Free Cad

So, I’ve been talking Cad recently, after doing a flip-flop and reverting back from DraftSight to a new license of AutoCad Lt.

In what appears to be a battle to get more users, Draft Sight has stepped up their marketing by adding value to their product, and put out a ‘Getting Started Guide’ for free, via their website.

So if you were looking to try using Cad for the first or maybe second time, Dassault Systemes, makers of DraftSight, have just made it that little bit easier.

AutoCad, by contrast, still uses a web-based help tool accessed from within the program, augmented by the tonnes of user forums that answer specific user questions, both hosted on their own site and found on many others. Not to mention many actual paper publications written on the topic over the years.

I taught myself AutoCad on-the-job in the early 00’s, (admittedly after a couple of long-forgotten lessons at uni, and of course having relative proficiency in ArchiCad learned at my previous employers) and even then it was easy to Google an issue to figure out how to make the thing do as was required. Now of course there are YouTube videos and online tutorials to help out, which show you exactly how to performs certain tasks, and offer useful tips and tricks. Very handy if you’ve just, say, updated your copy of Cad, and would like to find out what the new tools are. Especially handy if said new tools replace a whole bunch of hit-and-miss calculations that you used to have to perform in your head and on the page to get a design to work ‘just so’.

Oh Opal!

So, like many jewellers about Melbourne Towne, I have a piece in this upcoming Part B exhibition:

Oh Opal! (re-imagining Australia’s national gemstone)
Exhibition dates: 2-23 May 2012
Opening night: Friday, 4 May 2012, 6-8pm
Venue: Redox Jewellery Studio – Shop 3, 51 McKillop St, Geelong

Goings on

What’s going on in the USA?

Well, the Heat Exchange exhibition, for one thing.

Heat Exchange is an exhibition of enamel works curated by Elizabeth Turrell (UK) Beate Gegenwart (Germany/UK) and Melissa Cameron (Australia).

The first stop of the Heat Exchange exhibition is timed to coincide with the SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) National Conference in Phoenix in 2012. The exhibition opens at Shemer Art Center & Museum on the 3rd of May, and continues until the 30th of May, 2012.

After closing in Arizona, the exhibition then travels to Erfurt, Germany, where it will go on display at the Kunstmuseen der Stadt Erfurt, Galerie Waidspeicher im Kulturhof Krönbacken on Saturday the 30th of June 2012. The exhibition will close on the 12th of August, with more dates to follow.

AutoCad LT 2013 – I have it!

That title is bait for resident Australians, because AutoCad LT 2013 has only just been released in the US (late March), and has not yet been released in the UK (I’ve been reading complaints about this on the Autodesk forum.) So as far as I’m aware, it’s not yet available in Australia.

Moving to the USA to get an $899 copy of AutoCad from the Apple App store? Priceless.*

OK, gloating aside, I’ve been holding off my purchase of a new license for a while, and only in part because I knew I was moving to the US where it’s cheaper (sorry folks). I had been thinking about permanently moving my drafting to DraftSight, but I eventually decided that if they were giving away, for free, a version of CAD that I had paid over $2000 for, maybe the technology had moved on in the six or seven years since I had last paid for a seat.

AutoCad now runs natively in MacOS for starters (not that draftsight doesn’t), which removed one more irritating thing about running AutoCad on my current computer. I had run my 2005 LT license on a laptop since I got it in 2005 (incidentally, I’d been running the 2005 version for the year before this while I worked at Lotterywest – Autodesk like to make the issue date in the future for some odd reason), and when I was convinced to switch to Mac in 2007 by Turbo when my former laptop died, I had to run AutoCad in a windows virtualiser. If you’ve ever used CAD in a virtualised environment, you’ll know it’s highly, highly annoying. And you have to keep updating your virtualiser (thanks Parallels) and if you change, to say, VirtualBox, it can become just downright unstable.

It reached a head after I arrived in Seattle and set up my computer and printer again. Whether I wanted to print a PDF or an actual document, AutoCad would crash. Being able to design and draft wonderful works is one thing, but not being able to get them off your machine? Kinda pointless.

So yesterday I got a new copy of AutoCad.

It’s ah-maze-zing.                                 For realz.

I was playing around with it, acclimatising, if you will, and kept musing out-loud as to the wonders I was experiencing. In kinda short burts. “Oh, woooow.” And “Unbelieveable.” And “Whoa mama!” All interspersed with bursts of chuckling and even some giggles.

It led CSS, our roomate, to comment over dinner that the fried chicken we were having was really good, in fact “Almost AutoCad good.”

Yep, AutoCad LT 2013. It’s better than chicken.


*not actually priceless, still $899, as listed. Or AU $867.

Upcoming exhibition

Wow, things keep creeping up on me. Like this:

On Saturday I have a solo exhibition opening at Gallery CAJ in Japan. On display will be a mix of new works from the In Geometry I Trust series as well as a few new Recycled Object works, such as the above. One set of these was exhibited at Itami late last year, while for the other side of this powder compact, this exhibition is their first showing.

Gallery CAJ
129 Tominokouji, Oike-sagaru, Nakagyo-ku
Kyoto 604-8093 Japan

And if you’re wondering about the current climate of Art Jewellery in Japan, a really interesting article from the Japan Times might be the business.

following on…

from yesterday’s post, I have no studio space and very few tools from which to make a work for Suse’s show Once more, with love, but I have to get my piece(s) back to Australia by the end of this month. So put me down for some ca-ray-zee apartment=studio action.

The day before yesterday I ordered a new drill press (yes, off Amazon…) and while I was at it a new crock pot for pickle (to replace the rice cooker I was using), though I won’t be soldering for a few more weeks til my regulators and torches arrive. Faced with the challenge of making an entirely cold-connected piece of work, I’m loath to let go of every making crutch that I hold dear, so paring my studio back to a drill press and saw frame is what I see as my minimum tool requirements. Along with AutoCad and my printer, loaded up with adhesive paper, as usual. I am starting to wonder, though, if a flexi-drive might have been the smarter choice…

This I have done before, though in my own practice (as opposed to the limits put on the Part B Steal This works) it’s not really ever intentionally. Some works evolve into their forms, and at the end I can look at it and say “Look Ma, no solder!” but it’s rare, even though the amount of soldering I actually do is almost negligible. (It’s not the amount, it’s what you do with it that counts, right?) But to make without piercing – no inlet for the saw blade? Nev-ah! I even took a pin vise to Italy with me when I went to Prato in 2008 and pierced dozens of holes, by hand, through which a saw blade was then threaded.

Heeenyways, back to the new drill press. After researching what was on offer I eventually went back to the Proxxon mini press. You might recognise it as exactly that which I had back in Melbourne, but with a different power cord. It was a hard worker, and though sometimes it felt a little on the small side, there wasn’t much that I couldn’t get it to do, so I figured when you’re onto a good thing…

My air compressor back in Melbourne, on the other hand, was too small for my sandblast cabinet. You might have heard about it already, I think I complained about it here. Quite a lot. This time I’m going larger, to a storage tank of 60 gallons (227 L) from 55L. To quote Tim the Tool Man, Urgh, ur urrr. More Power!

something completely different – jewellery!

This is a bag of materials from which art must come. And soon! Suse Scholem has tasked a bunch of people with making works out of items donated in the first Aussie ‘Radical Jewellery Makeover’ from 2011. (Previous posts about it here and here)

Mine looks like this:

I got #4. Significant?

Hmm, there’s that other piece I made. I could go all meta and remake that I guess?

Now there’s something that’s sparking interest…

Something that I can definitely work with. As if it were planned? Who knows…

statusless stateless

or: Stateside shenanigans

I tried to apply for a social security card the other day – needed to get a Washington State drivers license, amongst other things, and was told that I had to get an Employment Authorisation Document first. Fill in form number ___, pay some money, wait aaaages, and you’re in. No problems, I’ll just print out the forms and the other bits and pieces I need on my newly-arrived A3 printer, which my electrical engineer buddy (read TurboNerd) assured me will work just fine in the ole US of A.


So one transformer ordered and delivered, and a day later, I can print! So I can now fill in forms, which require the wisdom of the great oracle ‘internet’ for guidance, given that the accompanying instruction document doesn’t have any recommendation on what to do if you’re someone applying with my type of visa. Lucky plenty of other Aussie nerds have encountered this problem, and have written copious documentation.

Sometimes I get the impression that I’m not really in America. From the comfy lounge in the Aussie Ghetto, we watch the same American movies and television that we would back home, and decry the political/social climate of ‘The States’ in our usual manner.

It’s a strange place to be in.

Making in a space

“What would it mean for the authority of the craftsman if he/she acknowledged the site of making as a co-producer of his/her work”

Sorry to spoil the ending, but by using writing as a craft to investigate the subject of location ‘being in on the act’ of creation, Marilyn Zapf teases out the effect that space might have on us, in her most recent post The Craft of Writing: Here’s the Situation.

And in case you hadn’t guessed it already, I think she’s onto something. I think space can have a profound effect on what we think, and the way we think, and therefore what and how we create. I still haven’t found a way to investigate it properly, except by taking rather haphazard swipes at some ideas of space in parts of my work.

At least there’s an upside to my incompleteness; it leaves me with more to investigate.