Wednesday, September 02, 2015


Sometimes you want to do stuff in Civil 3D that isn’t readily apparent how to accomplish. One case where I’ve seen often is where you know where your daylight line is going to be, but don’t know where your HP should be located at. The image below is one such instance. I know where I want to daylight at, the TOP of Existing Slope Feature Line, and I know I want to have it slope towards my ditch at 2% and then down to the left flow path at 2:1.

In order to get this to work I’ll want to use the LinkSlopeBetweenPoints, a marked point, and a LinkWidthAndSlope.


Make sure to add the MarkedPoint Before the LinkSlopeBetweenPoints.

Here are the values used. Make sure to use the same Marked Point value, in my case BottomLeft.



The set the LinkWidthAndSlope to the top of existing breakline for the elevation and horizontal target. You might need to play with the slopes since I didn’t check it for this post.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Pipe Network Layer Blues

Why is Civil 3D hard to use? Well I’m guessing it’s because Autodesk user’s identify issues and then see them not resolved. One such issue I came across is data shortcut layers for pipe networks.

So what is wrong with data shortcut layers for pipe networks? Well you only get once chance to get the data shortcutted pipes and structures on the correct layer. For when you import a datashortcut Civil 3D will assign the layer that is in the Object Layers in Drawing Settings. Don’t waste your time hitting the layers button on the pipe network data shortcut dialog box, because while Civil 3D will set the correct value on creation, on a Synchronize magically they will be reset back to the layer in the Object Layers and wipe out all of that hard work you just did. Half way through your project and you realize you didn’t put them on the correct layer? Well your out of luck because in order to get them updated you have to:

  • Delete them,
  • change the Object Layer,
  • import the pipe network as a data shortcut, then
  • add the pipes and structures to the profile views, and then
  • add/update the labels.

Wow, that seems like a ton of unnecessary rework when the steps should be to select the pipe and structures and use the Layer Drop Down in AutoCAD properties or on the ribbon.

Why is Civil 3D hard to use? Because Autodesk doesn’t care about you the user to fix these issues. It has little to do with user interface, but that seems to be where Autodesk focuses their attention on. I think since Civil 3D 2007 the Pipe Network Icon has been changed at least 5 times. How many times has this issue been fixed? None.

The help file doesn’t even let you know of this issue:

If you don’t believe this, here is a video showing the results I’m seeing.

I’m sure we’ll see this fixed between 6 months and never. I’d bet the answer is closer to never since I’m sure the UI will need to be redone first for 2017, 2018, 2019 ….

Monday, August 24, 2015

Civil 3D is Now Officially Built on AutoCAD Architecture

Way back when; Civil 3D was quasi acknowledged to be built on top of AutoCAD Architecture Desktop. If you felt that Profile Views are just fancy floor plan grid lines then you felt correct. Unfortunately with earlier releases of the program most of the Architecture commands where stripped out of the program. Try to draw a window in Civil 3D you’d get a command not found message. Now there is a way to add those commands back in, just install AutoCAD Architecture on the same machine as Civil 3D.

Want to create slope lines between two lines? Then use the Escarpment command.

Image Source

Want to draw a wall, go ahead and use the wall command. Want to draw a window within that wall? Then use the window command. Want to create window styles? Then use the WindowStyle command.

You can even see that it’s official on the about product information after installing AutoCAD Architecture. 


Any command that doesn’t show up requires loading the appropriate program file from the C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2016\ACA folder. There are even the cui file you’d need to get a ribbon, although my license had expired so I couldn’t get the profile from AutoCAD Architecture to test it out to make sure it worked.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pipe Label–Dimension Look

A long time ago I did this post about getting a pipe label to look like a dimension.

It works as long as the pipe is on the alignment or equidistant from the alignment. If it isn’t then the dimension lines don’t match. In order to fix this we can modify the expression listed in the other post to:

ABS(({Pipe Start Station}-{Pipe End Station})/2/{Drawing Scale Conversion})

The rest of label is the same. Here is a link to the drawing.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Expressions and Cross Sections

Civil 3D can be fairly complicated at times. Often times lots of work may need to be done in order to get stuff to look correct. Take this image for instance. SNAGHTML19f7bf3

The arrows are pointing in the wrong direction and the slope labels are not consistent if we want the lane to show a constant slope value of –2%. To fix this we need to create some expressions or use some that are already available.

The first expression is the Grade Check Expression. This can be found in the _AutoCAD Civil 3D (Metric) NCS.dwt template. If you don’t have it the expression value is:

IF({Link Grade}<0,0,pi)

This will rotate the arrow to the downslope and is placed in the Rotation Angle of the label component.


The next expression is to label the slope the same for both sides. This will use an expression to see if the slope is positive and then multiply the grade by 1 or –1 to get the desired slope.

IF({Link Grade}>0,-1,1)*{Link Grade}

Then add the expression to the text component.


I’d use a label name to apply to what code you want to change, in my case Flat Grades-Pave. Then in the code set style apply the correct label style to the link code.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin