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Thread: How do you deal with plotting within your company?

  1. #11
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    Default Re: How do you deal with plotting within your company?

    For nearly 20 years I've used the same process I developed at some huge firms as I now use in my small practice: separate model files for each "slice" of model information. The NCS provides for this option. The trick is that it is MUCH easier to manage objects between files than across layer names.

    For example, A-XP (existing), A-DP (demo), and A-FP (floor/new). You can cut/paste-in-place between the XP and DP in five seconds. Moving objects back and forth across layers with status designation tails (-DEMO) takes much longer.

    The approach helps the team manage a very large info stack, assists in manipulating lineweights and types by XREF, and atomizes the amount of info in each file so that larger teams can all be working on a project at the same time. File writes and cloud updates are faster, and less needs to be transmitted in minor updates. But the biggest advantage is organizational.

    NCS didn't provide as simple a method for additional parametric slices, so we extrapolated: CX, CD, and CP are ceiling eXisting, Demo, and Plan. Same goes for RP (roof plan), SC (sections), EL (elevations), DT (details), EP (enlarged), and so on.

    And by "manage," I don't just mean keeping object status straight. If you plan ahead, you draw your plans stacked about 0,0,0 in some fashion. Then elevations are drawn *below* the plans so that they can reference it, usually with copies of the originally positioned XREF plans "twisted" along for each elevation. Then sections can be drawn over the elevations. And details can be drawn over the sections and plans. I use tails to designate scale for details to further segregate annotation. (I dislike auto-scaling annotation because I still have to go through and tweak it for each scale anyway in the rare instance I reference it more than once.) Develop a clever XREF model file coloring routine that automatically pounds XREF layers into prescribed colors and light weights based on model file, and perhaps floor level, and you instantly know what every piece of the large stack is that you're looking through no matter the model file you're in. Use an intuitive color scheme that casts each type of file in it's associated hue area on the color wheel. Saturate new work and darken/dash demo versus existing for renovations. We sometimes create a master reference file that embeds all the model files just to double check design logic and drawing execution, but this is never used for authoring.) Develop them for sheet files, too.

    About the only kickback I've gotten over this scheme across the decades using it are from the "folder people" who like to make endless subdirectories that make managing XREFs disastrous. Don't let them win. I've seen very, very large buildings executed with all the model and sheet files in the same folder simply by teaching everybody how type-ahead works in a file manager and file open dialog.

    Custom menus with shortcuts for all this is available in LT via CUI and scripts if you do it right. Cheap, fast, and easy. Which is really the best way to do great design, avoid mistakes, and go home on time.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with plotting within your company?

    Quote Originally Posted by digitect788893 View Post
    For nearly 20 years I've used the same process I developed at some huge firms as I now use in my small practice: separate model files for each "slice" of model information. The NCS provides for this option. The trick is that it is MUCH easier to manage objects between files than across layer names.

    For example, A-XP (existing), A-DP (demo), and A-FP (floor/new). You can cut/paste-in-place between the XP and DP in five seconds. Moving objects back and forth across layers with status designation tails (-DEMO) takes much longer.
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  3. #13
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    Default Re: How do you deal with plotting within your company?

    I came across this thread quite late. But I have several tips to share and I hope I am not late.

    Ideas already presented by others in this thread:
    * Separate line-works into XREFs. These are the kinds of CAD objects whose positions "can't" change in a drawing. Like fixtures, walls, posts, maybe electric lines. But stuff like labels and comments and pretty much any text-y objects are not considered line-works, because their positions can change slightly without having an impact on the design communicated in the drawing.
    * Having title blocks broken out as separate files allows for the reuse of content/layout/settings quite easy on subsequent projects.

    Other ideas:
    - Converting drawings across multiple files.
    * Have lineworks separated by discipline: This can be reused across multiple disciplines.
    * Use a common origin point and rotation for all XREFs. This allows for blindly attaching XREFs at origin 0,0. And all lines will appear in their precise positions relative to the common coordinate.
    * Use WBLOCK command on lines to export them across several files. Makes for very compact and easy loading XREFs. Make sure to remove the lines that are WBLOCK'd. And then XREF the WBLOCK'd file in as needed.

    Creating reusable titleblock.
    - Use one file for storing title block lineworks (ex: titlelines.dwg). Only add those text-y objects that are going to be consistent for every page in the project.
    - Create another file and XREF in titleblock.dwg. Add attributes for all text that change in multiple sheets. WBLOCK the XREF and attributes into a seperate file (ex: titleblock.dwg).
    - Switch to Layout space where the sheet is. Change pagesetup to the proper page size. Insert Block titleblock.dwg here. Save file as titlesheet-template.dwt.

    Create sheetset
    - Create sheetset. Use example. Pick blank sheetset if you can.
    - Skip options. And hit finish
    - Right-click on the sheetset, and click properties.
    - Template should be titlesheet-template.dwt.
    - You can store label blocks and callout blocks in titlesheet-template.dwt.as a block in the file
    - Pagesetup overrides is best stored in titlesheet-template.dwt.
    - Use titlesheet-template.dwt. for sheet creation template.

    You can add subsets. Each subset has its own property to specify which template sheet to use for new sheets.

    Sheets should typically be stored as separate files. If put together, in one, it is best not to use more than 15 sheets. However, i have used 30 without too much fuss. It is just real slow.

    Adding sheetset and sheet properties: Take a list of attributes you have made per drawing that you expect will change from drawing to drawing. Make custom sheet properties for them under "edit custom props". Edit titlesheet-template.dwt, edit each attribute and default value of the custom sheet property. Leverage sheet number and sheet title because they can be changed easily under "rename and renumber" very well. I use sheet number for page number and sheet title for drawing number. File name should be the sheet title or description. You want it to be something that remains consistent.

    Last step: folder file organization
    * while it is easy and terrific to store all files in the same folder, it does not make for sanity. You want to divide up your files into three types: DWG xrefs, Sheet Layouts, BIM sheets. You may also want to keep separate PDF references, image references, etc.
    * Add the location with all of your xref dwg files under "model views". There it gives option to add location. Add locations for all of your dwg folders. You will be happy you did. All of your dwg files will then appear and you can use that instead of navigating through the windows folder system.

    How many sheetsets to create: One for each discipline is a good idea. But you can subsets to do the same thing. If you have turf wars in your office, create separate sheetsets.

    Setup publish dialog options also.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with plotting within your company?

    "Publish" will do all what you need, you just have to know how to do your page setups in PSpace. I have had more than a hundred tabs/layouts, no problem.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with plotting within your company?

    Quote Originally Posted by plazawest690480 View Post
    Although we have a sheet layout template (Title Block) and can use this for each sheet that will need to be plotted...Do we then in theory have 1 sheet for every page that would be plotted? So in theory our sheet set could have 40-60 pages comprising of all the sheets needed to be plotted for a project?

    Thanks
    I'm also using Civil 3D for my design. Have used layout tabs from day one.

    Are you saying you have only one .DWG file and you plot 40-60 pages out of paper space? How do you do that?

    As many others have mentioned, layout tabs with viewports is a great way to work. Use XREF's for different backgrounds. Break up your .DWG files by types of drawings. For example, Architectural, Details, Elevations, Sections, Tables, Notes, etc. AutoCAD recommends limiting the number of layout tabs per .DWG file to 10. You can have more if not a lot of detail per page. Using Sheet Set Manager to organize and plot your pages is also a great way to work.

    Best of luck.
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    Default Re: How do you deal with plotting within your company?

    I had 88 layouts in my biggest one not a problem, 3 methods use sheet sets, use publish, or for me had a custom lisp that matches our title block and printers. The last version matched users to their closest printer. There are a couple of versions depending on printer output.

    Here is the program for plotting a range of layouts to pdf you will need to change sheet window size. We have used this for years. The next version joins the pdf's back into 1 pdf.

    You need the multi getvals.lsp its a library routine for dcl input.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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