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Specific project sheet and layer management


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When I came on to my current company a few months ago, CAD management was completely absent and when I informed my manager I thought we should have some type of CAD policy users can look to for guidance, he promptly made me the de facto CAD Manager :o


As such, I'm trying to research the best way to manage the various projects we currently have in development. Specifically we have two specific contracts with completely different drawing requirements (i.e. different Layers, Title Blocks, etc.) and one of those contracts has different requirements depending on the type of drawing (electrical, piping, structure, etc).


I have setup read-only drawing templates for each specific discipline of each project and currently the designer will just open the relevant drawing and save it with a new name.


There are several drawbacks to this, the first being that for one project, the zone numbers on each sheet of the format are continuous (i.e. Sheet 01 has zones 1 thru 8, Sheet 2 has zones 9 thru 16, etc.). I've manually created 10 sheets thinking none of the drawings currently being worked would have more than that. Our electrical lead just informed me he has a wiring table drawing that he anticipates will have upwards of 50 sheets.


I know there is a better way to create the necessary sheets and I do have some experience with lsp files but not enough to figure out what I should do.


I have created a lsp routine and associated dcl that displays the various projects we are working on. The user selects the project and clicks the 'OK' button which in turn loads the lsp file linked to the selection. That lsp file starts a new drawing and loads the correct layers. I'd like to add a sheet function that either asks the user how many sheets they want to create or load just the first two sheets. If it only loads the first two sheets, I'd like to create an add/subtract sheet routine that when ran will detect how many sheets are currently in the drawing, then add or subtract sheets based on what is needed.


I'd appreciate some opinions on how I could go about doing all or some of this. Thanks in advance.



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I suggest creating a drawing register which anticipates how many drawing sheets the project will require in it's entirety and then creating the requisite files as part of a sheet set. The draughters can look down the list to see which drawing file they should be using and then find the appropriate file via the sheet set manager. You can add plenty of 'Spare' drawings to make sure that your covered.


You could add the Zone Numbers as sheet specific feilds in the sheet set manager.

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Thanks for getting me started using fields as I had never used them before. I tried using the SheetSet Current Sheet Number (AcSm Sheet.Number) to get the zones right on each drawing but I ran into two issues. First for this to work the Layouts must be a part of a Sheet Set and most of the people in my office have never heard of Sheet Sets much less use them. The second issue concerns the fields being updated even when the Layouts are part of a Sheet Set. Even though I have AutoCAD (2009 by the way) set to automatically update if I save, regen or open the drawing, it doesn't work most of the time.


So I started playing around with some of the options in the type of field and was intrigued by the DieselExpression, LispVariable and SystemVariable in the "Other" field category and now I think I've gotten halfway to where I want to be. There are still some drawbacks to the way I'm doing it but I think I'm on the right track.


Based on this thread ( h t t p ://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=49200, sorry not allowed to post links yet) over on the AUGI forums, I used a DieselExpression in my field to get the last two characters of the Current Layout (the naming convention of the Layouts for my current projects are SH 01, SH 02, etc. so the two digit number is returned by the expression). I place this string inside a basic mathematical equation to get the value I'm looking for. See below:


1st Zone: $(-,$(*,8,$(substr,$(getvar,ctab),1,4)),7)

2nd Zone: $(-,$(*,8,$(substr,$(getvar,ctab),1,4)),6)

3rd Zone: $(-,$(*,8,$(substr,$(getvar,ctab),1,4)),5)

4th Zone: $(-,$(*,8,$(substr,$(getvar,ctab),1,4)),4)

5th Zone: $(-,$(*,8,$(substr,$(getvar,ctab),1,4)),3)

6th Zone: $(-,$(*,8,$(substr,$(getvar,ctab),1,4)),2)

7th Zone: $(-,$(*,8,$(substr,$(getvar,ctab),1,4)),1)

8th Zone: $(*,8,$(substr,$(getvar,ctab),1,4))


This works great and is immediate. When I copy the fields to a new tab, the value is displayed as soon as the paste command is finished. Of course the biggest drawback to doing it this way is if the names of the Layouts do not contain a number.


You know for the last 10 years I've been using AutoCAD but the more I read on the AUGI, Cadtutor and Swamp forums, I now realize I have never used AutoCAD at all. The training I've received from the first company (one of the top defense industry contractors) I worked for was a laughable one-day event that hardly gave me anything to use and the only AutoCAD time we were allowed (network licensing issues) was used to get the work done.


I've added all the aforementioned forums to my favorites and I plan to visit as often as possible to continue to find easier and better ways to do the same things I've been doing the wrong way all these years. Thanks to everyone who contributes to the community.



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That's great Lonnie, and thanks for posting your results.


Unfortunately many companies subscribe to the 'I hired them because they can use CAD, why do I need to train them?" mentality. That's where these user groups come in. I'm sure that you code you sweated out will really help someone else too!


A couple more thoughts to throw at you.

-The killer question for field updating is 'did it update before it plotted?'. If this isn't happening, why not post you file up it can be dissected by the good folks here on the forum.

-You can easily create a sheet set from an existing set of drawings using the sheet set manager wizard.

-That fact that many of your colleagues don't know sheet sets shouldn't hold you back. Pass on what you've learned.

-You could write some Lisp code into your ACADDOC file that would check your Layout tab names and re-write them according to your convention. (You might want to post something in the programming forum if you want to have a go at this).

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