Sunday, January 18, 2015

Creating AutoCAD Solids from Civil 3D Surfaces and Pipe Networks

Submitted by by Timothy Corey

The last item in our exploration of Civil 3D 2015 Productivity Pack 1 is the tool for creating AutoCAD Solids from Civil 3D Surface and Pipe Networks.
Why would you want to do this? One good reason is that AutoCAD Solids can be passed on to non-Civil 3D users who need to create 3d models and/or renderings of projects. If an architect wants your surface so he can create a visual, give him a solid of the surface. These solids can even be exported to a 3D printer for use in a physical model.
We are going to start our example with an existing ground surface and the outline of a baseball diamond. The architect wants the original ground and the design surfaces as separate objects. The OG needs to have a masked area where the FG fits in.
Here's our starting point, an OG Surface and a surface that is part of a Grading Group.
First thing I want to do is create a hole in the OG so that no part of FG will be obscured. I don't really want to edit the OG, so I create a new surface and paste OG into that.

Now, add a Hide Boundary, using the baseball field surface as its definition.


On the Command line, you will be prompted to select object or Surface. Opt for Surface and select the ball field surface when prompted.

Now we're ready to create solids.
On the Toolbox tab of Toolspace, expand Subscription Extension Manager,  expand Civil 3D Productivity Pack 1, expand Create AutoCAD Solids, right-click Create 3D Solid from Surface, select Execute...


On the dialog, select the surface being extracted to solid.
Set your Vertical definition. Depth will give a thickness that is based on the surface point to which each point on the solid is related. At fixed Elevation will give you an even base. If you want your surface to sit on a table top (virtually or 3d-printed) use this option. If you want your solid surface to intersect with another surface, use At a surface. Our example uses At fixed Elevation.
Set Drawing Output settings. The solid can either be added to the current drawing or to a new drawing and can have Layer and Color preset.

Once we press Create Solid and wait a while (complex surfaces can take a long time to process,) we get a 3D solid of our surface. Notice the hole where the FG will fit.


Do the same for the FG:

These solids can be used in a number of Autodesk (and competitors') products, including Revit, 3DS Max Design, NavisWorks and InfraWorks.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

More information on Productivity Pack 1 -- COGO Editor

submitted by Timothy Corey


This post will cover features of the new Coordinate Geometry Editor (heretofore called COGO Ed in this blog) that has been introduced as part of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2015 Productivity Pack 1.


In this example, we will create a traverse using points imported from a field survey. They exist in the drawing file as Civil 3D COGO Point objects. Notice two points near the start of the traverse. The first is the start point, the second is the point calculated from the final shot back to the point of beginning. In this exaggerated example, you can easily see the traverse error. This point will be compared to the point of beginning in order to calculate and report the traverse error.

To open COGO Ed, navigate to the Toolbox tab of the Toolspace, expand Subscription Extension Manager, expand Civil 3D Productivity Pack 1, expand Coordinate Geometry Editor, right-click Launch Coordinate Geometry Editor and select Execute...

COGO Editor appears on your screen, below the Command prompt, pushing the Command prompt upwards, obscuring part of your drawing area. You can drag the interface out of this position (and onto a different monitor if you have one) if you prefer.
If the screen is blank, like above, you can start inputting traverse sides. If there is previous data, start a new traverse by selecting the New button in the upper left.
In the input area, be sure the first Side is set to Point. Click in the Location column and type the point number of the POB, 1 in the example. If you don't know the point number, pick the little arrow that shows up in the Location box and then pick the point object on the drawing screen. A further option allows you to press X (for Xyz) to use an osnap to snap to a point or other object. Maybe the traverse is represented by lines and you want to snap to an endpoint.
The second row of input will now set Line as the Side type. Leave that as shown. Click in the Location column for this row and type the first foresight number, 2 in our example. The bearing and distance from 1 to 2 display in COGO Ed and along a temporary graphic in the drawing.

Continue inputting point numbers (or picking points/locations) around the traverse. Pick your final foresight point just like all the others. Stop your input entry after entering the final foresight point.
Now, to check our closure. Pick the Balance tab at the side of the dialog. Double click in the Control Point column of the row entitled Totals. Type the point number of your POB/Closure Point. In our example, that's point 1. Your closure will appear at the bottom of the dialog.
Lastly, you can view the results of various traverse adjustments by selecting your adjustment type in the dropdown at the top of the dialog. In the example, we run the Crandall Rule method.
The example above uses existing points, but let's say you have bearings and distances for your input and you don't want to create points. You can input the field data directly into the dialog. You can mix points with field input and locations selected on the screen. You can even load a traverse from an existing polyline and run an adjustment on that.
A traverse can be saved and recalled by pressing the Save button on the Entry tab.
Once complete, you can have the traverse drawn as a polyline. Press the Create Polyline from Traverse button on the Entry tab.

That's all for now. A review of the Create AutoCAD 3D Solids tool is coming soon....


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Civil 3D 2015 Productivity Pack 1 now available


Autodesk has released the new Productivity Pack 1 for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2015. This set of tools is available only to current members of Autodesk Maintenance Subscription or Desktop Subscription.

Autodesk® AutoCAD® Civil 3D® 2015 Productivity Pack 1 consists of the following features:
  1. Ability for AutoCAD Civil 3D users to directly read Autodesk InfraWorks models for detailed design / production tasks
  2. Coordinate Geometry Editor utility that provides a streamlined process for point, line, and curve entry and balance
  3. Automated process for creating AutoCAD 3D solids from Civil 3D surface models and pipe networks
The following post details the InfraWorks model import function. Later posts will cover the other two features of the Productivity Pack.

Directly Read InfraWorks project files

Start with an InfraWorks project:

Switch to Civil 3D. On the Toolspace, Toolbox tab, expand Subscription Extension Manager and expand Open InfraWorks Model. First, configure import settings by right-clicking on Configure InfraWorks - Civil 3D Exchange Settings.

Use the ellipsis buttons to the right on each row to access the style and layer settings for each InfraWorks/Civil 3D object type. For example, to set defaults for Surfaces, press the ellipsis to the right of the Terrain Surfaces / TIN Surfaces row.

Set the surface style and layer defaults and press OK.

Configure similar settings for other object types. Before you exit, be sure you save your settings to a settings file so you can recall them later. The import routine requires that you pick a settings file. Note: The default folder for these files is C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\C3D 2015\enu\Data\InfraWorks Object Settings\Imperial (or Metric.)

After pressing Save, and when finished with settings, press OK to exit the dialog.

Now right-click Open InfraWorks Model on the toolspace and Execute.

Select the InfraWorks Model using the folder button at the top. Once the model is selected, you will be shown the model's coordinate system information. If you need to convert to a different coordinate system, there is a button allowing you to Set a Coordinate System for your Civil 3D drawing. Either import the entire InfraWorks model area or set your own Area of Interest.

This very cool feature will automatically load AutoCAD's online mapping as a background to your drawing, zoomed in on the project area read from the InfraWorks file. You can then select a rectangular sub-area of the project. If you are not already logged in to Autodesk 360, you will be prompted. This is a requirement for this feature.

Be patient, it can take some moments for the map to load.

Pick the Object Settings file you created earlier.

If you would like to see and control which objects are to be imported (important, so you don't end up importing a hundred existing roads that are in InfraWorks for reference, but not needed for Civil 3D's detailed design) press Refine Selection Set. On large models, this can take quite a while, so don't reboot because you think the system is doing nothing. It's reading the model, but you aren't told progress. Just wait, or go get a cup of tea, stretch your legs, whatever.

When done setting the object import options, press Open Model.

Requirements: AutoCAD Civil 3D 2015 with Service Pack 2 installed. Autodesk InfraWorks 360 2015.3.