Manage Sets of Assemblies in Civil 3D

Tags Corridors, region, Assembly, Subassembly, Civil 3D 2022, Data Shortcut Manager, Set of Assemblies, video, Project Management

The Design State. When we employ Civil 3D Corridors for any type of design the current Design State matters. What is that? A classic example of a current Corridor Design State - Do we want to bother to Daylight now?

When was the last time in a Civil 3D project you only had to employ a single Assembly? A single Assembly that works alone in Civil 3D seems to be the exception not the rule. Once in a blue moon even the good get lucky.

Assemblies do appear to run in packs with different forms. Some packs are bigger, bader, and more detailed. Some Assembly packs are lighter and more nimble.

Effective Corridor design Assembly packs work together. This matters whether we talk about road, rail, pond, or a site grading design project.

The Productivity of Optionality

The Principals of Optionality are vital to iterative design and our daily productivity. The Power of Choice matters when the choice to employ one of multiple options is low risk and high reward. Options demand consistent workflows, project structures, and practices in Civil 3D to foster that capability.

Thanks to upgraded tools like the Civil 3D Data Shortcut Manager (DSM) and the improved mechanics in the Civil 3D 2022.1 Update Target interface, our abilities to capitalize on choice and employ multiple design options in Corridors are much better these days.

Sets of Assemblies for Civil 3D

Assemblies are complex resource collections that deserve more attention to detail and standards.

Assemblies are not single Assemblies but Sets of related Assemblies where the kinks and mission critical Subassembly and/or PKT Property issues are best worked out in advance.

A lot of our civil engineering design problems that can or could be solved by Corridor design can require multiple Sets of Assemblies.

Common Design Standards considerations mean that most users don’t appear to need to use individual Subassemblies to build up custom Assemblies when provided with a better alternative –prebuilt Sets of Assemblies.

Someone does the Assembly building - probably not every Civil 3D user.

The Civil 3D Tool Palette tools provide the illusion of managed Assemblies but lack the real substance of a managed system. Let’s face it. The Tool Palette tools were and are focused on Assembly construction not managing collections of related and similar Assemblies.

I can only rant…
Don’t be a chump and build untested and QA’d Assemblies in your project drawings.
It is best to remember that some work habits shown in on-line courseware and product demos are not always viable and healthy practices in a live Civil 3D project.

See the Civil 3D Assembly State Management post – That article is a part of the bigger Site Grading with Corridors post and video series.
That post includes some Civil 3D Wish List items that are now made manifest in the latest Civil 3D 2022.1 Update.
See the Autodesk Civil 3D 2022.1 Update Arrives post.

The Nuts and Bolts of Sets of Assemblies

To reaffirm- Assemblies are not single Assemblies but Sets of related Assemblies where the kinks and mission critical Property issues are best established and tested in advance.

Within a Set of Assemblies collection, many of the Subassemblies (or PKT) share common Property values. Many Properties should and must be matched. These Properties are almost all handled separately by the individual named Subassemblies unless we skillfully employ Output Parameters.

All that required Assembly detail works out well for the Civil 3D Corridor Engine.

That required detail does not always work so well for us dumb-bunny humans. Our lack of attention to such detail is problematic when we talk about real world production project work. It costs man-hours.

The single Assembly is a cheap suit. This then requires way too much silly Civil 3D user time and attention to inappropriate types of details.

To Be Fair

Civil 3D is good at letting us define our design heuristics.
Civil 3D is better than most of the other civil engineering software at supporting options and choice.
We can tweak, customize, and build all the Civil 3D parts to our hearts content.

We must learn to better manage the update system and structure to change the Design State.

I doubt the Autodesk programmers can characterize our project benchmarks that define the states on which our internal heuristics are built.

We cannot dodge the need for those defined benchmarks – an important part of a corporate heuristic.

Better Design Thrives in a State of Change

We are not prisoners of the software. We are empowered and skilled users of the tools.

We must pay a lot of careful attention to the common Name Rules for the many Corridor collection parts and pieces.

We can already manage Design State by using only DREF references in your Corridors and then changing the Data Reference sources as needed. This Corridor design control by DREFs method increases our design options. The project- based method also enjoys substantial Civil 3D stability and performance benefits.

The improved Data Shortcut Manager Tool (DSM) allows us to change from this old set of Alignment, Offset Alignments, Profiles, and etc references to this new set. Yes. This means that the design control for most Corridors iterates and may include more options over time.
The Corridor horizonal and vertical design control has a Design State.
We can manage this and benefit from the productivity advantages at the same time.
See the substantive Civil 3D Data Shortcut Manager Tool post and video.

Many of us would like more complex Sets of Assemblies to replace simpler Sets with a lot less user Civil 3D interface hassle.

Show us only specific Regions in the Corridor.
For those Regions we need to load and apply some new Subassembly Properties where they exist.
Civil 3D has been able to do this for a long time.
We can change a Corridor Region cross section Design State.

 

Assemblies Replacement in Civil 3D

A new Set of Assemblies resource can do this.
By Assembly name we point this list of named Subassembly Properties to that new list of similarly named Subassembly Properties.
Practically, this simply means a manual update the appropriate applied Assembly in the appropriate (usually matching) Region(s) in the Corridor Baselines.

Wonder of wonders - the previously established Region targeting remains.
We should point out that Assembly replacement provides us a mechanism to remove old targets.

Go Ahead Make My Day

Create Set of Assemblies resources drawings in a library of resources drawings. Allow Civil 3D users Insert, Explode, Purge and Rename them as needed. Allow the best of breeds to emerge.

Use a placeholder Windows shortcut to the library in your Civil 3D Project Template to manage a Sets of Assemblies Library location.
This works. You could probably even build a Tool Palette tool. Eheh.

Autodesk was kind enough to build a tool to clean-up the unused Assembly chaff. Civil 3D can rename the Assembly Groups in drawing Assemblies. Civil 3D can rename the Subassemblies in drawing Assemblies to their original Subassembly names. These tools fulfilled Civil 3D wish list items. That tells us that others routinely exchange Assemblies.

There are some post Assembly exchange mandatory rename maintenance fixes Civil 3D users must/should do.

Register and become a Site Member.
Login and see the Members section - Documentation>>Corridors in Civil 3D>>Corridor Assembles page for more written details, instructions, and help.
Useful and productive Civil 3D Assembly and Subassembly detailed naming conventions are included.

A new load a Set of Assemblies resource file command in Civil 3D might help even more.

Don’t hold your breath and watch the video. Eheh.

Let’s Make Your Day

Needless to say, the latest and greatest release of the Framework for Civil 3D 2022.1 already includes a new Sets of Assemblies Library Collection.
Those new resources are designed and built to be customized.
Those resources work great in Civil 3D 2021.3+ and Civil 3D 2020.6+. Imagine that.

Get the Power to Make Civil 3D Work
Get the Framework for Civil 3D Release 8

 

Multiple Baseline Corridor Posts