Create custom legends and QTO with Data Wizard

CTC CIM Productivity Tools fro Civil 3D –  SolidCAD


Tabling, legend creation and QTO workflows leave a lot to be desired in Civil 3D, forcing to use many different subpar tools, or worse, performing the work manually. With Data Wizard you can scan any number of drawings for AutoCAD and Civil 3D objects to generate legends, tables, QTOs, and more, all to company standards, and all automatically. When drawings change, refresh tables to automatically incorporate updates. Save out templates for quick recreation of custom tables and legends.


For more click here

Interested in tweaking an HSM (Inventor CAM, Fusion CAM, HSMWorks) post-processor yourself?

 By Louis Martineau, Manufacturing Consultant at SolidCAD

The “SolidCAD Universal FANUC” post processor (free on our website) contains a large number of parameters that can be set on-the-fly through the “Post-Process” dialog, without needing to change anything inside the post-processor.

If you require other changes, SolidCAD offers a post-processor modification service to adapt this post to your machine and to your best practices.

If you wish to make changes yourself, you are free to do so. Indeed, the “SolidCAD Universal FANUC” post-processor and all the post-processors available on the HSM Post Library website are unlocked and open-source.

The HSM Post Library is found here:

A post .cps post-processor file is merely a text file. It can be opened and edited in Notepad or any other text editor. There is unfortunately no user interface; changes must be made to the code in JavaScript language.

However, the good news is that Autodesk publishes a free manual to guide you through the process, covering the basics of JavaScript and explaining the various sections of a post file.

The manual can be downloaded here:

If you can’t find an answer in this 200-page guide, you can consult the vast archive of the HSM Post-Processor Forum, and even post your question on this very active forum. The forum is located here:



BING Images Won’t Appear

By Matt Kolberg , ENI / GIS – Applications Specialist at SolidCAD


Have you ever turned on background BING imagery inside AutoCAD products only to find they don’t appear?  There could be a few reasons for this:

  • No Geolocation or coordinate system is set.
  • You’re not logged in with your Autodesk account.
  • You’re zoomed into an area compatible with the geolocation you’ve chose.

These two are the pre-requisites for using images from Bing, but there is one more which has many of my customers stumped.  Have you ever seen this message?  You almost certainly have.

If you choose Yes, then you will see your images.  If you choose No, you won’t.  If you check that little button on the bottom left, you’ll never see this message again.  Good, right?  Well, if you chose Yes, then yes.  If you chose No, well…you’ll never receive this message again and you’ll never see images!

There is a saviour, however.  There are other message like this in AutoCAD.  Toggles that prevent that box from appearing in the future.  These are called “Hidden Messages” and they can be turned back on by opening AutoCAD’s Options dialog box [OPTIONS].  Then opening the hidden message settings in the System tab.


I hope you can use this to avoid any unnecessary frustration in your day.

Keeping Your Revit Model Healthy by Utilizing CTC Express Tools

By Mughees Altaf , Account Manager — AEC Productivity Tools at SolidCAD


Keeping Your Revit Model Healthy by Utilizing CTC Express Tools

Many firms struggle to fully keep their Revit models healthy. There are manual, and tedious workflows that can be error prone.

Do you want to do a thorough health check of your model prior to sending it out? Exhausting time checking to ensure information is correct, accurate and consistent across the project team, and projects can be tedious. Let’s look at a few tools from CTC Software that can help you make this process quicker and more effective project to project.


  1. BIM Manager Suite – Dimension Checker, Project Cleaner*, Type Swapper, Shared Parameter Manager, Family Processor, Import Link Manager
  2. BIM Batch Suite – Family Loader*, Family Exporter*, Plotter & Exporter
  3. BIM Project Suite – Model Compare, Spreadsheet Link

Problems We Face

  1. We need to have, and should have standards
  2. Standards can be hard to maintain
  3. Standards can be cumbersome and tedious
  4. Consistency can be hard to track manually

Workflow Process with 3 CTC Tools

Shared Parameter Manager – Much easier way to manage your shares parameters compared to the out of the box method. Browse your master shared parameters file and compare to a source file. Filter differences between the master and source file, and add, modify, delete, move, duplicate, and find/replace.

Family Processor – Able to make multiple changes to multiple families in batch to ensure the content’s schedules are consistent and accurate. Powerful when you are building a library, adding new content, or downloading content from manufacturers. Builds a summary health check file of each family so the BIM Management team is able to track new or changed content.

Family Loader* – Once the content is up to date and standardized by using Shared Parameter Manager, and Family Processor, you can batch load those specific fixed or new families in a project.

*Free Tools

Contact SolidCAD to discover and evaluate your current workflow in Revit and let us find the right solution for you.


By Jonathan Guibert , Account Manager A.E.C QC , Bluebeam / Laser Scan 3D



*scroll down for FR version  – LES BASES POUR L’ESTIMATION 

A lot of people are still estimating on paper plan to quote their job on a project. So, why should they use Bluebeam for doing it? In fact, we’ve got the answer from the same people; faster, direct export to Excel, more precise than ever with the calibration integrated in the document (from Bluebeam or directly from the drawing software where the plan came from) and finally (maybe the most important) no printing.

So, what do you need to know about Bluebeam to start estimating?

In this article, we will see tools to be used in order to give you the basic knowledge to begin quoting on your pdf plans within Bluebeam.


  • Calibrate your plan

The first step is to calibrate your plan. In order to be able to quote lengths and areas, you need to make sure your plan has been calibrated correctly and accurately to avoid any mistake (or at least, limit those mistakes)

For this purpose, we will have to set the calibration by selecting Measurements and then, Calibrate.

Then, we will use a measure already indicated in the drawing to calibrate our plan by using the side line as our guide.

Then, we will use a measure already indicated in the drawing to calibrate our plan by using the side line as our guide.

When you finish tracing your calibration line between the 2 extremities of the side line, click again and a Calibrate menu will appear. Now, write the same length as indicated in your side line and you’re done. Your plan has been calibrated. Pretty simple, isn’t it?

You are now ready to start.

Note from the author: I always double check after calibration by measuring another sideline length to be sure the date I used was correct. It could happen a drawer changed manually a length to have a rounded number in place of the real length.

Most user rather use the calibration within Bluebeam instead of the scale indicated on plan because it’s more accurate.


2 ) The Measurement tools and their purpose

Bluebeam has 13 default tools to do measurement. It’s more than what we need to estimate. I am personally selecting 3 of them to create my own tools set for estimating. You are free to choose depending of your need. In addition to those 3 tools, I also often use Dynamic Fill, but we will see that later.

Linear estimates (imperial / metric)

To be able to do precise estimates, we’ve got 2 choices: Length and Polylength.

I prefer to use Polylength  for 2 reasons :

I’ve got more custom choices that I can apply to my length and, above all, I can take of sidelines in extremities to be more readable and smooth (and you can’t do that with the regular Length tool)

Now that we choose our estimating tool for measuring length, we will need to think about what we need to quote. Usually, an estimator doesn’t quote on a single product or job. So we will use our Polylength standard tool to create our different custom tools set of products/jobs we will need to quote on.

On this purpose, trace a standard Polylength  on your plan (picture below).

Then, in the customization quick menu above your drawing, you will be able to change color, width, line type… and finally, give a name to your custom Polylength and save it in a custom Tool Chest (you should have created before, obviously or select an existing one). For example, in steel estimating, people use to call their length as the type of beam they need to quote. This allows them to estimate on measurements AND count them at the same time. MEP sub-contractor are doing the same for HVAC duct or general pipping.


Once you finish customizing, save your custom tools by clicking on Add to Tool Chest and select the one you have been created.

You can now use the same line to create all products / jobs you need to quote and populate your tool chest by changing name, color, type of Polylength and add it to the right Tool Chest. It will not overwrite your first custom tool already created.

Note from the author : This stage can be a bit long but once you’ve created all needed tools, your job will be really more easier than ever. The more developed your tools are, the less time you will spend after to organize your data and get your result. But, if it is your first bunch of tool, don’t overthink it too much. The more time you will use Revu, the more you will know and the more custom your tools will be.


Area Estimate (square feet / square meters)

For this part, we will use exactly the same process than previously done for Ploylength but we will do it by using Area standard tool.

On a similar way, we will create areas to represent what we want to quote and name them. For example: Floor, Concrete Slab…

Then we will customize them with different colors, fills and even being able to include hatch in them. Finally, we will save them in a tool chest the same way you did with Polylength.

This is the conclusion of the first part of Estimating with Bluebeam. In the next post, we will see how to create layers and how to use them smartly and how to create, customize and use columns in Markup List to create quick and easy estimates.




Beaucoup de gens estiment encore sur les plans papiers afin de pouvoir estimer efficacement un travail. Alors pourquoi utiliser Bluebeam? Et bien ce sont ces mêmes gens qui m’en ont donné les raisons ; plus rapide, exportable sur Excell directement, précis par une calibration selon l’échelle des plans qu’on calibre ou sortent calibrés des logiciels de dessins, moins d’impression et enfin un meilleur suivi de l’information (surtout lorsqu’on doit se replonger dans un plan déjà fait mais désormais relâché dans une version différente). Beaucoup de bonnes raisons en somme.

Du coup, voici un petit article qui sera en deux parties et qui permettra à n’importe qui de commencer à estimer avec Bluebeam. Nous allons voir les outils à utiliser et pourquoi afin de donner une base de connaissance pour commencer à estimer dans Bluebeam


Le calibrage est la première des choses à vérifier. Tenant compte du fait que nous allons estimer des longueurs et des surfaces, il faut que notre plan soit calibrer correctement afin d’éviter tout erreur.

Pour cela, nous allons aller dans Mesure et choisir Calibrer

Par la suite, nous allons calibrer le plan à partir d’une cote du dessin

Marquer le même nombre que sur notre côte et Appliquer l’échelle


Une fois votre plan calibré, vous êtes prêt à commencer.

Par acquis de conscience, je revalide toujours ma mesure de calibrage car si une cote est erronée ou tronquer par le dessinateur, cela va avoir des conséquences fâcheuses.

Pas mal de monde préfère utiliser cette calibration via Bluebeam plutôt que l’échelle des plans qui ne sont pas précises à 100% et nécessitent des re-vérifications après coup. Pour cela, j’utilise simplement une polylongueur et je valide que le résultat affiché corresponde bien à celui de la cote sur laquelle je me suis basé.

Si votre plan sort d’un logiciel de dessins type AutoCAD ou Revit, il conservera l’échelle de votre plan comme indiquée dans les dits logiciels.


Astuce :

Dans la section Vignette, vous pouvez désormais afficher les échelles des pages en dessous du titre. Pratique pour ne pas se tromper


2 ) Les types de mesures et lesquels choisir

Bluebeam dispose de 13 outils standards de mesures en tout et pour tout. C’est plus qu’il n’en faut pour faire nos estimés. J’en privilégie toujours 3 pour faire mes outils d’estimation mais libre à vous d’en choisir plus. En plus de cela, je vais aussi beaucoup me servir du remplissage dynamique mais on n’y reviendra.

Estimés linéaires (impérial / métrique)

Pour ceux là, on a deux choix ; la longueur ou la polylongueur .

Personnellement, je privilégie la polylongueur pour 2 raisons ; plus de choix de modifications de mon trait et surtout je n’ai pas de barre de côtes (qui ne sont pas enlevables avec la longueur).

Maintenant que nous avons notre outil d’estimation de longueur, on va réfléchir sur qu’est ce qu’on estime. En général, un estimateur ne soumission pas que sur un produit quelque soit son métier.  À cet effet, notre polylongueur va nous servir à créer le maximum de produits que nous devons estimé. Pour cela, commencer par tracer une polylongueur sur votre plan.

Dans le menu de personnalisation de votre annotations (en haut de l’écran), donnez lui une couleur et un nom spécifique qui va servir à l’identifier (le nom des poutres d’acier W12x24 par exemple ou encore le nom des tuyaux et des ducts sur lesquels on estime…).

Une fois cela fait, enregistrez votre annotation dans votre boite à outils (créée au préalable) en cliquant sur le bouton Ajouter au Tool Chest  et sélectionnez celle que vous utilisez.

Vous pouvez vous resservir de cette polylongueur pour en créer autant d’itération que vous en aurez besoin (couleurs et noms différents pour les autres produits à estimer). De cette façon, vous allez créer vos propres outils avec les informations qui vous seront nécessaires.


Estimés surfaciques (pied² / m²)

Ici, on va faire le même processus que nous venons d’utiliser pour les polylongueurs mais nous allons l’appliquer à la création de surface

De la même façon, on va créer des surfaces afin de représenter ce qu’on veut estimer et clairement le nommer. Par exemple : Surface de dalle de béton

On va donner à ces surfaces, un nom, une couleur et même des hachures pour bien signifier visuellement ce qu’on estime et enfin l’enregistrer dans notre boite à outils

Voilà qui clot la première partie de notre volet estimation avec Bluebeam. Dans le prochain post, on verra comment utiliser les calques intelligemment, comment créer des colonnes custom et ce que vous pouvez faire avec et enfin, comment exporter vos données.

Design better Pipe Networks with CTC Software

CTC CIM Productivity Tools fro Civil 3D –  SolidCAD


While Pipe Networks are a great toolset in Civil 3D, they fall short as a true design tool. With CTC Software, we can edit pipe runs through a design-oriented, dynamic interface. We can swap multiple parts, both pipes and structures, in plan or profile. We can also auto-populate properties across multiple parts at once, aiding in proper labeling or tabling.



For more click here

Do you know about Adaptive Clearing?

By Louis Martineau, Manufacturing Consultant at SolidCAD

Hey CNC’ers!

Do you know about Adaptive Clearing? It’s the intelligent roughing strategy at the heart of HSM CAM that has changed milling forever. Increase your profitability by getting to near-net-shape in a single, highly-efficient, tool-sparing operation.

To learn more about the advantages (as well as pitfalls) of this game-changing technology, download the following article:

and visit our website at:

You can also watch the video down below :

Curious about the hype around Autodesk’s HSM CAM?

By Louis Martineau, Manufacturing Consultant at SolidCAD


Hey CNC’ers!

Curious about the hype around Autodesk’s HSM CAM? And now you’re looking for more information and possibly a demonstration? Well, you’ve come to the right place! SolidCAD is not only Canada’s biggest reseller of Autodesk manufacturing solutions, but also the only Canadian Autodesk reseller with a dedicated team of CAM specialists.

HSM CAM is the comprehensive and powerful CNC programming add-on for Inventor (Inventor CAM – included with a subscription to the Product Design and Manufacturing Collection ), Fusion 360 (Fusion 360 Manufacturing – built into Fusion 360), and even SolidWorks (HSMWorks – included with a subscription to Fusion 360).

Please visit our HSM CAM page to read about all the advantages of this integrated CAD/CAM solution and to find lots of technical resources:

Also, try our SolidCAD universal milling post-processor, compatible with a wide variety of 3-axis, 4-axis, and 5-axis machines that accept FANUC-style G-code. This open-source post-processor generates nicely-formatted NC code, and is chock-full of features to make it as flexible as possible. These features include:

  • Safe restart feature after M00 program stops
  • Automatic date and time stamp function
  • Tool table feature in header
  • Operation name, tool name, and cycle time at top of each operation
  • Activation of accumulated pecking depth feature for G73-style drilling
  • Activation of the Manual NC code pass-through feature
  • Property to toggle between 3-axis / 4-axis / 5-axis configurations
  • Property to set maximal spindle speed
  • Property to toggle tool preload on/off
  • Property to toggle rigid tapping on/off
  • Property to assign an M-code for rigid tapping
  • Property to toggle between G54-G59 and G54.1 P1-P300 work offsets
  • Property to toggle between G28 and G53 retracts
  • Properties to set M-codes for 4th and 5th axis brake lock/unlock functions
  • Property to toggle on/off the output of rotary axis positions at every operation
  • Property to toggle on/off the output of M01 optional stops at tool changes
  • Property to toggle on/off automatic spindle gear changes
  • Property to set a spindle gear change crossover speed
  • Property to toggle between French and English for the output of comments and messages
  • Property to toggle on/off lowercase support for comments
  • Property to set the rapid rate used for operation time calculations
  • Property to toggle on/off the automatic creation of sub-programs for patterns
  • Property to toggle between 4 digit and 8-digit program IDs
  • Property to toggle on/off the output of the tool list in the program header
  • Property to toggle between relative or absolute coordinates for IJKs
  • Property to toggle between automatic tool changer or manual tool changes
  • Property to toggle between M30 and M99 for program termination
  • Property to toggle between returning to home or going to parking position at program end
  • Properties to set X- and Y-coordinates for parking position
  • Property to convert from feed expressed per min. to feed expressed per second
  • Property to inverse Z direction convention
  • Property to disable output of all coolant codes

This post processor is available here:


By Matt Kolberg , ENI / GIS – Applications Specialist at SolidCAD


AutoCAD has a command contained within the Express Tool named FLATTEN.  It is designed to remove any non-zero elevations from selected objects within a drawing.  It does an excellent job with this, but there is some behavior that may not be obvious to all users.  This command works very well with many objects such as TEXT, LINES, and some BLOCKS.  However, unexpected behavior results when flattening Dynamic and Annotative blocks, even blocks with embedded non-zero-elevation linework.

Annotative Blocks:  For example, an annotative block with a name of Arrow, is inserted 3 times.  Regardless of the attached annotative scales, the result after the FLATTEN command will be 3 blocks with 3 different names; Arrow-flat-1, Arrow-flat-2, and Arrow-flat-3.  Further, they will no longer be annotative.

Dynamic Blocks:  After the FLATTEN command, each dynamic block will no longer be dynamic and will become an “unnamed block” with a name similar to “*U63”.

Blocks:  A typical block will FLATTEN adequately.  A block which contains elements which have non-zero elevations, will also flatten adequately.  Understand that the FLATTEN command will make changes to block definitions in this example to set all elevations to 0.

So what can be done?  Here are two options.

  • Download and run a LISP command from this discussion group post.
  • Be selective when flattening.  Flatten objects which have no deleterious results afterwards.  The AutoCAD FILTER command can be configured to easily select compatible objects.  The filter can be saved for future use.

Customizing the Inventor Marking Menu

By Shannon Lundrigan, Technical Specialist MFG,  at SolidCAD

A few years ago, Autodesk introduced context-sensitive radial menus called Marking Menus, in Inventor. These menus provide a quick and visual way for users to select the most commonly used commands in each environment. Over the years every-day users have no doubt become quite familiar with these menus and the available commands, but did you know you can customize it?

By default, Autodesk has placed what they believe to be the most common commands in this radial menu however, you know as well as I do that from company to company and even desk to desk, everyone uses Inventor differently. The following are the quick and easy steps to customize this menu.

How to do it:

On the Tools tab in the Options pane, the “Customize” button will open the dialog box that lets you modify the 8 commands in the radial menu for a given environment and associated sub-environment. From 2D Sketch to Weldment and everything in between, you can put your favourite commands right at the tip of your mouse pointer.

Choose the environment and sub-environment you wish to customize the menu for. Next, select one of the eight radial menu options that you want to change (in this example we are changing the “Pattern Component” command in the standard Assembly environment).

In the menu on the right, search or scroll down to the command you want to add and simply click on it to replace the selected option (iProperties, in this example). It’s as easy as that!

Also; starting in 2018 Inventor began giving users the option to migrate these (and all other) custom user interface settings when you upgrade to newer releases. So, you no longer need to worry about starting from scratch!

Why is it called the “Marking Menu”?

In addition to customizing where your favourite commands are on the right click menus, did you know you can also right-click-drag to the command, without ever actually seeing the menu? The pointer will create a “mark” as you drag your mouse to the location of your desired command, as shown below. This will require some practice but could become quite handy over time when the location of the commands in the radial menu becomes second-nature.