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RE: CAD - Standard for Detail Names?- LONG!

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I am at a loss for using 32 character standards to identify details more
clearly. I am not using a block viewing program other than the thumbnails
saved with each "W" or "Wblock" command as I mentioned in my previous post
on Intellicad.
I used to have a book of paper details with file names to search, but hated
pulling the book out and updating it each time a detail changed.
One problem I had is simply standardizing the size of the detail. If I stick
to a 6-1/4" box, it looks small when placed in a 30x42 sheet of details
containing a grid of 5 across by 4 deep (20 per sheet). However, it fits
nicely in a 24x36 sheet of twelve details. Therefore, I have created details
for one clients project that fits a larger standard and have to cram it all
together when working in 24x36.
As far as storage, I follow a similar convention. Inasmuch as Autocad
defaults to one directory I place all of my details under a folder called
Symbols. Each sub-folder is further defined as "conventional framing",
"Steel", "wood", "masonry", "foundations", "URM Retrofit" (with various
classifcations such as 'tension', 'shear' etc.). For nails, bolts, weld
symbols - I create a folder called "components" and sub-folder it for
"Simpson Connectors" (with further Sub-folders), 'Nuts & Bolts', Common
Nails', 'wood joists' etc.
I just started to do this and find that at least it narrows down the number
of files per folder and makes it easier to find duplicates or to standardize
names. It is also easier to search than trying to scroll down a long list of
non-descript or confusing names.

There are many shareware products to help create thumbnail detail libraries
that pop-up in AutoCad. Generally, they cost over $100.00 and leave much to
be desired (I've tried many of them).

It's funny in a way, Visual Cadd, which has had such a rocky evolution, has
one of the best block and component archive methods I've ever seen. If you
want to create a block file on the hard drive you simply define the block
and drag it over to the symbol manager - which saves it to your drive and
creates a thumbnail on the desktop. You can load any number of details or
components and have them stay on your screen as a toolbar to simply pick
from. When you are through, you simply remove all symbols that you don't
Now why can't Autodesk come up with something as simple and useful as this
in their expensive package?

Another useful tip I might offer is to create library drawings of common
details. For example, I have one drawing that is nothing by plywood web
joists. Once the sheet is created, block each of the sections and save the
sheet. It appears to be blank, but has all of the plywood joists embedded in
the sheet. Insert the sheet into your drawing at whatever scale you choose.
You only need to choose from existing blocks from then on rather than search
your drive for a block location.
When you are through working on the sheet, purge everthing not referenced in
the drawing and your done.
You can even set up a standard detail sheet with a border and grid and
embedded blocks such as sections in any material, weld symbols, nails, bolts
and nuts, frequently used hangers and clips etc. This way you're ready to
draw and don't have to recreate blocks such as a 2x6 - you can even restrict
your block to 1x1 and simply scale it to 1.5x5.5 (although this is time
consuming verses choosing a 2x6 from a list of available blocks).
One more tip: In release 14 you can save dimension styles drawing setups as
script files. If anyone does not know how to do this, I will provide
directions. It comes in handy when you use specific text sizes, dimension
tick marks, colors or detail standards. You can even export the definition
from one drawing and insert it into another. Check out the AutoCad 14 bonus
disk for this feature.

Dennis Wish PE

|-----Original Message-----
|From: Robert Grandmaison [mailto:robert(--nospam--at)]
|Sent: Friday, February 20, 1998 9:35 AM
|To: 'seaoc(--nospam--at)'
|Subject: RE: CAD - Standard for Detail Names?- LONG!
|Currently we use a thumbnail image binder and file cabinet system
|described, pretty much, as in the message I am replying to.
|We currently have around 1200 standard details/notes. The arbitrary
|numbering system makes some sense for us, because many details don't
|have a clearcut neat pigeon hole to plug them into...jee- is this a
|roof to wall detail, a shear transfer detail, etc...And more often the
|type of detail we use for a project is more determined by if it is a
|residential (i.e. wood frame) detail or a commercial detail (i.e. cmu,
|conc, steel, etc.). We have a commercial and a residential engineering
|committee which meet regularly and modify and create new details as
|need be. Most details that get used regularly are known by the
|drafters by their numbers and when a project gets to us from the
|engineering department it has a stack of details that have been culled
|from the file cabinet and redmarked as need be for inclusion into the
|project. But it sure seems to me like a lot of wasted paper and the
|slow way of doing things.
|Our standard detail sheets (typical construction details and notes)
|all xref in the standard details so as we make changes to the masters,
|the standard S1 and S2 sheets all get revised automatically.
|It's kind of interesting hearing how other firms do this kind of nuts
|and bolts CAD operations stuff!
|Robert Grandmaison
|MKM & Assoicates
|Structural Engineers