Ignite the Lineweight Match

Tags lineweight, linetype, ncs, ncs 4.0, ncs 5.0, lisp, tools

Don’t you find that the Lineweight property and functionality inside AutoCAD Civil 3D sometimes comes in pretty handy? Many Civil 3d users who are civil engineers, surveyors, and public works staff do.

Lineweight provides you with some instant visual feedback on screen of what the published or plotted output’s going to be. That, of course, assumes you’ve maintained the property.
Are the current Lineweight properties of Layers (mostly) and/or objects the same as the current .ctb file or .stb file will generate? Hmmmmmm?  It’s often hard to be sure. That’s nasty.

Speaking of STB…

STB Rocks

Many folks seem to keep employing Color Table Based (.ctb) technology even today in our model-based software world. If you follow this blog, by now you know I’m a Style Table Based (.stb) affectionario. My STB devotion is about the reduction of wasted user time and not really about preference. CTB is comfy and yet costly when you consider the time you must spend worrying about it.
Many people now choose both the simplicity and performance that is STB.
You can read up on the debate here. Point made.

Consistency Produces Certainty

You can probably guess for this website and our products that we continuously do a good bit of AutoCAD Civil 3D customization. For the most part this is personalizing InstantOn for organizations. We never start from scratch. God forbid.

InstantOn is Ready to Run

From scratch would be like trying to build a modern web site without the benefit of a CSS styles, components, structure, and what we call “the code behind”. It would be dumb – too much work.

I tweak everything Civil 3D from the largest, standardized AutoCAD Civil 3D Style and resource library on the planet. We maintain a known good which we continuous seek to improve.
Whadaya know? You can do that too.

Back to Weights and Measures or is it Meaning?

Well duh! We all typically maintain lineweight By Layer in most project plan set drawings. It’s the Way of AutoCAD. Therefore, most of us rely on the named Layer State to make things “right” at crunch time - we’re ready to plot or publish the work.

Yes, I think about lineweight with much the same considerations as linetype.  

As a Civil 3D systems architect, I prefer to favor a method of Layer State construction and maintenance from external sources. I often resort to the simple tool of the Excel spreadsheet, some simple macros, and AutoCAD SCR files. This “Customize Correctly” approach which is a named based method I talked about in my latest article in the October 2013 issue of AUGI World. I included an example of a script generating Excel cell macro in that article to make the case in point.

Are Those Skid Marks?

The real world fact is the all of us as users will and do mess with stuff in our drawings. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Neither – whatever helps us make better design and QA decisions faster wins.

Now it’s time to plot and we must shift gears.
Do the current versions of the lineweight properties (for example) agree with the actual values in the current STB (or CTB) file? Good Question.

Below you can download simple example of an AutoCAD lisp file that does the neat trick of smashing the lineweight property to agree with a preconfigured list of the named STB values.
It’s a handy user tool for your standard Civil 3D user publishing QA checklist.
You have one of those, don’t you?

You can employ this drag and drop tool and/or variations of this code to update the current state of a drawing. Therefore you can employ it to also standardize Layer States.  We like Fast and Easy when you must deal with nasty.

Produce Consistent Results

The STB style names and values in the lsp file represent the recommendations of the National CAD Standard 4.0 and NCS 5.0. They comply with InstantOn Production Solution product standards.

Download the NCS Plotstyle to Lineweight lisp file here.
The download file is zip.
The lisp file is well documented internally – read it.

Thanks to Michael for another fine example of how to better…

Manage the Madness in AutoCAD Civil 3D