Cycle Your Focus in Civil 3D

Tags interface, tools, toolspace, ribbon

Inside AutoCAD Civil 3D we have to remember to consciously readjust your focus. The classic defensive driving “cycle” metaphor works - Window>> Review Mirror>> Side Mirror>> Speedometer>> Window.

Civil 3D Driver Training

In Civil 3D, we should replace that basic pattern with Screen>>Ribbon>>Command Line>>Toolspace>>Screen.  I’d argue the screen is less important here, but you get the point. This basic cycle basic pattern will help you avoid many self -inflicted and idiot operator accidents.

SpaceShip2 Test Flight

To be really productive in Civil 3D we need to be – CAD Pilots.
Complex model-based software is really more like piloting a high performance aircraft than a car. Different interface elements on the instrument panel become critically important to introduce into the basic Cycle at different times.
Landings require different information than takeoffs. 
Corridor design requires different tools than Parcel construction.
We are accountable to control the WTMI (Way Too Much Information) and attention Focus problem appropriately. This is a learnable skill.

In the sky things come at you from front and back and side to side but also from top and bottom as well. The Civil 3D interface may tell you there’s a problem, but you have to know when and where to look.

Do You Pay Attention?

This last week Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip2 (SS2), designed by Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites, made another historic supersonic flight up to 69,000 feet in beautiful Palmdale, CA. Both the hybrid rocket motor and Burt’s infamous Feather deployment braking system worked functioned like a charm.

Live the Innovation

If you have a kid who wants to be an astronaut or perhaps seek inspiration beyond the opening week football game highlights, you need to get and watch the Discovery Channel documentary Black Sky - The Race to Space. This incredible film documents the story of the Burt and the tiny SC team’s successful quest for the first X-Prize. We feature a video of Mike Melville in flight on our Famous Jumps page for good reason.

People Make the Difference

What’s not to love about the world’s first commercial astronaut being an test pilot (Mike Melville) who never went to college, a rocket motor powered by laughing gas and recycled tire rubber, and a spaceship made from high-tech carbon fiber with door handles and other controls rescued from automotive junk yards.
The original SpaceShip1 was the first manually piloted supersonic aircraft flown since the early 1950’s. SpaceShip1 flew to space multiple times to win the X-Prize.  
NASA engineers are still sport forehead bruises from pounding their heads on their keyboards and thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Rocket Man

Tickets for a ride on Virgin Galatic’s brand new SpaceShip2 now clock in at $200,000. The first commercial flights are still planned for next year. Christmas Day is the ETA. Before the X-Prize victory initial prices started out a mere $50,000 for a ride into the Black Sky. A ticket to AutoCAD Civil 3D productivity is much less.

Safety has a price

The FAA still has not weighed in officially. This certainly accounts for the huge number of test flights of the Virgin Galactic system.

It took the FAA almost an entire generation to certify carbon fiber component use in commercial airplanes in spite of the fact that all high performance military aircraft and most experimental aircraft have safely employed the technology for decades.
It can certainly be argued that the FAA essentially killed the short haul commercial aircraft market in the US as a direct result. This is a battle Burt Rutan himself fought with the FAA in the 1980’s and lost.

Stifle Innovation and there are Unexpected Consequences

Small airport service and the US airplane manufacturing industry suffered as a direct result. We all bear the increased cost of service or complete lack thereof. In the end we are all less safe travelling and it costs more because this happened.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the first commercial airliner to employ mostly carbon fiber composite components. This greatly improves the fuel economy of the plane. Dooh!
Much of the Dreamliner is manufactured in China. The US no longer has either the manufacturing capacity in carbon fiber technology or the skilled workforce able to perform the work. The planes are assembled in the US at least for the time being.

Don’t expect Planes, Trains, and Cars to be innovative or built in a competitive environment - the government knows better. We pay them most handsomely to sell us that every day.

Cycle Your Focus