Recently hired as a CAD manager (woot!) and walked into a wasps nest of 20 years of junk. Its fun.
Anyway, I'm building up a block library. I work in blown plastic molding, and there are lots of different machines (I mean, LOTS). Different makers, different types, different positions for the same machine, etc. We also need to have an existing machine and a proposed of that same machine because of new projects and such.
The original idea was to make each machine a block, one existing and one proposed, throw them on the toolpallet for easy retrieval, and voila, easy peezy.
Problem is... there are probably 100 different machines. So one of each would be 200 blocks.
So, how would you all keep down the block library for ease of use?
I was thinking about using dynamic blocks and having one be proposed, one existing, and then it's just a quick switch from one to the other, which wouldn't be bad, except each block would be two blocks, which is unneeded file size, and we do a lot of traveling (remote access), so file size is a HUGE concern.
Maybe only put the main ones used (25-ish are probably most popular) on the toolpallete and leave the rest as a "insert - browse" type thing?
I don't know... looking for ideas...
How do / would you guys handle this?
I break it down into Ribbon panels with flyouts (or toolbars, but not so much these days) based on common groupings, or work process (object from panel 1 -> extra parts from panel 2 -> labels from panel 3). For infrequently used objects like "ISSUED FOR CONSTRUCTION" stamp I create a single tool which provides an appropriate dialog that the user can select from a list. For some really complex stuff I create a dialog which allows the user to input the various data and the software takes care of the rest.
Thanks for the reply.
I mainly use the toolpallete, because it's easy to use. I should have mentioned that the guys I work with are dinosaurs and really only know "copy / paste / move".
So it needs to be easy to navigate / install / use, or they won't and they'll just end up exploding everything (grrr...)
Ours are a little better, but just as inventive. Hence the easy layout - if doing it right is easier than doing it wrong, they have to *work* at getting something wrong.
I have hundreds (possibly thousands) of blocks to manage across three disciplines, a half-dozen applications, and several clients. I automate a lot of things which the users don't see, which immensely helps in keeping things simple for the users. If you have that many blocks, I'd say its time to start looking into additional automation to help with the selection process. That will allow your library to grow as needed, in the directions it needs to, without getting painted into a corner.
Cool... I'm completly open to the idea, but I don't know where to start.
How can I automate their selections?
These machines have difinite categories (blow molder, reamer, trimmer, etc.), so it would be easy to break them down like that, but not sure where to even start looking for something like that.
Whether you use TPs, ADCENTER, toolbars or Ribbon Panels, or you like to memorize a stack of LISP routines, you've got to start with the basics: sort all those blocks into folders and subfolders organized much as everyone above is sharing.
Once you are organized on the server like that, creating the content inside AutoCAD becomes a breeze. Don't fall into the trap of using only AutoCAD tro organize your blocks, you'll end up with a bigger mess or the next "cad manager" will have to deal with it.
Yeah, that's what I spent yesterday doing.
I think I'll use the Toolpallete, seperate tabs for each "type" and only put the most popular ones up there. If they want to use some obscure machine, they'll have to "insert" and browse to it. That's the only way to keep this beast under control that I see.
I just wish I didn't have to have two of every block (one existing / one proposed). It'd be nice if the block attributes would change to match the layer of the block itself. That way, they insert the block, put it on the right layer, and viola.
There's not some weird backdoor super CAD-geek way to do that, is there (other than dyn block)?
Sounds like you are ready for the DYNBLOCK upgrade: there is a whole forum dedicated to the topic.
You can create TPs from ADCENTER, and if you make the top folder of your new symbols library "home" in ADCENTER for all your users (and you really did a good job of naming all the folders and subfolders), you users can use that instead of aimlessly browsing with INSERT command to find what they need.
Awesome, I'll look into that.
I do have experience in dyn blocks, and I would love to do that, but everytime they insert 1 block, they'd actually be inserting 2 (right?)... so now we're back to huge file sizes, and as I said earlier, we do a lot of remote work, so file size is not only a HUGE concern, it's the #1 concern.
That's why I don't want to do the dynblocks. I'm not sure what to do because even if I do two blocks (ex. / prop.) when a machine goes from proposed to existing, they would have to reinsert the othe block / conveyor belts, etc... they might not like that.
I guess I got some things to think through...
If all the entities within the block are on layer 0 (zero) and colour, linetype etc. are set as 'ByLayer', then they will take on all the properties of whatever layer you put the block on.
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