Monday, December 26, 2011

Evolution of Computer Skills of a Mechanical Engineer

Trust me, I'm an Engineer! This is sad but true. Excel is a great and powerful tool. I think you could group PowerPoint into that category too. I also enjoy the engineering flow chart!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Learn How to Write CATIA VB Script Macros: Lesson 3

What is a CATIA macro? If you perform a task repeatedly, you can take advantage of a macro to automate the task. A macro (or makro to some people) is a series of functions, written in a scripting language, that you group in a single command to perform the requested task automatically. You can record a macro but it is highly recommended that you learn VBA (or VBScript, a subset of VBA) in order to write and use macros of your own creation. I will help you learn how to write CATScripts through a series of CATIA macro tutorials, starting with how to export to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet file.

The following is a list of some of the contents you'll find in Lesson 3 of our CATIA Macros series:

  • 1.How to export to Excel
  • 2.Launching Excel from CATIA
  • 3.Screen Updating and Excel Visibility
  • 4.Entering Cell Values
  • 5.Excel Formulas
  • 6.Combining Loops and Formulas
  • 7.Defining Excel Constants
  • 8.Insert Rows and Columns
  • 9.Sorting the Excel Spreadsheet
  • 10.Deleting Rows and Columns
  • 11.Formatting
  • 12.Changing the Background Color
Download the tutorial free of charge and be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed for updates on future tutorials.

Purchase our latest how-to book: VB Scripting for CATIA V5.

Click here to see Lesson 1: Fundamentals.
Click here to see Lesson 2.
Download Lesson 3 

Monday, December 12, 2011

New DraftSight Learning Resources Flipbook Available

We invite you to check out the DraftSight Master Series – an online flipbook designed to help you maximize your design skills. The book includes a collection of tips, tricks, videos, webinars and more from DraftSight’s training guru, Mark Lyons.
We hope you’ll find this to be a useful tool, and invite you to share it with your friends and colleagues. 
Thanks for using DraftSight! - The DraftSight Team

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Solid Edge - Simulation Express Tutorial Video

Welcome to another edition of Ally PLM's Lunch Bytes series. This time their topic in this edition is simulation express. Watch the video tutorial below:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gift Ideas for CAD and 3D Modelers

Are you shopping for a CAD user, 3D modeler, or an engineer? Well, I have a couple of holiday gift suggestions for you.

A full-color guide to the #1 architectural drafting program—AutoCAD 2012 for Dummies. AutoCAD is the leading software used to create 2D and 3D technical drawings. Used by engineers, architects, and drafting professionals, it can be complex and is a perfect subject for the tried-and-true For Dummies format. Full-color illustrations make the instructions even easier to follow, because examples in the book appear exactly as they will on the screen.

Fully updated for the latest version of software, Kelley’s Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0 Instructor remains organized around step-by-step tutorials — the most effective way to teach and learn this procedure-intensive CAD application. Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0 Instructor provides a solid background in parametric design and constraint-based modeling. In addition, the comprehensive references make this text an all-in-one tutorial, reference, and lecture guide for students of Pro/ENGINEER.

CATIA V6 (Computer-Aided Three Dimensional Interactive Application) is the world's leading multi-platform CAD/CAM/CAE software suite marketed worldwide by IBM. It allows the user to apply its capabilities to a variety of industries such as automotive, industrial robots, electronics, manufacturing design, aerospace, and consumer goods. CATIA V6 Essentials includes all the major concepts related to the latest version of CATIA, such as installation, modes, and modeling in an easy-to-understand, step-by-step format. It also covers all the major commands and techniques and provides the reader with all of the details to learn the basics with a clear method of instruction. This comprehensive reference will help you navigate this multifaceted software with ease.

Solid Edge ST3 for Designers is a comprehensive textbook that introduces the users to direct modeling with precise control of dimension-driven design through precision sketching and selection handles using the Solid Edge ST3 software. The textbook covers all major environments of Solid Edge ST3 in both the Synchronous and Ordered modeling with a thorough explanation of all tools, options, and their applications to create real-world products.

And some shameless self-promotion. Have you ever wondered what it takes to design and build a roller coaster? At last, there’s a book that shows you. A mix of engineering and art, roller coasters are complex three-dimensional puzzles consisting of thousands of individual parts. Designers spend countless hours creating and tweaking ride paths to push the envelope of exhilaration, all while maintaining the highest safety standards. Coasters 101: An Engineering Guide to Roller Coaster Design examines the numerous diverse aspects of roller coaster engineering, including some of the mathematical formulas and engineering concepts used.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Learn how to write CATIA VB Script Macros: Lesson 2

I have created a series of powerpoint presentations covering a variety of topics, starting from fundamentals of programming in VB script to exporting images to powerpoint and Excel files and more. This first lesson available for download was Lesson 1:Fundamentals where you'll learn some basic programming concepts. Lesson 2 has now been posted. We'll keep learning some fundamentals of programming but at the same time look at more example codes.

The following is a list of topics covered in CATIA Macros Lesson 2:

  • VB Script Syntax
  • Working with Collections: Count and Item number
  • How to use Save and Save As
  • GetWorkbench
  • How to use For Loops
  • Display the Density of a CATPart
  • Error Handling
  • Clear Method
  • Error Goto 0
  • Documents versus windows
  • How to create a parameter
  • How to switch to design mode
  • identifying a part versus a product

Download the tutorial free of charge and be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed for updates on future tutorials. In lesson 3 we'll be talking all about exporting, including capture the screen display as an image file in addition to exporting to Excel and PowerPoint.

Click here to download CATIA Macros:Lesson 2.ppt presentation

Learn how to write macros using our latest book: VB Scripting for CATIA V5 

Monday, November 21, 2011

CAD Viewers: Delcam Exchange

What type of files can Delcam Exchange open?

Delcam Exchange Features and Limitations:
  •  DelcamExchange (IGS,STEP, PART FILES)   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How does code interact with CATIA?

In order to understand how code talks to CATIA we need to answer two other questions:

First, what does dll stand for? In the world of computer software DLL stands for Dynamic Linked Libraries. These are compiled files that contain all of the functions that make CATIA V5 (or other software) perform an action. For example, when you select the “point” function in CATIA, the program calls a function inside one of the dll files that performs the action of creating a point in the V5 database. These files are both compiled and encrypted or “mangled”. This is a mechanism by which software companies can ensure that others cannot access the functions inside the dll’s. Therefore you cannot directly call the dll’s from outside applications. To allow outside applications to call these functions, extra programming needs to be done. This extra programming allows certain functions (not all of them) from the dll’s to be “exposed” to Windows and the COM object model – this is done via tlb files.

This brings us to our second question, what does tlb stand for? TLB stands for Type Library Files which are necessary for “exposing” functions to Windows. They act as maps which point to the mangled functions inside of the dll files that make CATIA V5 work. For example, DS may expose a function called Point(X,Y,Z) which takes 3 arguments (the x, y, and z values of the point). This function is defined and compiled in the type library, but it actually only points to the specific spot in one of the dll’s where the function exists to create a point. This means that for each major Release of V5, the type libraries must exactly match the dlls – therefore you need to make sure that you are using the correct versions of the type libraries when you do any automation. Any external programming IDE needs to have access to these type libraries in order.

Visual Studio, Visual Basic Express, or other applications MUST reference type library files that make the application “aware” of all of the CATIA functions that have been exposed. There are currently over 40 of these type libraries for CATIA – they are broken up by discipline (i.e. surface design, part design, etc.).  Only the type library for the discipline that you are going to use should be referenced. If you only need to automate surface design, then only “reference” the surface design type library in your programming project.

Also, please keep in mind that the type libraries are changed with each release of CATIA V5, so the correct type libraries MUST be used with the correct version of CATIA (ie, R19, R20, etc.). Not all CATIA V5 functions have been exposed in the type libraries.

Learn how to write CATIA Macros. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Learn how to write CATIA VB Script Macros

Are you interested in learning how to write CATScript macros for CATIA for free? Do you find yourself often thinking "There's a better way to do this, I just don't know how to do it"? If so, then writing a macro may be the solution. There are numerous reasons why you should learn how to write macros in CATIA, including saving time and reducing the possibility of human error by automating repetitive processes. When using CATScripts the possibilities are endless. You can export to Excel, Word, ppt, txt, etc. as well as having the ability to import or export to CATDrawing files.

I have created a series of powerpoint presentations covering a variety of topics, starting from fundamentals of programming in VB script to exporting images to powerpoint and Excel files and more. This first lesson available for download is Lesson 1: Fundamentals where you'll learn some basic programming concepts. The presentation is 25 slides long and includes several example codes to help you learn by following along.

Here are a few of the basics covered in the first lesson:

  • What is VB Script
  • Why use macros
  • How to create a macro
  • How to open and run macros
  • How to add a macro library
  • How to assign an icon for your macros
  • How to record a macro
  • Recording versus writing custom code
  • CATIA VB Script fundamentals
  • Subroutines and functions
  • The CATIA Object
  • Programming Concepts
  • Simple Viewer Commands
  • Definitions
  • How to create a pop-up message box
  • How to create a yes or no input box

Download the tutorial free of charge and be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed for updates on future tutorials. In lesson 2 we'll talk about creating parameters, saving files, changing workbenches, and exporting to image capture files.

Update: Join our free email newsletter to get a copy of the macro fundamental chapter.

Click here to download CATIA Macros:Lesson 1 Fundamentals.ppt presentation

Click here for Lesson 2 

Purchase our how to write macros book: VB Scripting for CATIA V5 

Check out our new site,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

CAD Viewers: Solid Edge Viewer (SE)

Viewer for Solid Edge CAD Files
What type of files can Solid Edge Viewer read?
  • part, (.par)
  • Sheet metal (.psm)
  • assembly models (.asm)
  • Weldment assemblies (pwd)
  • Draft or drawing files (.dft)
  • Drawing files (.dwg, .dft)
  • 3D viewing and file sharing CAD models (JT)
  • Packaged collaboration files (pcf) for NX and SE
  • Metafile documents (Microsoft) CGM
  • JT files

Solid Edge Viewer Controls and Limitations

  • Rotate, size, or fit to window by selecting desired view control button from above the pressing left mouse button and dragging.
  • Printing of model picture or drawings are allowed
  • Cannot save files
  • Cannot measure drawings or models
  • Can hide or view individual components in an assembly model
  • Cannot view Parasolid, IGS, or Step files

Solid Edge 2D Drafting
  • Stand Alone Drafting Software
  • Similar to AutoCAD lite.
  • Complete 2d Drafting Capabilities.
  • Opens and saves documents as dft, dwg, dxf, 2D IGS
  • Save documents as dwg or dxf if they are to be distributed.
  • Can print drawings with included pdf printer. (SAVE AS pdf)
  • Tutorial are available

Solid Edge 2D Drafting Software
(with included 2D/3D Solid Edge Viewer )