products, but I quickly realized that I LOVE IT! I hope all the Autodesk products go to this theme. The darker look is, and maybe this is a bit extreme but, sexy! AutoCAD 2015 Modern UI With the darker look, things pop and its easier on the eyes. Now don’t panic if you don’t like it, you can switch back to a more traditional lighter theme if desired. Other UI improvement (not everything, but some of the highlights):

  • When starting AutoCAD you’ll notice a New Create Page to create new and open existing drawings.
  • Ribbon galleries preview content from within the ribbon.
  • Enhanced visual feedback when creating and editing objects. For example: Trim, extend, match properties, and others now preview potential changes, meaning you can see the impact before committing.
  • The Help will now directly display an animated arrow in the UI showing the exact location of the tool.
  • New variable LINESMOOTHING enables you to turn on anti-aliasing of drawings in viewports (with 2D wireframe) to make 2D objects look smoother.

AutoCAD 2015 - New TabWith AutoCAD 2015 you can click and drag in the drawing window to create a lasso selection around objects. The cursor is enhanced to display “badges” to show the state of the current operation. This includes an Inspection badge when performing inquiry operations and a rotation badge in the direction of rotation set by the Drawing Units. Layers are now sorted using a natural ordered sort (yah!) This means instead of 1, 11, 2, 25 the layers will be sorted 1, 2, 11, 25.

Document

The Mtext editor has received some spit and polish. Enhancements include complete transparency (with hard acceleration), more intuitive column re-sizing, better Caps Lock handling, and much needed improvements to bullets and numbering When you begin a line with a symbol, number, or letter followed by a special character like . , ) > AutoCAD will now automatically create a bullet or numbered list. Like in MS Word pressing backspace immediately removes the bullet or numbering

AutoCAD 2015 MText - Bullets and Lists

Match Properties is now available within the Mtext editor meaning you can apply properties between text within the Mtext object. The new TEXTALIGN is used to quickly align single- and multi-text and attributes to other text objects or to user selected points. Geographic Location has been streamlined and enhanced

  • you can now set the geographic location from a map using Set Location on the ribbon. The process is now wizard driven and streamlined compared to 2014.
  • You can capture and plot map data. Once an area is captured it is embedded into the drawing so even without internet access you can still view and plot the specific map area
  • You can dynamically increase and decrease the map image resolution. This is useful as the highest resolution satellite image isn’t always the most recent

AutoCAD 2015 Geographic Location

Design (Point Clouds)

Working with Point Clouds is significantly enhanced, more specifically for better performance. The Insert Point Cloud functionality has been replaced with Autodesk Recap which is installed with AutoCAD by default. You can now control point size and the density controls have been streamlined into one slider. New object snap options allow for the snapping to points. New colorization options are provided to aid in the visualization of the point cloud. The Point Cloud can now be coloured based on things like Intensity, Elevation or the scan or object color. AutoCAD 2015 - Reality Capture The new lighting feature adds lighting effects like single, diffuse, specular, and double-source on the Point Cloud. The Point Cloud cropping tools are now more intuitive and flexible. A new Point Cloud Manager (think Xref manager but for Point Clouds) has been added to list and work with point data attached to the drawing.

Connect

The new Design Feed is a gateway to Autodesk 360 in that you can post messages and images to a drawing that are then shared to your team via A360. If your message is associated with an area or object a bubble will be shown on the screen and AutoCAD will zoom to this area when the message is selected in the Design Feed. The new Autodesk Translation Framework (ATF) is used when importing model data. ATF supports the import of meshes and curves as well as object colors and layers.

CAD Manage

Hot of the presses is the new Application Manager. This new standalone tool provides updated information and updates for all of your Autodesk products, including service packs, hot fixes, and other important files. You decide when to update and the Autodesk Application Manger seamlessly downloads and installs the updates.

To Rent or to Own?

Previously announced but now officially offered, you can now choose to buy AutoCAD (or LT) or rent on a pay-as-you go subscription basis. The new Desktop Subscription plans are available in pay-as-you-go monthly, quarterly, and annual purchase options.

Release Date

AutoCAD 2015 products are available starting on March 28, 2014.

Download a 30-day trial of AutoCAD, purchase an AutoCAD license, or learn more at autocad.com.

AutoCAD 2015 in action

For those who want to see AutoCAD 2015 in action, I’ve created the video below. If you have any questions you would like to ask me, then please fire away in the comments below.

Finally

Here are the AutoCAD 2015 System Requirements

If you fancy some fun speculative reading about 2015 suites, then check out my post Which products will be in the Autodesk 2015 Suites?

New Features UPDATE:

If you use AutoCAD as part of a Design Suite, you may be interested to read ‘Autodesk Product & Factory Design Suite 2015 Released’

Scotty, MText Me Up! – AutoCAD 2015 MText new features


 

Review of Eagle Point Pinnacle Series Business Edition

Eagle Point’s Pinnacle Series Business Edition is a platform for delivering training and support designed for design and engineering professionals in architecture, engineering, and construction offices. I found it useful, especially based on the broad ways to use the system. I would expect its usefulness to actually increase over time. In this review, I describe my experience with the software.

What Pinnacle Series Is?

Pinnacle Series is developed by Eagle Point Software as a more useful method of learning. The company designed it to be available on your computer precisely when you need it. It consists of a collection of video lessons, text tutorials, and chat-based help sessions that are organized conveniently into a single dialog interface.

The entire Pinnacle Series covers many AEC and MEP software packages:

Pinnacle series covers numerous Industry software titles. These are as follow:

Civil Industry Architecture Industry Structural Industry MEP Industry
· Civil 3D· InfraWorks

· AutoCAD

· AutoCAD Map 3D

· Autodesk Storm & Sanitary

· Navisworks

· 3ds Max Design

· Autodesk Design Review

· Revit Architecture· AutoCAD

· Navisworks

· 3ds Max Design

· Autodesk Design Review

· Revit Structure· AutoCAD

· Navisworks

· 3ds Max Design

· Autodesk Design Review

· Revit MEP· AutoCAD

· Navisworks

· 3ds Max Design

· Autodesk Design Review

Each resource is placed into its own tab along the top of a dialog box, as follows:

  • Search Results
  • Workflows
  • Cheat Sheets
  • Videos
  • Training Calendar
  • Support and Chat
  • Community
  • History
  • Favorites

The resources are represented by the icons shown in figure 1

Workflows

Workflows are text-based step-by-step instructions. We can read them before and after a video demonstration to focus on areas we might be unsure of – in addition to using them as step-by-step guides. Being text, they are fully searchable.

Each workflow is segregated by the respective CAD software. We navigate it through in a collapsing tree-type browser interface or flowchart diagram. Under each software package, major sections are presented for the software, which are further subdivided into concepts and performance.

.

Pinnacle Series’ Workflow

Figure 1: The Workflow tab in Pinnacle’s interface

Each topic breaks down the steps required to perform a particular project task. Within these descriptions and explanations, there are links to Pinnacle training items and will launch the commands of the related software package; these are handy for speeding us along. Listing the software commands is helpful especially for new users, who typically are unsure how to navigate a software program’s command tools.

I found the instructions to be quite complete and easy to follow. For instance, the Civil 3D training package contain the standard compliments of teaching roadway, grading, and utility design; in addition, the workflows connected it to other products in Autodesk’s Infrastructure Design Suite, such as 3ds Max and Navisworks. Companies that purchase Autodesk’s suites and wish to move forward with incorporating the suite’s additional capabilities into their designs will find this quite useful..

Cheat Sheets

Cheat Sheets are a collection of tips developed by Eagle Point’s support staff. They wrote up frequently experienced problems and issues in need of troubleshooting. I found them a great addition to the platform.

As Pinnacle is cloud based, cheat sheets are added and updated as new items come up. They represent a really nice way to distribute knowledge to everyone on the network.

How-to Video Training

The videos are the visual compliment to the hands-on text. These tutorials are performed by the Eagle Point staff, who demonstrate each step in the process as they talk us through various points along the way.

The length of each recording ranges according to the complexity of the task.

Training Calendar

The training calendar represents a collection of upcoming live classes, including a previous recording of each class. During these, Eagle Point staff answers questions from attendees.

The calendars I saw were filled out every working day (see figure 2).

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Pinnacle Series’ Training Calendar

 

Figure 2: Pinnacle Series’ training calendar

Support and Chat

The chat dialog is just like any other chat dialog box, but with a few exceptions. Two types of chats are available, with our design team and with Eagle Point employees.

We can select multiple team members with which to chat. An option to save the chat is available as a way to provide an internal method of cataloging company tips and procedures that were discussed; this is a great way to reduce repetitive questions that need to be answered by internal support staff.

This is also used to save the solutions that Eagle Point’s experts come up with, which can be saved by the company as customized content.

Community

This part does not seem to me to be fully implemented yet. In speaking with Eagle Point, however, I learned that the community will be providing members with solutions to the same problems solved by Pinnacle, but related to any topic, such as business topics like accounting, human resources, and IT. The solutions will come from other community members rather than from the content delivered through the Pinnacle resources.

History and Favorites

History provides a list of the content we already reviewed, and is listed in chronological order. If we were to look at specific features frequently, then this list would make it easy to get back to the topics that are reviewed more recently.

This can be accomplished in another way, using Favorites. This is a list of items that we tagged so that we can refer to often.

Search Results

All content, no matter where it is in the Pinnacle Series product, is searched. Even the saved chats are cataloged in search results. The benefit is that when we solve a problem about the odd behavior of software, for example, the solution will come up years later in the search (see figure 3).

Pinnacle Series' Search Results

Figure 3: Search results

Each search result is ordered by a hierarchy using concept matching. Pinnacle Series employs an algorithm that reviews the keywords and brings best matching content to the top of the list. For example, if AutoCAD appears to be acting up and a user enters “Don’t get dialog boxes,” the search results bring up near the top the chat about the FILEDIA system variable I have every year with teammates. They get instant help without needing to track me down.

During my time with Eagle Point, I think they began to realize just how much I dislike videos: because largely they are unsearchable. Eagle Point’s staff worked around the problem by integrating each video topic into the workflow content. This allows us to search for very feature-specific words to find obscure references to a process. Each video corresponds to a detailed step-by-step workflow, and its text is searchable.

Using the tools

When we start up software, such as Autodesk’s AutoCAD Civil 3D in my case, the Pinnacle system automatically logs in as well (see figure 4).

Logginh into Eagle point Pinnacle series

Figures 4: (left) Log-in screen

Once the CAD software is up and running, Pinnacle Series will also be running; its window can be found in the last place we moved it to. In my case, it was on a separate monitor in its rolled up state (see figure 5).

Eagle Point Pinnacle Series Training Dialog Rolled Up

Figure 5: The rolled-up browser dialog

I decided that I needed to dig into the product some to see how things shook out. I chose the tutorial on using Civil 3D’s Intersection Wizard (see figure 6).

Pinnacle Series' The “Using the Intersection Wizard’ Video

Figure 6: The “Using the Intersection Wizard’ Video

I found the instruction to be detailed enough to successfully complete a corridor intersection using the wizard (see figure 7).

 

a completed Civil 3D Corridor Intersection using Pinnacle Series Video and Workflow

Figure 7: A completed Civil 3D corridor intersection using Pinnacle Series Video and Workflow

I found the best route for this application was to follow this approach: Visually scanning the Workflows in text form, and then viewing the video. The Intersection Wizard is a very long workflow, and as a result the text can become quite overwhelming. Scanning the text for the overall concepts, then watching the demonstration, made things a bit easier to grasp.

I tested the team chat, which went as expected; no problem. I also used it to simply connect with team members on-the-fly, and not necessarily as a help tool.

Administration and Settings

Administration of users and their licensing is handled by the Administration Utility. The options are well organized and easy to use. I added users, changed rights, and so forth, without needing any help. The process was self-evident and well prepared for the user.

The features are broken into four tabs (see figure 8):

  • Users
  • Permissions
  • Expertise
  • Reports

Pinnacle Series' Administration Dialogs

Figure 8: Administration of users, reports, permissions, and expertise

Users – The first tab allows administrators to add users, their email address, indicate their software usage roles, as well as their career field (civil, architectural, structural, mechanical, and so on). The available tools are simple: Add, Remove, or Modify.

Permissions – This tab allows administrators to designate the access rights for each user or group in the areas of managing content, administrative rights, limitations on live Eagle Point expert chat and team chat, and so on. Administrators can designate group rights, which are inherited by the group’s users by default. Inheritance and individual rights can be toggled for each member, if desired.

Expertise – This tab allows companies to establish areas of users’ expertise. It is a simple field that becomes available when using features like team chat and looking for help from within the company. Need hardware help? Chat with the hardware expert.

Reports – I found this tab to be quite useful. It allows us to generate simple reports to identify who is using the training, and who might need mentoring in one or another. It will also point out those who are deficient in their skills, but are not using the training provided to improve their situation and value to the company.

Pricing and Subscription Models

The software titles associated with each Pinnacle Series subscription is based on industry. In the Civil industry, for example, we get access to help and training on the eight titles listed earlier in this review. The Civil series that I reviewed covered software releases for 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Subscriptions and pricing were a concern I had going into this review. I felt that a high price could drive away many companies. However, the more I used the training software and considered how much time it can take to find useful training for a new concept, the more I feel that the value is proportionate to the cost, at the very least.

This software is priced for two models: Business and User. I happen to be reviewing the Business Edition, for which Eagle Point does not have a per-seat price; instead, the cost is matched to the firm’s use of the corresponding products from Autodesk. Volume discounts apply. More information on the actual price model is available from Eagle Point directly.

Licensing is handled by checking out of non-user defined floating server licenses. These licenses are administered on the Pinnacle Series servers. This means that companies have a pool of licenses and any users that wants to software can check out a license as desired. Companies can invite the users they want to participate, regardless of who they are; licenses are administered by Eagle Point, while users are administered by the design firm.

All-In-for the first year

Eagle Point wants everyone to try their software for the first year. When a design firm receives the package, there are no limits or concurrent user caps the first year. The software is wide open for all. Just prior to the renewal near the end of the first year, reports and analyses are generated of how many user licenses are being checked out, and how the training software is being used. This allows both parties to make an accurate determination of how many licenses to subscribe to.

When I discussed pricing with Eagle Point, I proposed a 25-seat design firm. They indicated that they would estimate the actual license usage for the first year, and price the subscription accordingly. Then after a year, Eagle Point would suggest how many actual seats were needed based on the analyses of the data usage for the past year.

Conclusion

Overall, I found the product a great idea as it provides a single location to find valid training for most of the basic needs of AEC engineers and designers. The wide purposing of content and features of the application provide useful information for users at any level of expertise.

While price is a significant deciding point with such a training and support tool, the training and expert assistance is available 24 hours a day, and has no limitations. Moreover one of the biggest selling points the software has is the expandability it provides in the customization section.

Among the benefits, I found these:

  • Good feature coverage, both video and text formats
  • Good troubleshooting tips
  • Awesome customization capability
  • Training and Eagle Point expert assistance is always available without limitations
  • Usage reporting
  • Login and administration were flawless, and it was quite easy to add users

I’d like to report things that were problematic, but quite honestly the tool provides a straight forward resource, without complications. To say something about drawbacks, I offer these:

  • The login was a bit laggy; it still logged in by the time AutoCAD fully started
  • The rollup window got in the way when trying to keep it on a single monitor (my biggest beef)
  • Eagle Point might consider documenting some advanced uses for software features that companies regularly send team members away to learn.
  • Eagle Point might try adding screenshots to the text oriented Workflows. In an effort to keep the streamlined appearance, these could simply be links in the workflow titled “screenshot 1″ etc. People could then choose to open them or not as needed

Other than these, I really don’t have anything else negative to say!

I’ve always found training costs to be the first area that most companies cut back to save some money. While Pinnacle Series isn’t free, I think you should consider the overall value and benefit to having support and training 24 hours a day. Once this type of training tool is in place, the thought of losing its functions may well force companies to look elsewhere to cut costs.

In the past, support has routinely felt distant at best. The greatest value is not in the individual features of Pinnacle Series, but in bringing the entire support channel into the company.

 

Disclaimer

This article was a paid review on behalf of TenLinks, and published on their site as well. This final version was edited by them and fact checked by the software vendor.

AutoCAD Civil 3D Segment Label Error Fixed

I was reliving problems that we had with Parcel Labels in AutoCAD Civil 3D, as far back as 4 years ago. The problem is that all the curve geometry is labeled correctly, except the chord length. Rather than re-explain the entire process, I’ll simply say that various methods were used to evaluate the curve, and only the chord length in the label is wonky. Here is the article: http://designandmotion.net/2009/civil-3d-parcel-segment-bug-again/

I thought it was a software problem, however I think I have it figured out.

It is a Slope Issue

I decided that there must be something in that curve geometry that is causing the problem. I decided to check the elevations along the parcel (which many hold as a flat value). Sure enough, the curve had a slope.

Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcel Label Error Fixed

A quick change of everything back to 0, and the labels behave.

Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D Parcel Label Error Fixed

Notice the chord value changes, but nothing else does.

Clearly there is a problem in how the chord is calculated in the label, vs. the Parcel Vista and the like. Keep this in mind the next time your labels don’t reflect compatible data. If this helped anyone, please leave us a comment.


 

Civil 3D | Remove Specific Station Labels

Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D End Station LabelIf you’ve been fighting the beginning or end station labels on Autodesk Civil 3D Alignments, here’s the fix. Sadly, the answer has been around for a long time.

Civil 3D End Station Label

We often manually add our end station label, customized how we like, and in the case of some plans, the end station is denoted in a separate table. In all cases, the end station is automatically generated on the Civil 3D alignment.

  • It is usually useless, and is traded out for a more useful end station geometry label
  • It is ALWAYS in conflict with something

Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D End Station Label

You can select the label, but it is a function of the entire label set, and highlights the whole set accordingly. If you delete it, you will delete the entire set.

There is a fix that is so easy, you will laugh until you cry from the frustration of it all

Use CTRL + DELETE

That’s right. Hold the CTRL key and pick all the specific labels your hear desires. Release the CTRL key, and push the DELETE key. It is that simple. The labels will be gone.

Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D End Station Label

Use the Station Label Control Dialog

AUGI member Anthony Rhodes answered such a question in January of 2009. He noted the how the Station Label control dialog is supposed to be used, and the fact that it does work. Edit the alignment labels. Enter in the desire stations to start and end the labels.

Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D Station Label Dialog

In this example, any stations after 10+00 will be removed.

http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?87565-Beginning-End-Labels-and-Align-Layers

While I don’t have a copy of the awesome book “Mastering Civil 3D” handy, I’ll bet money that this information is in there.

Credits

The answer for this has been around for a long time. So long that I wanted to credit those who pointed it out.

Autodesk Expert Elite – user wfberry – June, 2012: http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/AutoCAD-Civil-3D-General/Turn-off-end-Alignment-Label-in-Plan/td-p/3518008

CadTutor user CyberAngel – Nov, 2011: http://www.cadtutor.net/forum/showthread.php?64025-Removing-End-Point-Label-in-Profile

James Wedding and Dana Probert – 2008-2009: Introducing AutoCAD Civil 3D books; Mastering AutoCAD Civil 3D books

Autodesk Expert Elite – Christopher Fuggit – July, 2009: Article on not only how to delete, but programmatically hide the labels.

http://blog.civil3dreminders.com/2009/07/major-station-label-eliminate-end.html