Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Parallel oSnap

For the most part using AutoCAD and Civil 3D come pretty naturally to me. Occasionally I have a hard time grasping how a feature is supposed to work. One such feature is the Parallel oSnap.

I’ve read help, but it just didn’t click. The part from help is below.

Constrains a line segment, polyline segment, ray or xline to be parallel to another linear object. After you specify the first point of a linear object, specify the parallel object snap. Unlike other object snap modes, you move the cursor and hover over another linear object until the angle is acquired. Then, move the cursor back toward the object that you are creating. When the path of the object is parallel to the previous linear object, an alignment path is displayed, which you can use to create the parallel object.

Note Turn off ORTHO mode before using the parallel object snap. Object snap tracking and polar snap are turned off automatically during a parallel object snap operation. You must specify the first point of a linear object before using the parallel object snap.

I was OK picking the first point, it seemed really easy. I was able to select the object I wanted to be parallel to, but then help says to go “back toward the object you are creating.” Well it never seemed to show the path of the parallelness. I guess I just expected it to show up right away and not have to wait for the path to show up. The error message wasn’t much help.

No Endpoint found for specified point.
2D point or option keyword required.

I guess I needed an error message that said wait for the path to show up when the cursor is parallel to the target object. Well I got it figured out, you have to get the cursor near to where the object will be drawn and parallel to the other linear object. Here’s the oSnap in action:

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Civil Reminders

I’d like to announce my new business, Civil Reminders. Through Civil Reminders I hope to provide quality services in the areas of Civil 3D, cost estimating and Quantity Takeoffs. I may add Civil Engineering services in the future. Below is some more information regarding the services or you can find more information at the new website, Civil Reminders.

Civil Reminders is your place to get Civil 3D, cost estimating or Quantity Takeoff consulting services. Civil Reminders utilizes the latest in software and methods to bring you quality work.

AutoCAD Civil 3D

We have real world experience using AutoCAD Civil 3D since 2006 and are considered experts in its use. Civil Reminders provides customized training, template creation and feedback on workflow process. We also provide customization of AutoCAD and Civil 3D, including:

  • Custom Civil 3D Reports
  • Custom Civil 3D Pipe Rules
  • Custom Civil 3D Subassemblies

Cost Estimating

Civil Reminders has experience in performing cost estimates for projects ranging from road improvement projects to Buildings. Agencies we have experience doing cost estimates for include:

  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • US Air Force
  • City of Los Angeles, Public Works
  • County of San Luis Obispo, Public Works

Quantity Takeoffs

Having accurate quantity takeoffs is a must, Civil Reminders has experience creating accurate quantity takeoffs for site civil projects, including earthwork takeoffs.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

This Christmas Plan has been floating around for quite awhile. I've converted it to DWF to make it a bit more accessible.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In Need of a Civil 3D Expert?

I'm currently exploring career options for the new year. Whether it be taking on freelance work, providing training in Civil 3D or a part/full time position at a company. I'm looking for a challenge, if you have one and are looking for help, let me know and let’s see if I'm a fit. Phone: (805) 270-5280

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another Cool Civil 3D Blog

I just discovered Justin Ralston has a blog called C3dXtreme:

If you like all of the stuff I do on my blog then I’m sure you’d enjoy his blog. Like this blog, Justin is doing customization of Civil 3D and other topics. My favorite post so far is this one which provides some code to automatically add labels to road assemblies quickly. I think the site is worth the time to check out.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Custom Bench Subassembly – Updated

I recently posted regarding a custom bench subassembly I created for placing designed benches along a imageslope. The subassembly was mainly created to make it easy to design benches to meet the criteria contained within the International Building Code (IBC). One feature the program was missing was the capability to place a wider bench near the middle of taller slopes, as required by the IBC.
The updated version of the subassembly is available for Civil 3D 2010 & Civil 3D 2011 & Civil 3D 2012. The help file may be reviewed here. If you want more information send me an email or give me a call, contact information is on the right panel of this blog.
To order a copy use the button below. To receive the 2012 version, add a note that you would like that version instead.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Design by Many

At Autodesk university HP launched the Design By Many site for the AEC industry. Its a place where the AEC industry can post challenges and get responses from others in the industry. So far the site has a definite architecture slant going for it. In order to get more of the civil perspective on the site I’ve posted my own challenge regarding parking lot design.

At work I’m currently modifying a completed parking lot design. I’m finding the process to be frustrating in the inability to utilize most of the information I’ve already created. My challenge is to find out what workflow you’d like to see for parking lot design to improve the process. I’ve been thinking about it for quite a while and I’d like to get some other opinions.

Friday, December 10, 2010

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011 Certified Professional

If you are looking for an AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011 Certified Professional, well I’m your man. At Autodesk University I took advantage of the free certification and passed both the Associate and Professional certifications. Not quite sure what I’m going to do with them, but I have them.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

C3D Reminders Pack 2011 – Free Version

I’ve finally updated the C3D Reminders Pack webpage to include the 2011 version of the program. I’ve periodically added to the pack, but haven’t added it to the page that comes up when the banner on this page is clicked.

This weekend I hope to put out a pay version of the C3D Reminders Pack which will include the C3DRLinkCrossingProfileViewLabel and C3DRLinkProfileViewLabeltoProfile commands. The commands provide a way to dynamically link profile view labels to a crossing pipe and a profile. That way you can label a crossing pipe or profile in a profile view and when the pipe or profile is moved the location of the profile view label will adjust accordingly. The cost of the Pack will be priced at an introductory price of  $100/seat.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

HP DesignJet 1055

Occasionally I have to deal with the plotter in the office, I try to avoid that thing. Sometimes the last person forgot to load the paper back into the machine after taking a long roll to put up as a window screen. Which means I get to load the paper. Sometimes it works the first time and other times it never seams to work. Usually it’s because the roll came away from the end of the spandrel leaving a gap.


Pushing the paper roll flush with the spandrel and retrying tends to fix the endless loop of me trying to get the paper to load without a paper out of alignment error.


Hopefully, after writing this post as a reminder, I’ll first check to see if the roll is flush instead of attempting it 5 to 10 times and then looking to see what could be the problem.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Crossing Pipe Label

The C3DRLinkCrossingProfileViewLabel links a profile view label to a pipe object. When the crossing pipe moves, the profile view label will relocate to the specified location.

  1. To run the command enter C3DRLinkCrossingProfileViewLabel at the command line.
  2. Follow the prompts; select the pipe in a profile view.
  3. Then select a station elevation profile view label in the same view.
  4. Specify the location the label should be pinned to. Fixed offset will maintain a constant distance from the invert of the crossing pipe.
    1. image
  5. The label will then adjust to the location of the pipe.


Here’s a video:

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AutoCAD Civil 3D: Beyond the Back of Curb

Michael Farrell class, a frequent Swamp forum contributor.

Use Offset Assembly to get subassemblies to be normal to the offset alignment.

Rename the offset assemblies name to one that makes sense.

Key Points:

  1. Always stationed back to the baseline.
  2. After assigning it an alignment you need to assign it a profile.
  3. The offset assembly must have an alignment to follow.

If you use side ditches between the lots, use a block and then project to the surface, then into a profile view and then create a profile based on the location of the blocks in a profile view.

Use the match parameters (right click option when selecting a corridor) and apply them to the lots.

Conditional subassembly talk.

Not quite sure if I want to design a whole site with a corridor. I think pasted surfaces work better.

Class Link:

Parameter References

Today I attended Jordy Brouwers Autodesk University class called AutoCAD® Civil 3D® to the Limits and Beyond. For the most part I knew most of the topics discussed in the class sessions. One thing I didn’t know about is the Paramater References contained within the Assembly Properties. With the parameter references one is able to link one subassembly parameter to another. So when one changes the other subassemblies that reference will also update.

In this example I’m setting the LaneOutsideSuper – Right Subassembly as the controlling subassembly and then assigning the slope to the ShoulderExtendSubbaseRight.


And for the other lane subassemblies.

Then when I go in and modify the LaneOutsideSuper – Right’s slope it will adjust the other subassembly slopes without having to go and select each one. Here’s a video:

Unfortunately I couldn’t get the corridor slope build to work correctly. It may because the alignment had superelevation assigned to it and upgraded from an earlier version. But I did get the slope to work correctly. You can’t link a subassembly across assemblies. If you copy an assembly the parameter references logic carries over into the new subassembly. It appears that the data types need to be the same.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

AutoCAD® Civil 3D® to the Limits and Beyond

Benelex group people.

The Netherlands is quite dense per square mile.

29% of the Netherlands is below sea level and 2/3 would flood without water protection. Doesn’t sound like a good place to build a crowded country.

That’s one large Civil 3D corridor for an interchange.

Take a look at Country Kits available in the install for other available tools (or do an internet search to see if anything good is available).

Remember to set your settings up in your template or in the current drawing to make sure the settings are correct. In the Commands folder in Settings you can change the default name format and settings.

Using points instead of a feature line or 3DPolyline is an interesting way to go.

Always check the design in 3D, object viewer or rotating in 3D model space.

Use multiple boundaries to create a combined, separated surface.

Don’t forget about paste surface to combined surfaces.

Alignment mask, if you don’t know what it is you should look it up.

Transparent commands, make sure you use them to help you work better.

Reference text in alignment labels.

Totally missed the Object Isolation on the right click menu.

Can get a subassembly reference from another subassembly, didn’t know that. Will have to look into that further.


Looks like you could have a master subassembly that controls the lane width for instance. If the lane needs to be changed from 10 feet to 12 feet, you change it in one place instead of multiple places. Have to make sure the number format is the same.

Use negative number in the section bands to get a look of a single band if you have multiple surfaces.

Class Link:


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