VRML Christmas Greetings

Create your own VR sleigh to deliver Santa’s gifts by visiting the folks at ParallelGraphics. While searching for some software to deliver a Building Information Model (BIM) to an end user I discovered the VRML Santa Sleigh! Its pretty amazing to see how far VRML has come. Build a sleigh with your kids by visiting the link above. The plugin will install itself rather easily and quickly and you’ll soon be up and running with your own “coachworks”.

Yes, thats right…built this one myself!

Once your sleigh is built, click the arrow in the lower right corner of the window to load your sleigh with gifts and launch it on its maiden voyage. Your destination? A quaint little village with a Christmas tree!….Now back to the BIM task!

Speeding up Access to Frequently Used Folders

How Can I speed up Access to Frequently Used Folders?

One of the easiest ways to speed up access to your design project folders is to create a shortcut in the “My Places” frame so that every time you try to open or save a drawing, you are able to quickly click on a new path.

What do I need to do?

1.) Within AutoCAD choose the “OPEN” command. This will launch the “Select Files” dialog box as shown below.

This dialog box is broken into a couple of areas;

Tool Bar

My Places Bar

Files List box

Command Area

2.) Using the “Look in:” pull down located at the top left of the dialog box in the “Tool Bar” area, browse to the project folder you would like to work with.

3.) Now that you are looking at the project folder, you can move your mouse over to the “My Places” area of the dialog box and right click your mouse. This should pop up a new context menu as shown in the graphic.

Options Include:

Remove – This will delete the icon or shortcut directly below your mouse…Please leave the standard icons in place! Thanks.

  • Add Current Folder – This is the option you will most likely choose. This will add the current folder location as a new shortcut icon in the “My Places” folder.
  • Add… – This is the hard way to do it…You will see a dialog prompting for a name and a folder location. You will have to type everything yourself. The shortcut won’t work if you don’t type it in correctly.
  • Properties… – This is the option we will pick when we want to give our shortcut a name in lieu of the actual folder name. Like “Pork Rinds” instead of #4536784-005.
  • Restore Standard Folders – In case you make a mistake…this will fix the “My Places” bar and set it back to original conditions.

4.) Choose the “Add Current Folder” option to add the current folder to the “My Places” shortcut bar.

5.) Right click over your new shortcut and choose “Properties…” Once the “Places Item Properties” dialog box appears as shown in the graphic, give your new shortcut a proper name. Make sure you don’t change the path.

6.) Did you know that you could also drag the folder from the listbox view into the places bar to quickly create a shortcut?

Hope you find that helpful!

Problems with Blogger

Okay, so I’ve been stymied in my attempts to update this blog. This is day 3 with no ability to post a new article. Hopefully the guys at Blogger are working hard on this and I’ll be able to post soon. This is what I got back from the support folks:

Hi there,

Thank you for writing in. Due to a misconfigured router, some users will

be receiving errors with mail2blogger, ftp and sftp publishing. Our

engineers are working to resolve this problem and we hope to have it

resolved shortly.

Thank you for your patience.

Sincerely, Steve

Blogger Support Team

Detecting AutoCAD Flavors with vlax-product-key

Are you working with multiple flavors of AutoCAD? Do you want to perform different tasks, set different variables, load different routines based on which application is currently running? Its really quite easy with a little visual lisp and a short conditional. Did you know about the built in function >vlax-product-key ? This function returns the product and language key pair from the registry by querying the active profile. The following example was copied from my acad.lsp file so that it performs certain functions for particular products only on application launch.

I support Architectural Desktop, Land Development Desktop, and Building Systems products. I have been unable to find any documentation for other products, so if you happen to run another product not listed, please comment and include the pair found using vlax-product-key

;;; Get Product Key to detect Product Name and Type

(setq tmpProd (vlax-product-key))


;;; Do something depending on which product is chosen

(if (/= (vl-string-search “308:409” tmpProd) nil)


(setq curProd “LDT2005”)

;;; Do something unique for Land Development Desktop Here


);progn T



(if (/= (vl-string-search “306:409” tmpProd) nil)


(setq curProd “ABS2005”)

;;; Do something unique for Building Systems Here


);progn T



(if (/= (vl-string-search “304:409” tmpProd) nil)


(setq curProd “ADT2005”)

;;; Do something unique for Architectural Desktop Here


);progn T




I chose to set variables in the example above because the variable will be used in other functions as well. It is really quite simple once you know the pairs. Hopefully we can generate the complete list with a little participation.

Tired of Layer Filters polluting your drawings?

If you are tired of Layer Filters and miscellaneous registered application records polluting your drawings and eating up valuable storage space then you’ll want to download this tool. I found out about this while reading Shaan Hurley’s blog, so I’ll direct you to his blog for additional information.

I downloaded and ran this tool on a folder that had 133mb worth of already slimmed down project related files. After running the tool the folder came in at a svelt 124mb. Check it out!

An Easy way to update Users Local files

Do you want to always ensure that your users have the same custom files available for use in AutoCAD? An easy way to do this is to create a “seed file” folder on your network and then copy the following snippet of code into their acad.lsp file. Keep the acad.lsp file on the network and point each user to it and you can keep all your users up to date.

Assumption for this example:

  • Custom lisp files needed by all users are available

    at the following location: x:customlisp
  • Users will need the files in the following

    location: c:customlisp

;;; Check the following directory for standard seed files for users

;;; If they are not resident then copy them over.

(setq SeedFiles “x:customlisp” )

(setq RootUser “c:customlisp”)

;;;Use the foreach to cycle through each file found and check for a local copy

;;;If not found then copy it over and report…

(foreach n

(vl-directory-files SeedFiles nil 1)

(if (/=

(vl-file-systime (strcat RootUser “” n)




(progn (vl-file-copy

(strcat SeedFiles “” n)

(strcat RootUser “” n)

) ;copy file


(strcat “nCopying ” n ” to User Personal folder on ” RootUser)


);end progn file copy

);end for each

);end macro


Hope that was helpful.

AU2004 A huge success

Well by all accounts, AU was smashing success.

  • 30-40% growth in attendance
  • 300+ classes
  • New information about upcoming releases
  • AUGI Play Pen Plus
  • AUGI Top Daug Contest
  • Change in Location for next year, Orlando!

Be sure to visit the following sites for more information:






AU 2004 – First Day of Classes

Today was the first day of classes. A little change to the typical lineup with the General Session and Building Industry Sessions moved to this day. The lineup worked well. The day started off with the long lab sessions held this morning from 8:00-11:30. A fantastic lunch was then served in the Tents outside. The afternoon presentations at the General Session were well received with addresses by Lynn Allen, Carol Bartz, and Scott Bourdin. Dean Kamen, famous inventor, gave the keynote address. Check out his pet project, http://www.usfirst.com

The building Industry Sessions were then held after a short break, followed by the AUGI Annual Meeting. Then of course, the AUGI Beer bash and the opening of the Expo hall rounded out the meeting.

I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with many industry heavyweights during the day and later at the Beer Bash. Looking forward to classes tomorrow.

If you get a chance, be sure to have dinner at Fammia, Diego is also very tasty for those with a mexican hankering.