from Civil to Inventor

The Autodesk enthusiast exile

Civil 3D – FileDia Switch

image A buddy of mine took 2 subscriptions of Civil 3D home, while brooding over the need to reinstall his Civil application.  2009 or upgrade…. The rest of his project team are on 2009.

It appears as though the whole platform was fouled, because every time he tried to open the non-default drawing, Civil 3D would crash.  I was neck deep in an overdue project, so he went on his way.

This morning he reported to me that before wiping everything, he set his FileDia switch back to 1.  That’s the switch that initiates a dialog for file operation such as Open, Save, etc.  Without the switch, you just get command line options.

I like command line, but not that much…

Lo and behold, everything perked right up.  He was able to recover his drawings, and open anything from Civil, inside or out.

The moral to this story is before you reinstall due to crashing while opening a DWG, try checking your FileDia switch first.  Just type “filedia” at the command line, and set it to1.

October 5, 2009 Posted by | 2009, 2010, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk, Bug Report | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – Point Style File Size Issue

If you hadn’t noticed (I didn’t), the size of your Civil 3D 2009 drawing will change depending on style factors. 

A buddy of mine questioned me yesterday about some substantial differences related to the size of the drawing he was using, and noted that while he saved his site plan with trees (point styles) on, the drawing was twice the size.

I just tested it.  I took a huge site plan, and saved it with trees on, and saved it with all point styles overridden to standard.  Sure enough, I got a 30% reduction in size.

It appears that the application does not treat the Point style blocks as it treats normal blocks.  Normal blocks are place holders, an entity shell that contains the standard DXF table entries for location, scale…….etc, and then upon regen, it goes to the block table, and pulls the information to display it, where the place holder says it should be.  Instead of saving 40k 1000 times over, it stores 1 40k reference, and stores 1k 1000 times. 

However, for point styles, it appears as though the application is treating the drawing as if it had 1000 different entities, and is storing all the reference information at each point location.

If anyone has additional input, please comment. Christopher, James, Dana, that means you!

April 27, 2009 Posted by | 2009, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Points | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Civil 3D – Service Pack 2 is available AGAIN

That’s right, they’re gonna try again.  Autodesk released Service Pack 2 in late February.

You may recall that Autodesk notified me that SP2 was available to fix my woes.  I sent the message out that day.  It was subsequently removed from distribution within 24 hours, but failed to notify anyone.  (Chuck from JBI Partners clued us in).  Thanks again Chuck.

So this time, I thought I would wait awhile before I sent out a link to something that would be taken away.

Here is Update 2.1

I was going to list the fixes, but it’s a big list.

Check out the readme for the list

Here are just a few tidbits, some useful, and some downright funny.

  • WBlock Points works again
  • Grip editing a pipe object with Osnaps enabled no longer causes the program to close unexpectedly
  • Editing a parcel curve no longer causes the program to close unexpectedly
  • Matchline text is now displayed in sheets that are placed into a new drawing.
  • Promoting a data-referenced alignment no longer causes the program to close unexpectedly.
  • A drawing that contains design criteria and was saved in a Windows XP environment can now be opened using Windows Vista. Previously, the design criteria file could not be found. (that’s hilarious)
  • An issue with polylines not retaining their settings has been resolved. Previously, linetype settings would not remain defined when a drawing was saved and reopened. (also hilarious)

March 6, 2009 Posted by | 2009, AutoCAD Civil 3D | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – Transparent Point Number Warning

Transparent commands are a nice feature with Civil 3D, and have eliminated some of my custom programming.  No sadness there, because the features are so well integrated.  I just wish I was responsible for them.

With that said, there are a few things that I’d like to see altered, like the Point Number query.  Recently I was filling in for some missing people, and I was doing some connect the dots from field notes.  I kept running into geometry that wouldn’t play together.  I checked my point style, and everything was flattened.

Here’s the catch.  When you query the point number by transparent command, you get 3D values, not the value from the Point Style.

Here are some excerpts:

A simple line command…


Note the elevations…


Continue reading

February 16, 2009 Posted by | 2009, Points | , , , , , , | 5 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.


Hit OK.

Right Click Size parameters and select Edit Configuration.

image  Continue reading

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

I’m Certified!!!!

civil3D_09_cert_pro_rgb inventor_09_cert_pro_rgb

That’s right C-E-R-T-I-F-I-E-D baby! I Passed both the Inventor 2009 Professional and the Civil 3D 2009 Professional.

So after listening to me gripe for months about studying, and dealing with delays in publishing, here’s what went down…

Motivation and AU 07

While most of the people that take this test are validating for their employers, I validate for my self. I can’t help it.  I am self taught, self motivated, and just can’t stand the thought that something is bigger than me, or beyond my capabilities. While planning my 2007 AU classes, I noticed the Inventor Certificate Classes at the last minute, and decided to completely screw up my class schedule at the last minute.  They don’t tell you that it’s too late, you just find out when you get there and you have no class handouts. The cutoff is November something.

I took 3 certificate study classes that all looked at the tests differently.  After Barbara, Nancy, Dan, and Matt were done, I was hooked.  Dan said “If everyone had all afternoon to take the test, no one would fail”. Oooh pressure…(small sadistic grin). Clearly I have issues.

I purchased my tests in January 2008, and studied for the 2008 Inventor Expert and Civil 3D 2008 Expert tests.  I won Dan’s Expert AOTC book in Vegas.  There was only 1 book, and I guarantee the nearby classes knew it when my number was called.  I purchased the User book.  All my books were Inventor books, thinking “I run Civil 3D day in and day out, what do I need a book for?”.  This is the reason people read my blog.  I make every stupid decision know, and then talk all about it.


Autodesk cancelled the Inventor 2008 Expert test (mostly due to candidate fear I suspect, no one would pay to torture themselves that way).  They kindly helped me migrate all my tests over to 2009, so I studied for the 4 new tests.  For Inventor I alternated, reviewing each test’s requirements, and then studied the 2008 AOTC guides from cover to cover. When one AOTC guide was over, I’d go to the next.  During each requirement, I’d study Dan’s course from AU 07.  During the process I’d use everything I studied in various things I was working on. When my exam dates got moved back, I’d repeat the process. This is the way to study for that test.  Trust me.

The way I did Civil is NOT the way to study.  All I could do was to practice a start to finish development, using every option I could find. When the Civil Associate exam went from the performance based user, to the question answer based Associate, I choked.  I have no book.   C%#p!!!!  It was a bit late, but I borrowed a copy of Dana Probert and James Wedding’s 2008 book, and bit down hard.  I skimmed over everything, looking for things that would be in a ‘check all that apply’ question.

Even though I moved up to 2009 tests, I had to keep using 2008 books, because we were slam broke, and couldn’t afford the gas to get to Orlando.

Continue reading

January 23, 2009 Posted by | 2009, 2009, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Inventor | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Civil 3D – Part Builder Part 5

Back to Part 4

Ok, it’s been awhile.  Everyone knows I am studying for the test, but I feel so bad for all the people who have been emailing me about the series.  I will run through the ‘Homework’, and then complete the configuration session soon hereafter.


Homework Review

We left off with your homework, which was to transfer the Toe plane out, and complete the transitions. I’ll recap it as I run through.

Create the Toe Plane, Offset from the Right Plane a distance of ‘(bHeight-bThick)*bSlope’.  Insert the Anchors.

Don’t forget the model parameters for the offset distances.



Continue reading

January 20, 2009 Posted by | 2009, Part Builder, Pipes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – Sample test online

The Autodesk Civil 3D 2009 Professional sample test online.

OK, anyone with an extra 30 bucks should take 2 hours out of their life and try this test. 

I have always said the Professional performance based tests are easier than the ‘check all that apply’ Associate exam, and I still believe they are.  Yes, the Inventor Sample Professional test was fun, I mean something to do for 90 minutes of fun.

….the Civil 3D Associate test may be the hardest thing I will ever take. 

The Civil Pro sample test was written by hitler.  I think Dana and/or James wrote the thing. It is a beast. Did I pass, sure, but man was it more than I expected, and I did not get it done in 90 minutes either. 

More study on the road.  You may see my face on the news for being thrown from my vehicle and left behind by my family (they are sick of this process).

To add insult to injury, my wife just clepped a test on literature, and out of 80 questions, only missed 1.  If I don’t pass this test I’ll never hear the end of it.

Well, I got a portion of Part Builder 5 done, but I just couldn’t get it completed. I will be driving out 04:00 hrs tomorrow.  Sorry everyone.  When the tests are done, it’s part builder and Inventor Project.  All those waiting on me, don’t worry.

Those who care, send a prayer, I will need it.

January 14, 2009 Posted by | 2009, AutoCAD Civil 3D | , , , , | Leave a comment