2005-06-15

PLT files and CAD Events


Here are some cool tips for today!

A Very Valuable Variable when using sheet sets.
You open a drawing which is attached to a sheet set and the SSM manager loads up, which can take a few seconds. Set SSMAutoOpen to '0' to suppress it until you choose to call it up again (by typing SSM).

Printing PLT files from DOS is as simple as using the DOS COPY command ....
syntax: copy /b
The plotter destination can be either an LPT port (i.e. LPT1) or a UNC path
(i.e. \\servername\plottername) using the /b switch ensures that the file is copied as a binary transfer (DOS will default to an ACSII transfer which may drop certain plt file code)

For the record, I hate PLT files. As an end-user whose contracts demand DWG only, I still get plt files on a regular basis from CADdies who just plain don't know any better (nicest way of putting it), I will throw this in here... viewing and printing PLT files.

Express tool: plt2file - typically the wrong format, so don't count on it working

The following were picked up from the Autodesk Discussion Groups:
Send plt files (hpgl/2) and Postscirpt file to plotters with Goplot http://www.output.tmfweb.nl/GoPlot.html

AutoVue can read and print to another scale a number of .plt formats such as HPGL, PCL, CC907 etc. as well as dwg dgn dxf (over 200 file formats). Why not download the working trial and give it a whirl?

Here is an example for a local LPT1 port:
copy /b name_of_plot_here.plt LPT1:
Here is an example of going to a NT server on a network:
copy /b name_of_plot_here.plt \\ServerName\DeviceName

The PLT file must be generated for a format that the device you are copying it to can accept. The PLT file is not a uniform format it is generated in the format of the driver that created it when plotting.


Look here http://vbdesign.hypermart.net/cadpages/tbox.htm at the Plot FileSpooler OCX.

PrintPLT will let you easily print PLT files to any of the printers on your system.
The updated file can be found at www.microsolresources.com/public/downloads/printplt.zip.

View Companion, Autodesk View and a few others. There are many you can find just by going to a web search engine like www.dogpile.com and search for HPGL & View.

View Companion
http://www.softwarecompanions.com/viewcomp.html

Splot, shareware, http://www.czechia.com/anovy/index.htm

BITview.

Plotworks client by PLP Digital Systems will help to view and print the plotfiles.

You might want to look at RePlot (http://cadfx.com/replot)
It also does TIFF'S, dwf's and .pdf files. Let's you batch print them at virtually any scale as well....


best plt viewer is columbus - by oasys http://www.oasys-software.com/product/dm/columbus/whatsnew.shtml

If you do succeed in making a dwg or dxf (there are utilities out there) be aware that the new drawing will consist only of the objects described by the plot file. No layers, colors, etc. (unless you have a color plotfile.) There will also be a hit on scaling, though that may not really be a problem.
Also, check out some links on AUGI.com on the subject of plt files.

Oh, and of course, a disclaimer, I've never used any of these, so I'm not vouching for quality here.
Oh, just had to add in this link that I just saw someone post on AUGI... http://anydwg.com/

The AUGI board is meeting this week, so I hope that's going well. I'm sure there are plenty of more exciting changes coming up. I'd recommend keeping an eye on Shaan Hurley's Blog, I think he was the first to post on the last meeting.
Oh, and we can't forget Richard Binning.

In news a little closer to home, the St. Louis Revit Users Group will be having their first meeting (a joint meeting with GAUG) on July 12th.

Autodesk Application Engineer and Registered Architect, Brian Fitzpatrick will present on Autodesk Revit.
Alex Severino of Autodesk will be available to discuss Autodesk products.
Tomislav Zigo of Hagerman will present on Autodesk Architectural Desktop!
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