Category Archives: Uncategorized

LYNDA.COM – Are YOU Certified Yet?

So, are you certified yet? No, I don’t mean certifiable, either! LOL.


Autodesk offer a whole range of professional qualifications when it comes to their software. You can be an Autodesk Certified Professional in AutoCAD, for example. I am Certified in both AutoCAD and Revit Architecture. Autodesk provide examinations to get these Certifications and they reflect on your professional standing. The Professional certification assesses a user’s skills and knowledge of tools and features and common tasks performed in each of the Autodesk products.

As of February 2016, all Certified Professional examinations will be delivered by Certiport ( via their web-based examination portal. Certiport offer all Certified Professionals digital badges for each respective qualification. The digital badges are web-enabled versions of the Professional qualification that give the user the ability to share their skills online in a way that is simple, trusted and can be easily verified in real time, by clicking on the badge in an email signature or on social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Autodesk certifications are now some of the most requested qualifications by employers when searching for staff online. So the digital badge makes it easy for a potential employer to check out a Certified Professional’s ability with their respective Autodesk product. All they have to do is click on the digital badge to learn more about the user’s Autodesk skills. For example, the AutoCAD Certified Professional status demonstrates knowledge of dimensioning, basic drawing skills, using hatching and gradients, and more.

My course on, the AutoCAD Certified Professional Prep course, allows you to work through topics that enhance your existing AutoCAD skillset and assist you in preparing for your AutoCAD Certified Professional examination.

Check out the course here…..




Hey all!

My first two titles on are now available!

Use the links below to check them out!

Up and Running with AutoCAD LT

Using Dynamic Blocks in AutoCAD for Mac

Happy CADD’ing!


TEN QUESTIONS – Orphanage Guitars

Sometimes I get the opportunity to meet and talk to some very interesting people in the CAD world, and this year was no exception. This year, I met the Jonathon and Matt Harris, owners of Orphanage Guitars, at Autodesk University 2013 in Las Vegas.

Orphanage Guitars are using the Autodesk Product Design Suite to its full extent. So much so, Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, had Matt Harris on the mainstage at Autodesk University 2013,  demonstrating one of their guitars designed using Autodesk Fusion 360.

As you all well know, as a singer and songwriter, I have a love of guitars and music so to meet accomplished musicians who have taken their entrepreneurial skills forward using Autodesk products is manna from heaven for me, so I took the time to run the Not Just CAD! Ten Questions past them in a recent interview.


1. What was your first experience with guitars?

JH – My first experience was in the 3rd or 4th grade, when I traded in my go-kart for a Cort guitar, which was a Stratocaster replica.

MH – Years later, when Jonathon (JH) was away with his girlfriend, I started playing the Cort (guitar) and buying guitar tab books (such as Metallica). This, in turn, motivated JH to play more and we started a band with a mutual friend.

JH – I played bass guitar with Matt (MH) playing lead guitar in our band, Gypsy Love Hound. Later on, we were in a band together for six years called Aunt Dick – named affectionately after one of the band member’s room-mate’s relatives.

2. What motivated you to build guitars?

MH – Autodesk Fusion 360 Beta….it all made sense.

3. How did you fall in to using Autodesk products?

MH – I started using Autodesk products straight out of school, working for DEKA R&D. At the time, the present CEO of Autodesk had a close relationship with the company. I became one of the CAD experts in the company and then moved to work with an Autodesk reseller, M2 Technologies. I continued to use Autodesk products as part of my own design consultancy, Redpoint Studios, and we’re continuing with Orphanage Guitars.

JH – I worked with an architectural firm, Karlsberger, who were originally using Microstation, but then switched to AutoCAD around 2000. The workflow then switched over to Autodesk’s 3D Studio MAX for architectural visualization projects and sun studies. I also use Autodesk products in my own web/visualization consultancy, Demo38.

4. How and when did Autodesk approach you?

MH – Autodesk caught wind of my firm, Redpoint Studios ( We were  using every tool available in the Product Design Suite, which was unique. From there, we were invited to join the Fusion 360 team at AU2012 to have discussions about the future of Fusion 360.  My company, Redpoint, was highlighted in an Autodesk documentary and we made four guitars for Autodesk, one of which was demonstrated at Autodesk University 2013.

5. What sort of workflow do you use to create an Orphanage Guitar?

MH – I start sketching using Sketchbook Designer, and then use that design as an underlay in Fusion 360. I then model up the body in Fusion 360 and bring that geometry in to Inventor, using my pre-built Inventor templates to virtually “route” the guitar body for pickups and electronics. From Inventor, I take the model in to my CAM program to machine it up. At any point, I can render the guitar in Showcase for visualization.

6. What sort of marketplace are you aiming for?

JH – The boutique guitar market for players who want their own style and can’t find exactly what they’re looking for. Our guitars will start in the $2,500 range – we allow the player to design their own guitar body shape, configure any specification for their neck, spec their own woods, choose their own top wood, spec any electronics, any hardware…  All customs come with a 3d digital proof which they can spin, pan and zoom to preview their guitar before going to CNC.

7. How do you want to take the business forward?

MH – One side of me wants to do the organic process; word of mouth, old school – then after that, once our internal processes have settled – push the online configurator that is about ready to launch.

JH – We have a mix of orders to fulfil right now with a lot under the hood still being determined.

MH – We are working on a hollow body design right now, and also getting help with manufacturing from established luthiers while building the business.

8. Can you see yourselves partnering with other guitar manufacturers?

MH – We would be open to it, we could build partnerships helping to automate some of their processes. Also by making other parts for other guitar builders.

JH – Assisting other luthiers with 3D digital scanning – to help them produce complex parts repeatedly and accurately.

9. How big do you see the company in 5 years?

MH – As big as our wives will let us! (Laughter). Our ultimate goal would be making 30-40 guitars a month.

JH – We want it to grow over time and want to work together.

10. Which would be the most perfect guitar player to have as a client?

MH – Dave Navarro – a cool guy, with a lot of creative influence on the process. I respect his style, very rhythmic….and would like to think my playing style is similar. I also wouldn’t mind making guitars for Miley Cyrus and Bieber (lots of laughter).

JH – It would have to be a group…Nine Inch Nails – the drama, the soundtrack, the aggression, I love the range.

So there it is. Ten questions with the great guys from Orphanage Guitars.

You can find them on their website –

Here’s to a great 2014!

Happy CADD’ing!


AutoCAD WS for Facilities Management – Part 3 [CADspeed]

Well, it’s Wednesday already! Half the week gone! Woo-hoo!

It’s that time of day when you shoot out of the office to grab a quick sandwich etc… maybe while you are munching check out my THIRD published blog on CADspeed.

It’s Part 3 for AutoCAD WS and Facilities Management….

I’m away on business for the rest of the week so have a good one and enjoy your weekend!

Happy CADD’ing!


Keeping track of Santa at Christmas….

Only a short blog tonight…it’s Christmas Eve tomorrow and I am now on family duty for a while.

This one always makes me smile….

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) track Santa every Christmas now and even have their own website dedicated to that purpose…

I have shown it here in the English language, but just use the language pulldown (top right) if you need to change it.

It is one for the child within us that ALWAYS believes in Santa, right?

In this depressing world in which we live right now, a little bit of fun to make you smile is always worth it!

Eat, drink and be merry and show love and peace to all men, women and children during the festive season. Remember those less fortunate than you and reflect on how lucky you really are.

Love and peace to you all,

Shaun x

Bon Jovi & Autodesk – The Spectacular Business!

OK, I know we need to continue with the Measuring Spaces in AutoCAD series, right? 🙂

However, I was working at an amazing event with Autodesk a week or so ago called WorldSkills 2011, which is basically the Olympics for vocational skills. I was one of the CAD Experts on the Autodesk booth and it was just so much fun to teach and advise kids from primary school age upwards about Autodesk and Autodesk products. I showed one seven year old how to draw toilets and another secondary school kid how to design a missile launch station in preparation for his video game authoring career! Trust me, the Autodesk Educational Community is alive and thriving!

I learnt loads of new things too! The guys from VEX with their tennis-ball-collecting robot (designed in Autodesk Inventor) led me to the Autodesk Digital STEAM syllabus for secondary education. Just superb and ideal for getting kids involved and engaged! Go, Linda!

The kids also loved the Xbox Kinect hooked up to Motion Builder (3DS Max) and making the elf warrior dance! Jamie, inspired choice and loved Mudbox also!

One question kept popping up though. When I booted up AutoCAD, every kid I showed it to asked, “What is that thing on the startup [splash] screen?”

Well, you all know my love of music and some of you know that I will wax lyrical about Bon Jovi, one of my all-time favourite rock bands. You can imagine the surprise on these kids faces when I tell them it is the Bon Jovi stage set from their last world tour (The Circle Tour). The “wow” factor!

As soon as I tell them this, a large number of them immediately “connected” and decided they wanted to design things like that when they were older! It was a great icebreaker and worked so well to get their interest. They engaged and it was a pleasure to watch.

So, I have decided to dig deeper and look in to this more. Shaan Hurley [Autodesk] mentioned to me a while back that Tait Towers, Inc were designing the Bon Jovi set using AutoCAD and 3DS Max and after WorldSkills, I wanted to know more!

Tait Towers, Inc, as they say in the Autodesk Success Story video, are in the “spectacular business”. They are always designing the next best thing and the Jovi stage was no exception. I saw Bon Jovi at the O2 in London in June 2010 and the stage set was nothing short of amazing. The rear of the stage holds massive video screens controlled by large robotic arms which, at one point, fold down in to a staircase for Jon Bon Jovi to climb and wave at the audience. Just way cool and as a singer/songwriter myself, to have a set like that would be sublime!

So, I am not going to bore you to tears with Bon Jovi’s discography or which chord is which in Wanted Dead Or Alive or You Give Love A Bad Name. Just check out the links below to find out more. I found the whole project fascinating. Not just on a musical level either. The way Tait Towers, Inc design is clever and also makes the construction of the set quick and easy….exactly what you need when you are Bon Jovi and trucking around 16 trucks that hold your stage from one stadium to another!

Autodesk and Bon Jovi, who’d have thought it, eh? Rockin’!

Autodesk Success Story – Tait Towers, Inc (Click on Tait Towers video)

Autodesk Success Story – Tait Towers, Inc (PDF)

Cadalyst article about Tait Towers, Inc (March 2011, by David Cohn)

WorldSkills 2011 – The Vocational Olympics (BBC News)

Happy CADD’ing!


Autodesk shake things up with Design 8:16!

Some time ago, I mentioned AutoCAD for the Mac, which was pretty impressive back then.

But now, personally, I think Autodesk have excelled themselves!

Under the Design 8:16 initiative, we now not only have AutoCAD 2012 for Mac (with network licencing) but we now have AutoCAD LT2012 for Mac and a desktop version of AutoCAD WS for Mac as well.

Check out the “Year In The Making” video on YouTube!

Plus, the LT and WS versions are on the App Store! How cool is that?

I think it is great that Autodesk have expanded their OS platform. Firstly, it makes the software way more accessible regardless of which proprietary OS you are using and, secondly, it makes me want to buy a Mac! 🙂

Now, let’s look at a future for these products here.

Well, it is AutoCAD 2012 for Mac, that indicates that AutoCAD for Mac is now in the regular upgrade/new version stream at Autodesk and has a development path. I sure hope so! I sure hope that as time goes by we see more Autodesk products on the Mac too!

What about compatibility, I hear you say?

Well, right now all we are dealing with is the DWG file format which, from what I can gather, can still be picked up AutoCAD 2012 on a Windows OS. So, you can have multi-OS environments in an organisation. And, with network licencing now available for AutoCAD 2012 for Mac, you now have full controll over the software too. IT departments now have no excuse not to consider AutoCAD for Mac. Isn’t that great?

So, what about AutoCAD LT2012 for the Mac? Check out the screenshots below. The user interface looks great!

This is great news as it gives the user the choice of either full 2D/3D design (AutoCAD 2012 for Mac) or with LT, the 2D general drafting option, which some of us do prefer. CAD managers can now look at a super-user/general (sometimes part-time) user model and combine full AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT accordingly. A VERY shrewd decision from Autodesk. From a price point, this is very savvy. It also indicates that Autodesk are listening to their users!

Now, I don’t know if you saw the Facecast yesterday presented by the lovely Lynn Allen and the equally enthusiastic Amar Hanspal, but it really gave me an insight in to how Autodesk are making sure they listen to their users. Lynn’s presentation was excellent (as usual) and she promoted the users and how they have asked for new features in AutoCAD and Amar presented the commercial/business case in his usual erudite fashion. But, it is official, Autodesk are really beginning to LISTEN!

“Since the release of AutoCAD for Mac last year, customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, further validating the need for professional design and engineering software on the Mac platform,” said Amar Hanspal, senior vice president, Autodesk Platform Solutions and Emerging Business. “Bringing AutoCAD LT and AutoCAD WS to the Mac shows our continued commitment to making design more accessible for an ever-greater number of people to shape the world around them.”

AutoCAD WS for Mac looks great as well! This is a desktop version like the Windows desktop version so, again, CAD managers can look at multi-OS environments or even specialise on the Apple platform for AutoCAD.

Check out the screenshots. It looks superb, doesn’t it?

From an Apple desktop perspective, Autodesk now have AutoCAD covered; AutoCAD 2012 and LT 2012 for Mac for design and AutoCAD WS for collaboration.

How’s about if you go mobile though?

Again, available in the App store for both iProducts (iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone) and Android products (too many to mention!), the mobile arena is pretty much covered. I would still like to see a BlackBerry version though!

Again, have a look at the screenshots. There is selection of iProduct shots and Android shots in here so flick through and check them out! I am sure you will work out which is which!

In conclusion, Autodesk have excelled themselves. This will make Apple product users very happy and also secure in the knowledge that Autodesk are taking the Apple platform and OS seriously. I have been a Windows OS user up till now and I am deeply considering a move to Apple in the not-too-distant future. I was in San Rafael on AUGI business a couple of weeks ago and saw one of my AUGI colleagues using a MacBook and asked the question, “Is it worth making the move?” Simple answer, yes. You can dual boot a Mac easily now, with Windows and the new Apple Lion OS, so everything is good.

Ten out of ten, Autodesk. Staying current and keeping the users happy. Savyy!

Happy CADD’ing!