The Civil Side: Six Smart Tips

November 26th, 2010

Tip 1

Always, always start with a Civil 3D template file when beginning a new drawing! Even when you have been sent a drawing to work with, take the time to move the existing data into a new drawing, instead of trying to move your styles into a drawing that was not created from your Civil 3D template. While we now have a couple of new commands to move our styles and settings into any drawing file, I still suggest using the aforementioned method of only working in drawings that you create. One option for accomplishing this is to simply externally reference the existing drawing into your new drawing.

Tip 2

When possible, separate your data into several drawings. There is always a possibility that your drawing could become corrupted and it is far better to lose a little data from a project than to lose the entire project. This practice also allows multiple users to work on the same project at the same time, which is great when a deadline sneaks up on you and you need some help getting it completed, among other reasons. Watch the size of your drawings, too. Attempt to keep them as small as reasonably possible. Using data shortcuts or Vault and external references, you should be able to break your designs into a manageable file structure.

Tip 3

If you have the option to use the 2011 64-bit version of AutoCAD Civil 3D on a 64-bit computer with Windows 7 64-bit operating system, then do it! Do not buy new workstations to run C3D that are not 64- bit. If you do, you’re wasting your money. If another person makes the buying decision, make sure he or she knows not to buy a new 32-bit computer, regardless of the attractive price tag on these outdated computers.

Tip 4

When creating multiple road corridors, consider making it one corridor with multiple baselines. This creates one surface and, in a sub-division design where there are multiple intersections, having one surface built from this corridor tends to be easier to work with, faster to create and edit, and more manageable. One caveat though - the corridor consisting of these multiple pathways can be a little more difficult to work with.

Tip 5

If you are not using tool palettes, start using them! The use of tool palettes to create corridors makes the task easier. By pulling sub-assemblies and assemblies directly from palettes, we can quickly create our needed assemblies. Tool palettes also have multiview blocks that are pre-loaded with the Civil 3D installation. These blocks have 2D and 3D displays. While you are looking through these wonderful tools you may find lots of uses for these palettes such as AutoCAD functions and the ability to store commonly used blocks. With little more than a drag and drop of any block and many other items in a drawing, a tool will be created on your palettes for use at any time.

Tip 6

I always advise everyone to at least consider using the National CAD Standards layer naming convention. There several reasons why. It makes it easier to have a functioning template (dwt) in place to start using Civil 3D. Using this standard also makes your company easier to work with in a drawing sharing environment. When hiring new employees, especially those with Civil 3D experience, there is a better chance that they have experience with these standards as well, which will enable them to get up to speed with the rest of the staff faster. Finally, for your own benefit should you have to find a new position, you will be more likely to find another firm using this method of naming their layers. Most companies that do not use someone else’s standards use their own, which may only make sense to the users that have experience on that standard.

 

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About the Authors

Christian Barrett

Christian Barrett

Creator and author of Autodesk Users Group International’s (AUGI) Hotnews column “The Civil Side,” author in AEC/Edge magazine and is a Civil Engineering forum moderator for the AUGI organization.

Christian Barrett (a.k.a. Civil3Dguide) is an AEC Applications Engineer at CADTECHS.

Has over 20 years in the AEC industries and over 11 years of Civil and Surveying industry experience as a CAD designer using Land Desktop & Civil 3D, and has been a CAD Coordinator at Multi-disciplinary Engineering/Architectural Firms.

As a civil applications technical support and trainer, Christian has guided many engineering firms in the implementation of Civil 3D for design and CAD management, National CAD Standards, and Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflows.

 

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