Monday, 8 September 2014

Creating an App for Autodesk App Exchange Part 1

Autodesk are running a Hackathon this month to encourage people to publish there apps onto the Autodesk apps exchange. Last year they ran a similar event which I wanted to take part in but did not find the time to, so this year i am determined to at least publish one basic app onto the app exchange.

To figure out what you have to do to bundle your app together to publish it onto the exchange first thing you need to do is check out the process required online at

Autodesk® Exchange Apps Developer Center

and in particular the section for Autocad Verticals which covers Civil3d.

Autodesk Exchange Apps - Information for AutoCAD and AutoCAD Vertical Developers

then you need to check out the couple of Autodesk DevTV videos recommended in the article. Here are  a couple of links to them on youtube that are viewable on your mobile device.

DevTV – Autoloader Format Explained
DevTV - Autocad Creating a Partial CUI

Once you have read these articles and sort al the data you need for you App you are ready to start publishing your App.

1. Go to the Autodesk Apps Exchange.


2. Select the Store you want to login to


3. Select the Exchange Apps Developers link in the lower right hand corner.


4. Once logged in click “Publish a New Product” to start the publishing process


5. Read the fine print and continue.


6. Close what OS your app will support


7.Start filling all the data required to be submitted with you App. More in Part 2


Monday, 7 July 2014

Civil3d Project dll loading but not showing commands

I am not sure why my latest .dll project is not loading on my new work PC at the moment in 2014. The dll appears to load but you can not see the custom commands. A while ago I had a similar problem with the grading plane routines but was getting an error message described here

Tomorrow I will try the fix recommended for this error and see if it does the trick.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Calculating Length of Pipe Run at fixed ranges of Depth

One of the common things you have to do when coming up with a schedule of quantities is calculate the length of pipe that a contractor has to lay at a certain depth range. Typically in New Zealand this are 0 to 1.5m , 1.5m to 3.0m and greater than 3.0m. Peter Thomson from MWH explained to me a few years ago how he does did and I have finally gotten around to trying it. Here is how.

1. To start you need invert profiles along the bottom of your pipes in your long sections.
2. Now go to the  ANZ Civil Reports and pick profiles and Incremental Station Elevation Difference Report.


right Click and Execute the report.



Note: One issue with this method is that pipes of different diameter are not accounted for without having a separate invert profile for different pipe diameters. Perhaps something that can be improved with a little bit of coding.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

SSA Examples and tutorials

I have been looking around for a bit of a tutorial on using SSA to do a pond and it's outlet structures and have a copy of Mastering Civil3d 2014 but did not know there are three bonus chapters you can download that cover SSA subassembly composer an a bit of Map in more depth. The SSA chapter has just what I was after.

Bonus Chapters

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Monday, 2 June 2014

Wastewater Catchment flow estimates using Civil3d Parcels

With Civil3d Parcels, user defined properties and label expressions you can begin to do some use fully catchment flow calculations right inside Civil3d. In this example I am going to show how you can set up parcels to determine preliminary wastewater catchment discharge flows.

In this catchment we have a number of new buildings proposed of which we only know their rough foot print and possible use and number of stories at this stage. The final type of building and size will not be determined until the land is on sold by the developer and all drawings and documents will have to be updated to reflect the final scenario.


We can therefore model each building floor area as a parcel with a number of user defined wastewater related pieces of data attached as shown below.


With this data entered for each parcel we can create a parcel area label expression to calculate the estimated catchment flows as shown in the next two screen captures.



Once the expression and user defined data variables have been created then a parcel label can be created to display this data in Civil3d and on plans if required. You may wish to have two type of labels one that shows all the data and one that just shows flows.




How that all the data variables are set up for the parcels it is just a matter of entering the applicable data for each building or subcatchment this can be done by right clicking and editing each parcel or by using the data grid in toolspace.


In toolspace you can set up the data grid for the parcels to just show the columns of information you want as shown below. You can also shift select and change multiple pieces of data in one operation. Note however once you close and re enter the drawing the columns will rest and you will have to rearrange them to your liking once more.


If you do not see your userdefined data columns then


and then


Once you have all the data entered you may wish to export the table out to excel this can be done reasonable easily by right clicking the data grid and selecting copy to clipboard then opening excel and choosing paste. 



Once in excel you may want to add a check column to check the parcel expression calculations and add a second sheet to the workbook that contains pipe data which references the catchment sheet so you can check the pipe capacity.


Estimating flows in this manner is reasonably conservative and looks at flows on a daily average basis.

If you look at the flows in more detail you will have periods where the peak flows for the different land use types do not occur at the same instants of time therefore what we are estimating at the moment is assuming all sub catchment peak flows occur concurrently which is highly conservative.

To built a more accurate model of true flows you could look to calibrate estimated flows against real flows being recorded at a pump station or the like with flow meters.

I found this data on the internet where another consultant in Queenstown have developed a wastewater model for the whole of Queenstown and checked its flows against the inflows to the main wastewater ponds.

They used the Mike Urban software package but a similar thing can be done in SSA by bring in you parcel catchment data as landxml and pipe data and coupling this with the stand 24hr time patterns provided. Here is a link to a youtube video on doing a basic wastewater model this way in SSA if you are interested.

Clipboard Live for Live Writer 2012

I use Windows Live writer for my blog posts with a little addon called “Clipboard Live” to paste screen captures from Jing a little quicker. Microsoft have stopped posting addon’s on their site but you can still find a download for Clipboard Live here

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Acad.lsp and Civil3d 2014

I am just getting around to updating to 2014 and had a bit of trouble getting my old lsp routines to run. To get them to run I had to set the new variable secureload to 1.

You can use the command “sysvldg” to check out what the settings for the variable mean.


As well as doing this I had to make sure the location of the acad.lsp file was listed in the autocad “support file search paths”


and ”trusted locations”


To start I only had the upper folder containing the acad.lsp file and this failed to load the acad.lsp file . This was because within the acad.lsp file I was calling other lsp routines to load in the folder one level down.

To find this load issuing I pasted the following into the command line to check the correct acad.lsp file was being loaded.

(startapp "notepad" (findfile "acad.lsp"))

Then I used the tip of putting a princ statement at the start and end of the acad.lsp file

(princ "\nLoading Acad.lsp")

(princ "\nAcad.lsp successfully loaded")

This display in command line when the acad.lsp file was starting to be loaded and if it was loaded successfully.


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Winter Arriving, Construction Finishing and looking to hire

With the first major snowfall for the winter forecast for this weekend and the snow guns being fired up on the mountains midweek, it is not long until the start of the ski season.

This also marks the end of a busy summer construction season that has seen one of the larger roading projects completed in Queenstown for sometime. With 1.5km of roading and triple that amount in underground services being laid over the past 16 weeks  that has keep me busy and away from blogging much.

However being pretty much Engineer,Surveyor, Project Manager and Civil3d modeller on this job I have learnt a great deal and the best news of the lot I have to do it all over again next summer.

This the case I am on the hunt for a couple of people to join our small team in Queenstown, so if you love Civil3d and Revit and want to visit Queenstown for a year or two or make a lifestyle change drop me an email and let me know. 

Heli pic

Aerial Photo of Eastern Access Road under construction at Remarkables Park in Queenstown

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Changing Visual Style of View Port

Its is always nice to print out a bit of a 3d image in a plan set of the grading works to communicate to everyone what things will look like. Typically jobs do not have the budget to do the full Monty so I just adjust the view port setting to give a basic image as shown below.


To get the shading to shown up in layout tab you have to select the viewport and make sure the Visual Style and Shade plot are set to some thing like Shaded and Conceptual in the properties window.


If not you have to open the Visual Styles Manager then select the viewport and while having the viewport selected double check the visual style you want to be applied to the view port.


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