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VW Exporting & Contract Work for Architects


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I consider myself a very capable user of VW at this point, in both 3D modeling and production work. I would like to offer schematic, presentation and construction drawings services to architects. However, I have just lost a job because of my inability to export DWG files so that the "transmission of drawings (to AutoCAD) can be seamless." Whether I export the VW files as is, or spend tremendous amounts of time trying to prepare them for AutoCAD, the results are much less than satisfactory.

Currently I am using VW 2008. Does VW 2010 by any chance represent a significant (and I mean significant) leap when it comes to exporting DWG files?

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

Thanks, Will

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Hello Will, I don't think that exporting to DWG will ever, ever, ever be fully satisfactory regardless of which CAD software you are using.

If my main source of income was contracting out architectural drafting services in DWG format, I would, as they say "bite the bullet" and purchase the necessary software. Exporting DWG's to exacting clients is just not worth the headache.

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Thanks for the responses. I'm not surprised to hear that files can't be "seamlessly" transferred to AutoCAD. I'm actually pretty happy that I can import DWG files, such as content from the Internet, and that I can export DWG plans for consultants' underlay drawings with little difficulty. I might consider switching careers before going back to AutoCAD! I agree that seamless transition is a function of the drafting methods of both parties, though using two different softwares clearly adds another level of complexity.

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The only way to successfully translate to Autocad is to completely dummy down your Vectorworks to the lowest common denominator. You have to only draw on one layer and make your classes match the Autocad layering standard. You have to only draw in two dimensions using lines. If you use walls, do not use any wall components and avoid fills.

Use Autocad hatches. Have the other party prepare a template with layers, hatches, symbols and dimension styles.

You will still have to deal with font sizes not matching 100% and although dimensions will be associative they are almost always quirky.

It can be done. But it will be frustrating for both parties.

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I always send a set of .PDF's with any .DWG file I give to any Engineer or team member so that the other party knows what the drawing should look like, it saves alot of headaches.

I am not sure whether Autodesk true view on the other end substitutes fonts for those not available.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Jaime, I'm joining this thread late, but I'm an architect struggling with the same issue. Would it work to send pdf's of your base plans to your engineers so they can xref (grey) in the background, draw their info on top and then send you a print-ready pdf? This way everybody can use their own class/layer system.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Aesthetically, I think that would work. It is only with the last release that Autocad imports and X-Refs .PDF files. I don't know how enthusiastic an engineer would be working over .pdf backgrounds.

I still have some concern over the accuracy and snapping over .PDF's. I have noticed some differences (minor) in .pdf's.

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