Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Work with AutoCAD Architecture Plans with Vanilla AutoCAD

Most of my office uses vanilla AutoCAD to produce electrical engineering documents. This is fine most of the time for when we receive documents from the architect in 2d format. But sometimes it starts to act funny when we get 3D walls and doors to work with.

At first I tried to explode all of the AEC blocks in order to break them down to 2D objects to make them easier to work. This usually required a bunch of steps of exploding a block and then deleting some and exploding more blocks to get down to the lines that are found at a Z=0 level. The trick was to isolate only the AEC objects and explode them. You didn't want to explode the normal 2D blocks.

If you don’t want to explode other blocks or try to find all the AEC objects, you can use this handy command to just convert the AEC objects to autocad objects.

-AECTOACAD   This command creates another file with all of the AEC objects converted to autocad objects and flattened. It is a lot smaller that exploding everything in the drawing.

I choose the prefix option from the drop down menu and AutoCAD prefixes the new file with a ACAD-. Then hit "F" for filename and autocad will show you the path and the new filename for the drawing it will create. It defaults to the same directory of the file you are working on. This makes it easy to find your converted file when you are done.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I can't quite see what that says.

Here is an interesting trick to make text more visible if I need to use it on top of architecture and lines in AutoCAD. It is called the background mask for mtext.

You can access it here when you have the mtext editor open:

Then select Background Mask...

You get a window like this:
Be sure to check the Use drawing background color box and the border offset factor to something just slightly larger than the text. I thought 1.2 was pretty good.

You can use this to get our text to show up better when it is on top of architectural items that make it hard to read the text. I don't like to place text over lines or architecture but if I have to, I like to use this method. I don’t need to use it all the time but it would be useful in some situations.

Uncheck the "Use drawing background color" to use a different background to highlight the text box if you want.