from Civil to Inventor

The Autodesk enthusiast exile

Civil 3D – How do you use Civil?

Autodesk products have a long history of broad uses, form common to the really odd.  I first noted this when I began programming many years ago.  However as I began to concentrate on Civil 3D more and less on programming, this nuance faded from my consciousness a bit.  (I see it more on the Inventor side as I do more training and support).

The differing uses became quite evident during numerous meetings at AU this past December.  I met many people from different industries, and ran into situations with uses that varied significantly.

That said, I’d like to invite everyone to post how they use Civil 3D.  Just drop us a quick line about what you do and how you use the software.

  • What industry you work in?
  • In what daily capacity do you use Civil 3D?
  • What major portion of Civil do you use?
  • What major portion of civil do you not use?
  • What is your most and least favorite part of civil?
  • What is the wierdest, strangest, and off the wall thing Civil 3D has performed for you?

I will post the results in my next AUGI World Column.  I’d like to detail a wide cross section of uses, so get everyone you know to post their thoughts.

Here is your chance to get your name out there. I’ll credit those who participated and their company in the article.  I think this will turn out really great if we can get some participation.

January 6, 2010 Posted by | AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk University, industry | , , , , , | 14 Comments

Inventor – Assembly Constraint Naming

Management of features and components in Inventor is kind interesting.  In AutoCAD, the technician is free to create things in almost any way.  A great deal of management is required to be efficient.  I recall using Inventor for the first time.  It was such a relief, because Inventor automatically took care of entity management through styles.  Features however are a different story.

Naming features such as constraints is one option available to help reduce the confusion in Inventor.  If you don’t rename constraints, you can end up with spaghetti.  Waiting until you have a troubleshooting session to rename the Assembly Constraints will result in a disaster, because you will have numerous Constraints all named similarly.

Design Accelerators compound the issue because they autonomously create features at once, without consulting the user for names.  When you get done with a few gears, you have a mess.

image

In this example I was troubleshooting why my actuator was not moving in the assembly when the motor motion was applied.  When sorting constraints out, I recommend 3 things:

Changing to Modeling View

image

Changing the view will group all the constraints into 1 region, assembled into 1 feature instead of broken into pairs over the 2 respective constrained components.  This allows us to see them in a simple collection.

Rename the Assembly Constraints

Renaming the Constraints as you go is quite important.  After creating 2 sets of gears and a shaft, I have about 18 constraints named Angle:2 and Mate:5.

So I like to give them names that include:  The 2 components that are being constrained; The purpose of the constraint; possibly the nature of the constraint as well.

In this example I had an overlapping constraint, but could not see it until I had changed to Modeling view and finished renaming everything.  I pick each object, and Inventor highlights the planar faces and features that are associated in the Constraint, which allows the user to get a feel for what is going on.

image

I renamed this angular constraint to WormToSpurGearLock, so I would see the 2 Gears involved (Worm and Spur gears), and the purpose was to lock their rotations together.  In another I used MotorShaft-Drive so that I could find the Drive components quickly and distinguish them from the others.

Isolation

If I wasn’t sure what was constrained, which is often the issue, we can Isolate the pair.  This way it is quite easy to see how and what is being constrained.

image

 

Thoughts

Once the naming was complete, it did not take long to read each one, and check off the list of what was expected between each component. Eventually I found where I had included an angle control on the shaft that would not allow the actuator to turn.

Naming your Constraints as you complete procedures, whether it be manual assembly, or Design Accelerators is a good habit to get into.  In his example I just needed to proof out a solution, but inevitably wanted to keep it.  Taking the small amount of time to name the constraints as you go will really pay off in the future.

January 4, 2010 Posted by | 2010, Constraints, Gear Generator, Inventor | , , , , | 2 Comments

AUGI World Mag – Civil 3D SAP

AUGI World 6 Check out the Civil 3D column for details on the Civil 3D Subscription Advantage Pack in AUGI World Magazine.  Page 26.

AUGI World issue 6 low-resolution (9MB) version

AUGI World issue 6  high-resolution (47.5MB) version

Browse all AUGI World issues

December 22, 2009 Posted by | 2010, AUGI, AutoCAD Civil 3D, SAP | , , , , | Leave a comment

Autodesk University 2009 – Tuesday

SNC00121 It’s the first day of classes, and we are all ready.  There are about 8000 attendees, and they descend on the South Convention Center for Breakfast. 

Breakfast

This year it’s muffins and coffee. ummm…yeah…  We’ll push through this section with a few brief comments.  First BRING BACK BREAKFAST!

The muffins were delicious, as most muffins are, although I have no idea what they were since they were labeled “assorted muffins”.  Since this is not a culinary convention, we should not be expected to know what type muffin is which.  I suspect those with basic food allergies were perplexed.  We were told the first day to “go upstairs, they still have food up there”.  You can figure out how well that went over.

Classes – Showcase

I headed off to my first class, which was ID104-2L Showcase Your Design by Stephen Gabriel.  This was a great class.  Not too difficult.  I like high level classes, but I am new to showcase, so the level was just right.  I had waned to meet Thomas Fitzgerald, one of the lab assistants, but I had other responsibilities, and figured I’d meet up with him later.

Continue reading

December 7, 2009 Posted by | Autodesk University | , | Leave a comment

Autodesk University 2009 – Monday

I’m sure there was a lot going on, but I just could not seem to get into the groove until later in the evening.

AUGI Meeting

I had a little time to kill in the morning so I stopped off at the AUGI meeting.  There was some discussion about local user groups, volunteer action, and leadership.  An interesting study on interactive boundaries was brought up, and made me interested in seeing where the discussion was heading. However, I had to leave prior to the end, so I can’t say much more about it.

SNC00104

A nice hour+ with Usability

I then got down to a usability meeting with Ananth Uggirala, Carlos Olguin, and Erin Bradner (who was somewhere behind the scenes), who I always miss meeting.  We ran through scenarios, answered questions and played with things as directed.  It’s all hush hush, but I can say that each time I meet these folks I always go in with the premise that there won’t be anything too interesting, and leave with a bit more hope for the future.  They always surprise me. Ananth took a little extra time to discuss some interesting things about usability and development, and that helped me get over the fact that I missed the opportunity to meet with Elena Fadeeva’s study.

Blogger Social

I got there on time, but it seems that the early birds had already got things started downstairs at the Border Grill.  We all tried to get around and meet new people, discuss some business and some not so business topics.  The beer was cold and waitresses brought tapas about to munch on.  The stuffed date things were awesome.

SNC00109

Shaan Hurley took the mic and gave introductions and a welcome thank you to the crowd.  He then explained that his head would not be shaved until THURSDAY!

I got to thank Joseph Wurcher in person, and did not pass up photo ops with Lynn Allen and Karen Brewer, but we got kicked out before I could get the Civil Diva to take one with me.

SNC00115 SNC00116

AEC Mixer

We moved over to the AEC Mixer, that had obviously been going on for awhile.  The groups were quite dispersed, and seemed awkward, which I figure is because we got there so late.  Our group continued discussions from before, and tried to find some food and beer to go with it.  Ok, I tried to find food and beer while my friends made some pretty impressive BIM arguments.  Then we got kicked out of there too.

SNC00118

Free Beer over

I said good night and headed in.  The lower limit poker games were over, so I figured enough was enough.  The day wasn’t as productive as I would have liked, but I got to meet some pretty cool folks, and got pictures with lovely ladies.  Not a bad night after all.

December 2, 2009 Posted by | Autodesk University | , , , , , | Leave a 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

image

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. 

Continue reading

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

Civil 3D – Some Basic Gradings Terms

Gradings are wonderful things.  Problematic as they may be, they have been quite useful, even back in LDD.  The new Gradings have a host of settings and features that carry with them new terminology that is sometimes confusing.

In light of studying preparing for the Grading Lab I will assist with, I thought it would be nice to explain some of the terms that are often hard for new users to get a grasp of.  It’s not that they are inappropriate, but they all start to sound the same to a new guy.

Gradings, Grading criteria, Grading Criteria Sets, Grading Groups…..  See what I mean?  Today we’ll take a brief tour of these terms.

Terms

 Grading – This is a 3D object that all the fuss is about. 

This It is built on a frame of feature lines (rough interpretation) and autonomously projects its own set of faces, based on instructions that it was assigned.  This instruction set known as a Grading Criteria, is stored within the Grading object, allowing the object to follow it’s instruction no matter what changes to its environment occur.  Objects created by Gradings can be as simple as a single Grading building pad, or complex grade scenarios, such as a littoral shelf detention pond, that might contain numerous Gradings.

 Grading Style – The style applied to the Grading that controls its appearance.

This can be found in the Grading section of the Toolspace Settings Tab.

Continue reading

November 25, 2009 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk, Feature Lines, Gradings | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – 2010 Assembly Link Tip

We’ve moved to http://johnevansdesign.net

Read this article here

An associate contacted me recently regarding how to move 2 sets of train tracks through a single corridor, while keeping the ability to deviate the overall width.  The example I received had the sets of tracks identically elevated and on a single bed.  I decided to go a bit overboard, and add vertical and horizontal control.

image

Above you can see that I mocked up something real fast.  2 separate alignments, and 2 respective profiles.  I wanted to create a open area in the middle to add a freight depot.  I used the profiles to help me adjust the grades for the buildings.

The Assembly

Here is the first half of the solution.

I’ll list the steps below the example image, and then I’ll discuss some important items afterward.

image

Continue reading

November 16, 2009 Posted by | 2010, Alignments, Assemblies, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Corridor, Profiles | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Civil 3D – SAP Roundabouts

Back to SAP – Point Clouds

Previously I discussed being invited to watch a preview of the Civil 3D 2010 Subscription Advantage Pack, and had been quite surprised at the features.  We discussed the Point Clouds, and today we’ll peek at the Roundabout Layout.

Roundabout Layout

image This was cool.  Dana Probert showed us how easy it was to start the tool, pick incoming alignments, preset standards, and a variety of options to include, like offsets, widths, standardized markings, etc.  The configuration pages were huge, but most had presets available, making it easy to run through typical layouts.  Yes, that’s paint and signage shown in the image, and it updates well.  All the additional alignments are created automatically.

The edits were probably the best part.  The incoming alignments were edited, and the Roundabout would keep up.  Dramatic changes with no tip-toeing at all (Civil users know exactly what I mean).  This thing is sick. You can even add incoming alignments after the fact. There no vertical profiling at this time, but perhaps in the future it will be available. For now you just have to add that yourself.

This was my favorite part of the SAP.  Sadly I have no roundabout designs before me, but I’ll be a lot happier to tackle them in the future.

November 9, 2009 Posted by | 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk, SAP | , , , , , | Leave a comment

AU 2009 – Twitter Channel

If you are going to AU, or just interested on keeping up with things, follow the Autodesk University twitter feed at AU_Online.

http://twitter.com/AU_Online

This year they are planning various things for the AU twits, including some fun things.  If you suddenly see 20% of the population run in the direction of the vender expo area, it’s probably AU twitter, and someone announced a ‘blue light special’. 

Log into your Autodesk University profile, and in the edits select the twitter setup button. 
Be sure to include the tag #AU2009 it in your tweets.

Community AU Twitter scan

If you don’t have a profile (and don’t want to set it up), you can still watch all the AU tweets using a tag scan.  I could see all AU_Online tweets, but not the rest of the community. Here I am using twhirl to illustrate.  It took me awhile to figure it out. 

Just go to search, and swap over to tweetscan, then scan for #AU2009.  The list will come up.

image

Then check the Add to home and Notify boxes.

image

Now on your home box, you’ll see them, even if you don’t follow the author.  Pretty sweet.

image 

I still have not figured out what to do with Facebook, but twitter has become part of my daily life.  I’m looking forward to how it will shake out this December.

Now, if I can just figure out how to get this functionality on my WM6 phone…

November 3, 2009 Posted by | Autodesk University | , , | Leave a comment