AutoCAD automation


As you can check on my CV, I’ve been working as a draughtsman/IT guy/CAD manager for around five years now.

We spend most of our time “drawing” things with Autodesk’s AutoCAD. Be it a P&ID, an electric diagram, civil, structural or piping drafts, a 3D model, you name it!

Being a somewhat small company, in five years we’ve faced different challenges, like getting projects that would require more human hours than we have the means to cover — either by lack of personnel or deadlines.

Sometimes we’ve solved those challenges by getting more people, sometimes by working more hours than usual. Sometimes though those things are just not possible — something else is needed.

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AutoCAD: Blocks. Part I: Basics


If you’re a somewhat advanced AutoCAD user, you probably fully understand blocks and its usage. If that’s the case, you probably should skip to the next part of the series on blocks.

Basically, a block is a way of grouping objects (e.g. lines, texts, circles, other blocks, etc.), giving such group a name and it allows for easy manipulation of a big amount of objects.

On this part, we’ll see some advantages of using blocks and lastly but more importantly: block attributes. Read Full Post

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Migrating Windows (or any partition) to a Virtual Machine


At the company I work for, being sick of making clean Windows installs, we decided to willingly violate Windows XP’s EULA for the greater good and put together a few open-source tools (basically ntfsclone, ntfsreloc, ntfsresize, gparted and of course, Linux), wrote a couple of witty scripts and came out with a “free” and nearly legal way of (re)installing Windows on our machines.

Such a method consists basically of having in each machine besides the live Windows installation, a striped out Linux system with a backup image of its Windows (legally registered!). Of course, to save time, we sometimes use that same image to install Windows in more than one than one machine and once it’s been installed, we change the license data and create a new internal backup image with its own license info.

So, I have that set up on my machine as well, except that I have a full, lovely, amazingly useful Debian installation. The problem is, that I can’t be bothered to close, abandon whatever I’m doing and leave my happy place just to boot 5 minutes into Windows, figure out how to do something or test a new script and boot back into Linux to resume my other activities.

Here comes Virtualisation to the rescue, being something I had played with in the past, it wasn’t totally new and I already knew about the different options out there and their pros and cons.

So I decided to give it a shot, but once again, making a fresh Windows install with all of the software needed to make it useful… is just too much of a burden. Read Full Post

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