Tagged in: DuctDesigner 3D
Many of you did not get the opportunity to attend our conference last year due to cutbacks so I wanted to share some tips that we handed out at that event.
System variables vs. drawing variables:
It is important to understand the difference in how variables are used and stored. System variables are stored in the computer registry and may need to be setup for each user in your department to maintain standards. The drawing variable can be setup in the department’s drawing template, but if they are ever changed after a drawing is created from that template, then the variable will be unique to the drawing. Below are some examples that may affect your QuickPen models or the functionality of AutoCAD in general.
- DISPSILH: AutoCAD’s default is 0, but our custom objects require the setting to be 1. Leaving it set to 0 will cause the edges of pipe to not display properly and also cause additional lines to be produced on a hidden line plot. *Affects PipeDesigner 3D® models.
- ISOLINES: AutoCAD’s default is 4, leaving it as 4 does not affect plotting. However, the higher this variable is set, the more lines you will see while working in wireframe. QuickPen suggests setting this variable to 0. *Affects PipeDesigner 3D® models.
- FACETRES: AutoCAD’s default is .5, also suggested by QuickPen. Setting this variable higher may cause edges of pipe to disappear in hidden plots. *Affects PipeDesigner 3D® models.
- HIDEPRECISION: AutoCAD’s default is 0, but QuickPen suggests setting this variable to 1. Support has received reports that this may be another cause of missing detail on hidden line plots.
- ISAVEPERCENT: AutoCAD’s default is 50, QuickPen suggest setting this variable to 0. By default, AutoCAD does not do a full save with the “Save” or “QSave” commands unless more than 50% of the drawing has changed. Changing this variable to 0 ensures that every save will be a full save of the drawing.
Using “Obscured” AutoCAD variables to obtain hidden line detail:
AutoCAD offers two variables to show hidden line detail when plotting your drawings. *Both variables are stored with the drawing.
- OBSCUREDLTYPE: AutoCAD’s default is 0. Below are some common examples:
0 - Off
1 - Solid
2 - Dashed
3 - Dotted
4 - Short Dash
- OBSCUREDCOLOR: AutoCAD’s default is 257, but can be set to any index color. This variable sets the color of the hidden lines produced below solid objects if OBSCUREDLTYPE is used.
Purge vs. –Purge:
File size management is very important, especially on large projects. Data from extended data objects, blocks, scales, text styles, dimension styles and many other objects can cause your file size to grow and affect PC performance.
- Purge: removes unused, named AutoCAD objects, such as blocks, layers, and styles, from a drawing.
- -Purge: This command will eliminate all of the objects that “Purge” will remove, but also allows for the removal of RegApps. When you delete an object with extended entity data, a regapp ID remains in the application ID (APPID) symbol table. When a file contains excess unreferenced regapp IDs, performance and file size may be negatively affected.
External References: Overlay vs. Attach and do I save the path?
- Attach: this will force the “attached” reference file to always follow the current drawing. Meaning that anyone that references your model will also get the attached references. This can result in circular references of the same file.
- Overlay: the reference is only loaded into the current model and will not be forced to load for any references of the current model.
Flatten and FlatShot:
More projects are being completed in 3D which means that your background files are larger, but it may not be necessary or efficient to use 3D background files. Commands such as “FLATTEN” and “FLATSHOT” can be used to convert the 3D model to 2D.
- Flatten: Should be run from “Top” view. This command will take all objects and convert them to a 2D representation at 0 elevation. *Prior to running “flatten”, all blocks must first be exploded and drawings that contain AEC walls will need to be exported to solid first using the “-exporttoautocad” or “aectoacad” commands. It is also helpful to run “overkill” to remove additional entities that may be hidden underneath another object.
- Flatshot: Similar to “FLATTEN”, yet is dialog driven and provides you with hidden line detail options as well as an option to export the 2D image as another file. The 2D drawing will not retain the original 3D object layers, but will produce the smallest possible file size. *Should also be run from “Top” view unless a 2D image from another view is needed.
PC and AutoCAD Performance Tips:
You’ve purchased a high performance computer and large monitor (or two), but not getting what you expected out of it? There are many things that you can do to increase the performance of your computer, below are just a few helpful hints that may help you out.
- Taskbar apps: Apps that publish taskbar icons are constantly running. After the install, check to see if there are options to turn them off. Eliminate running apps whenever possible.
- Turn off visual effects: By default, Windows turns on ALL visual effects. Turning off these effects can greatly increase PC performance.
- Hardware acceleration: You paid for a high end video card, but don’t be surprised if AutoCAD’s not using it! Go to AutoCAD options and make sure that hardware acceleration is turned on.
- Eliminate workspaces: Workspaces store loaded toolbar locations and ribbon preferences, but did you know that it can also cause different menus to load? By default AutoCAD has all workspaces checked to load on startup greatly increasing memory usage by the program as well as causing startup delays. Uncheck all unnecessary workspaces to increase speed and performance. *This is especially true with AutoCAD MEP and Architecture.
Using Fields to automatically fill in and update your blocks.
Fields can be used to automatically fill in your title block creation date, plot date, detailer name and more, but did you know that it can also be used to report viewport scale?
- Edit Attribute
- Right Click in the “Value” input box and choose “Insert Field”
- Choose type of field to insert
UCS and View Rotation:
Project design is getting more unique and requires more advanced use of the UCS and view rotation in order to work in areas that are not square to AutoCAD’s “world”.
- Determine the angle of rotation
- Type in “UCS”, “Z”, then enter the degree to rotate the UCS
- Type in “Plan” and use “Current”
Sheet Sets and the “Publish” command:
Many companies have not explored these new functions and even have third party applications to fill these needs. Take advantage of AutoCAD and eliminate those other programs!
- Publish: This command allows for batch plotting of multiple drawings and/or drawing tabs. Probably one of the most overlooked new features of AutoCAD as many companies still use third party applications for batch plotting prints. Works in conjunction with the “PUBLISHCOLLATE” variable to allow for all sheets to be sent to the printer at once or as individual print jobs. When used with a PDF printer, this setting can create a single or multipage PDF.
- Sheet Sets: A palette that allows you to organize your paper space drawings by project, floor, discipline or any other subset. The user can select single drawings or multiple drawings for direct plotting similar to the “PUBLISH” command. Additionally, sheet sets can be used to insert callout blocks and even saved views.
Saved views and using them in sheet sets:
You can save your views to be called later from model and paper space, but did you know that you can also use them to automatically create section views in your paper space drawing?
- Save your view
- Add the drawing folder as a “Location” on the “Model Views” tab of the sheet set manager.
- Right click on the saved view from the sheet set manager and choose “Place on sheet”. *While the view is still attached to your cursor, right click to change the viewport scale.