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nestly

Advice needed setting up catalog(s) and routing preference

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nestly

So, I'm trying to transition from AutoCAD to AutoCAD MEP and I would like some advice on how to get things set up right the first time. (I'm currently making my way through Aubin's AutoCAD MEP 2012-2013 for the 2nd time) Basically, I'm looking for advice/help converting my existing AutoCAD 3D parts and fitting into AEC content, and how to put them in a separate catalog to be used by routing preferences and referenced by the "Build" and "Replace Fitting" panels.

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tzframpton

Go to Manage > Catalog Editor. Once the editor is open, click File > New. Select the Domain, name it, and browse to the directory you wish to set the Catalog Root Directory (mapped networked drive would be best scenario, but anywhere is technically fine). Don't get too hung up on "where" you place this, you can easily edit this later.

 

Now you have a fresh, clean in-house Catalog file. But now you must "add" it to the catalogs path. Options > MEP Catalogs > expand Multi-view Parts and click the "Add" button. MvParts are usually related directly to equipment and all other catch-all type miscellaneous items that are not Cable Tray, Conduit, Duct and Pipe. Move this path up to the Top of the list. After you click Okay and are back to AutoCAD, go to Manage > MEP Content dropdown > Regenerate Catalog. Follow the sub-prompts at the Command Line. You can do All, or just MvParts because that's the only domain you modified.

 

Now you're all set. As you begin building and adding Content, you can put all your company's specific items to this catalog, which will now be available parallel to the stock AutoCAD MEP catalog.

 

As far as building content... well there's the easy way and the right way. The easy way is to use the MVPARTCONVERT command. This will not add to your catalog. Adding parts to your catalog, simply have your 3D solids ready, and go to Manage > Content Builder. Select your new custom Catalog, Add a Chapter (Chapters = Directory, and you need at least one. Following the stock MvParts catalog gives you a good idea on how to organize this). Then click the "New Block Part" icon and follow the prompts. This should be covered in the book you have.

 

Let me know if you have any more questions. :)

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nestly

Thanks Tannar. I want to do it the "right way", so I'll avoid MVPARTCONVERT. Right now, the display system is really kicking my butt (Chapter 2) I was doing pretty well until I got into Classifications, then everything got scrambled up in my head again... too many freaking variables controlling when something is/isn't displayed. But I'm committed to it now, and I'm going to work my way through the chapters in order and make sure I understand them before moving on. Converting my existing parts into AEC content is out of order, but it seems like a more "fun" way to continue to learning MEP when I need a break from the book material.

 

Related question, generally, is it easier to create new content from scratch, or modify existing content. An example would be a 150# Gate valve. The MEP 2D representations and tags may only require small changes, but I'd want a 3D model that's more accurate than the generic MEP gate valve that kinda resembles a gate valve... from a distance. Seems like an aweful lot of work to build a part with all associated information from scratch, but maybe it's even more work to make a new part by editing all the existing information?

 

One more thing, it is possible to have more than one 3D representation, like a generic 3D valve for modeling, and an dimensionally accurate 3D valve to check for clearance/interference in tight areas?

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tzframpton
Related question, generally, is it easier to create new content from scratch, or modify existing content. An example would be a 150# Gate valve. The MEP 2D representations and tags may only require small changes, but I'd want a 3D model that's more accurate than the generic MEP gate valve that kinda resembles a gate valve... from a distance.
Definitely copy the existing content. At least, for now. If you'll follow the path to the content itself, you'll notice that there are a Top, Bottom, Left, Right, Front and Back 2D Block of every 3D model that is an MvPart.

 

One thing to grasp is this.... depending on what type of View you are in, will dictate how the MvPart will be displayed. Divide it up into three separate views.... 1. Plan View, 2. Preset Views (Front, Left, Right, Back, etc), and 3. 3D View. If you're in a Plan View, then the 2D block of the MvPart in a Plan View will be shown. Anytime you generate a section or elevation, then the 2D block of the MvPart in those preset Views will be shown. As soon as you orbit into a 3D View, no 2D blocks are shown and you see the 3D solid as it was originally designed before it was converted to an AEC Object.

 

To explain this better, go to this directory and open the file "24 x 24 Inch Square Louver Face Ceiling Diffuser.dwg" read-only.

C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\MEP 2011\enu\MEPContent\USI\MvParts\Mechanical\Air Terminals\Diffusers

 

Now orbit around in 3D View and do a Realistic Visual Style. Notice how you have 8 blocks per diffuser. Six for the Preset Views, one for the 3D geometry and one for the schematic version. Selecting each block and in Properties, read how it's named. These are auto-generated when you use the Content Builder to create content, which can be edited manually at a later time, for fine-tuning the 2D representation of each 3D block. This is how you get things to look better and more accurate than what the 3D version looks like.

 

One more thing, it is possible to have more than one 3D representation, like a generic 3D valve for modeling, and an dimensionally accurate 3D valve to check for clearance/interference in tight areas?
Yes, you can accomplish this by the means I've mentioned above. You can have a "generally" accurate 3D model of a component (and by general, I mean to get it as close as reasonably possible), then make the fine-tuned edits of the 2D representations of the block for Plan, Front, Left, Right Views, etc. Even when you're in the process of creating the MvPart through the Content Builder, you can have your 2D blocks ready and add them in from the get go, or just edit the auto-generated ones that AutoCAD MEP makes after the MvPart is completely done and added to the library.

 

But, this is only "my way" and may not be the "right way". It's always served me well. I'd love to hear some of the other talented AutoCAD MEP guys post up. I'm in Revit most of the time now so I hardly ever open AutoCAD anymore.

 

Hope this helps. Sorry for it being lengthy. :)

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nestly

Thanks Tannar

 

 

....This is how you get things to look better and more accurate than what the 3D version looks like.

 

OK, I'm with you up to here on the display configurations, but it seems to only apply to the level of detail shown in 2D. I'd like to know how to have 2 or more representations of a 3D object. Below left is the default MEP gate valve, and a dimensionally correct gate valve. I wouldn't need to see that level of detail all the time, not to mention the impact on performance, but I'd need to be able to turn on the high detail 3D when needed.

 

Default and HiRes.jpg

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tzframpton

I want to say I remember a way to have a low res and high res View... but maybe I'm just thinking of Revit. Either way, this is a decision you'll personally have to make. Try using the higher detail valve and see how performance goes. If it's still ticking along good, then you're all set.

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hertz hound
I wouldn't need to see that level of detail all the time, not to mention the

impact on performance, but I'd need to be able to turn on the high detail 3D

when needed.

 

Just a thought, have you tried to change your display representation to schematic when routing pipe? I played around a bit to see if it was easier routing conduit when it was displayed as single line (schematic) but like it better when it is set to electrical or mep design.

 

you can have your 2D blocks ready and add them in from the get go, or just

edit the auto-generated ones that AutoCAD MEP makes after the MvPart is

completely done and added to the library.

 

I am 50/50 on weather I have 2-D blocks ready to go. Sometimes I wait to see what it looks like after auto generate, and then add line work to the 2-D blocks in the catalog later. The more 3-D detail you do the less 2-D detail you have to do later.

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nestly

Thanks for the input.

 

I have not tried schematic yet, but I'll give it a try.

 

I tend to agree about the blocks. Even before I started doing entire projects in 3D, I made my 2D blocks by creating flatshots of 3D parts because I found I could generally do that faster than drawing separate top, left, right and front views.

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