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…

Error.jpg

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.

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!

Splash_Screen

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.

Multiple_References

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.

Reference_Template

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.

Data_Reference_Corridors

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!

This question came up the other day in Civil Chat, “Is there any way I can add custom properties to a pressure part in the catalog in such a way that I can add that property to a label?”

The short answer is, “YES”.

To do this, you’ll simply need to edit the catalog in the Content Catalog Editor.

Open the Catalog

To open the catalog, you’ll need to use the Content Catalog Editor. This can be found in the same location in the start menu as whatever version of Civil 3D you are using (provided it’s version 2013 or newer).

Content Catalog Editor in Start Menu

Content Catalog Editor in Start Menu

I always recommend to leave the default files that come with Civil 3D alone when possible. In other words, make a copy of the catalog and then edit the copy. To do this, simply open the catalog and save it as a new catalog. The default catalogs that come with Civil 3D are found at “C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\C3D 2016\enu\Pressure Pipes Catalog\Imperial” (adjust for your version and unit use).

Edit a copy

Edit a copy

Now that you have the catalog open and saved, simply choose the part you want to add the custom properties to. On the right hand side, choose a property that you aren’t using and add the data to that. In this example, I chose the 10″x10″ Tee and I added the custom property to the “Model Name” field.

Custom Property Added to the Part

Custom Property Added to the Part

Once you are done modifying the properties in your catalog, simply save the catalog.

Back in Civil 3D, make sure your drawing is referencing the catalog you just edited. To choose the catalog, go to the Home Tab, expand out the Create Design panel and run the “Set Pressure Network Catalog” command.

Set Pressure Network Catalog

Set Pressure Network Catalog

Once a part from your catalog is created in the drawing, the custom property you set in the catalog can be added to a label, simply edit the label style and add that field to your label. Don’t forget to hit the stupid, little, unlabeled, white arrow (I hate that stupid, little, unlabeled, white arrow)!

Add Field to Label

Add Field to Label

Now that property will show up in your drawing when you label your pressure network!

Finished Label

Finished Label

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.