Monday, 30 April 2012

Civil3d Sections Composite Surface Slope Labels

If you are like me and do a lot of site earthworks you work with corridors, parts of corridors, gradings and breaklines to built up a finished composite surface. This is fine until you cut some section down one of your corridors and then want to label the slopes of your composite finished surface. If you try and use a segment label to add the percentage grade the first thing you will notice is you get alot of labels most of which you want to delete and you can not reduce the number of labels with weeding as it is greyed out.


To get partly around this limitation in Civil3d i use a grade break label with a number of expressions to weed down the number of labels that appear on the section by weeding on the change in angle of the section of the finished surface. Lets face it we are only interested in having a Labels when there is a reasonable change in grade.


I have the following expressions setup under grade break labels.

Weed Angle is just a place holder for the grade you want to weed by in this case 3% so you do not have to go into the more complex expressions.

GradeChange is  Section Grade In – Section grade Out

Text Height Based on Weed Angle is main equation and the tricky way to hide the labels you do not want to see by reducing their height to some thing really small. First I check to see if the grade is near infinity with and if and if true make the label 0.01mm high the smallest value you are allowed. Next I check the Absolute value of the Grade change against the weed angle. If the change in angle is smaller than the weed angle I make the label really small (aka hidden) other wise I make it just the normal height.

GradeOutToDegrees is used to get the angle at which the label should be rotated to be parallel with the out going section segment of the surface.

Once all the expressions are complete it is just  a matter of referencing them in the label.

I suggest when you start with expressions you add them to a check label to see what answers you are being returned so you can see what way to head.

How this method is by no means perfect and sometimes labels are missed in key areas. No problem just click one label you can see to highlight the grips of all labels present in the drawing.

Now select the grip on the section line of the label you want to show and drag it a small amount to have the label appear. Now instead of deleting useless labels you are just showing the ones you want. HTH

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Another Grading Example

I was working on an interesting  grading job last week so thought I would post a screen capture. It included a pond, building platforms,accessways and carpark on the side of the hill with terraced gardens and orchard areas. Got there in the end using a mixer of grading featurelines, corridors and infill gradings. No magic design button for this one i’m afraid.


Friday, 13 April 2012

EPAnet Modelling Resources

Been doing a simple model with EPAnet over the last few days and had to get up to speed again, since its been a while since the last watermain job.

Found a good series of videos on youtube here and a book that gives a good overview on Google books here.

A few things to remember when doing a metric model the pipe diameter has to be in millimetres.


Also when working with Tanks the Elevation field is the invert of the tank


Monday, 9 April 2012

Civil3d Alignment from Spline

Dealing with a landscape architect who loves to use splines at the moment for tracks and paths. So have be trying to figure out a quick way to get an alignment from a spline. Found this post on using the flatten command to get a polyline with arc’s still in tacked and from there I can use the alignment from polyline command to get my alignment. Also great for making featurelines from splines with the minimum number of vertices.


Also found the Edgemode setting to extend and trim to the projections of objects saved another few clicks a day.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Updating Custom Pipe Rules

Back in 2008 and 2009 I was doing alot more drainage work than I have been doing recently and developed a number of custom pipe rules with the help of Chris’s Civil3dReminders posts on the subject an my own blood sweat and tears. All this work was done in VBA and does not work with the later version of Civil3D unless you download and install the optional vba install

With a large drainage job on the horizon i thought its about time I went back and updated my old VBA pipe rules to To start with I thought that this would be easy enough as Autodesk had provided a nice little command to do it for me. This command however does not convert any additional code you have written. It just maps old file references paths to the VBA .dvb file rules in a drawing to the new .dll file that ships with 2010 on.




To update any custom rules i think I am going to have to rewrite the rules in using the sample rules project that ships with 2012. I will investigate if I can find an alternative way.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Another Dem Surface source in New Zealand

A while ago I mentioned that you can get shp files from LINZ to build surfaces. Another source of DEM surface information and Lidar is the site Just don’t try and take the whole DEM otherwise Civil3d will blowup, crop the area out you are interested in . You can also look into using the free SAGA GIS program to simplify the surface before importing into Civlil3d if you have a large area to study.


Project Collaboration in Civil3d

Currently trying to figure out the best way to break up medium to large project design work to allow maximum collaboration between users in house.

Found this document on the net for some light reading

and had this paper from a while ago


It appears that there have been no papers at AU for a few years on overall project management and structuring. Any one else seen any good references out there.

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