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Thread: CTB vs STB

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    Post CTB vs STB

    Are most of us using the .ctb rather than the .stb? I am used to the .ctb format but I recently changed jobs and they use the .stb to control their drawings.

    This is a two part question:
    1. Which is better to control the drawings for company standards?

    2. Does the .ctb give the CAD Manager more control to set and lock it rather than the .stb which allows users to make their own customization for plotting?

    I am not certain which would be best so I am asking the experts.

    Under His Eye

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    Default Re: CTB vs STB

    Both work well when used properly, but I prefer the power of STB
    Before the 2000 version came out 19 years ago we had to use a CTB to control both plotting color and lineweight. The 2000 version introduced lineweights in the Layer Manager as well as the STB option. As long as Lineweight is left as "Use object lineweight" for each of the 256 colors in a CTB you can control the lineweight with either the Layer Manager or the Properties Palette.

    With an STB like Autodesk-MONO.stb which installs with AutoCAD you can set any layer or object to plot at the color it's drawn, black or one of 10 shades of gray out of the box. It would take a complex CTB to come anywhere near that which is why there isn't one installed with AutoCAD.

    We switched to Florida Dept. of Transportation's FDOT.stb which has only 3 grayscales (all you really need) and adds "5% Color" which plots a light shade of the object color which is great for solid hatches. With only 6 plot styles it gives more control than the 256 required for a CTB could ever dream of.

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    Default Re: CTB vs STB

    The issue I think we are encountering here is that with the .stb format users are making changes to their drawings in other offices that differ from what another office might use. Wouldn't the .ctb file be better for larger corporations with offices in different towns and states? That way every drawing is the same so clients are not getting plots that look different? We're trying to tie down some standards so each user, be it a designer, EI or PE that uses AutoCAD are on the same page?

    I am used to what folks call old school where the .ctb and template are locked so no one user can make a change to it. At least not a permanent one. At last count we have 38 different .stb files on our server. Granted, some may be for other disciplines but that is far too many for people to choose from. For example, each of our offices do not need their own .stb file. One corporate one, maybe one for each discipline, but just one.

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    Default Re: CTB vs STB

    We use the Monochrome.ctb with all objects set to Bylayer for all their display options. Color can be added by specifying a color as a True Color or from one of the Color Books. All anticipated layers are predefined in the templates with line widths set to the layers and grayscaling done via the Transparency setting for the layer. Template files contain all anticipated tabs, title blocks and viewports for the type of drawings that template is to produce. Each viewport has layers pre-selected with visibility and any needed layer setting over-rides. They include xrefs as well. We can send our drawings to anyone and they will plot just fine as everyone has the monochrome.ctb

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    Default Re: CTB vs STB

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe_Isuzu View Post
    The issue I think we are encountering here is that with the .stb format users are making changes to their drawings in other offices that differ from what another office might use. Wouldn't the .ctb file be better for larger corporations with offices in different towns and states? That way every drawing is the same so clients are not getting plots that look different? We're trying to tie down some standards so each user, be it a designer, EI or PE that uses AutoCAD are on the same page?

    I am used to what folks call old school where the .ctb and template are locked so no one user can make a change to it. At least not a permanent one. At last count we have 38 different .stb files on our server. Granted, some may be for other disciplines but that is far too many for people to choose from. For example, each of our offices do not need their own .stb file. One corporate one, maybe one for each discipline, but just one.
    I've never written a custom STB, used the Autodesk-MONO.stb which installs with AutoCAD for many years before conforming to the Florida Dept. of Transportation's FDOT.stb. I cannot imagine why any organization would have more that one STB file for their own use. We do have a large collection of mostly CTB files needed to plot drawings from consultants. Your CAD Manager does need to set one as the company standard. I'd recommend using the Autodesk-MONO.stb which installs with AutoCAD as it doesn't need to be included with drawing shared outside the organization since anyone with AutoCAD already has it. If I was to create a custom one I'd start with the FDOT.stb attached below and add a couple more shades of object color. The plot styles could be named better as well.

    We had that issue with CTB files 20+ years ago, because when the boss wanted this plotted a certain color and lineweight for presentation a custom CTB was required. Nowadays I'd set the colors to plot normal and set the linetype to whatever's needed. Either Autodesk-MONO.stb or FDOT.stb which is used for Civil work statewide allow that to be a simple task.
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    Default Re: CTB vs STB

    Quote Originally Posted by MMccall View Post
    We use the Monochrome.ctb with all objects set to Bylayer for all their display options. Color can be added by specifying a color as a True Color or from one of the Color Books. All anticipated layers are predefined in the templates with line widths set to the layers and grayscaling done via the Transparency setting for the layer. Template files contain all anticipated tabs, title blocks and viewports for the type of drawings that template is to produce. Each viewport has layers pre-selected with visibility and any needed layer setting over-rides. They include xrefs as well. We can send our drawings to anyone and they will plot just fine as everyone has the monochrome.ctb
    That works great too, I used that briefly years ago as well. I do prefer being able to plot a Red object as Red, grayscale, or black with a plot style though.

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    Default Re: CTB vs STB

    Mostly irrelevant - they're using (and presumably set up for) STB. Which one is "better" doesn't matter at that point.

    Automation should be used to control things like layer names and settings (color, plot style, and everything in between) so users can spend more time on the design work and less on whether this or that is right setting. Or getting a "case of the clevers" as they try to work around the standards because they think they know better. That applies to both CTB *and* STB.

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    Default Re: CTB vs STB

    Let's not forget each plotter has its own little differences. Especially between offices and different brands of plotters and inkjet versus laser, little adjustments need to be made to maintain the same appearance.

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    Default Re: CTB vs STB

    I'm using stb here, but only because the previous CAD manager had already made the change. There was no point me coming along and changing it all back.

    I do think stb is a better way of controlling plots but few people have made the change from ctb, therefore plenty of issues arising from it. We still have to have a ctb for legacy projects, we have to convert external companies drawings to stb and I have to train new starters as they've not come across it before. I've only got 3 styles, (normal, 100% & 50%) which only control the plotted colour b& screening, lineweights etc are controlled by the layer manager.

    STB vs CTB for standards is irrelevant. I still had the issue of different users having different versions of the same stb file, you'd get that whatever. Once I got the standard page setups, central plot settings locations & rapping knuckles with a wooden ruler to whomever deviated it's all good.

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    Default Re: CTB vs STB

    I want to thank each of your for your comments and suggestions. I get that their is no clear cut winner or loser in this debate. What I was trying to is determine which everyone prefers and I see merit in both. I think this needs to be added to our on-boarding process. So we can find out if new hires are used to the ctb format and need to be trained on using our stb.

    One last question if I may. If we can get them to lock the template will the stb get locked as well? Is locking the stb even an option?

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