from Civil to Inventor

The Autodesk enthusiast exile

Civil 3D – Label Expressions

Check out my latest article “A quick fix with Label Expressions” on Civil 3D.com

http://www.civil3d.com/2010/02/a-quick-fix-with-label-expressions/

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February 10, 2010 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk, Labels, Pipes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Civil 3D – Existing Pipe Network Tip

We often do not create any Pipe Networks to represent the existing utility mains in a project.  There is usually limited information on the correct depth of the utilities, even with a utility spot.  The best we can hope for is to draw the main in the plan view based on paint markings, and draw the crossings in our profile manually based on an approximate depth after a phone call to the respective agency.

On a recent design, not knowing the depth of the existing utility mains was a problem.  We have Force Main and Water Main running along and under a dirt road that will be paved.  Everyone is concerned that vibratory packing will cause a problem.  So they potholed the lines.

Now I have 3D point locations along 2 mains.  A pipe network would be best, so that it is easy to bring into my profile, and can be managed by styles. This presents a nuisance since the locations are on top of the pipes, and there are a lot of locations; that’s a lot of pipe edits.

Here is what I came up with.  Again, not rocket science, but I hope that it will help someone else. 

  • Style the points so that it is easy to discern them from others. 
  • Make the style respond to the elevations
  • Create a 3D polyline from point to point
  • move the polyline down the HALF (see below) the respective inner diameter plus one wall thickness.  I used he move command.
  • Make sure the Pipe style prepared as desired, and the correct pipe size is in the Parts List.  Don’t forget the wall thickness
  • Create Pipe Network from Object
  • Add the network to your profile

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Half the diameter

The reason for this is that the Create Pipe Network from Object will use the elevation of the 3D polyline for the CENTERLINE of the pipe.  If you move the polyline down a full diameter, then the pipe will be created too low.  I mean to tell you that is a lot of edits. 

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November 25, 2009 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk, Pipes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Civil 3D – Part Builder Context Solution Part 2

Part Builder Context Solution Part 1

Ok, at last, the end of the journey.  We covered getting the model values out of an existing part.  The remaining issue lies with what to do now that we have a mandatory context added to the structure type.  Each time we create a new form of that structure type, that variable will be added to the Part XML file with all the other OEM required variables, such as "SHBTh".  This would not be a problem except that we still cannot get our non-OEM variables forced into the part model parameters.

As you may recall from earlier discussions, adding an existing catalog parameter to the model parameters is verboten.  Consequently without some assistance, each new part would require yet another context parameter to be created in the list.  Eventually the list of copies of the same variables would be ridiculous.

What we did figure out is that we can link a required context parameter that is created in the part XML, to a parameter we used in the model parameters. 

The basic outline is as follows:

  • Create the new part, using the proper structure type. 
  • Validate the part and save it.
  • Create the model to its completion, adding any model parameters as needed.
  • Configure the Required Context Parameter to be a range or a list as desired.
  • Save the part and exit.
  • Edit the Part XML, and change the MODEL parameter’s equation to equal the Required Context Parameter.
  • Save the file and perform a catalog regen, and a catalog validation.
  • Check the part validation file to confirm all is well.  If it says there is a duplicate parameter, return to the Part XML, find the parameter definition that is a duplicate, and delete it so that only one parameter definition remains

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September 22, 2009 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Part Builder | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – Part Builder Context Solution Part 1

I stated previously that David Neill gave me an idea.  A simple switch that had not been useful previously.  The problem was that I had just not returned to it after so many new ideas.  Thanks David!!  I guess collaboration works huh.

It took a while.  I had beaten this up over and over.  I did not want to rerun it all.  Through the frustration, I just kept thinking there is no way David is crazy.  Eventually, I got the combination right. 

This article proceeds with the premise that everyone is familiar with part builder to some degree, and has an existing part that needs to be made variable.  If not, I have a load of info already to use to catch up.

I did say multi part.  Don’t worry, there are only 2 parts.  The first is what David ad I worked to beat, and the second is when that wasn’t good enough for me.

Part 1 – Getting our existing Parameters into  structure that allows later adjustments.

Part 2 – Getting the Catalog require parameters BACK INTO the model.

I have rewritten this 3 times.  Please forgive me if it is a bit shabby.  It is all starting to run together now.

The old problem

We have been fighting an old issue of customizable parameters.  We can make he basic parameters such a height, width, etc. adjustable in the Civil 3D environment, but not specific feature parameters that we need.  Say like the angle of a structure slope.  After working so hard on a structure, who wants to be stuck with a limitation.  David and I did get some ranges and lists to come through, but we couldn’t do it on a consistent basis…until now.

I will go through and identify the major portions of this adjustment.  As I do I will discuss the issues, and explain the edits.  We will be changing things as we go.  This is not a tutorial, but more of an explanation, and a few warnings that have not been made clear elsewhere.

We will focus on the following:

  • Some basic information about the Catalog
  • Getting into the Part Builder Catalog in 2010
  • The Custom Switch
  • The Model Variables
  • The Context
  • The Named Parameter
  • The thing that hides Successes and Failures the most
  • Validation

Continue reading

September 16, 2009 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Part Builder | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Civil 3D – Revised Part Builder News

Ok, whew! We did it. After weeks of rework the custom parameters have been introduced and now stay put!  We have ranges and lists without error.

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We….

I say we, because my new associate, David Neill, was working it at the same time. He suggested reintroducing an old issue into the new arrangement of edits. He was right.

David is the moderator of the LinkedIn site Civil 3D Part Builder.  He discusses these problems and many more.  If you are not part of the group, check it out. http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1789091&trk=myg_ugrp_ovr

Autodesk

As many of you know I have been trying to get some input from the big dogs on this.  Indications were pointing to some poor bastard over there was being asked to answer a couple simple questions on my behalf.  While some of the conversations I had left me with the impression that Autodesk was employing the “is it worth our time?” evaluation, the official settlement is that they don’t have the ability to assist.  

The teams that were involved in that phase of the development have redistributed an in many cases have been laid off.  I know both of these issues to be absolutely true, not only in Civil, but in Manufacturing as well. 

Is it worth their time?  I don’t think so.  Really.  One popular professional said, “Insert a block an get on with it”.  After spending hundreds of hours pouring over these issues and answering questions, I agree.  Do I use the parts, Yes.  I already have them built.  I continue to build them for people for a fee.  However I still see very efficient designs using null structures every day.

Will they fix it in revision one day.  I think so.  But it may wait for a an architecture overhaul.  I really have no idea.

There are so few using that part of the software, that our pleas for help are often not heard.  I have stated that rather than address it, they simply ignore it. I can’t say that since I have been replied to about the issues.  What I can say is that commenting on the blogs is not enough.  You have a VAR, use them.  Who knows, they may comp you a year of subscription to get off their back.  Hmmm….

Autodesk has called the hand, and well it’s a push. They can’t help, but David and I will show you what we can to get it going.

So…..

I will explain the issues.  After that, if you need detailed help, you can email me.  Perhaps we can work something out.

Revision

This post was revised.  There was some contention that certain statements were not true.  Information I gathered indicated otherwise, but in the end, I cannot prove beyond a doubt hat I was not lied to.  Therefore this revision will correct a possible error.  An apology will follow in another post so that it will not be overlooked.

September 15, 2009 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Part Builder | , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – 2010 Part Builder returns

Well, I stepped in it this time.

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In an attempt to help all those that have been struggling with Part Builder, I pulled out my parts from the 2009 backups, and loaded it up.  I needed the part for a design, and thought now was a good time to dig in and take care of what I agreed to.

…Thanks BTW for all the patience you have offered.

I whipped the Part List up and threw the new part size to it.  Not sizes, just size.  The list did not come through

Now many of you are saying “that is what we are screaming about”.  Well, the list of ailments is broad and wide.  I unfortunately could not get this configuration to fail in 2009.  It however does fail in 2010.

After hours of reading and plugging, I got it working.  I did some huge research and customization and I may have 30% of our woes worked around, and I think it will work on both versions.  While working, it is not yet seamless.  I will need to back through it all to be sure, and that will take a bit of time.

Also, those of you that are on other structure types, I did not forget you either.  I will port this over to those as soon as I can.

Look forward to some results and modifications soon.  Go ahead and post issues you have with the configurations here, and we can address then as we go.  If you are having trouble with the tutorials specifically, then keep posting concerns as comments to those tutorial pages.

July 24, 2009 Posted by | 2010, Part Builder | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – 2010 Pipe Network Label BUG

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NOTE: I have revisited this issue and article 4 times over now.  I am rewriting this…again…, but the images are old because I don’t have time to cut new ones.  I hope the article is still understandable.

I needed a fast certificate of completion letter, and the drawing to go with it.  I’ll just throw down some pipes here in 2010; it’s simple, no need to go to 2009. A good job to start getting a feel for this part of the new version.

I thought I would put down some simple structures, labeled automatically, edit the network, and spend the bulk of time messing with the profile (at least I hoped).  My styles are all formatted, and all work smoothly.

Things did not go as planned.  The profile was a lost cause.  Perhaps we’ll discuss that later.

Pipe Network Labels

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I laid down this arrangement from my (imported 2009 template) Network Parts List. Notice the disgusting mismatched labeling on the pipes and structures.  The blue, while not labeled correctly, is formatted to what I thought I’d get by default.  The Red is useless.  You have to manually change the description.

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June 19, 2009 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Labels, Pipes | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Civil 3D – Part Builder Comments Please

Ok, Part Builder is not easy. Evan with a tutorial and a workflow, it’s still not easy.

There is at least 1 person in the community that has had trouble with the series outcome.  I need to know how everyone did.

Good, Bad, and otherwise.  Please offer us your comments.

If there is a bug in the procedure, I need to get it fixed for everyone else.

January 30, 2009 Posted by | 2009, Part Builder | , , , , , | 12 Comments

Civil 3D – Part Builder Part 7

Back to Part Builder Part 6

In the last session we created the Structures in the Civil 3D environment.  In this session we will modify the configuration to add the slopes to a list, in order to change the structure to be consistent with the corridor side slope.

Open up Wingwall Sloped in Part Builder.  Since we have something that hopefully works, let’s save a new part.  This way we have both.  “If it aint broke, then don’t try and fix it”.  Let’s try Wingwall Variable Slope.

Pick the ‘Save As’ button on the toolbar. The ‘Save Part Family As…’ dialog will appear allowing us to change the Chapter, Part Name, and Part Description.  Leave the chapter as Inlet-Outlet-Custom, cut change the Name and Description to Wingwall Variable Slope.

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Hit OK.

Right Click Size parameters and select Edit Configuration.

image  Continue reading

January 26, 2009 Posted by | 2009, Part Builder | , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Civil 3D – Part Builder Part 6

Back to Part 5

Backup your model

Before we begin, I seriously and strenuously suggest you back up your model.  Don’t do the saveas (which is fine I suppose), but instead use Windows explorer to copy the .DWG and .XML files to a backup location. The VISTA path to these items is C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\C3D 2009\enu\Pipes Catalog\US Imperial Structures\Inlet-Outlet-Custom\

Map the User Parameters to the Application

You may remember the parameters that were handed down when we verified the structure a few sessions ago.  These ‘handed down’ parameters are those that the application uses in it’s controls, and were assigned when we used the Part Configuration Undefined Bounding Shape.  Without these, the structure cannot be modified. These parameters are SHBTh, SHBW, and SVPC, which are the Thickness, Base Width, and the Vertical Pipe Clearance respectively. We used the user parameters (like bThick) to buffer our equations from the application controls, and to make it easier to understand when reading the parameter list.  When we go back to make changes, we can disconnect the application parameters, and toy with our user parameters, and then attach them when we are done.

Let’s set these values before we proceed farther.  Edit the Model Parameters as follows:

SHBTh = 6

SHBW = 24

SVPC = 24

Now we have given something solid to these values, we can map these to the user parameters we created.

bThick = SHBTh

bWidth = SHBW

Now that the parameters have been set, we need to change the bounding shape to be a box.  Right now, the application will only display the structure as a 3D solid, and many styles will not display

this.  To simplify your model in some cases, we need the bounding shape to be a box.

Continue reading

January 22, 2009 Posted by | 2009, Part Builder | , , , , | 16 Comments