December 4, 2013

Plant 3D 2014 - Extension 2

Nerd Cat says: Access the download for Plant 3D 2014 Extension 2 via your Subscription website.  Extension 1 will need to be installed first.  From my initial tests, this is a good release of an Extension in that I haven't found any bugs.

August 9, 2013

PLANT 3D 2014 :: Extension 1 - DO NOT INSTALL-To Everyone Until You Test

On the Plant Exchange, there is a new (sorta new anyway) Extension that has alot of promise for BOMs in Orthos and Center of Gravity calculations, as well as some Isometric improvements.

However, upon installing, I started getting errors, crashes, problems problems problems with my Plant 3D.  I tried to uninstall the Extension, but ended up having to completely uninstall and reinstall the Plant 3D.

So, at this time, I would not recommend installing the Extension.  Other links to reference on the Plant 3D Discussion board:

Here is what I have found with my reinstall of Ext 1 on a fresh install of Plant 3D.
REGENALL must be performed on all Orthos and all Isos, what I mean is:  
If i have multiple Orthos open, and toggle between them, I will need to REGENALL.  This will also happen if I have multiple Orthos and Isos open.  When I toggle from an Iso to an Ortho, I must REGENALL.
If I have multiple ISOs open, similar to the Orthos, provided I am looking at the ISOs in model space.  Seem ok if I am viewing the ISOs in PaperSpace.

My original problem that caused me to reinstall P3D in the first place has not come back, which was locking up during Ortho creation.  One note, I definately believe the dialog that says "this may take several minutes" when creating Orthos.  The only thing I can think of that is different is I did uninstall/reinstall .NET Framework 4.5.

Some have reported anomolies in ISO creation, but I am not seeing that.
All my orthos have xrefs, and seem to work fine.
Dimscale looks good.
Properties Palette good.
All my tests were with existing projects.
I tested on another PC that had only Plant Design Suite, no other suites installed.  Same issue with REGENALL, but none of the others problems people have reported.

So, at this time, for me, I think I will put up with having to REGENALL in exchange for the added functions/capability of the Ext 1.  

I recommend that in any given environment, that one person on the Plant team install the Extension and do some detailed testing before everyone on your team installs it.

And I do request any feedback from others on this issue.  I do believe the Plant Team at Autodesk is always pursuing quality with this product and will be attentative to all issues.

July 30, 2013

Why is ZIP file empty when Exporting AutoCAD 2014 Settings?

My previous post described how to migrate settings and how to transfer AutoCAD settings from computer to computer. However, if you try to open the ZIP file, it appears empty. Download and install either WinZip or WinRAR and you will be able to open the ZIP file and view its contents.
You do not have to do this to Import AutoCAD 2014 Settings. This info is only provided to answer question, why is the zip file empty. It's not and don't worry about!

AutoCAD Migrate then Export then Import

This week I received two calls about the same issue from two different customers. How do I copy all my settings from AutoCAD 2011 to AutoCAD 2014 when AutoCAD 2014 is on a different computer? If the "old" AutoCAD and "new" AutoCAD are on the same computer, it's pretty easy. Simply use "Migrate From a Previous Release" in the folder Start[All Programs[Autodesk[Migrate Custom Settings.

If you have "old" AutoCAD and "new" AutoCAD on different computers, well then you have a little more work. First, you must have the "old" and "new" on the same computers. Follow the steps above to "Migrate From a Previous Release". This involves installing "new" AutoCAD on same computer with "old" AutoCAD even if you don't want it installed. "Migrate From a Previous Release" only works when both AutoCADs are on same computer. Then use "Export AutoCAD 201x Settings" to export all the "new" AutoCAD settings to a single ZIP file. Now copy the ZIP file to the other computer without the "old" AutoCAD and use "Import AutoCAD 201x Settings" and select the ZIP file. That's it.

The most common error people receive is "Migrate profiles require that AutoCAD 2000 or a later version be installed on your system". If you see this error message, it is because you exported directly from the "old" AutoCAD, copied the ZIP to the new computer, and tried to import into the "new" AutoCAD. At least one time on one computer you must have both versions installed and settings must be "migrated from previous release".
So I hope I answered your question. Now I have one for you. What took you so long to upgrade?

June 25, 2013

My very favorite new feature for REVIT.  You can disable that pesty 'dbl-click of a family' which would open it in the Family Editor.

May 2, 2013

Revit 2014 NEW Feature.... WOW!

Controlling the Selection of Elements

So what is one of the new features in Revit 2014 that made me think "Wow, I didn't know I wanted that!" Did you know you can control what objects you can select? How many times did you accidentaly pick elements that are pinned or a link file? Well, now with 2014, you have the ability to turn off selecting Link Files, Underlay Elements, Pinned Elements, and Elements by Face!

May 1, 2013

New Course Added to Applied Software Online LIVE Training..

A new  class has been added to Applied Software's online, LIVE training schedule:

When:   June 3-7, 2013

Time:     1 PM – 4:30 PM Eastern

For more information, visit the link above or call us at:  +1 404-633-8660


April 27, 2013

I'd love nothing better than to see your company FAIL......earlier in the design process.

I must admit that I borrowed part of this post's title from the April issue of Product Design and Development, but the title made perfect sense to me, especially in light of the numerous issues that Boeing is having with the Dreamliner 787.

Specifically, the Dreamliner's lithium-ion batteries had been shown in rare circumstances to catch fire. Though I'm sure a degree of thermal testing was probably done prior to manufacturing of the batteries, the recent problems encountered by Boeing point out the importance of virtual testing, and doing so earlier in the design process. The FAA has just recently lifted a 3 month ban on Dreamliner flights, and Boeing has stationed 300 workers on 10 teams around the world to do the work of replacing the defective units with a revamped battery system that's better insulated against a short circuit.

So let's do some math here - it's said that it will take about five days to install the revamped lithium-ion battery system on each plane, so 5 days of rework with 300 workers salaries at double the minimum wage would be close to $180k. But that PALES in comparison to other stats, such as Quantas Airlines' scrubbed purchase of a single Dreamliner (they're estimated to be $207 million SRP), and Japan's largest airline's cancellation of 3,600 Dreamliner flights.

Here's another costly example of "failing late" - Microsoft's XBOX 360. There have been over 60 million sold since 2005, and it continues to be a big seller. However, early customer surveys indicated that over 42% of the consoles had to be repaired or replaced by Microsoft due to some level of failure.

Remember the RROD (Red Ring of Death)?

Early XBOX systems often encountered conditions that caused them to overheat, thus the Red Ring of Death. Microsoft took a second look at the problem, extended their warranty coverage from 1-3 years, and after a class action lawsuit in 2007 and almost $1 billion, they've managed to reduce the failure rates and remain a viable player in the home video game industry. However, most companies couldn't afford a billion dollar mistake.

A common line I hear from companies when I ask them about product testing is either "oh, we have some calculations we use, and they almost always fit the need", or, "we just overbuild to make sure it can take whatever our customers throw at it".

The good news is that we've reached a point where technology can enable even the smallest of companies to perform virtual drop tests, wind tunnel analysis, and thermal fluid flow simulation. And the technology doesn't require guys like these (>>>) to run it.......

Autodesk recently released a set of tools that refute the
traditional perception of difficult to use, expensive (and hardware intensive) software simulation programs that only a NASA scientist with a very powerful computer could even attempt to work with.

Autodesk Simulation 360 is game changing software, lowering the 3 barriers to traditional simulation that prevent companies from earlier incorporation in the design process - cost, hardware and knowledge.

Simulation 360 combines the power of Autodesk's Mechanical Simulation and CFD products in a cloud based, easy to use interface where the user inputs geometry, materials and desired conditions to predict product performance EARLIER in the design process. And it's CAD neutral, so you can load Inventor, Pro-E, Solidworks, CATIA or other 3D model content for simulations.

As a service based model, Simulation 360 can be used when you need it at a far lower cost than purchasing perpetual licenses.You simply log into the Simulation 360 service, upload your models, materials and conditions for testing, then utilize the Autodesk cloud servers to act as the solver. And with infinite cloud computing power, you can generate multiple scenarios for testing, load them, and continue working on your designs while Autodesk's cloud servers do the number crunching.

So to summarize, the key is to fail FASTER in the design process. Equip your engineers with these low cost simulation tools to validate and test multiple iterations of a design before manufacturing, and you'll reduce physical prototypes, increase innovation, profitability and customer satisfaction. And who knows? You may even prevent a billion dollar mistake.

April 26, 2013

What happened to my RIBBONS!

I installed Autodesk BDS 2014 on my Windows 7 64-bit computer yesterday. Today, I noticed my ribbon in Revit Architecture 2012 was not working correctly. The first step is to verify all updates or service packs are installed for your specific program. If they are, the following should help you resolve the Ribbon problem.
The problem is between Revit and .NET 4.5. The fix or work-around is to uninstall .NET 4.5 and replace with .NET 4.0. Ribbons now appear to work correctly. However, you should verify .NET 4.5 is not required by other programs.

April 19, 2013

Trelligence Affinity 8 Software Released for AEC

HOUSTON, TX, Apr 19, 2013 - Trelligence, Inc announced the new Trelligence Affinity 8 software release today. Recognized as the leading AEC solution for architectural programming, schematic design and design validation, Trelligence continues to expand the functionality in Affinity software and available add-ons to deliver a full-service BIM tool. Affinity integrates with other prominent BIM tools - Autodesk Revit Architecture, Bentley AECOsim Building Designer, Graphisoft ArchiCAD, Trimble SketchUp, and IES VE - to enhance the project lifecycle, providing a seamless transition from the initial planning and programming phases of a building project, through to the final design and building construction.

Read full article here:
Contact Applied Software for more product information:  800.899.2784


April 16, 2013

Ask Matthew at Autodesk

Ask Matthew is a Virtual Agent who can answer your questions and help you find files on Autodesk's website. He's a little hard to find so click HERE to link directly to Mathew and ask him a question. Need help downloading 2014 product? Ask Matthew will help. How about activating a license? Stand alone? Network? Doesn't matter, ask Matthew.

April 9, 2013

Online Classes Added to Training Calendar

Applied Software has added the following classes to its Training Calendar:

Revit MEP 2013: 101Fundamentals
          May 6-10 -- 1pm to 4:30pm
          May 13-15 -- 1pm to 4:30pm

AutoCAD Civil3D 2013: 102 Survey
          May 20-22 -- 9am to 12:30pm

See more at:  

April 8, 2013

APRIL-MAY-JUNE web-based, online training is ramping up!

Applied Software's online Autodesk software training classes are the same high-quality, expert-led training taught at our on-site Autodesk Certified Training Centers, but from the convenience of your office or home.

Learn the newest applications while keeping training costs down and your projects moving forward. Easy-to-use training materials and session length is designed to keep you productive.

For classes and registration, visit:

2013 Autodesk Platinum Club Award...

Applied Software has been awarded the 2013 Autodesk Platinum Club award for new product revenue growth year over year. In 2012, the company won the Platinum Club award for marketing and in 2011, for reseller of the year. This year’s win marks the seventh year that Applied Software has achieved the Autodesk Platinum Club honor.


Sustainability Technology Solutions: Green ERP, Building Modeling

Tech Target ( recently published an article entitled: "Sustainability technology solutions: Green ERP, building modeling" featuring expert commentary on BIM technology solutions from Applied Software's Rabi Sidawi, Senior AEC Solutions Consultant, and Michael Ruiz, Vice President of BIM Strategies and Business Development.

Read article here:

March 26, 2013

Plant 3D Programming

Have you ever thought, "Hmmm, if I could program a little, I could get Plant 3D to do what I want it to do."  A good starting point would be to read through Scott Halmark's post on Python Scripting.

March 14, 2013

Indicating Double Home Runs Correctly in Revit MEP

Revit MEP will allow you to indicate double home runs when circuiting electrical fixtures.  This can be done by simply dragging a home run arrow from one electrical circuit to a fixture that is on a different circuit. The result will show a double arrow head on the home run and the circuit tag will call out both circuits.

Two Single Home Runs

Double Home Run

The one thing that has always bugged me about this is that Revit would also still show the home run arrow head tying the two circuits together.  Every time I taught this, I was asked how do you get rid of the arrow head tying the two circuits together?  Up until today, I did not think you could.  I have now found a way and it is very simple.

All you have to do is to duplicate the plan using the Duplicate with Detailing.

As soon as the plan is duplicated the arrow head goes away.

Double Home Run Without Extra Arrow Head

The only downside is that the duplicated plan must remain in the project.  If the plan goes away then the arrow head comes back.  Weird, but it solves the mystery of how to turn off the unwanted arrow head.

March 1, 2013

What's the best 3D mechanical design software package? It's in the way that you use it...

I read an article a few days ago that blew my mind. It turns out that Microsoft's "Bing" search engine has fallen to 5th place among internet search engines - which begged the question, "who's in the top 5?" Predictably, Google was first, followed by China's Baidu (volume, of course), then Yahoo, and in 4th place? Drum roll, please.....

Yandex. Ponder that for a moment, as the tumbleweeds silently blow across your mind. Granted, I'd never heard of Baidu either, but the reason that Russia's Yandex search engine has surpassed Bing isn't necessarily because it's better, or because there are more Russian speaking people than English. It's quite the opposite - to the casual observer (me in this case) Yandex doesn't "pop", or provide better information than Bing. To test my theory, I did a simple search on both engines using keywords "Atlanta Braves", and Bing was far superior in content, style, and the general layout.

While reading the article, I started thinking, "poor Microsoft - first the Zune, now Bing". Remember the Zune? Microsoft's answer to the iPod? By all comparisons (sales, functionality, style) it's been a colossal failure. However, they're still being made, and those who've chosen Zunes and (most importantly) mastered the features absolutely love them.

So what do search engines and mp3 players have to do with 3D mechanical design software? As Eric Clapton once said, "it's in the way that you use it". A trusted colleague at Autodesk once told me that when comparing software packages for 3D design, the best design package is the one that you've received training on - plain and simple.

The Yandex users, just like those who swear by their Zunes, certainly could choose Bing or iPods, but took on the task of learning how to use the tools, and now, they swear by them. And in fairness to Solidworks, Pro-E and other 3D tools that I believe (shocking) are inferior to Autodesk Inventor, with the proper introductory AND ongoing new feature training, any 3D mechanical design software is better than another WITHOUT proper training. Features in a software package are nice, but without knowing how to use them, they can't become benefits.

So I took a long route to get around to the main point here. But the next time you see someone who thinks that their Zune is better than the tricked out Gen5 32gb iPod you just bought, just remember - it's in the way that you use it....

February 28, 2013

Did something change with Revit 2012 overnight? No but something did change with Windows! A Microsoft Windows update changes the color scheme in Revit 2012. How to fix? Turn off Hardware Acceleration in Revit 2012 or uninstall a specific Windows update. See link below for more details. However, there may be one more reason for the color change not mentioned in the link below. On one of our lab computers, upgrading to IE10 also affected the color scheme. Revit 2013 is not affected by the Windows update.

LINK: Color Change in Revit 2012 after Updating Windows 7

February 18, 2013

Revit Shared Origin Survey Startup Base Location…

What? The title of this blog doesn’t make sense. Now that I have your attention, here we go.  You may know about Revit’s Project Base Point (PBP) and Survey Point (SP). Did you know there is another point called the Startup Location? Be default, the PBP and SP are located on top of the Startup Location. What is the Startup Location used for? It’s used for linking models ORIGIN-TO-ORIGIN. Revit does not use the PBP to link models origin-to-origin. How does this work with Shared Coordinates? It doesn’t. So, keeping Shared Coordinates out of this blog, I want to clarify something very very important. If you are an engineer and want to link the Architect’s project file origin-to-origin, you need to do this before you start the engineering model. This will ensure that the Revit models line up exactly. However, if a structural engineer lays out column grids without the architects model and then links files later, origin-to-origin will not work. If this happens, the only way to deal with linked files is to use Shared Coordinates. The engineer will only waste time trying to move the PBP and linking models using origin-to-origin.  And finally, never, I repeat never move the building. I’ve read blogs on how to move a building using infinite view ranges. This does not work; details items cannot be moved this way and you will only cause more problems. Again, use Shared Coordinates. I will save Shared Coordinates for another blog.

February 10, 2013

Preparing for "Next Generation" Manufacturing - and the "End of Days" for the traditional drafter

I generally catch up on my "business" reading on Sunday mornings with a bottomless cup of coffee and jazz, and though it wasn't news to me, an article I read this morning pointed out once again the importance of keeping up with technology and taking some of the associated risks with becoming an "early adopter".

The article, entitled "Are You Prepared for the Next Generation of Manufacturing?", written by Warren Smith (an industry consultant with Infor), is the first of a series being posted on the Industry Week website. The message to manufacturers is that understanding (and in my opinion, adopting) the key technologies leading the industry today is essential to take on the future of manufacturing. In this competitive market, a vendor can't rely on long standing relationships and customer service to hold on to business - loyalty in the rapidly changing future will be dictated by attention to meeting shorter deadlines, better predicting product performance, and providing innovation that companies need before the end users think of it themselves. 

I'll go a step further and state that manufacturers had best pay attention to these trends in order to stay competitive, or many will not survive.

First in the author's findings was a stunning fact about the incorporation of the robotic workers - at a labor cost of $4 per hour, a robot can now perform tasks at less than that of an overseas worker. And with a point of entry at around $20k, a robot can provide 3 or more years of service - without the need for health plans, paid vacations, etc. At one time, the robotic worker was a pipe dream for the SMB manufacturing market. Now, it's a viable alternative to placing ads, interviewing people and hoping for a reliable (gast!) human employee.

Second, Mr. Smith discusses how additive manufacturing is lowering development costs, increasing innovation and protecting intellectual property. We've all seen movies and TV shows where a 3D design is pushed to a printer and within seconds the model is in use - though the printers aren't quite that fast, the era of affordable, high detail, and yes, desktop 3D printing is here.

I look forward to the second part of the article, but these two trends alone signal that the days of 2D drafting are nearing the end. After all, you can't virtually test and prototype a design drawn in 2D CAD. So if you're not designing in 3D now, you'd better start soon. Who knows? You could end up designing a "worker" for your company's manufacturing shop floor....

January 31, 2013

The customer isn't always right - and why that's a good thing

You hear it everywhere you go - "the customer is always right". And when you take time to put the comment into different contexts, it can be construed in a number of ways. But with the rapid evolution of 3D design and printing technology, in the context of design and engineering processes, this statement is entirely untrue.

Take food as an example. I was watching a show on the Travel Channel called "Chowdown Countdown" a couple of days ago. It featured their list of the top 100 restaurants in America, and among them was a place in Chicago called "Superdawg". Their specialty is, you guessed it - hot dogs, and their business is world renowned. But forget asking for modifications, or ketchup - the Superdawg staff will promptly tell you no. The owners are proud of their creation, and insist that any changes would ruin the Superdawg.

The world famous Superdawg, served with all the trimmings - golden mustard, tangy piccalilli, kosher dill pickle, chopped Spanish onions and a memorable hot pepper - but NO KETCHUP!

Another restaurant on the show, Grimaldi's Pizzeria (located in Brooklyn) routinely has customers lined up around the block for their authentic pies. But prominently displayed on the front door is a sign saying "NO SLICES". You get an entire pizza, or nothing.

So how do the behaviors of restaurants relate to 3D design? Customers call in asking for AutoCAD on a daily basis, and when asked to go with industry specific solutions like Inventor or Revit, insist that they know best how to get their work done. Meanwhile, their competitors leapfrog ahead of them, shortening development cycles, creating more innovative products, and most importantly, taking market share.

Our role as consultants is to stay up to date on new technology, observe the practices of "Best in Class" manufacturers, and challenge our clients to evolve their "tried and true" workflows. Encouraging clients to become early adopters of software and processes that will satisfy current design needs, but sustain their business for the rapidly changing future is a responsibility that any account manager/consultant should hold as paramount.

And along with being the differentiator between a salesperson and a business partner, it's also why I contend once again, that the customer isn't always right - and clients who "get it" will agree that, like the yummy Superdawg, it's quite a good thing.

January 13, 2013

My Top 5 Sources for Autodesk Services and Support

Or as I'm frequently asked, "just where the heck did you find that?"

In my role as an account manager, I do my level best to provide our clients with as much direct help as possible with their software, be it installation issues, error messages, or general "how-tos". After all, when it comes to the world of "been there, done that", I realize that when a designer

  • Gets the blue screen of death
  • Can't remember the system variable that controls item selection settings in AutoCAD (it's PICKADD, by the way)
  • Is tasked with doing something with the software he/she has never done

time is MONEY. And in many cases, there may be a project deadline hanging in the balance, or a Project Manager hanging over your shoulder saying "hey, you're the Inventor expert - this is what I hired you to do, so make it work!"

So in an effort to empower the legions of CAD users who are either short on time, can't get Sean Dotson or Lynn Allen on speed dial, or haven't convinced management to pay for Inventor training yet, here Top 5 Sources for Autodesk Services and Support.

  1. Project based implementation with a Platinum designated Autodesk Partner - designing in Inventor, Revit or even AutoCAD to a new user without proper assimilation of the software into a training program designed to fit your workflow is akin to giving a Gulfstream to an untrained pilot and saying, "fly me to Paris - you've got 9 hours". Platinum Partners (like Applied Software) have invested heavily in their technical teams, and have decades of industry experience. The investment will pay for itself many times over, and is often subject to tax credits, depending on the state you live in.
  2. Advanced Subscription Support from Autodesk - provided that you are already a subscription customer for your software, you can choose (for a small fee) to add unlimited toll-free phone, remote desktop and API assistance to your contract (click this link - Autodesk Advanced Support for more details). The support personnel are seasoned Autodesk technical specialists, and if you're a Suites customer, all products in your Suite are covered.
  3. Autodesk WikiHelp ( - A Wiki site for Autodesk products you say? Oh yes, CAD geeks. Consider this a must for the "how do I?" type questions you encounter. Replete with videos, step by step instructions and shared user content (monitored by Autodesk), this site has made me look like a genius many times for my clients.
  4. YouTube ( - This site includes "Getting Started" videos, feature specific "How To" videos, technology previews, and is a great springboard to user generated content as well.
  5. LinkedIn/Twitter - I've listed these resources as a single entry because I frequently will "retweet" good tweets on my LinkedIn site (shameless plug - click here- Trevor Fite). A number of my clients will check the LinkedIn site occasionally for updates on service packs, training classes, and new technology, using my site (and my choices) as a filter for the numerous tweets I receive. If you are a fan of Twitter, I generally tweet/retweet 10-12 times a week, occasionally 3-5 times in a day. Check out who I follow on Twitter ( for a good mix of Autodesk and related technology tweets.