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CAD Conversion

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by PurpHaze, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    I know a lot of you guys don't use CAD but thought I'd throw this question out there anyway because we have such a wealth of experience on this forum.

    At the present time I use RainCAD which is a Design CAD based prgram. The program saves all drawings in DW2 format. On sites that have automatic systems I draw up unscaled "zone maps" for 8.5 x 11 standard paper showing the realtionships of controllers/zones to each other and with buildings and major hardscapes on the site. I also indicate where backflows, isolation valves, controllers, manually-operated areas, areas with no irrigation whatsoever, etc. are located. I then hi-lite the different items with different colors so the separation of zones/controllers are immediately visible. (I'd upload an example zone map but you'd need to go to the Design CAD site and download a free copy of the DW2 Viewer to see it.)

    We keep copies of these zone maps in our trucks so we can immediately have a reference when we have a work order come in. What I've also done is distribute copies of the zone maps to the various site custodians who are the ones that initiate work orders when they think something is amiss with their irrigation. They often use the maps to indicate problems and attach a copy to the work order. It works as a good communication device and cuts down on service time because we can go immediately to the problem area.

    Now the problem. Our district has switched to a computerized work order system. Although I can still supply the sites with zone maps there is no way they can indicate problem areas on them without having RainCAD on their computers (which is totally unnecessary). I've thought about the possibility of them being able to scan the zone map (with indications) and then upload it with the computerized request but not all sites have scanners.

    Now the question. Does anyone know of a program (hopefully small and easy to use) that will convert DW2 files to standard image files that can then be manipulated with common imaging programs? I've done quite a bit of searching but so far have come up empty handed. Maybe I missed something obvious also.
  2. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    This may be to obvious of an answer, but what about you making a screen shot of the desired print from your screen and saving the screen shot either in bmp, jpeg, gif.....whatever works? There are lots of screenshot utilities out there, and windows has one built in using the screen print button, but I've forgotten how to use it. I've got a shareware version of something on here somewhere that I pull out when I need to print a copy of anything that doesn't want to cooperate for various reasons.
    Screen Hunter is it's name I think. I could find a link to their web site if you need it. Also, it might not be a free utility for commercial use.
  3. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    I actually thought about this and it's a good suggestion. Problem is that when I reduce the view to the point where the whole site is viewable on the screen then it's somewhat jumbled with all the details.

    After working on the problem for quite a bit yesterday while watching college football I found:

    1. RainCAD allows me to save a drawing in Word Perfect graphic (.wpg) format which is great because I use WP more than MS Word. However, we all know that WP is not nearly used as much as MS Word. If WP was used a lot then the picture could be manipulated through Corel Draw.

    2. Transferring a .wpg image to Word loses a lot of detail and some of the lines disappear altogether.

    3. I also copied the drawing in RainCAD and then pasted it directly into MS Paint, MS Word and Adobe Photo Design. The Paint and Photo Design versions were blurred but the Word version was absolutely clear. Problem is that it's only about a sixth of it's size and I can't seem to find a way to properly enlarge it. Maybe I'll try saving the file as a Word graphic and then reopen it. Maybe it'll let me manipulate it in Word or Paint.

    Guess I'll just keep working on the problem and see what I can come up with.
  4. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    Hayes, In a past life, I was a computer programmer. (Intern for a while, then discovered I hate cubicle life).

    I think it would be fairly easy to create a program that converts a .wpg file to a high quality bitmap image, much easier than converting the actual CAD data.

    I'll take a look at the WPG format and get back to you.
  5. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    Hayes. Do you have Corel Draw?
  6. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799


    After doing some research, I've found a few things.

    Apparently RainCad exports in the following formats (DWG, DXF, IGES, RIB, VRML, WPG and WMF) maybe your still using the old DOS version? Regardless, WMF (Windows MetaFile) will be the easiest one to work with. Almost every major image editor supports it.

    If you can get it to export to WMF, then you can open it in a image editor (I would suggest "The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP)" Its as powerful as Photoshop but free, because its open source.

    GIMP for Windows:


    Otherwise, you can still save it as WPG, and use a batch converter program like this to convert it to a BMP or a JPG.


    I think its pretty cheap.

    Otherwise, I can probably write you one. Vector based formats such as WPG are difficult to convert to raster based (JPG, BMP).

    Let me know.
  7. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496


    Although it has a spot to export to WMF it apparently won't do it. It's RainCAD Suite 6.0 and is one of the older DOS versions. Don't know if the filter came with it or not.

    I'll check out the batch converter and see what happens. Thanks for all the leads.
  8. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    go to cadtopia and download the free converter.. it can be converted to bmp, jpg, tiff or giff.
  9. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    I went to cadtopia.com and checked on all the links. Maybe I'm missing something?

    I have found a free AutoCAD to image converter and also remembered that I can export DesignCAD files as AutoCAD files. This weekend I'll work on coverting some test files and see what happens.
  10. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,694

    Y'know, if I wanted to convert a large drawing to something almost anyone could view, at varying levels of magnification, I would convert it to a .pdf file.

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