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. :)