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AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue #29 (April 28, 2008)

Project Navigator in AutoCAD Architecture: Empowering your Elements (Part 2)

Bill Knittle
Synergis Building Solutions Engineer

In my previous article, Part 1 on the Project Navigator, I had omitted to mention one small technical issue. This process only works in Architectural Desktop (ADT) 2007 and AutoCAD Architecture (which I will refer to as ACA) 2008. AutoCAD 2007 had introduced the External References Palette which replaced the obsolete External References dialog box of previous versions of AutoCAD and ADT. This upgrade included the lower pane which allows users to view a preview or property details of an external reference. Therefore, this workflow will not work in ADT versions 06 and earlier.

Now that I have cleared the air, we can pick up where we left off in the previous article, documenting the model. For those of us who are veterans of Projects, the project workflow is straight forward. The project’s trail of external referencing normally looks like the diagram shown below.

To understand the tasks that lie ahead, it is important to understand the purpose for each type of drawing. The Elements and Constructs contain the model objects only. Views contain referenced Constructs and annotation. Sheets contain referenced Views and are utilized for plotting.

The problem that we will encounter involves how to deal with the intelligence or Property Data in each object of the repeating Element. An object’s Property Data is comprised of Property Sets. Each Property Set contains multiple Property Definitions. Property Sets can be applied in various ways. The typical method involves the use of a Tag tool. The data is then extracted by the Schedule Table designated to that object. The typical trail of applying and reporting Property Data is shown below.

This process works great when an object is a single instance in a model. When it is redundant, it involves a small detour from the project workflow process. Here we go!

Step 1: Making the Detour

Create an intelligent Element

1. Select the Construct tab on the Project Navigator.

2. Double-click the Typ Dorm Room Lt element in the Project Navigator to open it.

3. Switch the workspace to Document on the Workspaces toolbar.

4. Select the Room Tag – Project Based tool on the Tags tab of the Palette Set.

 

Tip: When tagging objects in a Project, use project-based Tag tools. These tools add Project Property Definitions to the object being tagged.

5. Select the large diagonal hatch pattern of the space object.

6. Enter the values for the Property Definitions in the Edit Property Set Data dialog box under RoomFinishObjects. (Note that values that are grayed out are automatically created and cannot be edited.)

    • CeilingMaterial          ATC
    • EastMaterial              GWB
    • FloorMaterial            CPT
    • NorthMaterial           GWB
    • SouthMaterial            GWB
    • WestMaterial             GWB

7. Click the OK button to continue to the next room.

 

8. Repeat the process for the small closet space.

9. Click the Enter key or Spacebar to exit the command.

Tip: The Tag only serves a single purpose in this workflow and that is to imbed Property Data into the objects of the Element.

10. Select the Door Tag – Project Based tool on the Tags tab of the Palette Set.

11. Select the bi-fold door into the closet and place the tag.

12. Clear the value for NumberSuffix in the Edit Property Set Data dialog box.

13. Click the Enter key or Spacebar to exit the command.You will see that the project-based Door Tag will assume the room’s number it is associated to.

14. Select the bi-fold door object.

15. Select the Property Data Location grip (star shape), which allows you to designate which room the door’s number should be associated to.

16. Drag the grip into the closet to associate the door to the closet.

17. Select the larger space.

18. Enter Dorm for the Name property in the Properties Palette.

19. Repeat steps 17 and 18 to name the small space CL.


20. Select the tags and delete them.

21. Save and close the Typ Dorm Room Lt element.

22. Repeat steps 2 thru 21 for the Typ Dorm Room Rt element.

Step 2: Create a General View of the First Floor

Create a View to annotate the First Floor

1. Select the View tab on the Project Navigator.

2. Select the Views category.

3. Click the New View button.

4. Select the General View radio button in the Add View dialog box.

5. Click the OK button to begin the Add General View wizard.

Tip: A General View type is meant for general use. A different drawing template can be assigned to each type of view. Callout tools such as Section, Elevation, and Detail tools automatically create the appropriate View type.

Navigate the Add View Wizard

1. Enter A-FP01 for Name and First Floor View for Description.

2. Click the Next button to move to the next page.

3. Click the check box for Level 1 to tell ADT / ACA what construct drawings to reference into the View.

4. Click the Next button to move to the next page.

5. Verify that the 01 Shell Walls construct is checked.

6. Click the Finish button to complete the wizard.


Set up the View

1. Double-click the new view A-FP01 in the Project Navigator to open it.

2. Verify that the right constructs are referenced in.

Tip: Use ADT / ACA’s Callout Tag Tool buttons and View Wizards to properly reference drawing files. Abstain from using Insert > DWG Reference in “Projects.”

Create the View’s Model Space View

1. Right-click on the view A-FP01 in the Project Navigator to open the Context Menu.

2. Select New Model Space View from the menu.

3. In the Add Model Space View dialog box, enter First Floor Plan for the Name and select 1/4” = 1’-0” from the Scale list.

4. Click the Define View Window button to create a viewport boundary around the model.

Tip: ADT / ACA uses the Sheet Set functionality of AutoCAD. Therefore, viewport boundaries are created in Model Space.

5. Drag a selection window around the model to create the viewport boundary.

6. In the Add Model Space View dialog box, click the OK button.

Tip: ADT / ACA Callouts use field codes to automatically coordinate view and sheet numbers within the symbol. The Model Space View helps to facilitate this.

Annotating the Model Space View

1. Double-click the nested model space view, First Floor Plan, in the Project Navigator to open it. This will display a temporary window indicating the name and boundary of the viewport. This will also set the Annotation Scale on the Drawing Status Bar to the model space view’s scale.

2. Select the Callouts tab on the Palette Set.

3. Select the Title Mark tool to add a title mark to the model space view.

4. Specify two endpoints to draw the title mark within the red boundary of the viewport. Note that the fields of the title mark symbol have filled themselves out with the name and scale of the model space view.

5. Select the Tags tab on the Palette Set.

6. Select the Room Tag – Project Based tool.

7. Select the large space of the lower-left room.

8. The Edit Property Set Data dialog box will open. Click the OK button to continue because you will notice that the values are already there.

9. Select the closet of that room and click the OK button to continue.

10. Repeat steps 7 thru 9 for the next three dorm rooms and their closets.

11. Now, select the long corridor.

12. Enter the values for CeilingMaterial, EastMaterial, FloorMaterial, North Material, South Material, and West Material.

13. Finally, select the remaining room and fill out the values mentioned in the previous step.

14. Click the blue hyperlink on the External Reference balloon notification.

Tip: Whenever you write information through the reference file, you will be prompted by the balloon notification to reload.

Renumbering the Rooms

1. Select the Renumber Data tool on the Palette Set.

2. Click the OK button to accept SpaceObjects as the Property Set and Increment as the Property in the Data Renumber dialog box.

3. Select the Room Tag in the large space of the first room.

4. Select that room’s closet tag.

5. Select the Room Tag in the large space of the second room.

6. Select that room’s closet tag.

7. Select the Room Tag in the large space of the third room.

8. Select that room’s closet tag.

9. Select the Room Tag in the large space of the fourth room.

10. Select that room’s closet tag.

11. Select the corridor’s tag.

12. Select the remaining room’s tag.

13. Click the Enter or Spacebar key to exit the command.

14. Click the blue hyperlink on the External Reference balloon notification when it appears.

Tag the Doors

1. Select the Door Tag – Project Based tool on the Palette Set.

2. Tag the entry door into room 101.

3. Clear the “A” value for DoorSuffix in the Edit Property Set Data dialog box.

4. Click the OK button to continue.

5. Right-click and select Multiple in the Context Menu.

6. Drag a selection window around the bottom four rooms.

7. Click the Enter or Spacebar key to exit the command.

8. Click the No button in the warning dialog box to avoid re-tagging the same door.

9. Clear the NumberSuffix property in the Edit Property Set Data dialog box

10. Click the OK button to see the results.

11. Delete the four window tags. (The DoorObjects Property Set applies to Door/Window Assemblies as well.)

Tip: Some Property Sets apply to various types of Objects. You can tailor the Property Set to exclude Door/Window Assemblies or add a filter to the schedule to avoid scheduling the assemblies.

12. Tag the far right double-door and allow the NumberSuffix to remain as “A” in the Edit Property Set Data dialog window.

13. Click the OK button to continue.

14. Tag the double-door directly to the left of that one.

15. Enter “B” for the NumberSuffix in the Edit Property Set Data dialog window.

16. Click the OK button to continue.

17. Tag the far left double-door and clear the NumberSuffix value.

18. Click the Enter or Spacebar key to exit the command.

Repair Door Tags

1. Select the referenced construct and right-click.

2. Select Edit Xref in-place… in the Context Menu.

3. Select the OK button in the Reference Edit dialog box.

4. Select the far right double-door.

Tip: Edit Xref in-place allows you to quickly modify the referenced drawing from the host drawings location. 

5. Select the Property Data Location grip on the door object.

6. Drag it into the space, left of the door.

7. Select the Save back changes to reference button on the Refedit toolbar.

8. Click the OK button on the warning dialog box.

Repair the Room Tags

1. Select the referenced construct and right-click.

2. Select Edit Xref in-place… in the Context Menu.

3. Select the OK button in the Reference Edit dialog box.

4. Select the long corridor space.

5. Enter Corridor for the Name property in the Design tab of the Properties palette. (Note that these spaces are the Standard style. If you use predefined space styles, you may need to select a name from the list.)

6. Deselect the corridor space and select the square space at the far right.

7. Rename this space Vest. in the Properties palette.

8. Select the Save changes back to reference… button on the Refedit toolbar.

9. Click the OK button in the warning dialog box.

10. Continue annotating the view as usual by adding text, dimensions, callouts, etc.

11. Create the views for the remaining floors and repeat this process.

12. Freeze the *Spce layers in each view. (Layer property filters work great for this.)

Step 3: Finishing the job, creating the plotting Sheets

Create a Sheet

1. Select the Sheets tab on the Project Navigator palette.

2. Select the Architectural subset.

3. Select the Add Sheet button at the base of the Project Navigator palette.

4. Enter A100 for the Number.

5. Enter First Floor Plan for the Sheet title.

6. Click the OK button on the New Sheet dialog box.

7. Double-click the new sheet A100 First Floor Plan in the Project Navigator palette.

Add the Model Space View to the Sheet

1. Select the Views tab on the Project Navigator palette.

2. Expand the view A-FP01 to see the First Floor Plan model space view.

3. Press and drag the First Floor Plan into the sheet.

Tip: ADT / ACA utilizes the Sheet Set feature from AutoCAD to automate the coordination of callout tags within model space views.

4. Click to place the model space view on the sheet.

5. Select the Scheduling tab on the Palette Set.

6. Select the More Scheduling Tools tool to open the Content Browser. (In ADT 07, you must go to Window>Content Browser>Documentation Tool Catalog – Imperial>Scheduling Tables)

7. Press and drag the i-drop symbol of Room Finish Schedule Project Based tag into the sheet.

8. Click the Enter or Spacebar key to schedule an external reference drawing.

8. Click to place the schedule header in the sheet.

9. Click the Enter or Spacebar key to scale the schedule appropriately.


Adjust the Schedule Table’s Properties

1. Select the schedule table.

2. Select Yes from the drop down for the property Schedule external drawing.

3. Select the Browse option in the drop down for the property External drawing.

4. Browse to <project name>/Views/ and select A-FP01.dwg.

Tip: When schedules are referencing drawing files, they automatically update each time the plot ensuring the consistency of data

5. Right-click while the table is selected to open the Context Menu.

6. Select Update Schedule Table from the Context Menu.

7. The table is updated.

8. Repeat the process to create the additional sheets for the additional plans.

Each schedule on each sheet should show the appropriate information for that floor plan. The finish information is derived from the elements, therefore, all the information is consistent. If a room needs different finishes that makes it unique, you will need to make it part of the construct. If you need more scheduling control, investigate the use of classifications to filter similar objects based on classification. Happy documenting!

About the Author

Bill is a graduate of the University of Hartford in Architectural Engineering and has accumulated eight years of “real world” design, management, and CAD experience in the field of Architecture. At George J. Donovan AIA & Associates, Architects, he was instrumental in implementing, managing, and training his peers during their transition from AutoCAD to Autodesk Architectural Desktop. With Architectural Desktop, Bill was able to increase productivity, coordination, and profitability in a variety of key projects. His most recent achievements are within the Newtown Business Commons, where he documented a vacant building’s conversion into 75,000 square feet of leasable office and retail space for Cameron C. Troilo Properties, as well as designed a new five story hotel for the Homewood Suites, Hilton. Bill has a passion for Building Information Modeling (BIM) and what it can bring to the future of design for both professionals and their clients. He can be reached at bill.knittle@synergis.com.


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