Thursday, December 31, 2009

Storm Sewer Extension 2010 Tips

Today I will go over making a few quick edits in 2010 storm sewer extension. When you insert the stm file you need to varify a few things before you run the analysis. First make sure the inlets are the correct size and shape in the Inlets Tab. I noticed that my dome grate inlets were square in SSE so I have to change that to circular under the Structure Shape column. Second insure that every inlet has a know Q displayed in the Pipes Tab. ( The Q is not accumalative along the pipe run) Third, varify the N value for the pipe sections also. Also look at your Inlet Time. (Based apon your city standards) When you run the analysis you should type in your begining invert elevation and starting HGL elevation. Here you can have the analysis reset the pipe sizes and elevations for you also. See below for examples. After you complete the analysis you can save the stm file or export the file to an XML file. The only problem I have seen when I reinsert the stm file into C3D 2010 my structure and pipe labels reset which is not good. Write me back if anyone else has experience this same issue. Well I hope this small amount of information helped yall. Have a great day.

Simple Grading Tips

I just want to say I hope everyone has a great New Years.!

I think one of the hardest area to grade is residential subdivision. Corridoring the street is easy but the lots have become cumbersome. The last two subdivision I have graded I was not able to use grading groups or corridors. All the lots were graded with feature lines. In addition, I had on average 20 retaining walls. Most subdivision grading design I have seen online, occur on flat surfaces where there are no retaining walls or swales between lots. With subdivision lot grading you have to take into account the max. slope front and back of lots, and grading around existing trees that are to be saved. With trees spread throughout your lot, it becomes more challenging. Sometime you have to create tree wells or blockouts to save the tree. On top of that, I lost count how many swales I had to create. Some techs and designers asked me why I didnt use subassemblies for the retaining walls and swales but that would only take more time and make the drawing twice as large. (Not good when its already 10 mb) Anyways here are a few tips I can give you about grading subdivisions.

1. Make sure all your breaklines are on the correct site
2. When grading the lots, dont grade the lots in one surface. Break them up into 3-5 areas then paste those
     surfaces into your PG.
3. Make edits to the surface definition to build a more accurate surface. For example, in the surface definition you can set max and min, elevations so any surface points below the min. and above the max. will be excluded from the surface. You can set the max. triangle lengths.
4. Look at the operation types in the surface definition and see what items need to be removed.
5. run audits to insure there are no errors in the surface.
6. Turn on your surface slope arrows to insure grades are correct.
7. To tie lots to back of walks along the street frontage you can extract featurelines from the corridor and add to the surface.
8. Minimize flat areas in surface edits
9. Simplify surface in surface edits
10. I would do your best to add names to your featureline that are added to surfaces.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Vacation

Good morning everyone. Well I'm in North Carolina spending my christmas holidays with my 8 yr old daughter. It's my favorite time of the year. So far we have gone to the movies a few times, chucky cheese's, shopping, and a few indoor parks. For the past 2 weeks I have been hearing her talk about Nintendo DS and I think Santa Claus got a Wii :( humm. . Before I left on my vacation I was playing around with 2010 Storm Sewer Extension and learned a few new things. Once  I get back, I should be able to do a new post. Anyways, I hope everyone has a great xmas and happy new years.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Command Shortcuts

Good afternoon everyone. Wow it felt great relaxing this weekend and not having to worry about homework and work. Anyways two weeks ago I was surfing around and came cross some autocad command shorts that I would like to share with you. I will have to find out what website I found this, so I can thank them. I typed a few command shortcuts below.

Ctrl+1   Properties Pallette Set
Ctrl+2   Design Center
Ctrl+3   Tool Pallettes
Ctrl+4   Sheet Set Manager Palette Set
Ctrl+6   db Connect Manager
Ctrl+7   Markup Set Manager (For DWF)
Ctrl+8   Quick Calc
Ctrl+9   Command Line
Ctrl+0   Clean Screen
Ctrl+N  Create New Drawing
Ctrl+S   Save Drawing as
Ctrl+Q  Quit/Exit
Ctrl+V   Paste
Ctrl+X   Cut
Ctrl+Z   Undo
Ctrl+Y   Redo
Ctrl+A   Select All
Ctrl+F    Insert Field
Ctrl+M   Repeat last Command
Ctrl+L    Ortho
Ctrl+B    Snaps
Ctrl+U    Polar Tracking
Ctrl+R    Find/Replace

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No more Classes!

Wow I haven't posted in a long while. Well I have been busy with getting my project finalized at work. On top of that, I have been studing for 4 semester exams. Today is my last final exam.(Hell yeah!!) Wow talk about having no life with taking a full load of classes and working full time. Anyways, I did have a chance to watch a few of the AU virtual webcase last week. I found a few very interesting. I will be working on creating a post about HGL labels in 2010 next week before I go on my trip to North Carolina to see my daughter. Well later boys and girls.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Windows 7

Civil 3D 2010 now supports Windows 7. Finally, I can go buy my Windows 7 that I have been putting off for 2 weeks. Click on the link below for more information from Autodesk.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Subscripts and Superscripts

I don't know if everyone knows this but if you are trying to create superscript and subscripts in autocad you can use the shift + ^ in order to make it work. See examples below.

1. 100^6 = subscript
2. 100 6^ = superscript

If this still does not work, go back into your text formatting editor, highlight the ^# and select the stack option.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Handouts for AU 2009 Are Now Available

I just wanted to let everyone know that most of the handouts for the classes at AU are now available. Please see link below. You will have to sign in to view a few of the handouts. In addition, I hope everyone has signed up for the virtual tour classes for AU.

AU Handouts

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Autodesk Virtual Tour

For those that are interested in watching the Autodesk virtual tour "See the difference with AutoCAD 2010" today I have provided a link below to register for the webcast.

View informative webcasts including:

* AutoCAD 2010 Tips & Techniques with Lynn Allen

* The AutoCAD Family of Products with Shaan Hurley

* The World of 3D Modeling with Heidi Hewett

Autodesk Virtual Tour

Geo-referenced Images

Two weeks ago we were having problems editing and scaling geo-reference images that we received from TNRIS for the Town of Flower Mound. The aerial were 500 mb Tiff's which bogged our computer down. In addition, it had to refresh every time we zoomed in and out. On top of that, the aerials covered a large area and we only needed a small area covering our project site. The other problem we had was the aerials were in a different coordinate system. So I decide to do some research to see if anyone else had this problem. Well I did find a great post for geo-reference images that solved our problem. I just had to share this information with yall. I try my best not to repost other peoples work or take credit for their work, so I will provide a link to their information and website.  Enjoy

(Thank you Lou for the post)

Mastering Graphics
Geo-Reference Images

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hydraulic Calcs for Storm Pipe Profile Label - Part 2

So I finally got some free time tonight? Well tonight I will show you how to get friction slope. The pipe velocity is still in progress. I am having problems with the rounding methods Civil 3D uses versus flowmaster.

To calculate the friction slope is incredibly easy. The simplest form of the formula is taking you flow rate or Q and divide that by your K. Then take that answer and square it. (Q/K)^2.

I am still working out the bugs on the pipe velocity. The pipe flow rate must be typed in for each of your pipe sections in the pipes properties. Next add your pipe friction slope to your pipe label style.  Be sure to set your precision to .0001 (See image below)

Where Has My Free Time Gone????

Wow it's been a while since I posted something new. Well I have been extremely busy, working late hours and also going to school full time at nights. It seems like 2 A.M. has become my regular bed time hour. Anyways, I should be able to post part 2 of hydraulics labels for storm pipe profiles tonight. It seem most of my hits has come from the post about hydraulics for pipe labels part 1. Anyways, I hope everyone has enjoyed my blog. Starting in December, I should be able get deeper into Civil 3D 2010, Map 2010 and a little on Navisworks.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Inserting Aerial Images

Hopefully I can clear up some issues here. I have noticed in a lot of blogs and forums there several techs are having problems using the MAPINSERT command in 2010. Well, I started searching around in the help menu and I notice that the true command in 2010 is MAPIINEST. Let me know if this works for you.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hydraulic Calcs for Storm Pipe Profile Label - Part 1

Well today was a pretty good day. My favorite team Notre Dame lost but at least my Texas Longhorns won :) Anyways, I was playing around with pipe labels today and notice a few new features for pipe label expression. Now you have an option to add items such as: flow rate, Darcy Weisbach factor, Hazen William Coefficient, energy grade lines, hydraulic grade lines, manning coefficien,...etc. So I decide to try to create a pipe profile label that would give my pipe capacity, velocity, depth of flow, friction slope and velocity head.

In this post I will show you how to create a profile pipe label that will calculate pipe capacity for you. First you will need to create 5 new expression. (PipeArea, WettedPerimeter, K (conveyance factor), HydRadius and PipeCapacity. Below are the 5 expressions I created and formulas I used to create this label. (You can named these expression to whatever you like or makes sense to you) After I created my label, I started changing the pipe slope and size to varify that I got the same information that FlowMaster gave me, which it did.

  1. PipeArea = (pipe radius)^2 * pi (3.14)
  2. Wetted Perimeter = pipe dia. * pi (3.14)
  3. HydRadius = PipeArea / Wetted Perimeter
  4. K = 1.48/n * PipeArea * HydRadius^0.66  (With some rounding, I used 114.3 for my (1.486/n) n = pipe coefficien which is 0.13
  5. PipeCapacity = K * (pipe slope)^0.5
  6. Then I created a simple pipe label style that would display the pipe capacity based of the expression we just created. See images below.
It's important the direction of the your pipe flow. If you get question ???? switch the pipe flow direction in the pipe properties.

 RCP Pipe Area 

RCP Wetted Perimeter

RCP Flowrate

RCP Full Flow Velocity


RCP Hydraulic Radius

RCP Pipe Capacity

RCP Friction Slope

Once you finish creating the pipe expressions then created a pipe label that uses these expressions.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Null Structures

Ok I was working with pipes night and I notice something that I never knew about. Did you if you wanted to add a null structure between two pipe section (if there is not null structure present) that you can simply just select on of the pipes, right click and select connect to part and select the other pipe, it will automatically created a null structure for you? Wow I hope I wasn't the last to know about this lol. See image below.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Undocumented Commands to Resolve Site Issues (2009)

Here is the listed of undocumented commands from Autodesk to resolve site issues such as overlapping objects.


When creating Site objects (using Alignments, Grading, or Parcels), you may end up with overlapping segments. In most cases, this will not create a problem. However, in some cases, you may experience drawing instability or AutoCAD® Civil 3D® may crash because of these overlapping Site objects. Some of the problems with grading in particular may appear to be general instability—such as a crash on regen, save, or AUDIT—where it isn’t easy to see which object caused the crash.

Important! These commands are not tools for general grading troubleshooting; they provide a potential solution for specific situations. If you submit a Customer Error Report with your email address, and the conditions of your issue are likely to be resolved by using these tools, an automated message will be sent to you referencing this technical solution. Please make a copy of your original drawing before running these commands if possible.


Anytime you experience problems with a drawing, you should always try using the RECOVER and AUDIT commands first. (For detailed information on these commands, refer to the product Help file.) If this does not resolve the issue, continue with the following suggestions:

Note: The following tools are only available if you have installed AutoCAD Civil 3D 2009 Update 2.1 or a later version. You can use them to find and isolate overlapping (colinear) objects belonging to named Sites. They do not, however, diagnose exactly what may be causing a particular problem. Furthermore, they will not resolve every possible issue you may encounter.

To run, enter each command on the command line. These commands are not case-sensitive.


Start with this command, which will check for overlapping alignments, feature lines, and lot lines in a Site. A dialog box will be displayed, prompting you to select the Site to check. This command will mark any overlapping locations found with AutoCAD points, placed on the layer _OVERLAPPING_SEGMENT_LOCATIONS.

Note: To see the AutoCAD points better, you can use the DDPTYPE command to change the visibility settings if necessary, which will force a Regen. However, in cases with unstable Gradings or behavior a Regen may result in a crash.

Press the F2 button to review the command line. You will see the result of the check, and it will tell you which of the following commands to use to remove the overlaps.

Once you have performed the first set of recommended corrections, erase the AutoCAD points that were created and then run the AeccFindSiteOverlaps command again to see if any overlaps remain.


This command will move each overlapping feature line to its own individual Site, with the name "Overlap X" (Overlap 1, Overlap 2, and so on.). This command will not remove feature lines that use grading criteria. The thought here is that feature lines used simply as breaklines will be removed to separate sites but can still be used to create surfaces. Feature lines created from Survey data will only be included if they are part of a named Site.


This command moves alignments to the Alignments collection in Prospector. The alignments will no longer be part of the Site, but their names will be maintained.


This command performs the same function as AeccRemoveDupFeatureLines command above, except it will move overlapping parcel lot lines to separate Sites. It operates on the linework, not the parcels themselves, so removing some of the parcel linework to its own site may either create new parcels or remove existing parcels (a similar effect to moving the lines with the Move to Site command).

Additional tip: If, after removing any overlaps that can be found, there are overlaps reported for gradings, it may be possible to edit the gradings slightly so that they no longer overlap. For example, one case that may cause problems is when two grading footprints touch each other at a point where the grading projection lines overlap. In this case, the appropriate fix would be to remove the gradings and join the footprint. Use a single transition at that point instead of having two adjacent gradings.

Optimizing Memory Usage White Papers

Autodesk has posted a new white paper called Harnessing the Power of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2010. This white papers provides you with great information about hardware requirements, optimizing memory usage, model optimization and best practices, and installing serice pack 2. I provided a direct link below to the white papers.

Model Optimization and Best Practices
1. stop caching layouts
2. maintain master drawings of common design objects
3. limit surface size
4. avoid surface snapshots
5. minimize the number of open drawings
6. reduce the frequency of automated operations
7. remove or simplify profile views
8. turn off labels
9. suppresse tooltips.....and many more

Civil 3D White Papers

CER and how it works

For those of you who would like to know how CER (customer error reporting) works I have provide a direct link to Autodesk support page. This report basically pops up when civil 3D unexpectedly crashes or is closed improperly. I know everyone has experience this at one time or another. Hope this help you.

Autodesk support

New Corridor Features

One of the new great featues in 2010 that I love is the ability to isolate corridor sections. Now you can simply right click on the corridor section you would like to edit and select isolate region. This will turn all the other corridors sections off for you. Once you are finish editing, just click on your corridor section again and select show all regions. See image below for an example.

Another great feature is the new boundary feature. In prior verions you would go into the corridor properties, select the boundary tab and select add interactively and you would basically trace around your corridor. Well you there is a new feature that you can select called corridor extents as outer boundary. The boundary is created from the outer most corridor feature lines. This feature will definitely save you some time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fill & Cut Hatching on Profiles

One featues that I really like is the Fill hatching on profiles. It's extremely simple to add this feature.

1. Right click on your profile and select Profile View Properties.
2. Select Hatch Tab. Notice that you have the option to show Fill, Cut, or both on your profile.
3. Click on the Fill Area.
4. Under the Profile column be sure to make the lower boundary your existing surface and you upper boundary your proposed surface.
5. Now click on the Shape Style if you want to change the fill hatching style.
6. In the Shape Style dialog box, you can change the pattern style at the bottom.

Multiple Part Swaps In Civil 3D 2010

For those that have used C3D 2010, I'm sure you have seen the issue with the pipe labels. If you label a structure and the label is pulling the part description, the family name of that part will appear instead. In order to fix this you have to do a swap part. You can swap the part to the same part to fix this issue. In addition to this, if you have you storm plan open and your utility plan base open, if you do an xref update, your storm labels on your storm plan will reset to the default location. You will be forced to drag to labels to the locations you had them before. To get around this you can only work with one drawing open at a time. Another way around this is to load service pack 2 which I don't recommend. Service pack. 2 has other bugs in it that I don't like. Anyways, back to the swapping parts, this could take some time swapping parts back and forth. Well, Chris from Civil 3D Reminders created a great vba routine that allows your to swap multiple parts at the same time. You will be able to swap pipes and structures at the same time. Why does this come in handy? Well, the way I layout my storm pipe network, I ony use the Pipes Only options, so it creates a null structure for all my structures. Then I go back and use Chris's vba routine to swap the structures I need.  This also solves my labeling issue. I was able to layout 3 large storm pipe networks, profile and label them all on plan and profile with in 15 minutes. See below for chris's post on the mutliple part swap.

Civil 3D Reminders

Checking Utility Pipe Min. & Max. Cover

One of the important items to check while designing any type of utility line is the amount of cover it currently has. Some designers set up rules sets to ensure pipe coverage. One thing I like to do to verify pipe coverage for storm and water lines is to create a simple pipe table. If you noticed below, I created a simple table that provides you with pipe name, pipe size, slope, min. cover, and max. cover. In addition, this table also tells me if a pipe was design incorrectly. Anyways, you don't have to do this but it can become very helpful in your design. Oh yeah, this table is dynamic, so it will update while you make changes.

Popup Notification Boxes

I don't know about you, but  one thing that has become irritating to me is all the popup notification boxes that appear at the bottom right corner of C3D. These popup basically notifies you when an xref, data reference or even layers stats have been changed and needs to be updated. Yes, these are important things to know while working on your design, but I don't need them staying on till I closed them. Well I finally learned how to change the length of time the notification can stay on, which is great for me. Here is what you need to do to make this change.

1. Click on the small black pull down icon on the bottom right corner next to the Unreconciled New Layers icon. This is the Application Status Menu Bar.
2. Select Tray Settings.
3. Check the Display notification from services.
4. Then select the Display time option. Now you can select the length of time you would like the notification to appear. (See images below)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Contour Smoothing

I just finished watching a new Autodesk webcast and learned a few things about surface editing. I'm sure a large number of you experience the short choppy or jagged lines in your contours when doing grading. There are many methods on how to make contours smoother but I'm going to show you what I saw today that might help you.

First select the surface you wish to edit. Then in the ribbon, select Edit Surface. Click on the small pulls down and selects smooth surface option. The smooth surface dialog box will appear. Now click on the Select output region row, a small icon should appear on the far right. Click on it, and look at your command line. You should see this:

Select region or [rEctangle/pOlygon/Surface]:

Select O to create a polygon around the area you wish to revise. Type C to close your polygon. The smooth surface dialog box should pop up. Change the X & Y grid spacing to a small # from 1-5 like shown below. Once you hit ok, the contour should be smooth. Hopefully this information will come in handy for your grading design process.

Importing .SHP Files

For those of you that don't know what a shape file is, it's basically a file containing geomatric data such as multiple points, polylines, and polygons. Some city website provides GIS data as .shp files which you can download for free. AutoCAD Map 3D considers SHP files as a multi-select, file-based format, that is you select one or more individual .shp files during a single import process. SHP files also provide information for streets, parcels, and subdivision. I have found 2 different ways to import .shp files. Today I will show you to import with Map import options.

1. The first thing I would do is switch your workspace to tool-base geospatial.

2. Click the Insert tool palette and select Map Import.

3. Browse to the .shp file you have saved.

4. A new import dialog box will appear. In the Data column click just right of the none option

5. The attribute data dialog box will appear. Select create object data and add unique key fields.

6. Hit ok. The import process dialog will pop up for 2-5 seconds while it downloads the data to your drawing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Drawing Cleanup

Here are a few cool features I like to use when cleaning up my drawings.

1. laywalk command. This command basically walks thru all the layers and displays any object on that layer. If you double click on a layer, that layer will remain on while you continue walking thru other layers.

2.  -overkill and overkill command. This command allows you to remove and combine overlapping linear lines, plines, and delete unneeded duplicate copies of objects. In addition, it allows you to change the numeric fuzz value.

3. Other command that most of you might be using and have read about in other post, blogs and forums are: -purge, purge, scalelistedit, recoverall, audit and mapclean.

Modifying the Quick Properties Dialog Box

 I don't know if anyone has their quick properties turned on while they are designing but I like to have mine turned on. I just like the ability to do quick edits to object such as changing the color, layer and style on the fly. Anyways, I was playing around with the customizing options and notice there were a list of options I could display for an object thru the quick properties. So this is what I did to improve my quick properties for pipes. I wanted to show pipe material and slope if I selected a pipe segment.

1 First select a pipe segment. Now select the option selection right below low the "x" at the top right hand corner of the quick properties dialog box. Then select "settings" We want to increase the quick properties dialog box display lines to 6. The drafting settings dialog box will appear. At the bottom under Palatte behavior change the minimum number of rolls to 6 or 8. Hit "ok"

2. Now select your pipe segment again and select the "customize" icon at the top right corner. The customize user interface dialog box will appear. Here you will notice a large section of information that can be displayed for any object. I selected the "slope", and "material". next to the pipe options on the left. Hit "apply".

3. Select the same pipe segment and you should see the pipe material and slope displayed. (See images below)

Hopefully this new feature will come in handy for you. :)


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Adding commands to the Quick Access Toolbar

For those of you that hate the monotony process of having to go thru 2 to 3 different menus in the ribbon to access certain commands that you use often, Autodesk has provide the quick access toolbar. I honestly can't remember if this feature was available in any versions older than C3D 2009 but it's a handy feature that I am starting to enjoy. In order to create a quick access command, just simply right click on the icon of the command you would like to use. Then select "add to quick access toolbar". Your command will appear at the top left corner next to the undo/redo icons on the quick access toolbar. (See image below)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Features in 2010

Hi everyone. Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. Well I was playing around in Civil 3D 2010 tonight and noticed a nice feature that I never new about. Apparently you can return to any command you like by just simply highlighting all the commands that you would like to undo. What's cool is there is a small pull down that list all the commands that have been used since the drawing was opened. This feature can come in handy when you accidently erase an item that you shouldn’t have or you want to restart your design to some point in the begin. There is a small pull option right of the undo icon, which displays all the commands.

One of the new features that most all users are trying to get use to is the new ribbon. Some techs and designers have complained that they spend too much time looking for commands that were provided on tool bars for them in earlier versions. Well just recently I read in another blog where civil 3D provides and command search engine which started in the 2009 version. If you click on the small pull down option on the big civil3d icon at the top left hand corner, a blank space are will appear where you can simply type the command you are needed. The search engine will provide you the location of that command on the standard pull down menus or the main ribbon. See images below.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed my first small post. :)