Jump to content
Mech Designer

AutoCad MEP 2013 - Setting Layers and Duct Configurations

Recommended Posts

Mech Designer

HI,

 

I am relatively new to AutoCad MEP 2013. I have used basic AutoCad for the past 13-15 years though.

 

I am a HVAC detailer and am currently learning how to use the MEP software for when I make a shift later this year.

 

At the moment, when I draw up duct and flex duct etc, they all come in on preset layers and colors.

 

The flex duct for example has the external lines, center line and then the flex duct pattern. I would like to have the center line as a red color, the two outside lines as a green color and then the flex duct pattern as a grey color. How do I set this up so that every time I start a drawing these defaults are set?

 

With metal duct, same thing... I would like the metal one color and then the liner another color etc... How do I set this up so that it is default?

 

I have spent most of today trying to find answers on this and am lost...

 

Thanks for your help,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton

Welcome to AutoCAD MEP. You are getting into the hardest part of understanding AutoCAD MEP, so do not feel discouraged -- most of us who initially dove into MEP didn't understand this either. Being introduced to the world of AEC Objects, it's all about the Style Manager, and Display Manager to control the visibility of these objects. Simply editing the Layer doesn't cut it anymore. The link below is a quick run-through of on how to access the Style Manager for duct objects. My suggestion would be to edit your Template file, so that you don't find yourself constantly making these changes all the time. Anyways, click the link below to see how to easily access the Style Manager to take control of object visibility:

 

http://screencast.com/t/2wFc91SO

 

Furthermore, there's a new file that acts as a source for your Layers. It's called Layer Key Styles. You can access this by going to the Application button > Drawing Utilities > Drawing Setup > Layering tab. Or type DS at the command line. This is the source file that your template is pulling from to control your Layers and Properties. If you want to see the Layer Styles in the drawing, go to Manage > Style Manager > Multi-Purpose Objects > Layer Key Styles. Click the Layer Key file, then go to the Keys tab.

 

It can seem very robust so don't think you have to take it all in at once. As you get familiar with this you can gradually make your edits as necessary and update your Template file. I always spent time updating and managing my Template file - it's very necessary to become proficient.

 

Hope this helps. 8)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mech Designer

Thanks so much for your help.

 

I checked out the video and followed your instructions while attempting to set things up. I used the MEP 256 AIA setting and started nominating colors, but I still seem to be very lost though. When I draw up duct, the layers and styles still refer back to the MEP defaults. I am not sure what I am doing wrong.

 

With templates, I do not know how to set these up.

 

With the flex duct, I selected the type I wanted to use, but when I go to draw a new flex duct, the flex is drawn as per the MEP default

 

It is rather daunting going from basic 2D AutoCad to MEP with all this set up required.

 

With my drafting style, I only need one layer for duct. I don't need all the toilet exhaust, return, fresh air etc. Can I delete these? I would like to try and simplify if I can.

 

On the duct layer, I would like to have the metal in a cyan type color, the flange joints in a red color and the duct liner in a pink color. I am lost on how to set this up so that it is automatically drawn this way.

 

Same with flex duct, I would like the two outside lines in a red color, the center line in a green color and the pattern in the middle a grey color. I am lost on how to set this up too.

 

Maybe I am such a rookie at this aspect and I need to get some very basic instruction on the set up?

 

Sorry to be such a rookie with these questions. It has been discouraging so far considering I have used AutoCad 2D for the past 15 or so years.

 

Thanks so much for your help,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton

No worries, we all were rookies at one time.

 

If you are only needing one layer for duct... then maybe AutoCAD MEP is a bit too robust for your personal needs. The "toilet exhaust, return, fresh air" etc are not Layers, they are Duct Systems. Sure, AutoCAD is based on layers so you can't get around Layers, but think of duct as literal "duct" in a real life scenario. If you'll notice, when you initiate the Duct command, it gives you options in the Properties palette. Depending on what Duct System you choose determines the layer and layer properties. You see, in AutoCAD MEP it's not the layer control that drives the duct, it's the duct that drives the layer control.

 

The reality is, if you're wanting to make these types of changes to the duct then you've got to learn to do it the right way - and that's to get familiar with the Style Manager and Display Manager. I'm not saying to become a pro at it, but you do need to understand it.

 

Before we go any further can you give a detailed description on why you are venturing into AutoCAD MEP? Do you just want to produce 2D double lined ductwork easily? Or is it the 3D modeling? Or do you need to produce detail fabrication level models for a scope that requires BIM? Please do not feel like I am testing you, I'm only trying to get down to the reason why you picked AutoCAD MEP. There may be some better alternatives, or AutoCAD MEP might be exactly what you need. If it is what you need, then you'll have to accept that it's a powerful program with a semi-challenging learning curve that you will have to overcome to some degree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mech Designer

Thanks again for getting back to me.

 

It looks like I may have mixed up some wording in my previous post... I was referring to the number of systems. Sorry about that.

 

I am a HVAC Detailer. The reason I am migrating over to MEP is due to the following;

 

1. Most of the industry is dealing in 3D now.

2. This is a program that most of my competition/colleagues/friends are using in the industry.

3. MEP is a good program that is customizable and compatible with providing good detail (once you master it).

4. MEP is the next step up from basic AutoCad.

5. Better coordination with other services, and building structure.

6. Faster drafting.

 

I have pretty well settled on using MEP.

 

Based on what you are saying, I need to become familiar with the Style Manager and Display Manager. Are there any on-line tutorials or webpages showing instructions on how to set these up? I have played around with these a bit already, but cannot figure out how to go in, set everything up and then that is how it is from then on. I have gone into the layer keys and see the color and linetype settings. I have changed them on duct, but cannot workout why they are not showing up like I want. There is Global - Descriptive (256 Color MEP) and some others. I tried creating my own and that still did not work. I am thinking that MEP is not loading my setting or something? So this makes me think I need to create a template and then have the software load this each time the drawing opens?

 

I feel that I need to start from the very beginning and read up / watch a tutorial on the abc's of setting up.

 

Is there such a resource available? I spent the best part of yesterday searching the internet and just ended up spinning my wheels.

 

Thanks,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton
I have played around with these a bit already, but cannot figure out how to go in, set everything up and then that is how it is from then on.
This part is more simple than you're making it out to be, actually. It's all about updating the "out of the box" Template and saving the changes. That way next time you start a Drawing everything is set up the way you want.

 

AutoCAD MEP aside... have you ever used a normal AutoCAD template? Answering this will better help me to guide you through this process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mech Designer

I never used a template in basic AutoCad...

 

I mostly dealt with lisp files and blocks. All the blocks I used were set up on the correct layers. Also, when I started a new project, I would save an existing project as the new project and then go from there.

 

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton

Uh-oh... that's a forbidden practice in the entire AutoCAD industry!! Starting a new job from the last job is definitely an offense in most companies. :)

 

Templates are a wonderful idea and you'll wonder why you ever went without them. They are absolutely critical in efficiency with a program such as AutoCAD MEP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nestly

I'm watching, as this is relevant to my interest (substitute "pipe" for "duct)

 

I seem to be stuck in a perpetual loop trying to decide whether MEP is going to make me more efficient in the long term, or less. Everytime I figure how to do something in MEP, I realize I really don't want to do it that way....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton

AutoCAD MEP is an investment of time and learning. Revit is a huge investment also - even more-so than AutoCAD MEP. It takes time to get things set up to a familiarity that one can really utilize in an efficient manner. Nestly, you've been using AutoCAD for how long now? Imagine the years you've spent getting things to work in your favor. It's all relative with AutoCAD MEP.

 

But it's a personal decision, that's for sure. Only you can decide if it's worth it or not. :)

 

*EDIT*

I will say this... AutoCAD MEP is nice and all, but Revit is the future. I don't see AutoCAD MEP being around for much longer. But I'm no prophet with futuristic visions....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mech Designer

You are probably right, but I guess this is a learned habit I formed years ago and then 15 years later...

 

So are there any tutorials showing a step by step process for setting up templates?

 

Thanks again,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nestly

Similar to Mech Designer, there's a lot of stuff in the templates that I'm never going to need and don't want loaded, but I'm still not sure what I can blow away, and what needs to be retained. My Reseller supposedly has some "MEP specialists", so I need to just schedule a day to sit down with them and show them what I currently do, and have them show me the closest AMEP alternative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton

Nestly, just make a backup copy. Or copy/rename the "Aecb Model XXXXX.dwt" template. Make this new Template file the default in your Search Paths. Delete, purge, add, change to your hearts desire. When you're in the Style Manager, you can have the original Template file and your edited Template file both open at the same time, and on the left side of the Style Manager you can drag/drop items back in if you need. Point is, you'll never be totally left high and dry; the edits are not permanent and can be un-done.

 

@Mech Designer, just search Youtube or Google - tons of stuff out there my friend!

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+create+autocad+template+&oq=create+autocad+te&gs_l=youtube.1.0.0i5.1107.3378.0.5005.17.17.0.0.0.0.127.1152.16j1.17.0...0.0...1ac.1.11.youtube.Sg8Jaq2MZC4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mech Designer

Thanks for the link. Most of the videos were geared more toward AutoCad 2D, but they were still applicable. I set up a template now, but the setting up layers, text styles etc still confuses me...

 

I have gone into the layer keys and changed some layer colors, clicked applied and then gone to draw some duct or flex and then find that the duct or flex is drawn as per the MEP default.

 

Under my Layer Keys, I only have "Global - Descriptive (256 Color) (MEP) listed. I am wondering if MEP is registering this?

 

I now have the template thing sorted, so is there a step by step process on this whole layer key set up?

 

With Flex duct, I am not sure how to set this up just once either... I know how to change flex after it is drawn, but when I go to draw a new flex, it just comes in as the MEP default.

 

One other thing I was wondering, but this may need to wait until I get a handle on these basics, but if I want to download a suppliers diffuser and use it on projects, how do I do this and make it over-ride the MEP default?

 

THANKS!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
hertz hound

There is a lot to learn, actually it Is never ending! It is worth it though for now until Revit takes over. I should be concentrating more on making the switch because we don't use the software to go to fabrication. We only need the sheets and the excel Bill of material.

 

Youtube is loaded with stuff. Here is one that might help.

 

I did not come across the one I wanted to post, They used duct as an example for style overrides in the style manager. That would be the way to go. Set up a bunch of different duct system styles with the overrides that you want and save it as a template file.

 

My version of AMEP 2014 only has one system style "standard" for duct. I am not sure why you have so many out of the box. Are you using add on software?

 

It is kind of weird that I came here because I had a question about property sets tags and spaces that I want to set up in my template file and saw this post about templates.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mech Designer

As best I know, I am using an out of the box AutoCad MEP. I want to use an add-on later, but at the moment I am struggling to get the basics set up.

 

I have done some searching on the internet and YouTube. While the videos are good, I just cannot seem to locate what I need to help me over this hurdle. So frustrating...

 

Here is what I am having trouble with so far...

 

1 - When in layer keys setting up the colors, I am not totally sure of what the contour line refers to etc. I am referring to duct work mostly. I fumbled my way through this and found a bunch of colors all changed to the same color etc.

 

2. At the moment, I feel the set up is very overwhelmingly complex. I would like to have just one layer for duct (color cyan), one layer for flex duct (red color) etc. When I draw duct, it automatically comes in on a specific layer and the flexible ducting is drawn on the same layer as the metal ducting. Is there a dialogue box where I can set up the layer I want duct drawn on (for all projects) along with the colors?

 

3. I cannot figure how to set up my default flexible duct. I have only been able to work out how to change an existing one drawn, but when I draw a new one, it is drawn as not what I want it to be drawn as.

 

Thanks in advance,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mech Designer

While playing around some more with MEP, I set up a Default "Layer Key Style" and when I opened up a new drawing then and went into drawing set up, the new Layer key style I created is not showing up. I can't work out why...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
hertz hound

I am not sure in what drawing you started to change the layer key styles in. Most/all the content files can be found going to C:/Program data/autodesk/mep2014/enu (for English 2014). In windows explorer I would go there in the layer folder and make a copy of Aecblayerstd.dwg. Note: Aeclayerstandard is for architecture you always want the one with the B for MEP.

 

After you make your copy change the name and open the drawing. There is just some text in paper space but go into the style manager/layer key styles and make your changes. You probably don't need all of those styles so you can right click and purge the ones you don't want. There is no harm in keeping them all just remember which one you made the changes in. You will probably be back often to tweek it. save your drawing.

 

And then follow tzFramptons post.

 

Furthermore, there's a new file that acts as a source for your Layers. It's

called Layer Key Styles. You can access this by going to the Application button

> Drawing Utilities > Drawing Setup > Layering tab. Or type DS at the

command line. This is the source file that your template is pulling from to

control your Layers and Properties. If you want to see the Layer Styles in the

drawing, go to Manage > Style Manager > Multi-Purpose Objects > Layer

Key Styles. Click the Layer Key file, then go to the Keys tab.

 

Now that you are in drawing set-up make your new layer standard file the source file. and choose you default layer key style.

 

If you make changes in any other drawing you are only making changes in that drawing, so any new drawing is not going to reflect those changes. You have to make changes in the source drawing file.

 

There is another way. you could configure a project standard drawing Under the manage tab. Then synchronize your new drawings to that when you start a new drawing. So many options..................

 

 

1 - When in layer keys setting up the colors, I am not totally sure of what

the contour line refers to etc. I am referring to duct work mostly. I fumbled my

way through this and found a bunch of colors all changed to the same color

etc.

 

 

Contour is the wall of the duct. connector Is the end. That Is in display manager, layer keys don't break it down to that level.

 

2. At the moment, I feel the set up is very overwhelmingly complex. I would like

to have just one layer for duct (color cyan), one layer for flex duct (red

color) etc. When I draw duct, it automatically comes in on a specific layer and

the flexible ducting is drawn on the same layer as the metal ducting. Is there a

dialogue box where I can set up the layer I want duct drawn on (for all

projects) along with the colors?

 

I am not A mechanical guy but I would say that normally the duct would be drawn on a system. The system would be assigned a layer key style. all duct and flex would be on the same system and different systems would have different layer keys By default many different layer keys assign different layer names but the same colors.

 

In the style manager I only have standard as a duct system by default. I would copy and past it and re-name it supply. I would use the pre-defined layer key of M-SY-Duct-Supply. You could go into the layer key style and change it to any color you want. This would effect the whole style not just flex or duct.

 

 

In the display manager you can change the representation by object for flex and duct But I don't know how that will effect your systems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mech Designer

@ hertz hound - THANK YOU... I think I have finally made some progress based on your last post....

 

Now I am starting to understand things a bit better. I did what you said, created the Aecblayerstd.dwg file and saved it as my default. I changed a few things and now when I set this as default in all drawings, the settings I made are coming through.

 

Thanks.

 

With the flex duct, this is being drawn on the same layer and color as the metal duct. How can I change this so that the flex duct is drawn on it's own layer?

 

Thanks again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tzframpton
With the flex duct, this is being drawn on the same layer and color as the metal duct. How can I change this so that the flex duct is drawn on it's own layer?
Style Manager > HVAC Objects > Duct System Definitions. Highlight a system, then click the "Design Rules" tab. Use the Layer Key dropdown to assign the proper Layer Key Style to the duct system. This is what determines what "layer" the object (in this case, flex duct) goes on.

 

Remember, you'd now dealing with "real objects". So once you initiate the Flex Duct tool, you have one more step ahead of you. You must then select the System (eg: Supply, Return, Exhaust, Outside Air, etc) before you run the duct. Hope this helps. :)

 

Hertz.... great description mi amigo. Didn't have time to write it all up yet so glad you jumped in.

 

*EDIT*

For the record, I would advise not putting the Flex Duct on it's own layer. But, to each his own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...