By Dennis Collin
When training AutoCAD, I am often asked about methods of automating bulk tasks, or a routine that will perform a tedious function.
Typical questions are ‘Is there a quick method to flattening all objects to a zero-height elevation or creating insulation for detailing purposes?’ This then tends to drive the discussion to Lisp routines and the use of external applications and where to get them and costs etc.
AutoLISP has been around for several years and is a great way to perform tasks that AutoCAD cannot initially seem to do. Of course, other programming methods are available to drive AutoCAD, but due to its longevity there are many Lisp routines freely available to download. I will say now whilst most routines are great, there are a few ‘buggy’ examples which may not perform as expected. Therefore, the use of external routines is ‘at your own risk’. As a precaution I will always backup files prior to running a routine. Also run the routine on a testbed setup just in case problems result. Better to be safe than sorry!
I have compiled a short list of my go-to web sites, should there be a need to find a Lisp routine.
The Cadalyst site has been around for many years and it is my first go to place for anything Lisp related. The tips area is a little dormant these days, but it does have a comprehensive list of routines and other tips. The bespoke hatch and the insulation generation tool are very popular downloads.
Cad Corner is also a very handy resource with a simple page layout and some very useful Lisp routines.
4D Technologies also has a well-structured site although I have noticed a few broken links, but nevertheless a useful resource to browse through.
Lee created a site more recently and has a great array of useful Lisp and other routines. Enjoys frequent and recent updates.
Draftpersons.net has many Lisp routines, some of which can be found on the previous sites listed.
The above list is obviously not exhaustive, but it does provide a starting point to construct a library of routines to help improve productivity of your CAD team.
Once tested and approved I will keep a backup copy of routines and ensure that approved routines are made available to all users via AutoCAD’s Appload function and added to the start-up suite. This feature I will cover in a future post.