Wielding BLADE on BricsCAD Unplugged

In September I was the special guest on the BricsCAD Unplugged episode BricsCAD Unplugged – Steve Johnson 5 surprises moving to BricsCAD. Next Wednesday I will return, this time to wield BLADE, the best thing to happen to CAD LISP in nearly 20 years. I’ll be introducing it and demonstrating a few things, including the new features that came with V19. These live broadcasts are run on the Bricsys Facebook page and are then quickly transferred to YouTube. This broadcast will start at UTC 15:00 (3 PM) on Wednesday, 19 December 2018. Here’s that time in a few handy time zones: …

DOSLib goes open source

What’s DOSLib? DOSLib is a free library of LISP functions that adds a lot of functionality to AutoLISP/Visual LISP/BricsCAD LISP. It makes a lot of programming tasks a lot easier, because instead of writing a bunch of code to do tricky stuff, you can just load the library and call a ready-made (dos_xxx) function. There are hundreds of functions that cover the following areas (taken from the McNeel Wiki): Drives – Check for drives, change between drives, and check available disk space. Paths – Manipulate path specifications. Folders – Create, rename, remove, select, and change folders. Return special operating system folders. Files – Copy, …

Video – Steve on BricsCAD Unplugged

Following on from Lynn Allen and Robert Green’s guest appearances on the BricsCAD Unplugged webcast a couple of weeks ago, this time it was my turn. Last night (my time) I was the special guest on the episode BricsCAD Unplugged – Steve Johnson 5 surprises moving to BricsCAD. I’m introduced at 2:12 and appear at 3:30. Here’s the full video: In this week’s episode, you’ll witness: Me discussing the five biggest things that pleasantly surprised me about BricsCAD. (I have more than five, but time was limited). Don Strimbu bribing me with drinks containers. An actual printed copy of Cadalyst …

Explaining the four tiers of AutoCAD license

Yesterday’s tiers Once upon a time, long long ago, you could buy AutoCAD with or without sets of features  called Advanced Drafting Extensions (ADE) containing optional extras such as dimensioning. At one stage you could buy four tiers of AutoCAD license at different prices: AutoCAD AutoCAD + ADE1 AutoCAD + ADE2 (incorporating ADE1) AutoCAD + ADE3 (incorporating ADE1 and ADE2) (Interestingly, the above situation is similar to the current arrangement with BricsCAD, where BricsCAD Classic, Pro and Platinum are available with incrementing prices and feature sets, with BricsCAD BIM and Sheet Metal available on top of Platinum). As almost everybody bought …

Adding Express Tools to BricsCAD

If you’re evaluating BricsCAD to replace AutoCAD, you might be put off by the apparent absence of the Express Tools. Don’t be. First, some express tool commands have been added to BricsCAD as native commands, such as OVERKILL and TXTEXP. Next, the Express Tools menu can be added, thanks to a free add-on by Martin Drese (CADwiesel). Here’s the step-by-step process: Go to the Bricsys Applications page. Start typing “EXPRESS” into the search box. You should be pleasantly surprised to discover that by the time you’ve typed four characters, what you are chasing will already be displayed for you:   …

Has Autodesk broken your old licenses?

I’m seeing multiple recent complaints from people stating that their older but perfectly legal perpetual license AutoCADs are being broken. They’re also reporting that Autodesk is being less than helpful about fixing the problem in any reasonable kind of timeframe. Whether this is a deliberate act or yet another “this won’t happen again” screw-up is difficult to determine, but either way it’s pretty obnoxious. People paid a lot of money for this software and they deserve to have it working. If you have an old release lying around for whatever reason, maybe you’d better check to make sure it’s not …

Importing SketchUp files into AutoCAD

Do you have a SketchUp (SKP) file you need to import into a DWG? Need to know how to do it? Tried it but it didn’t work? This tip is for you. If you’re using AutoCAD 2016 to 2019 for Windows, you can download and install the SketchUp Import plug-in from the Autodesk App Store. If that goes according to plan, this will add the command IMPORTSKP to AutoCAD. You may need to restart your AutoCAD first. It’s straightforward enough; select a file to import and it becomes a block in your drawing. Reading the reviews for this add-on, it’s …

Why every AutoCAD CAD Manager should have a copy of BricsCAD – part 6, future proofing

This is the sixth and final post in this series where I explain why this statement holds true: As a CAD Manager looking after AutoCAD users, or a power user looking after yourself, it’s worth your while to have a copy of BricsCAD handy. This post explains why adding a copy of BricsCAD to your stable of AutoCAD licenses is a good thing for your future and that of your company. A CAD Management thing I did a few years ago was to examine the options for replacing AutoCAD and other Autodesk products. I was an AutoCAD loyalist (albeit a …

Why every AutoCAD CAD Manager should have a copy of BricsCAD – part 5, LISP

This is the fifth post in this series where I explain why this statement holds true: As a CAD Manager looking after AutoCAD users, or a power user looking after yourself, it’s worth your while to have a copy of BricsCAD handy. This post is about BricsCAD being better than AutoCAD at the one thing that made AutoCAD win the race against its competitors back in the 80s – LISP. That is, AutoLISP (added fully to AutoCAD in Version 2.18) and Visual LISP (fully integrated with AutoCAD 2000). If you’re a good AutoCAD CAD Manager, you’ll already know the reasons …

Having trouble authorising Autodesk products?

You’re not alone. At the time of writing, the Autodesk license service at auth.autodesk.com is down, so if you need a response from that service before your software will work you’re likely to be severely out of luck. That’s more likely to be inconvenient if you’re on subscription rather than a perpetual license, because Autodesk subscription software phones home every month. Yes, even if you have a 3-year license.

Why every AutoCAD CAD Manager should have a copy of BricsCAD – part 4, efficiency

This is the fourth post in this series where I explain why this statement holds true: As a CAD Manager looking after AutoCAD users, or a power user looking after yourself, it’s worth your while to have a copy of BricsCAD handy. This post is about BricsCAD being more efficient than AutoCAD for some of the things a CAD Manager might need to do. What do I mean? BricsCAD starts up and closes down faster than AutoCAD, much faster in some environments. If your AutoCAD starts up slow (e.g. in some secure proxy server environments), pretty much any job you …

Why every AutoCAD CAD Manager should have a copy of BricsCAD – part 3, parts on demand

This is the third post in this series where I explain why this statement holds true: As a CAD Manager looking after AutoCAD users, or a power user looking after yourself, it’s worth your while to have a copy of BricsCAD handy. This post is about using BricsCAD as a mechanical and structural parts library for your AutoCAD users. As I mentioned in my last post in this series, I was writing a client-specific AutoCAD 3D training course recently. To demonstrate the concept of revolving profiles, and also to compare and contrast different styles of solid creation, I wanted to …

Why every AutoCAD CAD Manager should have a copy of BricsCAD – part 2, 3D operations

This is the second post in this series where I explain why this statement holds true: As a CAD Manager looking after AutoCAD users, or a power user looking after yourself, it’s worth your while to have a copy of BricsCAD handy. This post is about using BricsCAD to do things to help out your AutoCAD users who are having problems with 3D operations. Why would you bother using BricsCAD to mess with AutoCAD 3D models? Because sometimes AutoCAD can’t do stuff with them, and BricsCAD can. If you have a user who finally asks for help after fighting AutoCAD …

Why every AutoCAD CAD Manager should have a copy of BricsCAD – part 1, fixing drawings

Here’s a mega-tip with a lot of experience behind it: As a CAD Manager looking after AutoCAD users, or a power user looking after yourself, it’s worth your while to have a copy of BricsCAD handy. Why? There are too many reasons to fit in one blog post, so I’m going to do a mini-series. The first post is about using BricsCAD to fix up drawings that are giving your AutoCAD users problems. One of the things that surprised me most when evaluating BricsCAD as a potential replacement for AutoCAD was that my expectations were wrong when it came to …

More details of Bricsys 2018 in London

As I mentioned in March, this year’s Bricsys conference will be held in London (yes, the British one) on 23 and 24 October. More details have now been revealed on the Bricsys Conference page and tickets are now on sale. We now know: Venue: The Brewery, 52 Chiswell Street, London EC1Y 4SD, UK. Cost: €150, which is about US$180 (plus taxes in the EU, which you may be able to deduct). This is the early bird rate until 30 June. Speakers: Ten have been named so far, including big-name signing Heidi Hewett. My attendance at the 2016 and 2017 conferences …

Steve’s BLADE presentation at the BricsCAD New Zealand and Australia Roadshow

Sofoco (Australia) and CAD Concepts (New Zealand) recently ran a series of seminars throughout Australasia demonstrating BricsCAD. I attended the last of these in Brisbane on April 19 and gave a presentation about BricsCAD’s LISP, with reference to AutoCAD compatibility and the tools available to CAD Managers and developers, including BLADE. The talk was aimed at anybody who is writing or maintaining LISP code for AutoCAD or BricsCAD. I had the just-before-lunch slot, which is never desirable for a presenter. People are dozing off and/or bursting to go to the toilet, and time adjustments have to be made if earlier …

Autodesk remotely killswitches AutoCAD licenses – again

Following the AutoCAD 2019 rollout disaster, where subscription users found their AutoCAD 2018s were broken by an Autodesk licensing system meltdown, Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost issued an apology. He also assured customers on Twitter that it wouldn’t happen again: While I welcomed that, I did have this to say at the time: I don’t think such a guarantee is realistic, given that the nature of subscription software is to only work when it knows you’ve paid up. At least it demonstrates that the desire is there right at the top to try to prevent such debacles from occurring in future. …

The game has changed – Robert Green migrates to BricsCAD

Is anybody left who still thinks BricsCAD isn’t a serious replacement for AutoCAD? If that’s you, perhaps the latest news might make you take it seriously. No, not the Heidi Hewett news. Even more recent news than that! Robert Green, CAD Management guru, Cadalyst writer and consultant (not to mention a rather good guitarist) has been announced as the first Bricsys Certified Migration Consultant. Read all about what Robert has to say on this Bricsys blog post. Anybody who has been reading this blog for the last few years will be surprised by none of what Robert has to say …

Steve at the BricsCAD New Zealand and Australia Roadshow

Sofoco (Australia) and CAD Concepts (New Zealand) are currently running a series of seminars throughout Australasia demonstrating BricsCAD. Here are the dates and locations: Auckland – 9 April 2018, Jet Park Hotel and Conference Centre Christchurch – 11 April 2018, Christchurch Community House Melbourne – 17 April 2018, Airport Motel and Convention Centre Sydney – 18 April 2018, Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport Brisbane – 19 April 2018, Royal on the Park Each seminar is in two parts. The morning session is for leaders and decision makers and the the afternoon is less structured and goes into more details, with informal discussions, questions and answers and …

Autodesk removes ability to control products and updates by device

If you’re a CAD Manager controlling Autodesk software through Autodesk Account, make sure you don’t ignore this little notice near the top: Full details can be found on the page Device Management Discontinued in Autodesk Account, but in short another level of control and flexibility will be removed from you in a month or so. I hope you’re sincerely grateful for Autodesk improving and simplifying the user management experience. This only applies if you allow Autodesk desktop app to be installed, which I’ve always advised against. Of course, if you’re in a secure proxy environment there’s a good chance that …