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Thread: starting out in ADT

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    Default starting out in ADT

    I'm part of a small Architectural firm in Alaska. We are currently using Autocad 2002 and everyone is comfortable with it. We are considering the jump to ADT and currently have two seats of 2004. My boss has been very supportive of me learning the program and I have worked my way through all of the stock tutorials. I have become comfortable developing a model but am having trouble plotting. We use ctb files for plotting and when I use the default settings or the AIA ctb the line weights come out looking very bad (amateurish). I've searched these forums for more info but you guys with decades of experience (I've been doing this full time for 2 years now) start speaking over my head real quick. I don't want to reinvent the wheel here and I'm sure this has been dealt with before so any help would be appreciated.

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    Default Re: starting out in ADT

    We started using ADT 2004 about a year ago and I ran into the same problem. What we did was cut all pen weights in AIA Standard.ctb in half. That brought it down some but not quite what we were looking for. Then somebody here posted this file for me and although it helped greatly we still had some fine tuning to get our drawings to look the way we wanted. I still do not understand why the AIA Standard pens were plotting the way the do.
    Jim Bayne


    Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son
    Dean Vernon Wormer (Animal House)

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    Super Moderator david_peterson's Avatar
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    Default Re: starting out in ADT

    It's much better to use .stb (style based plotting) tables with ADT. That's what it was built on. Here's the main reason. ADT uses just about all of the 256 colors available. You would then need a plot setting for all 256 colors. With sytle based you can cut that down to about 10 or 12. With style based, color dosen't matter anymore. I would highly suggest .stb plotting with ADT.

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    Default Re: starting out in ADT

    David, I have a question. Will .stb's support 2d drafting? I know that is probably a acad 101 question but I have never used style based plotting. Right now we are using ADT 2004 but in a limited capacity. A lot of our work is still done with basic line work. Another question is does layering work the same when using style based drawings?
    Jim Bayne


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    Dean Vernon Wormer (Animal House)

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    Super Moderator david_peterson's Avatar
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    Default Re: starting out in ADT

    Why yes of coarse they do.

    What I did here was to add additional style pens and called them exactly what the used to be in .ctbs.

    If you draw something on a layer that has a color set to color "Yellow" you had to set the named plot style to "yellow". I was even able to combine some of the existing .ctb pens together. The only thing you must do (and should be doing anyway) is draw "color by layer" or you will get confused. You can then create a layer key style to work with your existing blocks and such that will set this based on the layer name.

    We have 1000's of standard guide details that were created using .ctb files. I still use them, didn't covert them, and they work great. You just need to keep in mind they everything must be color by layer, or you will end up doing this when you don't get the results you want.

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    Default Re: starting out in ADT

    Thanks for the help guys, guess I need to research stb plotting as well. Got any suggestions for good "how to" articles, tutorials, etc.?

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    Super Moderator david_peterson's Avatar
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    Default Re: starting out in ADT

    I can only tell you this

    You must (highly suggested) apply the KISS mentality.
    Keep it Stupid Simple.
    If you're the expert and you can't figure out what you did, you can't expect the flock to follow.

    I took our company standard .ctb template and converted it (that's step one)
    Next I took the out o the box "aia_standard.stb" file, copied it, and gave it a new name.
    (As I was once told "Never modify the original, you might want it back")
    Then looked through our standard .ctb pen table. Any line weight that didn't already exist, I added to the .stb table, keeping everything the same, then I named that plot style after the colors people were used to using.
    Then I opened up my template file, when to the layer manager and sorted by color. Selected the matching pen style and saved it. Now I can insert the template into a blank drawing and I'm off to the races.

    Remember, don't delete anything from the existing pen tables, just add stuff to it. This way anything that was set up out o the box won't have issues.

    As for help, there's Pauls book, but it just gives you the basics. If you want real detailed info the ADT user's manual might help (but it's about 3000 pages) and is available online. I haven't figured everything out yet. I still need to play with the "layer key styles". Once I get that accomplished I'll have much happier people.

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    Default Re: starting out in ADT

    You can also still use a .ctb, you just need to go into the layer keystyles and redefine which colors you want objects to be, to work with your current standards.
    There are also several objects that have colors built into them, that need to be modified too.
    This is the way we approached it because we have our own way we want things to plot, and have always had a .ctb that uses all 256 colors. We just made all of the ADT object conform to our color scheme. (we also tweaked our .ctb a bit in the process)

    .stb is a great concept, but from a CADD Managers point of view, it can be frustrating. If somebody is having a problem with an object plotting wrong, it is hard to see what the problem is, just by looking at the .dwg. When you are using color based, you can immediately see that the object is the wrong color, without checking properties, etc. Also, most people get a feel for what things should look like, and know what color it should be to plot correctly. When using style based, it is hard to look at a drawing and know that it is going to plot right. Also it allows anybody to use whatever color they feel like, which causes confusion and frustration when somebody else works on that drawing.

    Anyway, just my opinion!

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    Default Re: starting out in ADT

    Thanks Chris,
    Doesn't making ADT objects conform to a color scheme involve a lot of time? This strategy was my initial thought at resolving the issue, but the task seemed daunting. I like the idea of being able to glance at a dwg and know if something may be wrong, which is where we are at now. Is there a strategy you used to expedite the process?

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    Super Moderator david_peterson's Avatar
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    Default Re: starting out in ADT

    I guess the bigger question is how much work do you want to do up front.

    Both ways work, both methods need modifications done to something.

    The only other advice I can give you is to go either one way or the other.
    I just got done with a project on which we had half of the sheet set up as .ctb's and half .stb's. It was a nightmare.

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