If you’ve downloaded the Civil 3D 2017 v1 Enhancements and tried using the Swap Pressure Network Parts command, you might have seen some odd things happening…

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Shifting Parts When Swapping Parts (picture from Autodesk)

Autodesk has released a hotfix for this. It’s a simple fix, just download a file and swap out the one on your system with the new file. The hotfix can be found HERE.

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If you are using Pressure Networks within Civil 3D, do yourself a favor and install the new service pack for Civil 3D 2016 (SP3) and Civil 3D 2017 (SP1.1). These fix several pressure networks issues which I’ll talk about here.

A little bit of background, a few weeks ago (not sure of the exact date) the Civil 3D product team released service pack 1 (SP1) for Civil 3D 2017. There were some issues with it so they pulled it down and then just last week they re-released it as service pack 1.1 (SP1.1). As of this writing, it’s not available on the Civil 3D support website HERE but I was able to download it via the Autodesk Desktop App. It should show up eventually. The Civil 3D 2016 SP3 is available at that link.

Autodesk_Desktop_App

Service Pack in the Autodesk Desktop App

So what are the issues that are fixed and why are they important? You can read up on the changes included in the service packs here: 2016 SP3 and 2017 SP1.1. The two issues I’ll be referring to in this post are:

  1. An issue that caused unexpected behavior when using grips to edit pressure network pipes in profile view has been resolved.
  2. An issue has been resolved where edits to the level of a pressure network were not retained when the pressure network was data-referenced

Reference Issue

Let’s talk about number 2 first as, in my opinion, that’s the big one. When you create a pressure network and edit the elevations of the pipe by either putting in a vertical curve or have it follow the surface, when you data reference that pipe into another drawing, the pipe comes in straight.

Reference Issue

Reference Issue

As you can see in the previous image, on the left is the source drawing containing two pressure pipes. One of the pipes has been vertically curved and the other has been set to follow the surface. When referenced into another drawing, they come in straight as can be seen on the right.

After installing the service pack, simply open the same drawings and synchronize the references. You’ll see that the referenced pipes are the same as the source pipes.

Reference Resolved

Reference Issue Resolved

Grip Issue

The second item I will be discussing here is the issue with grip editing. This isn’t always an issue but can be in certain cases. First off, what is the issue? Well, if you set a pressure pipe to follow a surface and then use grips to edit the elevations of the different parts, sometimes the grip will be applied to the adjacent grip instead of the selected grip.

Grip Edit Issue

Grip Edit Issue

After installing the service packs, this is no longer an issue.

Grips Resolved

Grips Working Correctly

So, what causes this issue in the first place? This only seems to be an issue if the alignment and the pressure pipe are going in opposite directions. When you create the alignment from pressure network, make sure the pipes and the alignments are going the same way. Even with the latest service packs, if they are going opposite directions, you’ll still see a small issue, the last grip on the pressure pipe won’t display.

Missing_Grip

Missing Grip

As far as I know, there’s no way to edit that grip in this view, you’ll need to create a different alignment going the opposite direction to be able to edit it. In other words, it’s still a good idea to have your pressure pipes still go the same direction as the alignment but it’s not quite as important.

AutoCAD 2016 saw the introduction of the Geometric Center object snap. If you aren’t familiar with this snap, it basically will snap to the “geometric center” of an object, such as a polyline. What’s the geometric center? Well, it’s the centroid or center of mass. The problem is, this snap is not available in the Snap Override menu within Civil 3D 2016 or 2017.

<note>It was pointed out to me that this doesn’t work in 2016. The shortcut menu in the ACAD.CUI that is installed with Civil 3D 2016 is incomplete as well. If you are using 2016, you’ll need to copy the menu from the ACAD.CUI that gets installed with AutoCAD, not the one installed with Civil 3D. Open the ACAD.CUI in the transfers tab and copy it over that way. </note>

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AutoCAD vs. Civil 3D

You’ll also notice that in AutoCAD, you get the icons showing what the different snaps do whereas in Civil 3D, you don’t. If you want to enable this, you’ll need to replace the Civil 3D Snap Override menu with the AutoCAD version. To do this, go into your CUI editor (type CUI at the command line if you haven’t been there before).

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Copy AutoCAD Menu

In the CUI, scroll towards the bottom (I hid the Command List to make it easier to see), expand out Partial Customization Files, ACAD, and Shortcut Menus. Under the Shortcut Menus, right click on “Object Snap Cursor Menu” and choose “Copy”. Now that the AutoCAD version is copied, we’ll go replace the Civil 3D version with the AutoCAD version. Collapse up the Partial Customization Files and expand out Shortcut Menus (directly under CIVIL), right click on Object Snap Cursor Menu and choose Delete.

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Replace the Civil 3D menu with the AutoCAD menu

Once the old menu has been deleted, right click on the Shortcut Menus and choose Paste. This will paste the AutoCAD version of the menu that we copied into the Civil CUI file. Now, simply close the CUI editor and return to Civil 3D and be happy with your new snap overrides menu.

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Civil 3D with the new snap menu

 

Well, it’s once again that time of year, we get to see what cool new features are available in the new release of Autodesk software. Well, do you want to see what I think the best features are? I’ll list a few of the new features in the order that I think they are the most beneficial. Of course I’ll leave the best for last so, ranked from 5-1, my top five features in Civil 3D 2017!

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Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017

5 – Object and Data Shortcut Folders

On large projects, managing all your data can be cumbersome at best. Having several different surfaces that end up getting combined into a single surface, multiple alignments for use in an interstate interchange, and the examples keep coming.

In Civil 3D 2017, we can now organize our object data and data shortcuts in folders, simply right click on the object collection and choose the Create Folder option. You can create as many folders as you like and can create sub-folders as well.

Not only is this option available for the objects, they are available for data shortcuts too. In fact, if you create a data shortcut for an object in a sub-folder, the data shortcut will be placed in an identical sub-folder in the project folder.

Object_Folders

Create sub-folders for objects and data shortcuts

On a related note, you can also create multiple data references at once. Just select all the data shortcuts you want to reference and drag them into your drawing (or right click and choose “Create Reference”). You won’t get the options you get when creating a single data reference but you could always go edit the ones you wanted to change from the default.

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Adding Multiple References at Once

4 – Style Management

There are a lot of situations where the current method of managing the styles within a drawing leave a lot to desire. Many companies have very strict CAD standards but how do you know if someone has changed a style? Other times, you may work with organizations that have different standards and you may work on these different projects daily. How do you keep track of which drawings need which styles?

Well, 2017 will greatly help you here, that’s for sure! You can now attach a drawing  or drawing template to a drawing as a “Referenced Template”. If styles in the template are changed, deleted, or added, the styles will be changed, deleted (if they aren’t being used), or added to the attached drawing. In fact, multiple Reference Templates can be added to a drawing (you can even create a template specific for a project and attach it to the project drawings only). The new command can be found on the Manage Tab of the Ribbon.

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Referenced Templates

3 – Pressure Network Content

This one is pretty huge and I almost placed it further down in the list but, it’s just content and not functionality. I often get asked if CAD-1 is going to create pressure network content for the Civil 3D Pressure Networks like we have for the Pipe Networks and I was always hesitant to do it because I figured Autodesk would create the content the release after I created ours. Looks like it worked out for me because that’s exactly what Autodesk did (without the me doing it first part).

In Civil 3D 2017, there has been a ton of added Pressure Network content! In fact, there are now 6 catalogs that are installed by default.

  • Flanged
  • HDPE
  • Mechanical
  • Push On
  • PVC
  • Steel

Just to give you an idea of some of the added content, the following image shows some of the appurtenances available in the PVC catalog and, yes, that’s a hydrant!

Sample_Catalog

PVC Catalog Appurtenances

2 – Featurelines as Corridor Baselines

This is one I’ve been anticipating for a long time! Yes, alignments and profiles are powerful and have a place for roadway design but sometimes you just need to push an assembly along a feature, well now you can. Featurelines can now be used as a baseline in a corridor!

Now, honestly, I probably wouldn’t use them much to replace the traditional alignment/profile workflow for roadway design but what about those offset targets? They can be used for assembly offsets too! And don’t forget curb and gutter in a parking lot!

Featureline_as_Baseline

Featureline as Corridor Baseline

1 – Corridor Corner Cleanup

And finally, you’ve made it all the way to number one! What do I think is the best feature out of everything that’s available in Civil 3D 2017? Well, that would have to be the Corridor Corner Cleanup! You have an angle point in your corridor baseline? (I almost typed alignment but a baseline can be a featureline now…) Does that angle point cause your corridor to do odd things such as crossing sections on the inside of the bend or short cutting on the outside?

With the new feature, this is no longer an issue! As long as the subassemblies used in that region of the corridor have a constant width (in other words daylight subassemblies don’t work yet), they will clean up to each other! Now, add this with the option to use a featureline as a baseline and you have amazing new tools for modeling a parking lot!

Corridor_Corner_Cleanup

Corridor Corner Cleanup

Bonus Feature

Ok, so this last one I’m not quite sure about yet. It’s a great tool, I’m just not sure how it would be used, it’s something I’m going to have to play around with for a bit and see how useful it is. What’s the feature? Well, Corridors can now be data referenced! It’s great that we can do it, I’m just not quite sure where it will fit into the workflow just yet. If you can think of how you would use it, just leave a comment and let us all know.

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Data Reference Corridors

Final Thoughts

So, what do you think about these features? Would you have ordered them differently or added some of the others and removed some of these from the list?

All in all, I’m very excited about this release of the software! There’s a ton of new stuff in here but, it does come with a cost. Although AutoCAD 2017 still uses the 2013 .dwg format and is backwards compatible, Civil 3D 2017 is not backwards compatible. If you open a Civil 3D drawing in 2017 and save it, you won’t be able to use it in 2016 or earlier any longer so be cautious as you explore the new features, use copies of your drawings until you are ready to make the leap to the new version.

Now get out there and see what amazing out of the box ideas you can come up with now that we have these new capabilities!