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RE: MathCAD

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I must apologize for the last message, here is the message as staright ascii text - easier to read by all.
 
To extend MathCAD capabilities you can incorporate Excel, AutoCAD and VBA routines into your MathCAD sheets.
 
With Excel component of MathCAD Pro only) you can:
 - Pass data from MathCAD into an Excel file.
 
 - Double-click on the Excel component to use functionality from Excel.
 
 - Send values from an Excel file into MathCAD.
 
In addition you can create customized functions,for your MathCAD sheets using C, C++, VB or Fortran. First create the source code using the structures and functions provided by MathSoft. Then compile the code as a DLL.
 
Engineers Lutz comments:  "On the downside, I think MathCAD calculations tend to get pretty bulky. You probably spend four pieces of paper in MathCAD for every one in Excel due to the printing of the formulas"  You can get up an area (Insert Area) that you can put your formulas etc. and then collapse it, so it will not print.
 
Engineer Madden comments: " The absolute biggest drawback with MathCAD compared to excel is MathCAD's inability to do lookup functions like excel." If you use tables and matrices you can easily index through them.
 
Do not get me wrong I think Excel is a great tool and use it daily. If I didn't use MathCAD where I taught or did not need to for a the Arctic Engineering class for Alaska (UAA CE603 PE License requirement) I probably would not use it. Relying instead on a Graphing Calculator (TI-89) with PC interface, Excel or a custom C/C++/Fortran program.
 
Knowing VB, C/C++, etc., lets you easily extend the capacity of Excel, MathCAD and AutoCAD, If you don't know one I suggest that you pick a book up and try to learn it. You get it right and it works wonderful, though get it wrong and you can lose your hair while trying to debug it.  Writing custom DLL's let you automate the design phase, for example you can generate Bill of Materials directly from the drawings, Size the beams in excel and it update the AutoCAD drawing and the Bill of Material. (BTW, it helps if you have a son that is majoring in Computer Engineering to help you out, because you generally won't find many others doing this to bounce ideas off or ask for help.)
 
Rich
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Richard M. Beldyk, PE, NSPE, CWEng, CPE
Professional Engineer - Delaware 6788, Maine 9987, Maryland 26594, Michigan 6201048734, Ohio 66691, Oklahoma 20523, Pennsylvania PE061240, Virginia 37138
Registered Member - International Registry of Professional Engineers - Certificate IR101
AWS Certified Welding Engineer - Certificate  0009Eng
AFE Certified Plant Engineer - Certificate 4582