Drafting Techniques

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*Parker, Corinne
Message 1 of 5 (902 Views)

Old VersaCAD file format conversion

902 Views, 4 Replies
03-12-2000 12:55 PM
We recently found the need to dig into our old Versacad archive files for
importing into our new A2K environment.

What is the simplest method of converting old Versacad files to AutoCAD 2000
format?
*Kozina, David
Message 2 of 5 (902 Views)

Re: Old VersaCAD file format conversion

03-12-2000 05:58 PM in reply to: *Parker, Corinne
Redraw them in AutoCAD!

Seriously, though, Corinne, VersaCAD came with a utility program called DLINK
which enables you to convert the .2d drawings to .dxf format, which can then be
opened into AutoCAD. In the VersaCAD main startup menu, you should find an item
relating to drawing translation. You can use DLINK to translate one or many .2d
drawings at a time, even entire directories. Better yet, you can use DLINK to
create a 'mapping table' which you can then edit, as needed, so as to assist in
assigning layer names, colors, linetypes, for your .2d drawing elements. This
can save you much time, assuming your .2d drawings are fairly consistent. Check
the VersaCAD manuals for more information regarding how to use these mapping
tables. The basic idea is to use DLINK to translate a typical drawing and at
the same time create a mapping table. Edit the mapping table in a text editor
to correspond with your current AutoCAD standards. Then *re-translate* the .2d
drawing using the new modified mapping table. Once you do two or three drawings
this way, you should get a feel for how the information needs to be re-organized
for AutoCAD. One suggestion is to assign in the mapping table all colors and
linetypes to BYLAYER. When you open the .dxf in AutoCAD, everything will appear
white. But as soon as you assign (perhaps using a simple script routine)
appropriate colors to the layers (they will all be white at first), things
should quickly come back into shape.

I don't know what type of drafting you do, but if it happens to be related to
architectural work, we found that our translated drawings needed to be scaled up
12X, since one (architectural) unit in VersaCAD corresponded to one foot,
whereas one (architectural) unit in AutoCAD corresponds to 1 inch. The DLINK
information seems to imply that a scaling factor can be applied in the
translation process, but we could not get that to work. It's easy enough to fix
though.

But be aware that the translation process for any given drawing may not be
complete, nor perfect. I would highly recommend re-opening *each* and *every*
.dxf file into AutoCAD to verify if it came across okay. Things like duplicate
symbol names (like Symbol #5 in Library "A", and Symbol #5 in Library "C"), or
text strings containing a "~" (I think), may result in translation problems for
you. If you run into these sorts of difficulties, you will see appropriate
warning messages when you try to load up the .dxf in AutoCAD. We corrected the
duplicate symbol names problem by simply creating a macro in VersaCAD to "Group
Build..." all the main troublemaker symbols into a set, then "Group Explode"
them, and then Crunch the drawing and resave. Then try translating it again.

It's a slow, painstaking task, but I think you are wise in getting it done while
you still can. We have discovered that the VersaCAD drawing interface will not
display correctly on our newest computers. The old VersaCAD graphics drivers do
not seem to work well with the latest machines. The original VersaCAD
programmers have apparently been working on an updated version of VersaCAD. I
read about this in Ralph Grabowski's Upfront.ezine. You may be able to find
more information about this by reviewing past issues of this on-line
newsletter. (Sorry I don't have a link to this, but it should be easy enough to
track down). More assistance for this type of translating may be forthcoming
from the original VersaCAD programmers, though I have no idea as to how much it
could cost.

If you find the task at hand to be too formidable, I *believe* that either David
W. Edwards (TC Fonts) or Alex Januszkiewicz (911 DWG Recovery Services) may be
able to provide you with custom .2d to .dxf translation services. I don't know
their rates, nor have I used their services, but they frequent these groups
regularly, so you can look for their sigs. Or maybe they'll even respond to
this thread as well.

hth,
David Kozina

Corinne Parker wrote:

> We recently found the need to dig into our old Versacad archive files for
> importing into our new A2K environment.
>
> What is the simplest method of converting old Versacad files to AutoCAD 2000
> format?
*Fonts, TC
Message 3 of 5 (902 Views)

Re:

03-13-2000 06:19 AM in reply to: *Parker, Corinne
Thanks David...

We do it on occasion, but rates vary. We especially like the use of the
mapping tables and that can take time to get right.

David W. Edwards
Dave Edwards Consulting - Makers of TC Fonts
Tel: 334-221-7919 Fax: 334-221-7953
info@tcfonts.com - www.tcfonts.com

David Kozina wrote in message
news:38CC4B59.B4F0C6C7@t-three.com...
> Redraw them in AutoCAD!
>
> Seriously, though, Corinne, VersaCAD came with a utility program called
DLINK
> which enables you to convert the .2d drawings to .dxf format, which can
then be
> opened into AutoCAD. In the VersaCAD main startup menu, you should find
an item
> relating to drawing translation. You can use DLINK to translate one or
many .2d
> drawings at a time, even entire directories. Better yet, you can use
DLINK to
> create a 'mapping table' which you can then edit, as needed, so as to
assist in
> assigning layer names, colors, linetypes, for your .2d drawing elements.
This
> can save you much time, assuming your .2d drawings are fairly consistent.
Check
> the VersaCAD manuals for more information regarding how to use these
mapping
> tables. The basic idea is to use DLINK to translate a typical drawing and
at
> the same time create a mapping table. Edit the mapping table in a text
editor
> to correspond with your current AutoCAD standards. Then *re-translate*
the .2d
> drawing using the new modified mapping table. Once you do two or three
drawings
> this way, you should get a feel for how the information needs to be
re-organized
> for AutoCAD. One suggestion is to assign in the mapping table all colors
and
> linetypes to BYLAYER. When you open the .dxf in AutoCAD, everything will
appear
> white. But as soon as you assign (perhaps using a simple script routine)
> appropriate colors to the layers (they will all be white at first), things
> should quickly come back into shape.
>
> I don't know what type of drafting you do, but if it happens to be related
to
> architectural work, we found that our translated drawings needed to be
scaled up
> 12X, since one (architectural) unit in VersaCAD corresponded to one foot,
> whereas one (architectural) unit in AutoCAD corresponds to 1 inch. The
DLINK
> information seems to imply that a scaling factor can be applied in the
> translation process, but we could not get that to work. It's easy enough
to fix
> though.
>
> But be aware that the translation process for any given drawing may not be
> complete, nor perfect. I would highly recommend re-opening *each* and
*every*
> .dxf file into AutoCAD to verify if it came across okay. Things like
duplicate
> symbol names (like Symbol #5 in Library "A", and Symbol #5 in Library
"C"), or
> text strings containing a "~" (I think), may result in translation
problems for
> you. If you run into these sorts of difficulties, you will see
appropriate
> warning messages when you try to load up the .dxf in AutoCAD. We
corrected the
> duplicate symbol names problem by simply creating a macro in VersaCAD to
"Group
> Build..." all the main troublemaker symbols into a set, then "Group
Explode"
> them, and then Crunch the drawing and resave. Then try translating it
again.
>
> It's a slow, painstaking task, but I think you are wise in getting it done
while
> you still can. We have discovered that the VersaCAD drawing interface
will not
> display correctly on our newest computers. The old VersaCAD graphics
drivers do
> not seem to work well with the latest machines. The original VersaCAD
> programmers have apparently been working on an updated version of
VersaCAD. I
> read about this in Ralph Grabowski's Upfront.ezine. You may be able to
find
> more information about this by reviewing past issues of this on-line
> newsletter. (Sorry I don't have a link to this, but it should be easy
enough to
> track down). More assistance for this type of translating may be
forthcoming
> from the original VersaCAD programmers, though I have no idea as to how
much it
> could cost.
>
> If you find the task at hand to be too formidable, I *believe* that either
David
> W. Edwards (TC Fonts) or Alex Januszkiewicz (911 DWG Recovery Services)
may be
> able to provide you with custom .2d to .dxf translation services. I don't
know
> their rates, nor have I used their services, but they frequent these
groups
> regularly, so you can look for their sigs. Or maybe they'll even respond
to
> this thread as well.
>
> hth,
> David Kozina
>
>
> Corinne Parker wrote:
>
> > We recently found the need to dig into our old Versacad archive files
for
> > importing into our new A2K environment.
> >
> > What is the simplest method of converting old Versacad files to AutoCAD
2000
> > format?
>
*Williams, Jim
Message 4 of 5 (902 Views)

Re: Old VersaCAD file format conversion

03-20-2000 05:32 AM in reply to: *Parker, Corinne
Corinne,

Although what David Kozina has described is an accurate method to
translate your VersaCAD drawing(s) to AutoCAD, his method is also
error prone and very much trail and error. Besides the scaling and
manual editing of the DLINK Mapping tables, he has also not
mentioned a number of other problems which may occur with
this process.

For this reason, I created for a number of my customers, a group of
utilities which greatly enhances this process. The software is capable
of translating very large numbers of VersaCAD .2d files in a very short
period of time while using your specific standards. Block names are
always unique regardless of the mixture of VersaCAD libraries being
used within your drawings.

If you would like additional information regarding these utilities or
having these files translated as a service, please contact me.

Regards,

Jim Williams

KRB Services, Inc.
1776 Falkirk Rd.
Madison, Ohio 44057

Email: cadmagic@raex.com
Voice: (440) 796-4573
*Kozina, David
Message 5 of 5 (902 Views)

Re:

03-20-2000 01:04 PM in reply to: *Parker, Corinne
Hello Jim,

Of course, I didn't explain *everything* we came up against whilst
translating our drawings to AutoCAD - I didn't have time to write a
book! And the problems I mentioned were in no way meant to be an
unabridged, exhaustive, list - just the highlights (from what we
experienced).

Since I've never seen two different companies use the same CAD
standards, I think that a great many translation problems can arise or
be avoided depending on how well the drawings themselves are
organized. Most of what I described was pretty easy to correct using
a few VersaCAD macros and AutoCAD scripts. But if the VersaCAD
drawings make little or chaotic use of levels/colors/text styles,
there're probably going to be difficulties no matter how well the
drawings translate (GIGO). We found it very helpful to open each
translated dxf file in AutoCAD if nothing more than to verify that
they *would* open (and then resave in dwg format), since although
VersaCAD would almost always seemingly create the dxf file fine, a few
dxf files contained some hidden 'gotchas' (such as multiple blocks
with the same name), which would prevent the dxf file from opening in
AutoCAD (this was the biggest problem we experienced). Happily, for
us, it didn't happen too often - probably in the 5%-10% range, over
roughly 7 years worth of VersaCAD drawings - YMMV.

Trial and error? Well, I guess you could say that. Still, after
defining and getting used to our 'translation procedure', and
discovering which symbols were causing AutoCAD to choke, we created a
VersaCAD macro to deal with those, specifically. This corrected
probably 95% of our translation problems. As time went on, and we
came across additional problem-child symbols, we simply modified the
macro to handle those too.

If we had been aware of these types of translation problems early on,
we would have been more careful to name our blocks (in VersaCAD)
differently to start with. (But, then again, we had no reason to
believe we would ever be switching to AutoCAD - how things change...)

Of course, if you've got some additional utilities to make life easier
for Corinne, I'm glad you said something. I will say that we're very
glad that translation process is over and done with now. Thanks for
your additional observations.

Best regards,
David Kozina

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