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New Pressure Network Workflow in Civil 3D

New Pressure Network Workflow in Civil 3D

I'm tired of the way Pressure Networks work. They are cumbersome, difficult to lay out, difficult to edit, and difficult all around. Here is what I would like.


I would like a pressure pipe to behave similar to the way a featureline works. I draw the pipe in horizontally and then come back and edit it vertically. As I'm laying out this one pipe, I would be able to place angles in the pipe and the network would apply the fitting that most closely matches the angle in the pipe. In other words, if I place an angle in the pipe that is 30 degrees, it should automatically place a 22.5 degree bend. Additionally, it should distribute the error at both ends of the bend instead of just one end. If I adjust the pipe so the angle is now 35 degrees, the 22.5 degree bend should automatically be removed and replaced with a 45 degree bend. If the allowable deflection of the joints are exceeded, a warning of some sort should be displayed in the drawing.


If I need to add another pipe branching off this pipe that's already drawn, it should automatically place in the appropriate fitting (tee, cross, wye, etc). If I'm drawing a 6" pipe that's connected to a through 8" pipe, it should automatically place in the 8"x6" tee. If I change the size of the pipe, all fittings and appurtenances that are a part of this pipe should update as well. The way I envision this is that the only time I should ever need to deal with fittings is at the ends of the pipes where I'm connecting into the existing/future/"By others" that I'm not modeling. If I need to change the size of the pipe midstream (not putting in a new pipe), there should be an option to put in a size transition and it would automatically place in the appropriate size reducer. Additionally, this transition point should have an option for where to place the transition vertically, i.e. match crown, center, or invert (provided the appropriate fittings are available in the parts list).


Same thing goes for vertical. If I make adjustments to the profile, bends should be automatically added to the network in exactly the same as editing in plan. Following a surface should be seamless and the default. When creating the pipe, it should use the default cover and should follow the surface continuously (not sure about cut lengths being applied, I'll have to consider that one a bit more). If I need a section of the pipe to no longer follow the surface, I would then apply a manual override to that section of the pipe and a distance to transition back to the "Follow Surface" section. Likewise, if I need to alter the bury depth, I would apply that as a new region and provide a transition distance between the two regions.


A new command needs to be added to the network "Add Lowering". This lowering would be applied to the pressure network and another pipe. At the crossing, the pressure network would automatically deflect under the reference pipe. The lowering should have options for bends (45 degrees, 90 degrees, sweeps, etc.), depth below the crossing pipe, slope at the crossing (specific slope or match parent pipe), horizontal distance, etc. If the reference pipe changes elevation or location, the lowering should automatically update. If the lowering no longer works, a message should be displayed to the user.





Status changed to: Accepted

Don't forget Pipe Networks as well! 🙂


Until I can design a pipe newtork object that snakes around in plan, but the profile consists of an elevation at the start and end, all this is useless.

I must be able to raise one end of a pipe run, and have one slope to the other end. That is how road profiles work "PVI to PVI", not "structure to structure". 


The longer Autodesk avoids this, the more convinced I am Autodesk is not serious about utilities.

Give the pipe run objects a real horizontal alignment, and real vertical, and then start adding fanciness.

Do the same for featrure lines, and anything "linear" that civils design and you will be onto something Autodesk.





Pipe Networks need this same functionality. The advent of Pressure Networks has been half-baked to date, and still has more issues than Pipe Networks, which in and of themselves demonstrates the disconnect - Pressure/Gravity is a Property of ANY Pipe Network.


Drainage, Sanitary, Undefined (Pressure)...?


I already have myriad Null Structure Styles for various (Pressure) fittings, and just need to be able to assign a given Part for a given tolerance/angle. 


Further, land development & utility codes dictate the cover, and separation requirements (min/preferred), and conflicts should be resolved to suite the conditions automagically - Sanitary takes priority over all others (unless Storm outfall requires exception), then Drainage, then Undefined (Pressure) which should dip below the others with appropriate vertical separation based on the criteria.


Thats another large gap in Civil 3D generally - criteria based design - roads, lot grading, storm water retention, and as well noted by this wish Pipe Networks (all of them).





I'd stop calling them pressure networks and add in some features for doing stuff like gas, phone, conduit, and such. This is something that should have happened a long time ago.


A small thing but one with consequences. Projectleaders and customers will not except non readable labels. Both pressure and grafity pipe network labels must be freely moveable and rotateable.


@redtransitconsultants -


It's hard enough trying to get Autodesk to consider fixing / finishing the myriad gaps in Civil 3D, as it is. 


Perhaps you you could reserve your spam posts for the regular forums?






Isn't it interesting that Autodesk distinguishes between Pipe Network and Pressure Pipe Network objects?
The fact is, neither are suitable for final design and plan production, as they are so encumbered with fake constraints instead of basing on alignments, then adding constraints like PVIs at structure points and so on.
This is a deep seated problem with Autodesk and the state of its Civil Engineering tools.
If you make your pipe tools alignment based, they can model anything that is a utility.
I do this now, and have for a long time using our alignment based utility tools.
The crazy thing is Civil3D has alignments in it, but then they are rejected as the container for pipeline design data, opting for part-based systems instead, which are really just a ton of constraints.
This is a case where there is a simple answer, and an obvious one to anyone that does pipe plans, but involves re-doing software that Autodesk already spent money on.
I personally think they don't want to touch it because if they got it wrong once, why would they trust themselves second time around.
Dave Simeone should comment on this as I believe C3D utility tools are killing the momentum of the program, and the evolution of Civil BIM objects in general.



C3D itself is killing the evolution of Civil BIM objects.


haha it is, or haha it's not?

Think about it. Why are civil engineers not making a 3d model of every pipeline job they do?

We should be seeing so many models that its just assumed you can review conflicts in navis or IW.

Instead, its like some big deal if a nice model is made. That is embarrassing to our industry, and Bentley has not done better.


haha, it is killing Civil BIM.


Civil BIM is dragging so far behind. I believe it's a failing on both the software developers, as well as the software users. The developers don't seem to fully understand what we need to do BIM, and we don't fully understand BIM. I think that's partly to do with the use of "BIM". It's a misnomer for Civil, as there is really no Building that we have control over. CIM would be better, but again, these terms are still so new to our industry (an industry that is notoriously slow at adopting change) that it's not fully defined for the layman. By Autodesks own admission, they are actually reacting to the push toward BIM as well. And their reaction has been less for Civil than any other field.


As an example, at my company we model very little that isn't needed to produce something for the plans. We don't use pipe networks unless we need to profile something. So, we only do 8" or larger for city requirements, and if something smaller crosses another pipe, we will do a single pipe to approximate its location.  We do surfaces to grade out the site, but ultimately we only care about how the contours and spots look, or how the profile looks over the pipes. We don't model out pavement layers, we just create a surface of our thickest pavement section for a project in order to show that pavement in the profiles. 


I would LOVE to MODEL the site. The tools we have are not modeling tools. Like @Civil3DReminders_com is always saying, we need to have real world objects as objects in Civil 3D. 


We have had one client, in all my 20 years of doing this work, that wanted to build from the model. He came from a CNC background, where they build directly from a model for all their products. This project has been under construction for 2 years now, and it's been a giant headache, because we weren't prepared for that kind of production environment. The model was missing detail that was hugely important in getting the product built. But this is the flaw in the whole process. Our product, ultimately, is a paper set of plans. Until we can model something and easily annotate it onto plans the way other software, like Revit or ArchiCAD, we're just being Sisyphus.


Sorry, I just kind of went off there.


Take it back, you are not sorry!

Modeling the site and utils is not hard and actually becomes more efficient if you have the right tools.

I would go crazy if I had to use feature lines to model a site, I pray I never have to face that.

I have a plan view editing interface in our tool that mimics how you design, no extra pvi's other than the pure profile, unlike feature lines that have a pvi at every line/arc end.


True on both counts 😉


Unfortunately, we only have Civil 3D, so we don't have all the right tools.

Not applicable

I was just at a presentation from our reseller ATG, most of the time the Revit guys were basically flaming civil for always being loop and never having their plans up to date, while touting how easy it is for MEP and others to coordinate with the *360 and glue offerings from Autodesk. I approached him later and shared that Civil always complains that architects never coordinate with civil when their design changes, and to advertise BIM as being a widely adopted throughout the industry while Autodesk leaves Civil engineers out in the cold basically. ( i also told him arch should really start drawing things in real world scales and coordinates 😉


He was shocked!


Here's what I want, please don't hate: 


1. Central model like in Revit (bye bye data and xref's)

2. Polyline/Feature line like functionality for pipes, gravity and pressure

3. Gravity and pressure that actually works instead of heavily modified xml files and sql crap

     a. industry manufacturer's parts catalouge. (come on autodesk, kick down some cash and get this done!)

4. Snap to profile view grids and everything else

5. nonAnnotative  profile views

the list is too long...


Quit jacking around with license models, infraworks and recap and give the civil industry something on par with the other offerings from autodesk that doesn't look like it permanently belongs on an ipad or designed for a child. I'd bet that most of the fatal errors and crashing is directly related to it being built on top of autocad.


Civil 3d has been such a breath of fresh air from LDT and Softdesk. It has elevated our industry so much but I believe it has now lost it's way. Much like apple, it can no longer innovate. I believe it to be a product of the core of autocad. We need a new, purpose built solution (not infraworks) to develop infrastructure. I can see a future where infraworks could be the replacement for Civil3d, but it feels very childish and lacks the analytical tools needed for design and relies to heavily on cloud credits and other crap. It has the "central model" idea but again, cloud crap.


I'm all worked up now and it's a friday so i'm gonna get a beer,







Don't fall into the trap of wanting to treat utilities as "parts" like a manufacturer would.

A pipe run is a parametric animal, with two parts - the horizontal segments (lines/arcs), and vertical segments (tangents/VC's).


As long as that is not how Autodesk does things, and feature lines, gravity pipe networks, pressure pipes all do that, their efforts will fail.

Why - because they are making a tool for an audience that does not exist.

Eventually a pipeline design turns into real pipe segments, but even that situation is not well accommodated by current tools.


Somehow Autodesk confused improvement plan design with hydraulic modeling node based network models.

They aren't the same.

The crazy thing is c3d alignments are sitting right in front of us. All the "parts" are there, but Autodesk will not put them together.


No wonder they can't decide on how to store and share data, they are confused on their design objects.

They should fix it and laugh all the way to the bank.

Not applicable

Excellent idea! Using VARDAK(Norwegian extension with a library) to draw my drain drawings. But when laying out the pipe network it lacks detail when things pile up!


Hope this goes through! 


Need pipe distances to measure from center of fitting to center of when it's station 3500, the pipe calcs 3500, otherwise contractors end up short.


I first started using AutoCAD in early 1990.  My employer sent me to Ketiv Technologies in So. Cal for a week to learn AutoCAD.  (I had been using Intergraph on a DEC VAX based workstation for about seven years).  Kanwar Annand was my instructor who I exasperated with a multitude of questions that usually began "How do you ...?" with a subject being something I could do using Intergraph which was entirely foreign to AutoCAD.  After far too many "Why would you want to do that?" responses Kanwar finally settled on a single solution to my questions:  "AutoCAD allows users to create applications using Autolisp.  You can do just about anything you want using Autolisp."  (Kanwar was great by the way).


I asked where to learn more about Autolisp and he recommended "Inside Autolisp - Using Autolisp to Customize AutoCAD" for release 10.  That was the best advice I ever got regarding AutoCAD.  I studied that book and worked through its excellent tutorials.  I purchased Basis Software's "Vital Lisp" which was later bought by Autodesk and repackaged as its "Visual Lisp".  I have rarely ever had a problem that Autolisp could not solve for me.


Almost all of the things folks have wished for here for civil gravity and pressure pipes I have also wished for.  I have everything I need using my software.  I ONLY use the TIN surface and surface profile from C3D, but that is not required, it is just the simplest of several methods I have to acquire the surface profile along my pipelines.  My gravity/pressure design app is now about 60-70k lines of code now after 26 years of continual use, improvement and refinement.  It handles every aspect of design and production of pipeline P&P drawings for me. 


AutoCAD C3D's gravity piping is really good but still far too slow and cumbersome for me.  Pressure piping is as if a generic programmer who has talked to manufacturing engineers created the application and then adapted it to civil based upon a housing development architect's suggestions.  It just isn't what we need at all.


My point?

Learn to use Autolisp, Visual Lisp, .NET (with C++ or some other programming language... but avoid Visual Basic).

Then, you can do just about anything you want with AutoCAD and Civil 3D.  You'll be much more productive making your employer happier and increasing your professional earning potential.

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