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Post 51B – Sharing of CAD files.

A schematic I designed and drew in QCAD

Earlier today I recorded a pretty good rant about the problem of sharing files between software that is supposed to work together.  I called it “Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish”  from the quote made famous in the Microsoft “browser war” trials.

Instead of putting you all through my rant, I thought better and decided I would do some more research about dxf files.  DXF stands of Drawing Exchange Format and is a file format used by many software companies.   However, it has mixed results when trying to export a file from one piece of software to others.  The standard for the file was written and controlled by AutoDesk.   LibreCAD saves files in the 2000 version of this format.

The problem is that since this format is proprietary, there seems to be a lot of problems for people importing/exporting from one software to another.  I have seen many files exported from a brand of software called Micro Station and imported into AutoCAD that just did not look at all right.   However, the killer to me was trying to export from QCAD to AutoCAD.

The situation was I was off work during the week between Christmas and New Year’s but I had a project deadline looming at work.  It was a difficult control situation involving safety relays on some machinery.   As I was thinking about this at home I decided to “sketch” the design in CAD because this allowed easy manipulation as I thought the problem out.  Being at home, the only software available was QCAD, the predecessor to LibreCAD.  I got the job done and took the files to work.  The problem was that when these were imported into AutoCAD 2009 the text was rotated by 90 degrees, and the vertical sentences all printed over top of each other.  I even tried importing it into AutoCAD 2005LT that was on a laptop at work and that worked ok.  However, even when I saved those files as actual drawing files, when those were loaded into the 2009 version, I still had the same problem.

The point is, do not expect your files to be able to be used on the high-end CAD software.  However, for doing work at home the files work great and I have designed many things using it, including the electronic circuit shown in the picture above.  Just expect to have problems when using it with the proprietary software.   Is the problem one of being “set-up to fail” or is it simply that progress marches on?  I don’t know.  All I know is it sucks if you are aware it may happen to you.


A couple of things I would like to point out.  I am starting a naming convention on my posts…  Episode indicates the post is primarily Audio based.   That is also the base numbering system and will not have the letters after the number.   Post will indicate the post is a text blog like this one.   I will add letters after the numbers in that case to keep the work organised.

I probably will not post tomorrow but I will hopefully have a couple of Video Posts this weekend.  I found out earlier tonight how involved that is to create, edit and encode. (I have yet to get to the upload portion.)

Because the schedule of post may become a little erratic for at least the near future will I work though LibreCAD I highly encourage you to subscribe either though the e-mail subscription method (below) or the rss feed.


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