Wednesday, January 30, 2013


While sorting through some old papers in preparation for taxes, I ran across some long forgotten papers. I was working as a draftsman for Steiner Turf and Brouwer Turf at the time. When I first started we were on AutoCAD 12. Soon after our upgrade to 14 we decided to move into the 3D world and purchased Mechanical Desktop. I was sent to Technical Software for some accelerated training on our new software. 2013-01-26 21.32.37

We designed one sod harvester using MDT. The Rollmax 2400! It rolled 2' by 100' rolls, wrapped them in webbing and discharged them out the SIDE! It was the first harvester of its time to discharge out the side. All others dumped out the rear requiring a fork lift in the field to move the completed rolls before another pass could be made.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Understanding and Customizing Electrical's Ladder Reference Numbers (MLR)

The ladder is unique in that each number running down the side is simple text. Delete these and the ladder continues to function just fine. However the first number is a block with several hidden attributes. Delete it and the ladder is nothing more than dumb AutoCAD lines and text. So in all reality the first number on the ladder IS the ladder. Components and wires will auto-number as if the rest of the ladder is not present. Nothing else is needed! So this post is really about the Master Ladder Reference or MLR block.

The first thing I always do when tackling a subject in Electrical, is figure out what blocks are in play. I open each and take a look at what attributes are in each. This helps me understand why each block acts the way it does. Then I start tweaking and observe the results. So what blocks are at play here?

The MLR Blocks

The horizontal ladder MLR blocks all start with WD_MLRH and the vertical MLR's start with WD_MLRV. In the images below the blocks are in order and shown in both exploded and in use.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Company Wire Numbering - Advancing Wire Numbers By One

This was posted on the Autodesk's Electrical Discussion Group. <<AutoCAD Electrical's Discussion Group>>

Someone needed to customize the numbering to match their company's standard. I decided to tackle this to show how flexible Electrical can be with a little customizing. Well... that and I love a good challenge.

  • We make our line reference numbers the sheet number with 000 and increment by 10 for each rung ( The first three rungs on sheet two would be 2000, 2010,2020…).
  • Our components are set up like %F%S%N and always end with a zero (i.e FU2010, PB2010, CB2010...) unless there are two components with the same Family prefix on the same line, then the they increment by one (i.e. PB2010, PB2011, PB2012...).
  • The wire numbers never end with a zero and the wire number increment with respect to the Line Reference number. -Ex.So on first rung of sheet two the wire numbers would be 2001,2002, 2003 and rung 3 would be 2031,2032, 2033. (It needs to be something like %S%N but the %N needs to increment.)

ACADE seems to only add prefixes to the the end of Line reference numbers. Is there anyway to increment the wire number?

image   image

The real problem is advancing the wire numbers and components. Electrical will only ADD to the end wires numbers and tag names. I started doing some testing and one thing let to another. Here is my work around to this limitation. As always I welcome comments and suggestions if you see better ways to do anything.

Title Block Update - Merging Multiple Fields Into One Attribute

This week a user was asking for multi-line attributes. After reading a few posts online about Electrical Title Block Update not being able push to multi-line attributes I had to figure out a work around. But here's the trouble, in my very first test the Title Block Update utility pushed, and wrapped, data to my multiple line attributes. So at some point this functionality was added to Electrical and the post I had noticed must have been old.  So its back to the user to see what version they are using. Turns out want the user really wants is the description line 2 to move down as description line 1 wraps.

So the new puzzle is how to push text down as attributes wrap.

         Basically to turn this...                                          into this....
image      image

The Humor Outlet


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Updating All Drawing Settings (Descriptions) Using Excel

imageI was recently asked why the Drawing Descriptions were not updating after a user edited the project file (.wdp). The user was correct in that this information is stored in the project file.

However changes to the text file may require the project to be closed and reopened for Electrical to see the changes.


Another limitation to direct Project File edits is that only the Descriptions are stored there. The other fields are stored inside of each drawings wd_m block.

Monday, January 14, 2013

AutoCAD Electrical's Title Block Update - Previous / Next Sheet Numbers

Several times now I have been asked for Previous/Next page numbers on the title block. This is something that Electrical cannot do out of the box. However with a little scripting and the Title Block Update utility its very possible. So in this post you will get to see two things. Automatic Previous/Next page numbers and tying scripts to attributes using the Title Block Update utility.

The Previous / Next Page Number Issue

imageSome companies use a page numbering system where each group of drawings has a set series of page numbers. For example, The first five pages are for "power" followed by five pages of "controls", ect. For this type of numbering it would be very nice to see what the previous or next page numbers are. And it would be even better if AutoCAD Electrical could do this automatically.

So how can we get AutoCAD Electrical to figure these out and map the values to attributes on in title block? This is where a script comes into play. AutoCAD Electrical allows us to embed an AutoLISP expression into the mapping file (.wdt) and link it to a title block attribute. The returned value from this expression gets inserted as a text value in the linked attribute.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

AutoCAD Electrical's Title Block Update - Mapping Project Wide Revisions

If you bump revisions on each page with any change, consider using the Title Block Update utility. There is no halfway here. For the utility to work either ALL sheets are bumped or they are not. As with any automation, the process must remain consistent.

In this post we are going to push the Title Block Update just a little. We are going to have two blocks that auto update in the project's drawings. First a title block and second a revision block. Below are exploded views of both blocks I plan to use in this example.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

AutoCAD Electrical's Title Block Update - The Basics

Typically all the drawing title blocks in a project share much of the same information. Using the image "Title Block Update" utility from the Project tab, you can automatically update all the title blocks in the entire project with mapped information.

Project Descriptions can be pushed to ALL title blocks in the project. Drawing Settings can be pushed to each individual drawing's title block.

image  image
Now that you know what can be pushed lets see it in action.

What Makes it tick?