The Latest: 2017.12.12
Rocket is updated all the time, the website less often. Read what's new or download it and see. There are likely to be improvements and additions rather than wholesale changes to justify a new release, so it won't be radically different. Still, there will be new things, and some of them might be useful. (For those who care, Rocket is currently at release 897.6.09_ab2.)
(Apologies for not having a beautiful web page. It's not coming.)
Why use RocketCad? If you are here you probably do, but here are a few reasons.
Download Rocket. It's not encrypted, doesn't use hardware locks, won't mess with your settings or take over your hard drive.
Download The Manual. This is mandatory: if you are using Rocket you must have a copy. (It's in the Rocket zip file if you already downloaded that.)
As always, you are not allowed to put the manual in a three-ring binder or staple it - it must be printed on both sides of the paper and spiral bound with a clear or translucent cover.
Download the coloured first page of the manual. This makes it look much more attractive and you shouldn't be using a cad program if you have no aesthetic sense.
Download the Mechanical-Only Rocket.
Unzip the Rocket files to C:\Rocket\Blocks, C:\Rocket\Lisp, etc.
Open Autocad and drag the file Aasup.lsp from C:\Rocket\ into the current drawing. If you put them in a different location Aasup will ask you where they are.
Close and re-open Autocad.
If you would rather do this manually, read the full Instructions, check the manual, or
Download Rocket.shx, Rocket's electrical font for AutoCAD. This still isn't used much, even though it's good, free, fast and includes a delta, omega, stacked fractions, etc.
Questions, Comments, Bug Reports, Etc.
Rocket also makes a small, simple P&ID package. If you'd like a copy email us. It's free.
Everything below here is archaic, so don't read it. This isn't a blog.
Rocket is overdue for an update, so
here it is. There are a number of new functions,
some new blocks, and the usual bug fixes and refinements. The old version, like
any software over a week old, is archaic.
Note that the blocks have all been recoloured so that text and attribute
subentities are on the layer Text, which can be recoloured to reflect your
preferences for text colour.
The manual has been revised to match, and if you would like to download
it separately from the package here it is. As always,
don't forget to print it out and have it spiral bound.
Rocketcad 2005 is ready.
It is always difficult to stop killing bugs and adding things, so there is a
lot of new stuff.
This should work with versions back to 2000i, to go back further it would
be wise to incorporate individual routines rather than replacing the
The Manual is completely updated and
expanded and is now in Word format, Pdfs being painfully slow to load and
also sometimes difficult to navigate.
The alphabetical list of functions is up to date, and the
list by category is correct, although somewhat subjective - placing
every program in every category it might reasonably belong to would result in
a quick index which was fifty pages long.
The troubleshooting and general cad sections are improved, and we have
added a section on title block design, as a lot of these are laid out using
principles not clear to anyone not firmly in the grip of dementia.
The manual should be printed out (nobody likes to read from a screen),
double-sided (single sided is clunky) and spiral bound with a clear front
cover (a wad of paper held together with staples is not a pleasure to read.)
Time spent reading the manual will pay for itself repeatedly in time saved
and tedium avoided.
The RocketCad Manual
is finally ready. You can either click on the link and view it online, or
right-click and download it.
Unlike most manuals this one is designed to be a useful addition to the
There is a comprehensive troubleshooting section: what do do when things
go wrong with Rocket and how to deal with other Cad trouble. There is
a lot of useful information both about Rocket and about Cad in general, and a
list of every single program included with Rocket and what it does.
There are sections you can print out separately and use to explain things
to people who have no idea what you are doing and why you want to do it a
certain way. There are also concise explanations of treacherous concepts
like scaling, model and paper space, entity rotation, and what is and isn't
You aren't getting the most out of Rocket without a copy, so download it
The manual is best printed out, preferably duplexed, and spiral bound,
although single sided printing and standard coil binding are acceptable in a
The latest (R16/2002) version of
RocketCad is ready.
A number of things have been fixed and added, so download it. Most of this is
enhancements to existing commands: Yalf can now turn off layers by subentity selection,
this works for xrefs, Hatch scale has been fixed for tray and area class hatches, there
are several new cloud commands, the switch direction has been fixed, Fist can now
identify text styles using big fonts and the new Bfg command can deal with them,
and a variety of other things.
Updating an existing installation: copy the files from the
directories in the zip file into the matching ones on your hard drive,
overwrite any existing ones, reload the menu. For the latest update I
have added a couple of new subdirectories which need to be copied over.
New: I have fixed the switches so that they open
to the right, in the ISA approved style. I don't think that most instruments are based
on knife switches any more, I don't think that it makes the slightest bit of
difference, and in fact I think that most people were only bitching to demonstrate
their amazing depth of knowledge. But in any event, here
are the new blocks. Just unzip them into the Blocks directory under c:\Rocket.
(For those who liked the original orientation here
are the original switches.)
Both files include the routine Switch.lsp, which updates the switch blocks in any
drawing in which it is run to the ones in the Blocks directory. It can be run on a
directory of drawings with Fang.lsp.
If you are downloading the latest Rocket update this is already included.
The RocketCad license agreement, which you agree
to when you use RocketCad.
The RocketCad installation instructions.
RocketCad does not come with an automatic installation program, because
1. They are typically just batch files which can mess with the registry.
2. A manual install gives one a much better idea of what one is doing.
3. It's very simple to set up.
I have found that between users and programs changing Autocad settings
one spends a fair amount of time fixing configuration problems. A careful
manual installation is less likely to cause these and an informed user (i.e.
one who did the installation by hand) is more likely to be able to fix them.
For those who want to use the suggested setup, here is a profile.
The R14 version of RocketCad:
RocketCad and Installation Instructions.
I have been asked for a penweight table which goes with the colours used
in Rocket Blocks. This one is for B size
(11 x 17) prints, others will follow if there is any demand.
Also for those who want to make their own lineweight tables but need a
general guide, here is a spreadsheet of
the suggested lineweights for A to E sizes, and a listing of Imperial and
metric paper sizes.
Note that they don't correspond exactly to those in the .ctb file -
AutoCAD now allows a total of 28 pen weights, if you edit any then they are
changed in any plot styles which used the thickness they are changed from.
Given this it seemed best to live with weights which deviated from the
desired settings by a trivial amount rather than risk problems with
(The new printed manuals are now available to registered users. Email me
if you want one.)
People often want to know what they are doing, so here are a few
instructional files, some relating to RocketCad, others containing general
notes on CAD.
An index of lisp routines in Word format,
divided up into categories so that you can find what you are after.
An alphabetical list of all the RocketCad
lisp routines with a brief (half line) description of each one.
Four drawings of the blocks which are included
with RocketCad. For some reason people don't like to use a package that
doesn't include a block listing - most management types won't actually look
at these, but they like to have a set to put in a binder. They were made
with Hoss.lsp, by the way.
The Slides used in the icon menus - if you want
to modify the menus you may have to remake the slide library, so here are the
slides. The batch file 1Slab.bat which remakes the .slb is included, but you
will have to dig up a copy of Slidelib.exe and put it in the directory.
A document describing of some of our less
than ordinarily practical programs, and the files
themselves. Some are included with RocketCad, but you might want them all
or not want to download the whole thing or just really like zip files.
Markups make a big difference to how long it
takes to draft something. Here is a document you can give to the designer to
explain matters, i.e. when he bitches about the time it took this will gently
explain that it is his fault.
Zlin draws polylines containing repeating patterns.
It is fairly intuitive, but people like to know that there are instructions,
even if they have no intention of reading them.
Chart.lsp makes a text file into a chart. Unlike
the vast majority of our programs, with this one you have to know what you
are doing. The file header contains instructions, here is a more elaborate
set. (The actual program is included with RocketCad.)
Scale is very simple but often quite
difficult to get a grip on. This explains things.
Ezlay allows you to examine your drawings one
layer at a time, sort of like peeling an onion but without the crying. Here
is a nice sheet of instructions for all the things it can do that you can
print out and nail to the wall by your desk. I recommend using at least four
The master list of all routines with instructions is still being
revamped, the latest revision having been done in the last millennium.
Rocket.shx: Rocket's free font for AutoCAD.
This is a standard AutoCAD font, but one which allows proper stacked
fractions, subscripts, superscripts, omega and delta symbols and various
other useful characters. Also the uppercase I looks like an I and not a
lowercase L, and the zeros have a slash to distinguish them from the
I have been told many times that nobody can use a custom font because
they can't give it to their clients and other users. You can use this one,
give it to anyone you want, post copies on your website, include it with your
drawing packages, etc. etc.
I have included the compiled .shx file, the source .shp file, an
instruction text file, and a lisp routine which can take a text string with
regular fractions and reformat them for use with Rocket.shx.
There: it's free, you can do whatever you want with it, it includes
source code, and it does everything you have been bitching about needing to
do. Will you use it now?
(No, I didn't really think so...)
Email: Questions, Comments, Bug Reports, Etc.