September 5, 2012

The “Multi” in Multilayer Subassemblies

For users who have been working with the Corridor and Assembly tools in Civil 3D, you may have noticed that there were some changes made to some of the pre-defined SubAssemblies in the past releases. Between the 2009 and 2010 release, the LaneInsideSuper SubAssembly was updated to include more user defined options.

The 2009 version of this Subassembly included two layers of pavement, one layer of base course, and one layer of subbase, a fairly standard section for most road designs. As of the 2010 release, this SubAssembly was replaced with LaneInsideSuperMultilayer. The updated SubAssembly now has three pavement options, three base course options and four subbase options (inner and outer for the third layer of subbase). These added options provide much more flexibility for pavement section design, but also now require a lot more user input. In many cases, many of these added layers will be set to a thickness of 0, creating a section more similar to the 2009 version.

So what can we do about it?

Custom programming aside, there is a relatively easy way to modify and create a more simplified version of the new Multilayer SubAssembly using the Toolpalettes. 

One of the big advantages to using the Toolpalette in AutoCAD products is the fact that you can use the Drag and Drop method to add your own custom commands, blocks, and tools to your Toolpalette file. In the case of SubAssemblies, you can also modify the parameters of an existing SubAssembly (say pre-setting some layer thicknesses to 0) then drag and drop that to the Toolpalette for future use. That way, you’ve got the full functionality of the LaneInsideSuperMultilayer SubAssembly, with the unnecessary layers set to a 0.00 thickness by default. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of the process:
  1. Create an Assembly in the drawing, using the LaneInsideSuperMultilayer component, with Pave2, Pave3, Base2, Base3, Subbase2, Subbase3 Inner and Subbase3 Outer set to 0.00
  2. Save the drawing
  3. Select the modified Multilayer SubAssembly, then drag and drop it back to the Toolpalette
  4. Re-name the modified SubAssembly in the Toolpalette to clearly identify it from the original
Since Toolpalettes are user specific, only the system that you complete the process on will show the modified SubAssembly in the Toolpalette. If you want to share this with other users, save the drawing with the Assembly in it to a network location so they can open it and complete the drag and drop process to add it to their Toolpalette file as well. If you’ve been setting a lot of layer thicknesses to 0 when working with the new LaneInsideSuperMultilayer SubAssembly, give this a try and see if that helps streamline your Assembly creation process.

Matt Miyamoto, P.E.
Ideate AEC 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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