August 6, 2012

Civil 3D 2013 Pressure Network Parts – Part 1

If you’ve seen the new Civil 3D 2013 Pressure Network tools, you may be wondering how you can go about creating your own Pressure Network Parts.  With previous releases of Civil 3D and its gravity flow systems, the Part Builder tool was used to create and modify network components. 

Because Pressure networks are a different type of object, their part catalogs are also different. Pressure networks use .SQLITE files along with the folders containing drawing information for the network components. Adding information to these SQLITE files requires the use of two new commands and the new Content Catalog Editor application that comes with Civil 3D 2013.

In today’s blog, we discuss the two new commands in Civil 3D that are used to create connection points and publish content files for useable parts.

The first command is called AUTODESKCONNECTIONPOINT. This command is used to add and define connection points on user defined pressure network parts. A connection point needs to be added anywhere a new part connects to an existing part or is intended to connect to additional parts. For example, a Fire Hydrant would have one connection point where it connects to the pipe segment feeding it. A Backflow Preventer would have two connection points, one for the inlet and one for the outlet of the pipeline it services. Along with specifying the location of the connection, the AUTODESKCONNECTIONPOINT command also allows users to identify the direction of the parts being created.

The second command is called PUBLISHPARTCONTENT.  This command takes the geometrical and engineering data from the user defined part and publishes it out to a .CONTENT file.  This file can then be imported into the .SQLITE catalog file using the Content Catalog Editor.  The PUBLISHPARTCONTENT command asks users to specify an AutoCAD 3D Solid object to use as the new part, a line defining the centerline, units for the part dimensions, and the type of part being created.  When the command is complete, a .CONTENT file will be generated and saved for importing into the catalog.

Here are a few tips when working with the Part Publishing Tools in Civil 3D.
  1. Use the CUI or PGP file to create shortcuts of the two commands.  AUTODESKCONNECTIONPOINT and PUBLISHPARTCONTENT are rather long to be typed in manually (ACP and PPC work well).
  2. New parts need to be a unified 3D Solid object.
  3. If you want to create a highly detailed part from multiple solids, use the UNION command in the 3D Modeling toolspace to combine the elements prior to publishing.
  4. Use a Wireframe or 2D Wirefame visual style when working with the 3D Solid to make lines and elements easier to select.
  5. The Realistic, Conceptual and Shaded styles can be used to preview the new part prior to publishing.
  6. Materials applied to the 3D Solid prior to publishing are saved with the part definition. That material will show up on the list of Render Materials in the object’s Properties after it is added to a Pressure Network.
  7. Some pre-defined 3D blocks can be exploded into 3D Solids and used for creating parts (make sure they are 3D Solids after exploding).
So if you’re looking for a few parts that aren’t part of the pre-defined list, give the Part Publisher tools a try. With some basic 3D Modeling skills, you’ll be on your way to creating your very own custom Pressure Network parts.

Check back for Part 2 on adding the new part to the .SQLITE catalog using the Content Catalog Editor.

Matt Miyamoto, P.E.
Ideate Infrastructure Solutions Application Specialist

Matt is a licensed Civil Engineer in the state of Hawaii. Matt obtained a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and has 7 years of private sector design experience which he applies in his role as an application specialist with Ideate, Inc. His project experience includes residential and commercial site development, private and public sewer, water and drainage systems, harbors improvements, and roadway improvements. While in Hawaii, Matt was involved in multidisciplinary projects for City and County agencies, State Departments, the Army COE and private developers. @MattM_PE

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