Thursday, December 29, 2011

Intersection Design with ADA Ramps - Civil 3D

This workflow will utilize conditional subassemblies and automatically place ADA Ramps at selected locations. We will use the Intersection Wizard, draw a couple of polylines, set targets and apply a simple assembly set. The images below represent expected results once code set styles, default settings and custom assembly set have been established.
Download my custom assembly set.(XML File) The image below displays the Sterling Curb Return Fillet assembly that creates the ramps.

1.    Draw at least two alignments; create and design road profiles for intersection design.
3. Start the Intersection Wizard, set parameters. (offset, slopes, radius,etc)

4. Import Custom Assembly set

   5. Complete the wizard

6.    Draw polylines to represent sidewalk ramps.
7.    This step requires some knowledge of Civil 3D to completely understand the workflow (Solu-Around). Zoom to the assembly set that was imported into the drawing after completing the intersection wizard. Locate the Sterling Curb Return Fillets assembly. This assembly utilizes a conditional subassembly (horizontal targets). Select the intersection; locate edit targets in the ribbon. Select the one corner of the intersection and select target, locate Target Offset (ConditionalHorizontalTarget) select the polyline that represents the ramp. Repeat for the Target Offset below in the same dialog box and select the same polyline.
8. Ramp has been inserted into the corridor. These steps are not a solutions for all intersections or ramps, but a suggestion on how this can be approached. My second Solu-Around will be shown in Part 2. I will show how feature lines are utilized to design ramps. Build a surface from these feature lines and paste the new surface into the corridor surface for final grading.
Watch recorded steps during my 2011 Autodesk University class;

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vertical road alignments designed by the CLOUD

Wow! What is coming next? I uploaded the existing ground profile to the Cloud and it came back with the the road completly designed and a report was included. If I send a dollar to the CLOUD I wonder if it would send $100 back?

Ok, the truth is, it does send back a vertical alignment and it is optimized to meet minimum, maximum grade and pvi matching can be set.

Install the software from Autodesk Labs. Project Silverstar for AutoCAD Civil 3D This software will be located in the Toolspace under the Toolbox. Profile Optimization. Login to subscription and create a login into the Autodesk Cloud.

Right click to start this new utility. Login to the Autodesk Cloud (Existing ground profile is required) **Make sure a design speed is provided.

Set minimum and maximum grades, toggle matching PVI's.

Set PVI intensity, and notice
Maximum Solving Time.

BAM! The Cloud has received the data. All we have to do is wait for the return email. I planned on posting the results so I set the maximum time to 1 minute. Unfortunately it has been 1/2 hour and I have not received an email. Going to bed and will post the results tomorrow.

The results were returned from the cloud in about 1.5 hours. I have posted the Report, XML, and the ASCII file on the Autodesk CLOUD. Did you expect anything else? It only takes a second to view or download.
PDF report -
XML file -
ASCII file -

I believe this utility has a lot of potential. I would like it to ask for all PVI elevations that I have to match. Main roads, secondary roads etc. This utility is very similar to the best fit profile utility with a couple more options. Given the time it takes to return the design I believe this is more of a introduction to the Cloud then a program I can utilize at this time. Below are the steps to create a Best Fit Design Profile.
*See image below for best fit profile utility.

The team at Autodesk Labs is very responsive to all feedback. I cannot encourage you enough to share your expectations or obstacles. Below is the feedback that was returned to me.

Dear Mr. Studer,

Thank you for the valuable feedback. If you do not mind, I would be happy to discuss Project Silverstar further with you, in order to get more feedback?

First about the delay. I quickly looked at the log files on the cloud. Unfortunately, your job with the short solving time was just queued up behind some longer jobs. This is why you didn’t receive an answer quickly. We are working on improving our load-balancing to avoid such situations in the future as best as possible.

(I suggested the ability to add more PVI's)
Adding more PVI is a feature that we actually thought about already. I don’t think it would be a major problem to add this on the cloud side. On the client side (wizard), how would you, from a user perspective, best like to enter the PVI information? Would a list similar to the one for borrow/waste pits be a solution? One problem with such a list is that a user could potentially enter PVI’s that will conflict with other design constraints (minimum tangent length, grade constraints, etc.). Designing a user interface that takes that into account without confusing the user would be nice, but can be tricky. If you have any ideas or suggestions in this respect, please let me know.

As for the similarities with the best fit utility, SilverStar works actually quite different. The Best Fit utility tries to find a profile that fits the ground as close as possible. This can be computed very fast. SilverStar, on the other hand, tries to find a profile that minimizes total earthwork costs (cut, fill, load, and especially hauling), subject to a set of design constraints. From a computational perspective, this is a hard problem which requires significantly more computation time than Best Fit. This is one of the reason that the SilverStar algorithm is in the Cloud.

I hope this explains some of the issues. I am looking forward to get more feedback from you in order to get SilverStar more usable.

Thank you very much,
Valentin Koch
Principal Research Engineer
Autodesk Inc.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Civil 3D 2013 Preview and FREE 2012

The beta has been released for Civil 3D 2013, but before I look at it, I would like everyone to know that a $#!^ ton of add on programs are currently available for Civil 3D 2012. History has shown subscription users can learn features before they are released into the up coming version.

Another cool place to utilize cutting edge technology is Autodesk Labs. Part of my job involves keeping up with the latest software. Sounds easy, and is if thats all you have to do. To help everyone out I am posting software available for Civil 3D 2012. All of the software below is FREE.
**Autodesk subscriptions does require subscription.
Autodesk Civil 3D 2012 Subscription Downloads
• Volumes Dashboard Extension for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 (extension)
• 12d Data Extension for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012
• AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 Import/Export Extension for GENIO
• Bid Express Extension for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012
• Autodesk Subassembly Composer for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011 & 2012

Autodesk Labs
Bridge Modeler for AutoCAD Civil 3D
Corridor Solids for AutoCAD Civil 3D
Point Cloud Feature Extraction for AutoCAD Civil 3D
Project Silverstar for AutoCAD Civil 3D (utilizes the cloud)
River Analysis Extension for AutoCAD Civil 3D / AutoCAD Map 3D

Recommended and Software I am Utilizing **Free for 30 days - let them you know you saw it here and recieve a discount
Steltman Software
Sincpac C3D

Autodesk Civil 3D 2012 Utilities and Drivers
AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 DACH Extension

AutoCAD Plant 3D 2012 Object Enablers
CAiCE Translator Extension for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012
AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 Spanish Import Export Tools
Autodesk Subassembly Composer Support Pack for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011 & 2012
AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 Cartogramma Extension
AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 Borehole 64bit
AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 PISTE Extension
Open Light 2012 Object Enabler (32-bit and 64-bit)
AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 Transportation Extension
AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2012 Object Enablers (32-bit and 64-bit)

Autodesk Civil 3D 2012 Updates and Service Packs
AutoCAD Civil 3D Update Update 1 - 2011-Dec-08
AutoCAD 2012 Performance Slowdown Hotfix (32/64 bit)
AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT 2012 SP1 Ribbon Hotfix
Hotfix - Prospector Lock-up
AutoCAD 2012 Block Editor Save Corruption Hot Fix
Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite Network License Hotfix
Welcome Screen Hotfix (UK English Only)
Welcome Screen and Ranges of Analysis Types Hotfix (German and Japanese only)
Autodesk Storm and Sanitary Analysis 2012 Hotfix (localized Civil 3D and Map 3D versions Only)
Standards Audit Report Hotfix for French AutoCAD® 2012
Autodesk 2012 Content Explorer Service Hot Fix
Autodesk Material Library Medium Resolution Image Library 2012
Autodesk IPv4 Network License Manager for Windows
Civil 3D Object Based Security Removal - Server
Autodesk IPv6 Network License Manager for Windows
I plan to post detailed information, videos and reviews on all of the software over the holidays on my website. Sterling Systems, LLC All updates will be posted as they are released.

Please let me know if I missed any current downloads or if you would like to recommend Civil 3D enhancements.  Below is a preview of my Toolsbox as a result of the downloads listed above.

Civil 3D – Elevation matching in Profile

Roadway design requires matching elevation throughout the project. For this example we will place the primary road elevation in the secondary road. Utilizing Civil 3D there is no easy way to mark this location in profile view. Most users will label the elevation or list the information with inquiry tools and enter this information as they design.

The workflow that I use projects a point into the profile view and is selected as the new road design is constructed. Yes the point and label are dynamic to the profile.

1. Create a corridor for the primary road.
2. Build a surface from the corridor.
3. Create a Random Point using Create Points toolbar.

Select the corridor surface as prompted. Point is placed marking the main road elevation at the intersection point.
4. Locate Profile View in the home ribbon and select Project Objects to Profile View.
5. Select the point when prompted, enter
6. Select profile view to label.

The label projected is dynamic and a custom style should be created. Change the primary road design, rebuild the corridor, and make sure the surface is up-to-date. Now select all points, right click and select Elevations from Surface. This is located in the right click menu and in the ribbon. All labels are updated, simply select the grip and drag it to the new elev.

This tip was pulled from my Autodesk University 2011 class Un-Conditional Corridor Love.

Civil 3D 2012 update 1

Update Civil 3D 2012, and if Civil 3D 2012 has been sitting on the shelf it is now time to dust it off and install it. Autodesk released the Civil 3D 2012 update 1 on Dec. 8th. It does include AutoCAD and Map updates. Check out the readme before installing. Also check out Autodesk Labs for new software related to Civil 3D.