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CAD on Macbook
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clockworkwar
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Sep 30, 2006, 01:46 PM
 
Hello! I will soon be an Engineering student and I am wondering whether a Macbook would be surficant to run a CAD program such as Autodesk Inventor.

I am looking at a 2ghz, 1 gb of ram model. And I would have to run AI in Bootcamp. Has anyone got any experience doing this? and if you have how effecient was it? I would like the Apple features which is why I would consider one of these laptops.

Otherwise I will do what I was orginally planning a buy a Dell.
     
mduell
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Sep 30, 2006, 05:17 PM
 
GMA950 graphics isn't great, but all the low-end notebooks have it, so buying another brand doesn't help there. Otherwise the MacBook is quite good for entry-level CAD work.

How do you measure efficiency?
     
clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 1, 2006, 04:24 AM
 
Im easure efficiency by it being able to load up the components on the CAD programs, in a quick or slow time. Or that it does not take forever to load up the component library, that makes it efficient. Basically the speed on how it loads things.
     
anamexis
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Oct 1, 2006, 02:31 PM
 
For CAD, I would highly, highly recommend upgrading to 2GB RAM.
     
Railroader
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Oct 1, 2006, 03:05 PM
 
i am also interested in how various CAD programs will run on a Macintosh. I think this may be more of a Operating System concern. As in, how well does a CAD program run in Windows either in Parallels or BootCamp.

Any one have any info (or links) for running CAD programs in Windows on a Mac?

I think I'll email Autodesk and ask them directly.
     
mduell
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Oct 1, 2006, 03:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by clockworkwar
Im easure efficiency by it being able to load up the components on the CAD programs, in a quick or slow time. Or that it does not take forever to load up the component library, that makes it efficient. Basically the speed on how it loads things.
Ok. It's a laptop, with a laptop sized (2.5") hard drive; they're not as fast as desktop drives. As the other guy said, fill it up with 2GB RAM from Crucial.

It's going to come down to how big your models are. For student projects it should be great, but for real industry-grade projects you'll want a desktop.
     
mduell
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Oct 1, 2006, 03:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Railroader
i am also interested in how various CAD programs will run on a Macintosh. I think this may be more of a Operating System concern. As in, how well does a CAD program run in Windows either in Parallels or BootCamp.

Any one have any info (or links) for running CAD programs in Windows on a Mac?

I think I'll email Autodesk and ask them directly.
In Parallels it's going to be pretty ugly and performance, espically with graphics, is not going to be great.
With BootCamp it's the same as loading Windows onto any other PC with the same specs. The performance is the same as any other PC with the same specs.
     
Railroader
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Oct 1, 2006, 03:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell
With BootCamp it's the same as loading Windows onto any other PC with the same specs. The performance is the same as any other PC with the same specs.
Really?

That's VERY good to hear.
     
mduell
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Oct 1, 2006, 03:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Railroader
Really?

That's VERY good to hear.
Yes. BootCamp is basically two parts: a firmware addon to be backward compatible with BIOSes (Windows XP doesn't support EFI) and a driver CD.

An Intel Mac is a "standard" PC with the added ability to boot OSX (due to restrictions in place to deter booting OSX on any other PC).
     
jamil5454
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Oct 1, 2006, 09:36 PM
 
My father is a professional mechanical engineer (specialty in pumps and fluid mechanics), and he's been on his Compaq laptop for about 8 years now.

Specs:
Windows 2000 (with AutoCAD 2000)
256MB RAM
1024x768 screen
4MB S3 generic video card
Pentium II 300 Mhz

Granted, it's not the fastest thing out there, but it still lets him work on his fairly complex multi-stage pump models and run his engineering calculation programs easily.

As mduell said, it really comes down to how complex your models are. Although, engineers have been using CAD programs for decades (with pretty complex models, too), so I think a MacBook will be more than enough for your needs.

If you're going the route of something more 3D such as SolidWorks or a modeling program like Blender or Maya, the MacBook Pro will probably be a better investment, though.
     
clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 2, 2006, 12:04 PM
 
Well most of the engineering course is writing essays. But i need it to run 2D cad programs which it should do easily, and also 3D models created by Autodesk Inventor etc. I am looking at 2ghz proc. and 1 gb of ram.

Do you think that will be enough?
     
TheoCryst
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Oct 2, 2006, 01:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by clockworkwar
Well most of the engineering course is writing essays. But i need it to run 2D cad programs which it should do easily, and also 3D models created by Autodesk Inventor etc. I am looking at 2ghz proc. and 1 gb of ram.

Do you think that will be enough?
I'd personally suggest 2 gigs of memory, but otherwise the MacBook should be more than adequate for entry-level CAD design. Just make sure that you use Boot Camp and not Parallels.

Any ramblings are entirely my own, and do not represent those of my employers, coworkers, friends, or species
     
clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 2, 2006, 03:16 PM
 
I was going to load MS Widows Proff. on bootcamp for it. It should be ok then, goto get myself down to an apple store then!
     
mduell
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Oct 2, 2006, 05:14 PM
 
Yea, I'd go with 2GB also. CAD, CFD, and FEA models have a tendency to grow, even at the student level.
     
k squared
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Oct 2, 2006, 09:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by clockworkwar
Well most of the engineering course is writing essays. But i need it to run 2D cad programs which it should do easily, and also 3D models created by Autodesk Inventor etc. I am looking at 2ghz proc. and 1 gb of ram.

Do you think that will be enough?
Do you believe that a PC laptop with the same specs would be good enough? As mduell wrote earlier and I'll repeat: a MacBook is the same as a PC with the same specs, with the added benefit of running Mac OS X and incorporating the highest quality design in the industry.

I run AutoCad 2006 and SketchUp (free) on my Macbook (black, 1 GB RAM) under Windows XP Home. ACAD runs great -- better than on the Dell P4 machines at work and SketchUp runs better under Windows than Mac OS X.

The only problem I have is a similar problem I've had with older IBM laptops: the delete key on the MacBooks operates as a backspace key under Windows, confusing my workflow in AutoCad and SketchUp. I'm sure a key remapper would solve the problem.
     
clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 3, 2006, 10:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by k squared
Do you believe that a PC laptop with the same specs would be good enough? As mduell wrote earlier and I'll repeat: a MacBook is the same as a PC with the same specs, with the added benefit of running Mac OS X and incorporating the highest quality design in the industry.

I run AutoCad 2006 and SketchUp (free) on my Macbook (black, 1 GB RAM) under Windows XP Home. ACAD runs great -- better than on the Dell P4 machines at work and SketchUp runs better under Windows than Mac OS X.

The only problem I have is a similar problem I've had with older IBM laptops: the delete key on the MacBooks operates as a backspace key under Windows, confusing my workflow in AutoCad and SketchUp. I'm sure a key remapper would solve the problem.
Ive been looking at Dell Inspirons for a while and they are quite good, and cheaper than the Apple at similar specs and as i would be running it in Windows mostly its inticing. But my god its ugly compared to the macbook. And also I make short films, and use digital cameras as well (outside education) so iLife would be a good help to me, so I am looking at the macbook.
     
Railroader
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Oct 3, 2006, 12:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by k squared
I run AutoCad 2006 and SketchUp (free) on my Macbook (black, 1 GB RAM) under Windows XP Home. ACAD runs great -- better than on the Dell P4 machines at work and SketchUp runs better under Windows than Mac OS X.

The only problem I have is a similar problem I've had with older IBM laptops: the delete key on the MacBooks operates as a backspace key under Windows, confusing my workflow in AutoCad and SketchUp. I'm sure a key remapper would solve the problem.
I just talked to a Apple genius at the Grand Rapids, MI store and he was negative on running ACAD. He told me the integrated graphics chip is a huge hinderance. He recommended upgrading to a MacBook Pro (no big surprise).

But you have actual experience using ACAD 2006 eh? That's good to hear. Are you using a student version or a full-retail version?

I can see how the delete key could be a problem. Let us know how you solve this!
     
clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 3, 2006, 12:12 PM
 
he he yes I would get a Macbook Pro if i could afford it, and i wanted to lug around something bigger than a macbook.
     
k squared
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Oct 3, 2006, 05:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Railroader
I just talked to a Apple genius at the Grand Rapids, MI store and he was negative on running ACAD. He told me the integrated graphics chip is a huge hinderance. He recommended upgrading to a MacBook Pro (no big surprise).

But you have actual experience using ACAD 2006 eh? That's good to hear. Are you using a student version or a full-retail version?

I can see how the delete key could be a problem. Let us know how you solve this!
I only use the 2D stuff in AutoCad and it runs great. There's not that much effort to display a line, right? Heck, AutoCad 2000 ran great on an IBM PII with only 8 MB of VRAM, which is what I used to work on. I have also tested acad with beta versions of Parallels and it ran fine under emulation too. Again, only 2D stuff.

I can see the Genius' point, but the card is still capable of 64 MB of memory, even if it is shared, and when I was in school everyone ran acad on laptops with a lot less than that.

As for the delete key, I've learned to the keyboard command for erase and for cutting. I always worked more through the commad line anyway, except for deleting.
     
Railroader
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Oct 3, 2006, 05:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by k squared
I only use the 2D stuff in AutoCad and it runs great. There's not that much effort to display a line, right? Heck, AutoCad 2000 ran great on an IBM PII with only 8 MB of VRAM, which is what I used to work on. I have also tested acad with beta versions of Parallels and it ran fine under emulation too. Again, only 2D stuff.

I can see the Genius' point, but the card is still capable of 64 MB of memory, even if it is shared, and when I was in school everyone ran acad on laptops with a lot less than that.
That was exactly my thinking.

Originally Posted by k squared
As for the delete key, I've learned to the keyboard command for erase and for cutting. I always worked more through the commad line anyway, except for deleting.
I don't understand you here. Could you explain this better? Thanks.
     
k squared
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Oct 3, 2006, 10:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Railroader
I don't understand you here. Could you explain this better? Thanks.
Sorry, a little unclear. Using AutoCad, I operate mostly from the command line -- typing 'c' for copy rather than clicking the copy button -- except when it comes to erasing. For that I used the delete key, or used to. Now, I've changed my workflow use the erase button.

I'm still searching for a key remapper.
     
clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 4, 2006, 10:50 AM
 
So after all discussion is it worth me getting a Mac book to do CAD work on?
     
mduell
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Oct 4, 2006, 05:49 PM
 
Yes.
     
clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 5, 2006, 12:21 PM
 
happy now! he he.
     
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Oct 5, 2006, 12:27 PM
 
One of the labs we have here at ISU for CAD (it's more of a general lab, but it gets used for CAD a lot) is all the small dells with the GMA950. They're not the greatest, but for simple models they're more than adequate. Like it's been said earlier, for industry grade stuff, you'll want a real graphics card, but stuff I've made for classes in Autodesk Inventor works great on the GMA.
     
clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 5, 2006, 01:51 PM
 
This is looking promising for me changing my mind on buying a Dell (even though ive been wanting an reason to buy a mac for a long time now)

I mean il buy the 2nd generation macbook when it comes out, so it should be alright.
     
jamez bond
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Oct 6, 2006, 09:44 AM
 
Thought I would just chime in on this one as well...
You start here by saying that you want to do Inventor...then people mix that up a bit with just AutoCAD I think...2D and 3D.
I use inventor for work. I have not installed on my new macbook, but I will try...

Anyhow. AutoCAD should in my eyes be a breeze (as long as you dont import huge raster images and stuff like that), but Inventor (3D) is a completely different ball game.

Like I said, I will try it, but I do not have any hopes for this...

Anyway, what is the real difference between "easy schoolwork" and "full on pro work"? I dont know...You need the speed in the software regardless.

Also, should be no difference in speed in "Full" Vs "educational" AutoCAD when it comes to speed.

If this is going to be your only computer and use it for 3D CAD, then get something else...I think so far...
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clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 6, 2006, 10:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by jamez bond
Thought I would just chime in on this one as well...
You start here by saying that you want to do Inventor...then people mix that up a bit with just AutoCAD I think...2D and 3D.
I use inventor for work. I have not installed on my new macbook, but I will try...

Anyhow. AutoCAD should in my eyes be a breeze (as long as you dont import huge raster images and stuff like that), but Inventor (3D) is a completely different ball game.

Like I said, I will try it, but I do not have any hopes for this...

Anyway, what is the real difference between "easy schoolwork" and "full on pro work"? I dont know...You need the speed in the software regardless.

Also, should be no difference in speed in "Full" Vs "educational" AutoCAD when it comes to speed.

If this is going to be your only computer and use it for 3D CAD, then get something else...I think so far...
They will have computers at the place, so really its only for doing finishing touches to drawings, or just checking files over and stuff, its not for heavy use. Inventor is 3D but ive seen it work on average laptops quite well, except the vaults a bit slow to load up. Anyway thats for trying it, tell us what happens.
     
jamez bond
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Oct 6, 2006, 11:25 AM
 
um....yes...
but this i the thing...
If its just to look over things and do finishing touches...you still have to open up the assemblies/iles.
So.. I think I would have been a lot more hapier with the macbook pro for example. I understand that this is a uestion of trying to gt the most out of a small pot of money.
Just dont have your expectations too high about this...thats all I want to say I suppose.
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clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 6, 2006, 11:54 AM
 
I dont care if i have to wait a few mins for things to load really, if i just runs ok il be happy. And one of the reasons im not getting a Macbook pro is one a similar spec to macbook 2ghz, 1 gb of ram i want is £1600 which is just to much for me to save up at once.
     
mduell
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Oct 6, 2006, 06:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by jamez bond
Anyway, what is the real difference between "easy schoolwork" and "full on pro work"? I dont know...You need the speed in the software regardless.

Also, should be no difference in speed in "Full" Vs "educational" AutoCAD when it comes to speed.
Although this example is FEM instead of CAD, you can draw the parallels to CAD:
The educational version of ANSYS is limited to 16k elements, and most student projects are about 1000. On the other hand if you're doing low cycle fatigue lifing of turbine engine rotating parts in industry, the model of a single part could easily be 500k elements. While the former runs quite easily on a laptop with integrated graphics, you really want a workstation class desktop for the latter.
     
kennedy
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Oct 7, 2006, 01:08 AM
 
For Windows Delete key, you can press and hold Fn key and then press Delete... that gives you Windows Delete key instead of Backspace.
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jamez bond
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Oct 7, 2006, 03:09 AM
 
FEM....ok...well.
Then its inventor Professional that you have to run.

People tend to mix up ACAD and Inventor. AutoCAD is used for 2D work, inventor for 3D.

The macbook will do just fine with autocad....almost anything can do that.
Inventor however...I dont know.

Hopefully I will install today or tomorrow...then we can see.
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clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 7, 2006, 11:50 AM
 
Yep AutoCad seems to run fine on anything. But i largely use 3D based CAD now, due to it a. being cooler, and b. i find it much easier.

The only thing im worried about is the graphics card with inventor, the system requirements want 128mb. Oh well i may just have to save up for a Mac Book Pro instead.
( Last edited by clockworkwar; Oct 7, 2006 at 12:19 PM. )
     
clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 7, 2006, 12:17 PM
 
Or goto dreaded Dell
     
tr
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Oct 8, 2006, 10:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by Railroader
I just talked to a Apple genius at the Grand Rapids, MI store and he was negative on running ACAD. He told me the integrated graphics chip is a huge hinderance. He recommended upgrading to a MacBook Pro (no big surprise).
it's funny the genius said that, and i understand why he would. but think about this: i've been running AutoCAD 2004 in Virtual PC with Win2K on a 450Mhz G4 with 2GB of RAM. yeah, you read that right. i don't use it much now, but i was doing 2D and 3D models. was there sometimes a lag in certain operations? yep. was a 3D orbit kinda choppy? sure. but AutoCAD was completely usable.

tr
     
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Oct 8, 2006, 10:18 AM
 
I used to run AutoCad in Virtual PC. The program ran fine, but a lot of I/O functions were intolerably slow.
     
jamez bond
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Oct 8, 2006, 11:12 AM
 
Inventor i not made to be run on a laptop with these spec.
AutoCAD is just fine though.
I instlled windows under Bootcamp, ad chucked inventor and AutoCAD in there.
AutoCAD is fine, and I can use that for an edit or two, no problem. (I believe this is fine for everyday work actually...)
Inventor didn´t want to start up, because I did not have a big enough scratch-disk (the windows partition I made is only 5Gig). I uninstalled Inventor, since it really only is the viewer I need when I am out and about to show models and drawings to people... .dwf viewer works really well.
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clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 8, 2006, 11:18 AM
 
Thanks for that! Ive been looking at it and AutoCAD seems perfectly fine to me. I havent got as much experience with that software but im sure i can pick it up, or take a few courses.

There is AutoCAD and AutoCAD Mechanical, what are the major differences? i havent got a clue atm.
     
jamez bond
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Oct 8, 2006, 11:31 AM
 
Well, AutoCAD is 2D, mechanical is also some 3D, Inventor is full on parametric modeller...basically.
You started saying you wanted Inventor...still dont think that is realistic.
AutoCAD will go fine...but that aint inventor.
So if it is inventor you want, get a desktop for the same money as a macbook, or get a higher spec. laptop.
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clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 8, 2006, 11:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by jamez bond
Well, AutoCAD is 2D, mechanical is also some 3D, Inventor is full on parametric modeller...basically.
You started saying you wanted Inventor...still dont think that is realistic.
AutoCAD will go fine...but that aint inventor.
So if it is inventor you want, get a desktop for the same money as a macbook, or get a higher spec. laptop.
Its only really to get me through designing projects and 2D ive used in the past and i work fine with it. I wanted to use Inventor yes, but i can live without really as i can use the computers in various IT rooms and i will may drag my desktop along which will some more ram should run Inventor fine.

I will get the Macbook I think even though Inventor does not really run on it.
     
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Oct 8, 2006, 03:13 PM
 
Quick heads up: You can download a 30-day trial version from AutoDesk of AutoCAD 2007 here Autodesk - AutoCAD - Product Trial

I am downloading now and will install as soon as I am done. I'll let you guys know how it goes.
     
clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 8, 2006, 03:29 PM
 
Yep i saw those earlier, but i havent got the laptop yet so i cant really try it.
     
jamez bond
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Oct 8, 2006, 03:32 PM
 
the ACAD 2007 will work just fine... No problem with that one...
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clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 9, 2006, 11:34 AM
 
Im going to take the plunge for a Macbook, when v.2 comes out which should be soon.
     
clockworkwar  (op)
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Oct 11, 2006, 12:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by Railroader
Quick heads up: You can download a 30-day trial version from AutoDesk of AutoCAD 2007 here Autodesk - AutoCAD - Product Trial

I am downloading now and will install as soon as I am done. I'll let you guys know how it goes.
How did it go?
     
jamez bond
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Oct 11, 2006, 05:07 PM
 
Like I said....it will be just fine with autoCAD
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