Civil 3D Assembly Sets

 

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Have you ever saved and used Assembly Sets within the Intersection Wizard for saving your custom assemblies for future use?  Have you ever had issues with them not appearing to work properly every time you use them?  Have you ever wanted to share them with other team members?

This document will shed some light on why; and what you need to do to make them work every time.

Intersections

Civil 3D intersections are complex corridors containing many assemblies, regions, and baselines.  Creating and editing them without the Intersection Wizard takes skill, time, and patience.  There are up to 8 assemblies required for a typical intersection and creating them is also time-consuming and prone to errors.  The image below shows a corridor which contains just one intersection, complete with all of the baselines, regions, and assemblies applied.

Assembly Set Basics

If you’re not familiar with them, Assembly Sets can be accessed and saved from within the Intersection Wizard when creating a new intersection or when Rebuilding Corridor Regions for an existing intersection.  You simply create new assemblies or edit the ones that Civil 3D creates for you, and then export the set for use on future intersections, so you don’t have to recreate the assemblies every time.

The Assembly Set is saved as an XML file initially stored in its default folder…
C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\C3D 2020\enu\Assemblies\Metric

The Problem

There are technical support cases where the user has indeed exported an Assembly Set, but the proper assemblies do not appear after the set has been selected.  In the image below, the custom set was selected where all the assemblies were renamed to MPK…  As you can see, it appears as if an out of the box set was selected; no MPK assemblies are listed.

The Solution

There are 4 different scenarios where Assembly Sets are used.  One for each of the two corridor types, selected within the intersection wizard…

One for a T intersection…

And one for a cross intersection.

If you open the Assembly Set XML file with your internet browser, you will see the 4 scenarios listed and the assemblies applied to each scenario.  In the second image below, note the AssemblyName is set to MPK Primary…

 

When you save the Assembly Set, only the current corridor type is exported, only 1 of the 4 scenarios.  The next time you use the Assembly Set, if that corridor is of a different type, your custom assemblies will not be applied since that corridor type has not been exported.

To ensure your custom assemblies are used in all 4 scenarios, you must go through the intersection wizard 4 times, one for each scenario and export the Assembly Set for each of them.

  • Create a cross intersection and specify All Crowns Maintained.
  • Create a cross intersection and specify Primary Crown Maintained.
  • Create a T intersection and specify All Crowns Maintained.
  • Create a T intersection and specify Primary Crown Maintained.

Select the same XML file each time, the exported scenario will overwrite only the applicable section of the selected XML file.

Civil 3D Viewports

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

A little tip today.  Have you ever zoomed out within a profile viewport and your surfaces and alignments are not there?  The two viewports shown below are nearly identical except the one on the bottom doesn’t display any Civil 3D plan objects, such as the surface and alignment.  Why is this?  No, layers are not frozen or off in the lower viewport.

Civil 3D has its Plan Production feature which automates the creation of Paper Space layouts, typically for plan and profile construction drawings.  The way it has been implemented is that your drawing template (DWT) will contain a sample paper space layout containing pre-configured viewports.  And those viewports are required to have set a specific property called Viewport Type.

In the image above, the top viewport is set to Plan and the bottom is set to Profile.  When the viewport type is set to Profile, Civil 3D plan objects such as surfaces, alignments, and corridors are not displayed.  This is presumably to conserve performance, but if you’re unaware of this feature, it can be confusing.

WORKAROUND: Civil 3D XREF Structures Do Not Resize

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

My friend and customer, Ben Cartmell from Koers & Associates in Parksville, has brought to my attention a method, of which you may not be aware, for working around a limitation within Civil 3D.

The limitation is when a drawing containing Civil 3D structures is XREF’d.  The image below shows two viewports in paper space with pipes and structures that have been XREF’d in model space.  The structures are annotative and they should be the same size within the viewports, but they are not.

There is an easy workaround for this problem.  The file being XREF’d in the example above was saved in model space.

  • Open the file.
  • Switch to paper space.
  • Save.

Reload the XREF and those structures now appear the same size in paper space.

Feel free to experiment by downloading these two drawing files.

Civil 3D 2020

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Autodesk has released the latest iteration of their Civil Engineering modeling software, namely Civil 3D 2020.  Go to the Autodesk Account page to download the software or get it from the Desktop App.

Note, it was released on April 10th and it may not appear immediately in your Desktop App or even Autodesk Manage for a day or two.

Here are the features of note in this release:

  • Of course, everything that is new for AutoCAD.
  • The Civil object format has not changed.  You can share files between users of Civil 3D 2018, 2019, and 2020.
  • The Export Civil 3D drawing to AutoCAD tool has been overhauled and it should yield more predictable results.
    • We now have the option to export feature lines as 2D or 3D objects.
  • The survey database is now SQLite, different from SQL Compact like previous releases.  Note, the default Working Folder has changed.
    • Your existing survey databases can be converted to the new format after downloading the conversion tool and running the Migrate tool.

  • Changes to the gravity network analysis tool and SSA.
  • Dynamo is a workflow-based programming tool and it is available for 2020.  It must be installed using the Desktop App or from Autodesk Account.  After installation, the tool is available in the Manage Ribbon.  When run, users have access to many resources such as tutorials, primers, and more.

  • Connect to ArcGIS online .

AutoCAD 2020

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Autodesk has release the latest iteration of their flagship drafting software, namely AutoCAD 2020.  Click here to see Autodesk’s page detailing what’s new.  Go to the Autodesk Account page to download the software of get it from the Desktop App.

Here are the features of note in this release:

  • There is no DWG format change.  Files back to 2018 are compatible with this release.
  • New installation technology allows for an install time about half that of previous releases, when a Solid State Drive is in use.
  • A new block palette exists containing all of the blocks within the current drawing.  The INSERT command no longer displays the usual block insert dialog box, it now runs the BLOCKSPALETTE tool, displaying the new blocks palette.  The new CLASSICINSERT command displays the old block insert dialog.

  • The purge command now indicates the reason why some objects cannot be purged.  This has been a request for many releases.

  • Use the Quick measure tool to more efficiently measure objects.

  • Access to drawings saved to online services such as Box and Dropbox has been streamlined.

Civil 3D 2019 Update 2

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

A new update for Civil 3D 2019 has just been released.  You can find it in the usual places; the Desktop App or your Autodesk Account.  Here is the ReadMe; note that AutoCAD 2019.1.2 must be installed prior to this new Civil 3D update.

See this video outlining some of the new functionality.

As always, updates contain fixes to known defects and some new functionality.  Here are the notable new features:

  • Transparent commands are now included in their own ribbon.
  • Transparent commands can now be accessed via the right click menu.
  • There is some new transparent command functionality with Alignment Station and Offset.  This in the name of efficiency and it’s an excellent addition.
  • Linear crossings in profile views.  This is, in this blogger’s opinion, is arguably revolutionary!  For many years users have requested the ability to display in profile where something crosses your alignment.  Another alignment, feature line, etc.  now we can.
  • UNC paths for projects.
  • Sample lines data shortcuts are “Vaultable”.
  • Property set data is supported in LadnXML.
  • Rail platform edge improvements.

Infrastructure Road Show Series – Recap

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Recently the SolidCAD civil team conducted the first Infrastructure Road Show series across Western Canada!

Our roadshow series was designed to uncover emerging technologies and new software, share best practices and industry trends and provide you with the best tips and tricks to streamline your workflow and finish your project faster.

As those who attended know, there was a lot of information shown so feel free to download the Powerpoint files and view them at your own pace.

Point Clouds

Design Roundtrip

Tips & Tricks

Civil 3D 2019.1 Update

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Autodesk has released the first update for Civil 3D 2019. It is called the Civil 3D 2019.1 Update. As is the new norm, updates contain fixes and also feature enhancements. You can discover all of the details in the official Autodesk ReadMe; I’ve outlined some of the highlights below.

Not everyone reads the readme before installing, so to avoid the likely error message that 2019.1 will not install…The AutoCAD 2019.1 Update is a prerequisite of the Civil 3D 2019.1 Update and must be applied prior to installing the update.

New Features
• Rail tools and content.
• Rail alignment offsets and cant support.
• Sample line groups can now be data referenced.
• Multiple connection points for pipe structures.
• Publish a surface to BIM 360 for consumption in Revit.
Fixes
• Data shortcut performance improvements.
• Pipe rules are no longer automatically applied. (See this article.)
• Vault fixes.
• Many other defects have been addressed.

Civil 3D 2019 Pipe Networks

By Matt Kolberg, Application Specialist at SolidCAD

Please note, this issue seems to have been fixed with the release of Civil 3D 2019.1.

————

If you are still having issues with Civil 3D 2019 installed and you’re using pipe networks, please read this message.

I have fielded two recent technical support cases exhibiting behavior that may not be immediately obvious, but is quite serious.  Edits to a surface can cause pipe rules to be automatically applied, changing pipe invert elevation when doing so.  Pipe rules should never be applied like this, they should only be applied when first creating pipes and then when manually invoking the Apply Pipe Rules tool.

My customer edits a feature line elevation and his pipes all change invert elevations.  When the feature lines are edited, the surface updates, the rules are applied, and the inverts change.  Imagine this is a relatively minor edit on a Friday after which you print the construction documents without first looking at the pipes in profile.  Why would you?  The rules aren’t supposed to apply when a surface is edited.

Other users are experiencing this issue and Autodesk is aware is the problem.  Let’s hope that this is fixed in the next Civil 3D update.

Here are your workarounds:

  • Use 2018.  This may be a feasible workaround because the two are compatible.
  • Delete all of your pipe rules in any drawing that contains pipes.  Not the rule set, just the rules within the set.  There are no rules, so none can be applied when your surface changes.  Be careful though, if you have any reference styles and they are reloaded, the rules may get applied.  This does not work with surfaces that are DREFd into a pipe drawing.  Imagine that you edit your surface and save the file.  Then you open the pipes drawing, the surface updates instantly and the pipe rules get applied instantly as well.

Update: Canada Ontario Styles Kit for Civil 3D Now Available!

Canada Ontario Styles Kit for Civil 3D

By Prem Joseph, Technology Consultant at SolidCAD

The Canada Ontario Styles Kit is available to download and contact SolidCAD today!

Here are some Key Highlights  listed below:

  • DWT template containing Ontario Civil 3D settings and object/ label styles
  • Plan, Profile and Plan and Profile (MTO)template sheets
  • Predefined assemblies for creating intersections
  • Pay Item Data based on Ontario Provincial Specifications categories and MTO Contract Preparation System(CPS)
  • Pipe and Structure catalogue based on Ontario Provincial Standard Drawings
  • Figure Prefix Library and Description Keys specific to MTO Surveys and Plans standards
  • TAC (metric) design criteria for roadways
  • NCS Layers
  • MTO IESCAD Layers
  • Linetypes and Hatch Patterns
  • MTO IESCAD .LIN and .PAT files
  • MTO Description Keys
  • MTO Point Marker and Label Styles
  • MTO Survey Settings and Styles
  • MTO Alignment Object
  • MTO Stationing Styles
  • TAC Design Criteria
  • TAC Superelevation Tables
  • Preset “Assembly Set” created for Intersection wizard
  • Pipe and Structure Labels
  • Pipe and Structure Rules
  • OPSD Pipes Catalog
  • OPSD Pay Items and Categories
  • MTO – CPS Pay Items and Categories