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Streamline Pipe Network Modeling

Streamline Pipe Network Modeling

It's been almost two decades since the pipe network system was introduced with very few updates since then. There are a few items that would make pipe network creation and editing much faster from a user standpoint that Autodesk should focus on.


  1. This is a great idea that should have been done years ago - Add Pipe Invert Elevation in Pipe Networ...
  2. The properties windows for pipes and structures need to allow the user to pan/zoom in the model space while changing/editing the object properties. Even having some of the basic object properties in the AutoCAD Properties window would help with this, such as Structure RIM elevation, pipe inverts, pipe slope, etc.
  3. Why does it take 8+ clicks to associate an alignment with a pipe or structure if not done on initial creation? This is a common issue throughout C3D where excessive user interactions are required to do something. Many times the existing pipes/structures need to be modeled before alignments are created/known. This should be shortened to just a few clicks and not the 8+ steps as outlined below.
    1. Select object
    2. Click on object Properties from Ribbon toolbar
    3. Click on Reference Alignment field to get ellipses button to show
    4. Click second time in Reference Alignment field on the ellipses button that doesn't show up the first time
    5. Click drop-down or button to select alignment graphically
    6. Click on alignment name or select alignment in model space
    7. Click Ok to close dialog
    8. Click Ok to close object Properties window
    9. Hit ESC to deselect object as C3D keeps objects selected when exiting dialogs, but the model space doesn't show object as selected. Bug/issue since C3D 2006.
  4. Ability to associate a pipe/structure to multiple alignments. Many times a structure at an intersection is associated with different alignments.
  5. Option to DREF only pipes/structures associated with an alignment into a drawing. This could be a huge time/space saver for sheet production.
  6. Similar to #5, the ability to insert only pipes/structure associated with an alignment to a profile view.
  7. Ability to actually have a parametric pipe/structure in the model space. Currently, you have to swap a part to change the size of a pipe/structure. The properties of the object should have the ability to change the size directly from there instead of using a different command. And this should be available to multiple parts at a time from either Prospector and/or the ACAD Properties window.
  8. A completely different system for handling parametric pipe/structure catalogs. The pipe catalog system was created almost two decades ago and is very convoluted for users to create/edit parts. Part Builder still has bugs that haven't been fixed and most likely never will be fixed. Sharing of catalogs is confusing to many firms and no warning is shown that the catalog used by the object creator might be different than the catalog of the current user. There should be a single catalog file that can be used/shared instead of the archaic system currently used that requires multiple files in multiple folders. 
  9. Ability to have the slope value of the pipe object itself be calculated from the inside-to-inside wall length instead of center-to-center. Labels can use the wall-to-wall value, but the slope reported on the pipe properties seems to be the center-to-center value. This might have some toggle that I'm not aware of, but it's been a pain trying to explain to engineers why the slope value listed in the pipe properties is not the same as the labels.
  10. Ability to show a pipe/structure being fully or partially demolished. There's no easy way to do that currently with C3D even though it's very common in civil construction. Adding a proposed structure on top of an existing pipe and doing a partial demolition of the existing pipe requires the existing pipe to be split into two then changing the properties/layer of the demolished part. But this also means that the existing layout shows two pipes instead of one. Or having the existing pipes placed into a different network such as the proposed network. Extra steps to do something that should be basic.

These are a few of the things Autodesk could do to help streamline the process of using pipe networks. Autodesk should really focus on the user interaction of Civil 3D instead of focusing on "features" that no one really asks for.

Status changed to: Under Review

Thank you for your idea. We have a goal to revisit piping tools in our civil infrastructure products. This idea will help us as we chart the way.


Have you looked into the CCLS Productivity Tools? We have apps that drastically help streamline the design creation process. In addition, I have the ability to create multiple alignments, profile views, and pipe networks simultaneously.  You do make some good points.

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