Friday, June 19, 2015

Subassemblies on Ribbon

I encountered something pretty cool recently. I saw subassemblies being accessed from the ribbon. It makes it way easier to find the appropriate subassembly in an easily accessible place and doesn’t require a Toolpallette that can take up some space on the screen.

The way it is accomplished is to use something similar to this line for the macro:


The TPNAVIGATE part lets us open up the ToolPallettes. The curbs indicates the tab we want to go to. The _AECRIBBONTOOL lets you access the ToolPallettes and appears to come from Architecture. The next part is to select the subassembly you want to use and then close the tool pallettes.

Then repeat the process until all of the subassemblies you want are on the ribbon. Remember you can create dropdowns to help organize them. So you can have a Curbs Pannel with drop downs for your type of curbs and a separate drop down for sidewalks. I think it is pretty nifty.


You’ll probably also want to use the correct image for the subassemblies. You will find them in this folder, making sure to replace the user name:

C:\Users\<REPLACE USER NAME>\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\C3D 2015\enu\support\ToolPalette\Palettes\Images\

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Benching Subassembly

Sometimes creating benching between lots can be problematic. Grading is essentially out of the question based on the overhead it creates in a drawing, especially on large projects. One solution to this is to use a corridor along the back of lots where they abut each other. This provides for getting a quick solution to see what the grading will look like, do preliminary quantities, and then at the end clean up the corners or empty spaces. Usually grading codes specify how the slopes should be graded. In one area it might be the higher pad gets a larger pad and then the lower lot gets the slope on their property or the opposite way. One can create a custom subassembly to automate this process.

The way I solved it was by creating two profile targets, because Civil 3D sucks and won’t allow us users to grab elevation data from a horizontal target. I started with a slope direction factor so I can figure out which way it the subassembly needs to build. To do this I make the user select the right pad elevation and then left side. If the left pad is higher in my scenario then the direction is to the right, or positive one. If the right pad is higher than I get a negative one and the slope goes to the left. I then create a dummy point of AP1 because I don’t like building form origin and then make the decision on the elevation of the bench start point. I find the higher target and then put P1 on that location. I then build the slope using the slope provided by the user and the direction dictated by the pad elevation target elevations.

Here is a link to what I did: Back of Lot Subassembly


Monday, June 01, 2015

Project Approach Validation

No one knows everything about everything about Civil 3D. This is especially true of new users or users who haven’t had a large amount of projects to gain knowledge about the software. Occasionally I’m called into fix a Civil 3D project and wish I could have been there sooner to streamline the process at the start instead of midstream on a project. Often times a large portion of project time for a project is spent trying to come up with a design solution using Civil 3D tools. When I start a new project these are the things I like to think about.

  • What typical section is the project going to utilize? This involves looking at the design requirements and coming up with an assembly that will meet those criteria. If available a quick corridor is created to validate if the assembly will meet most of projects requirements. If needed an approach will also be created for retaining walls or tying into existing features. This phase is primarily making sure we pick the correct assemblies to get the job done.
  • Is phasing going to be utilized on the project? This involves understanding if phasing is going to be required. For most projects this is ignored and left up to the contractor to figure out. On larger projects designs are needed to account for each phase of the project. If financing is important to the project then each phase needs to have accurate quantities and how is the user going to put all of the features together. Often a workflow diagram is useful for coming up with an approach on how to design the project and help decide how to split up the Civil 3D drawings.
  • Is customization appropriate for the project? Often times customization is appropriate for a project. If the roadway is in a previously developed area a custom subassembly may be required in order to ensure the sidewalk meets ADA requirements. In an older business district the curb height may need to be variable in order to meet the minimum 2% sidewalk slope. In these cases the elevation needed to tie into the existing buildings is more important than maintaining a constant 2% cross slope on the roadway. A custom subassembly may provide for an easy solution for this. If a custom solution isn’t allowed then the ability to think outside the box is helpful to solve this problem. Since the roadway subassembly will probably need to use an advanced approach to solve the problem.
  • Does the staff have the resources to complete the project? Often times training ends up going in one ear and out the other. In talking with users it can become apparent that additional help is required for those users. Identifying it from the beginning can provide an opportunity to provide support for those users. Checking in with the users periodically will prevent wasted time where users are spinning their wheels attempting to figure out what to do next.

I’d suggest having a team meeting to validate the project approach. This also provides for a time to get buy in on the project and approach. The approach may change as time goes on, but with a good starting point I’ve found there is less time coming up with how we should solve the problem.


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