As many of my posts start out, this one comes from one of my clients. He was using the Pressure Networks in Civil 3D 2015 and noticed that when he added the inner diameter of the pipe to a label, it came up with question marks.

Question Marks for Inner Diameter

Question Marks for Inner Diameter

To add to the confusion, even though there is a property in the pipe object for inner diameter, it was grayed out and couldn’t be changed.

Inner Diameter Can't be Edited

Inner Diameter Can’t be Edited

So, this got me to thinking, there’s got to be some way to add that information to the pipe! Well, let’s go edit the catalog. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can edit your pressure network catalog using the Content Catalog Editor.

To open your Content Catalog Editor, go to your Windows Start Menu and find the location where you can start Civil 3D, there you will also see the Content Catalog Editor.

Content Catalog Editor Start

Content Catalog Editor Start

In the Content Catalog Editor (CCE), open your pressure network catalog. Civil 3D comes with three of them, choose the one you are using or the one you’ve created for your company. In this example, I’ll use the pushon catalog. By default, they can be found here for the imperial catalogs: C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\C3D 2015\enu\Pressure Pipes Catalog\Imperial. Change the obvious for metric.

Once the catalog is open, go to your pipes, and add the property for your inner diameter.

Edit the Inner Diameter

Edit the Inner Diameter

One thing to note, most 8″ pipe does not have an inner diameter of 8″. One manufacturer of C900 PVC pipe had 8″ PVC that varied from 7.26″ to 8.28″ depending on the pressure classification.

Now that the catalog has been modified, you’ll need to restart your Civil 3D and replace the pipes in your drawing that are missing the inner diameter. Unfortunately, I don’t know of a way to update the pipes that are in the drawing already (with the missing inner diameter) to show the new inner diameter in the catalog.




So, Civil 3D 2013 is just around the corner and I wanted to let you all know a few of my favorite things in this release.


Well, I can’t really comment on the performance yet as I haven’t had much chance to push the software around but, if you listen to those in the know, they’ve made some serious improvements to the performance.


There are some major improvements to the survey tools in this release. In fact, there is an entire new tab on the ribbon for your survey tools. What’s the big thing? Querying your survey database. One of the things I’ve always found awkward about the survey database is the disconnect between it and the drawing. With this release you can query your survey database and add the results of the query directly to a surface. If you add additional data to the survey database that matches the query, when you rebuild your surface, it will update (in my testing, the surfaces wasn’t marked as out of data if the survey database changed).

Survey Query

Survey Query Ribbon Tab

Now that’s pretty cool and really useful for surveyors but, there is also the ability to create a line label, WITHOUT A LINE! How many times have I been asked if you can do this? I’ve lost count and now I’ll be able to say, YES!

Line Between Two Points Label

Basically this tool creates a phantom line that is labeled. Grab the label and you can adjust the points it’s labeling between.


I’m an engineer. Why did I get into engineering? I wanted to drive trains. Three years into college and I realize that I won’t be driving any trains (I was wondering what statics had to do with trains) but now with Civil 3D 2013, I can design rail lines. There are new alignment types and settings (I’ve seen many times on the discussion groups people asking about Degree of Curvature and now we have it). Honestly, I’ve not done much with the rail tools in 2013 so I’ll leave that for someone else to write up (at least for now).

Rail Cant

The corridor creation has a new dialog box that makes it a bit easier. It’s a small improvement but hey, I’ll take anything they’ll give me. The assemblies have had some very nice improvements. When you add a subassembly to another subassembly, it will detect the correct side that it’s on for you so you don’t have to constantly change the sides as you are creating the assembly. Additionally, you can replace an existing subassembly in an assembly as well as insert a subassembly between two subassemblies.

Insert Subassemblies


The Volume Dashboard Extension is now a part of the program. If you have checked out this great tool, check out the write up I did on it earlier HERE.

One thing that I always struggled with is when you need to cut out one surface at the limit of another surface. Not a difficult task but if you change these surfaces, the process for adding the boundary again is very manual in nature. Now you can simply add one surface as a hide boundary to another surface (be careful not to get into a circular reference issue).

Surface as Hide Boundary

Pressure Networks

Yup, you heard me. You can now model pressure networks in Civil 3D 2013. There is a brand new type of object, a Pressure Network. It has it’s own parts lists and everything. Bends, tees, crosses, valves, etc are all available for you to add to your network. This is a pretty big addition to Civil 3D and I haven’t had a lot of time to get down and dirty with this yet so stay tuned for more posts on this topic as I learn the ins and outs of this.

Hopefully you’ve seen something here that makes you go, “Oooh! I can use that!”

So you have some short pipes and you have some long pipes. Labeling the long pipes is just fine but when you label the short pipes, the text is longer than the pipe so you have to manually edit the label and put those line breaks in or you have to change the style the label is using for one that stacks the different pieces of data. Well NO MORE! Come on now! This is CIVIL 3D we’re talking about!

As long as you have Civil 3D 2012 that is…

Anyways, in Civil 3D 2012 there is a new option in the label style to set a maximum length to a text component. We can use this to specify how long we want the label to be. Now, the trick here is to use an expression for the maximum label length. We have to do this because the length of the label is measured in plotted units, not absolute model units.

The expression will look like this:

Expression used to limit label length

To create the expression, on the settings tab in Civil 3D, expand out Pipe, Label Styles, Plan Profile. Right click on Expressions and choose “New”. Give it a name (this will appear in the label style later), a description (this is optional), and the expression itself.

Now that the expression is created, you can add this to your label style. In your pipe label style, simply add this expression to the Maximum Width of the label text component.

Applying the expression

Your expression will now show up as an option for the Maximum width of your label. Once you have applied this, your label will automatically adjust for you.

Labels Automatically Shortened

As you can see in this example, there are some limitations. If any single word is longer than the pipe length, it will not be wrapped. Additionally, if you want a buffer around the ends of the pipe, you can simply modify the expression and subtract off half the twice the distance you want at each end (1/2″ buffer at each end means subtracting 1″ from the expression).

Hope this helps someone with their labeling issues and thanks to Brooke for coming up with the great idea!

CAD-1 has been selling a library of parts for the pipe networks that assist in modeling waterlines, sewerlines, as well as some local storm sewer parts. I’ve had several people call asking for assistance on how to use these parts so I decided to create a series of videos that should help with that. Now, if you aren’t using our part library, there is still a lot of good information in these videos for anyone that is using the pipe networks for modeling your waterlines.

If you are interested in purchasing the library, please see our website at

If you would like to see the entire video, please click HERE

I’ve broken the video up into the different parts and have included them all here for your enjoyment.

Part1 – Introduction

Part2 – Drawing Settings

Part3 – Creating Styles

Part4 – Rule Sets

Part5 – Parts Lists

Part6 – Creating the Network

Part7 – Adding Additional Pipes

Seems that things come in spurts. I talked with someone the other day that was about to give up on C3D because, “The only way pipes can connect to a structure is at the insertion point.” The last week or so, there have been two wishes submitted to the AUGI C3D wish list about this.

Well, I have some good news for you, pipes don’t HAVE to connect at the structure insertion point. Here’s an example: I have a storm sewer system that includes a curb inlet. This inlet is 15′ long and the discharge pipe comes out of the end of the box. 15.5′ away from the edge of the inlet s the 4′ diameter manhole it needs to connect to. The distance from center to center of the structure is 25′ but, there is only 15.5′ of actual pipe. According to Civil 3D, the length of the pipe is 25′ and that is the distance that is used for the slope calculations. You can display the edge to edge distance but, for slope calculations or quantity takeoff purposes, the pipe is still 25′ long. So, what do we do? Well, just move the pipe to whatever part of the structure you want!

(click on the image to see the animation)

The trick to get this to work correctly is the pipe must be connected to the structure first. Once it is connected, simply grab the grip and place it anywhere on the structure that you want. Just make sure you still see the glyph that indicates you are connecting to a structure. You have edited the pipe! It’s now as long as it really is. QTO will recognize the true length of the pipe and the slope calculations are done correctly.

There are some things to be cautious of however. If you move one of the structures, the pipes will jump back to the insertion point of the structure. Also, if you create an alignment from the network parts, it goes from start of pipe to start of pipe so you’ll probably end up editing the alignment after the fact but that’s extremely simple to do. Finally, you can snap to the structure but if you do that, it will change the invert elevations of the pipe so, you’ll need to come back and edit them after the fact if you use snaps (that’s why I just eye balled it in the image above).

Now go out there and get your pipes to work correctly!

So, a few days ago on the Autodesk discussion group, someone wanted to be able to have a structure in a pipe network be able to label the station and offset of two different alignments.  How is this done?  Well, add a piece of reference text to the label and away you go! (more…)