Create custom legends and QTO with Data Wizard

CTC CIM Productivity Tools fro Civil 3D –  SolidCAD

 

Tabling, legend creation and QTO workflows leave a lot to be desired in Civil 3D, forcing to use many different subpar tools, or worse, performing the work manually. With Data Wizard you can scan any number of drawings for AutoCAD and Civil 3D objects to generate legends, tables, QTOs, and more, all to company standards, and all automatically. When drawings change, refresh tables to automatically incorporate updates. Save out templates for quick recreation of custom tables and legends.

 

For more click here

BING Images Won’t Appear

By Matt Kolberg , ENI / GIS – Applications Specialist at SolidCAD

 

Have you ever turned on background BING imagery inside AutoCAD products only to find they don’t appear?  There could be a few reasons for this:

  • No Geolocation or coordinate system is set.
  • You’re not logged in with your Autodesk account.
  • You’re zoomed into an area compatible with the geolocation you’ve chose.

These two are the pre-requisites for using images from Bing, but there is one more which has many of my customers stumped.  Have you ever seen this message?  You almost certainly have.

If you choose Yes, then you will see your images.  If you choose No, you won’t.  If you check that little button on the bottom left, you’ll never see this message again.  Good, right?  Well, if you chose Yes, then yes.  If you chose No, well…you’ll never receive this message again and you’ll never see images!

There is a saviour, however.  There are other message like this in AutoCAD.  Toggles that prevent that box from appearing in the future.  These are called “Hidden Messages” and they can be turned back on by opening AutoCAD’s Options dialog box [OPTIONS].  Then opening the hidden message settings in the System tab.

 

I hope you can use this to avoid any unnecessary frustration in your day.

Design better Pipe Networks with CTC Software

CTC CIM Productivity Tools fro Civil 3D –  SolidCAD

 

While Pipe Networks are a great toolset in Civil 3D, they fall short as a true design tool. With CTC Software, we can edit pipe runs through a design-oriented, dynamic interface. We can swap multiple parts, both pipes and structures, in plan or profile. We can also auto-populate properties across multiple parts at once, aiding in proper labeling or tabling.

 

 

For more click here

AutoCAD FLATTEN

By Matt Kolberg , ENI / GIS – Applications Specialist at SolidCAD

 

AutoCAD has a command contained within the Express Tool named FLATTEN.  It is designed to remove any non-zero elevations from selected objects within a drawing.  It does an excellent job with this, but there is some behavior that may not be obvious to all users.  This command works very well with many objects such as TEXT, LINES, and some BLOCKS.  However, unexpected behavior results when flattening Dynamic and Annotative blocks, even blocks with embedded non-zero-elevation linework.

Annotative Blocks:  For example, an annotative block with a name of Arrow, is inserted 3 times.  Regardless of the attached annotative scales, the result after the FLATTEN command will be 3 blocks with 3 different names; Arrow-flat-1, Arrow-flat-2, and Arrow-flat-3.  Further, they will no longer be annotative.

Dynamic Blocks:  After the FLATTEN command, each dynamic block will no longer be dynamic and will become an “unnamed block” with a name similar to “*U63”.

Blocks:  A typical block will FLATTEN adequately.  A block which contains elements which have non-zero elevations, will also flatten adequately.  Understand that the FLATTEN command will make changes to block definitions in this example to set all elevations to 0.

So what can be done?  Here are two options.

  • Download and run a LISP command from this discussion group post.
  • Be selective when flattening.  Flatten objects which have no deleterious results afterwards.  The AutoCAD FILTER command can be configured to easily select compatible objects.  The filter can be saved for future use.

ArcGIS and AutoCAD – Free Background for everyone using AutoCAD

By Frank Zander , Project Manager – Civil, GIS/FME  at SolidCAD

 

Imagine a world where you could get high resolution background image maps to display and PRINT in AutoCAD.

Esri and Autodesk are working closer than ever and this alliance benefits all CAD and GIS users. Esri provides a free ArcGIS for AutoCAD plugin. This plugin allows vanilla AutoCAD users to access Esri maps. As mentioned, the beauty of these maps is that they also print/plot in AutoCAD.

I was surprised at the level of detail!

Download ArcGIS for AutoCAD plugin for free at: https://www.esri.com/en-us/arcgis/products/arcgis-for-autocad

 

Contact SolidCAD for more information about our newly created three-day  training course for any INFRA, GIS/FME training.

Revisiting AutoCAD Basics: Shortcut Menu Hotkeys

By Jae Kwon , Applications Specialist at SolidCAD

 

Many of us use keyboard shorts and aliases to keep our eyes on the drawing area and keep our thoughts on our design. Searching for commands on the ribbon, especially if it’s buried in the pull-down portion, is probably not our favorite things to do. The right-click contextual shortcut menus are one of the key tools for keeping ribbon searching at bay.

Shortcut menus are great. They are fully customizable, and even out of the box they have some useful commands. What makes them even better are that each one of these can be selected with just a keystroke.

Let’s look at the two core shortcut menus: “Default Menu”, which pops up if no objects are selected, and “Edit Menu”, which pops up if at least one object is selected.

Default Menu:

  • R: Repeat
  • C: Clipboard
    • T: Cut
    • C: Copy
    • B: Copy with Base Point
    • P: Paste
    • K: Paste as Block
    • D: Paste to Original Coordinates
  • I: Isolate
    • I: Isolate Objects
    • H: Hide Objects
    • E: End Isolation
  • U: Undo
  • R: Redo
  • A: Pan
  • Z: Zoom (real-time)
  • Q: Quick Select
  • F: Find… (find/replace text)
  • O: Options

So, pan command can be run with a simple right click followed by pressing A. In the above list, Isolate and Pan are nice. The rest have decent keyboard shortcut or alias options already, but things get much more interesting with the edit shortcut menu. The Edit shortcut menu hotkeys are listed below (except for those already listed above):

Edit Menu:

  • E: Erase
  • M: Move
  • Y: Copy
  • L: Scale
  • O: Rotate
  • D: Draw Order
    • F: Bring to Front
    • B: Send to Back
    • A: Bring Above Objects
    • U: Send Under Objects
  • G: Group
    • G: Group
    • U: Ungroup
    • A: Add to Group
    • R: Remove from Group
  • D: Add Selected
  • T: Select Similar
  • A: Deselect All
  • S: Properties Palette

Basic editing commands like copy, rotate and move are made significantly made easier with the shortcut menu hotkeys. Draw order hotkeys are solid, as are Group hotkeys (if you use the group feature). Add Selected is amazing (draws a new object of the same type and as if match properties were applied afterwards), as are Select Similar and Properties Palette.

Best of all, whether you decide to throw more commands into the shortcut menu or not, you can manually add or edit the hotkey for each item. Let’s look at the Undo item in the “Default” shortcut menu in the CUI:

. . .

Note how there is an “&” character in the name of the item in the shortcut menu. That designates the letter that follows (U) as the keyboard hotkey for that item.

What this allows, essentially, is to open a second set of keyboard shortcuts that are accessed with the right mouse button.

I know there are still many drafters who prefer to use the right mouse button to repeat the last command rather than access the shortcut menu. There is nothing wrong with that. If you are a shortcut menu user, however, it gives you all sorts of hotkeys through the right mouse button so that you can keep your eyes on the drawing area and your mind on design. Consider giving shortcut menu hotkeys a try if you don’t use them already.

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 .