AutoCAD WS is great for taking your drawings on the go, right? Of course. And one of its big advantages is that it natively reads DWG files, so there’s no conversion necessary when you upload or share.
But what if you want to send a drawing from WS to someone who’s not using it? Sure, you could try to convince them to create an account (It’s fast! It’s easy! It’s free!), but sometimes you might not have time even for that.
Enter the new “Plot to Print” feature in AutoCAD WS 1.4.
Tap the Plot icon, and you get a screen that looks at least a little bit similar to the one you see in AutoCAD.
You can choose the plot style table, paper size, scale, and where to plot to. Your choices for that last option are PDF, DWF, and “Add HP ePrinter” (more on that in a moment).
If you choose one of the electronic options, you get a window asking where you would like to send this new file.
If, on the other hand, you choose “Add HP ePrinter”…well, that’s where this post starts to get into somewhat uncharted territory. See, I don’t like talking about hardware. It’s not my area of expertise. I don’t have any brand loyalties. If you need a new monitor/printer/mouse/whatever, you should do your own research and buy what works best for you.
That said, the only way to get a hard copy print straight from AutoCAD WS is with a web-enabled HP ePrinter. So I got one—a Photosmart 5510. (A DesignJet won’t fit in my office.)
Getting set up to print from my mobile devices was a 3-step process.
- Connect the ePrinter to my wireless network.
- Create an ePrintCenter account to enable sharing on the printer.
- Create an ePrint & Share account to enable printing from WS.
The only moderately tricky bit about this process is that ePrintCenter and ePrint & Share are currently two different accounts. Setup is easiest if you use the same email account and password in both places, but you don’t have to.
The other thing to remember is that you have to turn on remote printing for your particular printer, if you get a small-format one. (It’s turned on automatically for DesignJets.) Once you go, you can give other people permission to print to your printer from their AutoCAD WS accounts—that’s how Lynn Allen was able to print to my printer during last week’s Facecast.
One week into this setup, I’ve decided I’m a big fan of wireless printing in general. Now I can plot from my laptop computers without having to connect them to a docking station! (This was especially complicated for my Mac, since it doesn’t have a docking station.) Being able to print to other people’s printers is neat too—that way you can share designs without risking electronic copies or paying for shipping.
I do want to reiterate that you don’t need an HP printer to create PDF or DWF files from WS. If you want more details on the whole ePrint/hardcopy thing, please ask, otherwise I’ll gladly stick to posting about software.