from Civil to Inventor

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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

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 – Part Builder Part 4

We will pick up where we left off from Part Builder Part 3.

Open our saved part “Wingwall sloped” from the last session.  Adjust the view so that you have something similar to the following image:


It’s time to speed things up a bit, so as I refer to procedures, I will once again detail them, and thereafter I will just state that it needs to be completed. 

Note: Halfway through I realized some changes needed to be made, in order for this process not to be more confusing than it might already appear.  If I missed any odd things in the images, or got out of sync with the variable names, please notify me, and I’ll do my best to correct them.

In this session we will create another offset plane, and additional profiles and transitions. Before we do, it would be prudent to create the remaining profiles that will be referenced to our (current) Right Plane. These will be the locations that the extending walls project into, the “tie in” points.  You should be fairly familiar with the basic procedures, Lord knows you’ve had tons of time to practice since my last post, we will pick up the speed a bit. Continue reading

December 9, 2008 Posted by | Part Builder, Pipes | , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Civil 3D – Part Builder Part 3

We will pick up where we left off from Part Builder Part 2.

Open our saved part “Wingwall sloped” from the last session.  The image below should be representative of what we had before.


Model Parameters

The Model Parameters are the nuts and bolts variables that control the size of the part. The parameters are either dimensions or offsets that are controlling the size and angle of features, or parameters that the user has defined. Expand the collection heading, and you should be able to see all the parameters stored in the part, as well as the values currently assigned.  Lets create some user defined parameters to help us in our equations.

Right click on the Model Parameters collection, and select ‘Edit…’


The Model Parameters dialog will appear, allowing changes, additions, and deletions to the existing parameters.  On the right you will see buttons, all of which are self explanatory, with the exception of the ‘Calculator…’ button.  This allows you to pull variables form a list (without having to remember and type them), and evaluate the result of a proposed equation.  Any time you need to map a parameter to another, you can use this feature instead of typing if you wish. Continue reading

November 27, 2008 Posted by | Part Builder, Pipes | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Civil 3D – Part Builder Part 2

Today we continue from where we left off in Part Builder Part 1.

Before we proceed, I’d like to note that a wing wall may not be everyone’s biggest desire.  I needed it, and I felt that it would proved a fairly well rounded view of things. It needs equations, and gets worked laterally instead of vertically, which make it more of a challenge.

Sitting on the axis of 2 different careers I can see this type of workflow from 2 different perspectives, and want to provide everyone with a bit more information that may have been unavailable.

  • The 3D modelers understand the construction methods.  What they need to understand is the limitations stopping them from working naturally through this process.
  • The Civil 3D techs know about odd application limitations, but need to understand how the construction methods, dependencies, and calculations work.

If you don’t get something out of this session, it will be because you already had a good working knowledge of Part Builder, or you failed to post your questions here.

The 3d Model (which is what you came for, right?) is created using the following procedures:

Create a Work Plane, Create Geometry, Add Dimensions, Add Constraints, Create Profile, Modify Dimensions, Create Modifier, and Configure Parameters.  We will discuss the first six today.

Open the part for the last session, named Wingwall Sloped.


Create a Work Plane

Let’s begin by creating the Top Work Plane.  I always like to get my Top plane in first.  Either I am working on it, or visually referencing it.

Under Modeling, Right Click the Work Planes folder and select ‘Add Work Plane…’


Continue reading

November 25, 2008 Posted by | Part Builder, Pipes | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Civil 3D – Part Builder Part 1

image I started a new Certification study project, and  came up with the desire to grade a corridor over an existing creek.  Yeah, DEP would be a problem, but let’s pretend I got the permit……. anyway.

I wanted a headwall and culvert combination to convey the creek safely past the improvements.  The OEM Headwall is flat, and cannot handle the amount of grading going on around it.  I, as usual, wanted something different than what was commonly available.  I want a concrete wingwall, sloped according to the finished grade. I had a BRIGHT IDEA!  I’ll use PART BUILDER!!

Fortunately for everyone, I have already spent a week of evenings going through this process, reading what others had to say online, looking for answers, and helping some individuals along the way. The only thing not happening is MY STUDIES. So I decided to make something good out of all the time I spent, and walk everyone through a basic, and not so basic, Part Builder creation.

New Part Creation

We need to start out with a new Chapter under the Structure Catalog.  (You don’t have to add a new Chapter, but once you get going and want to test different things, it makes cleanup much easier.) The name can be anything, but it should be representative or what it contains.  Right Click on the US Imperial Structure Catalog, and select ‘Add Chapter’.  The dialog will appear allowing us to enter the new Chapter name.


Continue reading

November 23, 2008 Posted by | Part Builder, Pipes | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Civil 3D – Part Builder Intro

image Part Builder is a functional parametric modeler that 90% of the industry steers clear of.

If it is functional, then why stay away?

The main reason is that Civil personnel are not modelers.  Historically, that isn’t what they do.  The road through Civil 3D is long and bumpy because it is a reactive dependent model in nature, not because the software is difficult. Civil personnel are not modelers, at least not until now.

So why have a parametric modeling app in the middle of Civil 3D?

Well, to quote one of my party chiefs, “To have and not need it better than to need and not have” (His motto was to carry everything in the truck…for ME to carry everything).  Without the app, modified structures would be hopeless.  We would be stuck with the same old OEM structures, and as new structures come out, they would not be accessible.  Eventually, everyone would use styled NULL structures for everything, reducing the effectiveness of Civil 3D as a 3 dimensional tool (You know, the object viewer is not just a toy).  Pipe conflicts can be seen and evaluated easily……..IF the structures and pips are accurate.

Here is an example.  Let’s say you need a custom headwall manufactured to help at an odd bridge embankment, or a weir storm structure with an odd inlet.  The tolerances are a bit tight, and simply using something styled in 2D is leaving a lot of frustration and insecurity (I bet you rerun the same calcs 6 times of more before the project is complete, JUST so you can sleep at night).  With part builder, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Just take an hour (wink wink) and build the part so that the plan can be conveyed accurately in a complete form. Continue reading

November 20, 2008 Posted by | Part Builder, Pipes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civil 3D – XML Pipe Import Parts Catalog problem

Pipe Networks and the beloved XML has once again bit someone in the fanny.  This time it is the ‘Can’t Swap Part’ on imported pipe networks.

Here’s the deal.  Among all the interesting stuff an XML file will bring in for you, it won’t bring in the Parts List name.  It contains the Material and size of the part as well as the name, just not the Parts List.  I suspect this is good, considering you may not have that named List, but this still leaves us with pipes that have to be swapped.

It seems as though the Network adopts the creation aspects of the commands settings.  The network is created, and then handed the parts to complete the pipe network.  When it does, it sets them by the information in the XML.  The size is correct, but the XML has no idea what to tell your application about what these should look like, other than diameter. 

The application responds with it’s defaults.  If you have no default Parts List set, then the parts list comes in NULL. Notice the example below.

image Continue reading

November 12, 2008 Posted by | Data References | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pipe Vertical Clearance adjustment

Have you ever had that pipe that just wouldn’t give you the vertical clearance you need.  I mean “just give me 3….. more…. inches!!!!!”.

Nope. Not happening.


In the image above, you should see that I have changed the Vertical Pipe Clearance to 6″.  I did this through XML.

Continue reading

October 31, 2008 Posted by | AutoCAD Civil 3D, Part Builder, Pipes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment