Just as the IRS is out to take our money, Autodesk has released AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 which drastically streamlines the design process. A streamlined design process means working more efficiently, and working more efficiently means being more profitable. As outlined before, introduces a lot of new features. Just as Annotation Scaling is the big new thing for AutoCAD 2008; the BIG new thing for Civil 3D 2008 is Plan Production. The veterans out there likely remember a little thing called “Sheet Manager”.
Not to be confused with Sheet Set Manager in AutoCAD, Sheet Manager was a cumbersome automatic sheet creation tool inside of Land Desktop. Able to create plan, profile, even plan/profile sheets, Sheet Manager was undoubtedly a powerful tool. The biggest problem with Sheet Manager was the amount of work that went into configuring it. Configuring Sheet Manager could easily take a week or more, leaving the unfortunate geek scared forever. Despite its shortcomings, the concept behind Sheet Manager was one that anyone creating plan, profile, or plan/profile sheets could benefit from. The folks at Autodesk seem to agree at the idea of an automatic sheet generation utility is well â€“ pretty novel.
Luckily the concept behind the Land Desktop Sheet Manager is the only thing Autodesk introduced to Civil 3D. I recently finished writing an article for the May / June issue of AUGI World. A large portion of that upcoming article is devoted to the new Plan Production feature in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008. Getting Plan Production to work is about as difficult as configuring any other Civil 3D Style. Measuring the complexity of a Civil 3D Style is much like guessing the number of jellybeans in a glass jar. It’s not impossible, but it does take what I like to call the 3 P’s. Prior Proper Planning. As I said I get into more detail about Civil 3D 2008’s Plan Production feature in my upcoming AUGIWorld article, but to feed your curiosity let me provide a quick flyover of the feature.
- Styles – Once again, in order to use Plan Production you will have to spend some time configuring the new Plan Production Styles. As I write this post I am still using a Beta copy of Civil 3D, so things may have changed in the final release. You may be familiar with the pre-configured templates that ship with Civil 3D and contain styles for just about every Civil 3D object. Just about being the key term, as of the latest beta of Civil 3D 2008, no pre-configured styles ship with Civil 3D 2008. I hope that changes, but we shall see.
- Create View Frames â€“ To create view frames you must, at a minimum, have an alignment. If you want to create a profile or plan/profile sheet you will need both an alignment and profile defined. In the Prospector Tree we now have a new entry titled “View Frame Groups“. To create View Frames simply right-click on “View Frame Groups” and select “Create View Framesâ€¦”. You will be presented with a series of dialogue boxes which will guide you through the creation of view frames. Upon clicking [Create View Frames] Civil 3D will automatically lay out a series of sheets along your alignment.
- Create Sheets â€“ Once you have a View Frame Group you’re only a few clicks away from generating some plan sheets. Simply right-click on your View Frame Group in the Prospector Tree, and select “Create Sheets”. Much like the Create View Frame dialogues, you will be prompted to specify some information about your plan sheets. Once you have finished working through the dialogue, click [Create Sheets], and presto â€“ you’ve got sheets (watch out AOL)!
Plan Production is just one of many many new features packed within AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008. Keep your eyes peeled for the delivery man because AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 is in the mail, and painfully close to a desktop near you.