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Thread: Project Design

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    Default Project Design

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    Hello, I'm a newbie to AutoCAD, and have a few general questions about how to properly design a project. I can do the actual drafting ok for now and have made a few drawings, but I'm getting ready to do a larger project and want to do it right.


    I will be making a set of electrical prints (approx. 120 pages). For the experts out there, can you give me a very basic top-down description of the best approach? For instance:


    1. Create or find a template (I've done this)
    2. Create a title block.
    3. Create a sheet set.
    4. blah, blah, blah


    I don't need anything too wordy, and I'll deal with the nuts and bolts of it later. In real life I am a software engineer and want to approach this like I would use Classes and Functions and create as many reusable objects as possible. I also assume that if I start off correctly, life will be much easier just as it is in the software world.


    Thanks!

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    You have good instincts. I too have a software background, and I've found that there is some overlap between data design and CAD project layouts.

    AutoCAD blocks make good title blocks. For things that don't change, you can include text in them, e.g. your company's name. For things that do change, you can include attributes. If you're feeling adventurous, you can include fields for drawing-specific data, such as a project name. Once you've defined the block, you can save it as a template.

    If you'll be printing at different scales, create a title block for each one. Don't put viewports in the block.

    Once you import the title block, you can redefine the block definition if needed. It's much easier to fix a typo once than 120 times.
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    First to clarify, in AutoCAD 'template' means a .dwt file that will be used to start other drawings. 'Title Block' can be self contained or it can have many parts, some inserted in and others xrefed in.

    1 Figure out what will be the same in each title block on every page. Make a separate drawing for that and that will be xrefed into each sheet, if and when something needs changed you change it once and it is updated in each drawing.

    2 Create the other part of the titleblock and use attributes for the areas where you will be editing for unique information for individual sheets.

    Xref the first part into the second part and save. Now insert 2 into your .dwt (template) file, use that to start each new drawing. In your template file you will setup layer names, text styles, dim styles, leader styles, etc., so every drawing started with the .dwt will have all that information from the beginning.
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    Welcome to CADTutor Cincy.
    Probably worth adding, you will need to be sure that the template with which you will be working is in the appropriate units of measurement.
    Most of the standard Autocad templates are Imperial, unless they end with ISO, for metric.
    Any drawing can be SAVED AS a .dwt file, which as a coder, you likely already understand.

    Once you have created the template which you think fills the bill, you can set it in your OPTIONS.
    Click on the FILES tab, then you will find the TEMPLATE settings, where you can BROWSE to, and set the appropriate template as your DEFAULT QNEW template.
    Once you have designated it as your default, whenever you open the program, that will be the template opened, or when you use the QNEW command.
    It is quite likely that you may wind up with multiple customized .dwts, for different tasks, units of measurement, or whatever.
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    A help to setting up your dwt is get a copy of www.lee-mac.com steal.lsp as you start building your dwt you will realise that you want some blocks out of another drawing. The lisp allows you to do just that rather than use copy and paste etc.

    Also think about your block libraries you dont necessarilly want every single block in your dwt, you can use menu's or the preference is for tool palettes.

    Lastly set up a good directory structure for your projects and use excel to record etc with multiple key words. Dont call projects by obscure names you will forget.
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    Thanks very much everybody for the helpful posts. It is greatly appreciated.


    Let me regroup a little bit: If I understand this correctly, I can make a drawing (i.e. a blank title block) and xref it into each of my sheets. But for the unique data for the title block (page number, title, etc), I would use annotations. Correct? So, where are the annotations stored or can they even be stored? Can I stick all of the annotations in a text file or SQL database and reference that? I see that AutoCAD supports SQL connections, but I'm not sure to what end. It would be a piece of cake for me to put all of my dynamic data in a database and even export it to whatever form AutoCAD would like, but I first would like to verify if AutoCAD even works that way.


    To understand where I am going with this, my electrical drawings will contain a lot of things like wire numbers and IO addresses, and I could easily auto-generate them. If I could then pass them into my drawings, that would eliminate a lot of tedious work.


    Again, thanks.

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    Isn't AutoCAD Electrical capable of generating wire numbers and I/O numbers based on a user supplied starting number?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BIGAL View Post
    A help to setting up your dwt is get a copy of www.lee-mac.com steal.lsp as you start building your dwt you will realise that you want some blocks out of another drawing. The lisp allows you to do just that rather than use copy and paste etc.

    Very cool! Thanks!


    One question on blocks- is a block actually kind on a mini drawing that was defined as an object that can be copied and pasted wherever I want? So if I made a drawing, and inside this drawing a made a "circuit breaker" and called it "CB", if I ran this program it would find something called "CB" and allow me to copy it? Are blocks stored as a dwt or are they added to a library or something?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReMark View Post
    Isn't AutoCAD Electrical capable of generating wire numbers and I/O numbers based on a user supplied starting number?

    Using a starting number would be a non-starter (sorry for the terrible pun). Often times, modifications to existing machines are made so the end product is a mixture of old wire numbers and new wire numbers, plus the numbers and addresses are rarely logical in nature. These addresses and component IDs already exist in the code I am writing to control the machines, and it is easy for me to extract the data.

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    a block actually kind on a mini drawing
    YES it can live inside your dwg or you can have each block as a seperate dwg which is commonly known as a block library and there are many ways to call up these library items.

    Re title block you can xref or we have it as a block in our template and has attributes like project name, sheet No, drafter, date and so on ours has around 20 values that you can enter. Copying the layout copies the Titleblock then we edit some of the attributes like, sheet description. You may want to look at sheet sets this can automate a number of tasks in your title block like sheet number.

    Blocks can have lots of detail including Attributes which you can change the value like I/O number.

    Whilst Autocad can access sql database, MS Access, the best and for most help code wise is to use excel, or even simpler text data files, including CSV files.

    Ask here for help plenty will assist. Once you get something together post it here and you will get productive comments back.
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