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HELP! Autocad Compatibility

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A newer client of mine is having trouble with the DWG files I have been providing. My typical workflow consists of:

1. Receive floorplan backgrounds from the architect (99.9% of the time in AutoCad format)

2. Import with VectorWorks, proceed with my portion of the work

3. Print to PDF

4. Export DWG

5. provide PDF and DWG to my client

I received the following email from the client's Cad guy, informing me of some issues with my files:

"You can help me out by using some of these simple standards for your drawings for ICS. Your drawings are fine but it takes me longer to make them "office ready". Here are a few simple standards that will help me out alot.

1. Use only index colors. True colors don't work well with our standard plotter configurations.

2. We only use 4 colors to control pen width. Don't use line weight by layer.

a) green(3) - boldest. We like to use this color for devices so they stand out.

b) white(7) - next boldest - larger text ( I know with true type fonts it doesn't really make any difference)

c) red(1)- next boldest. Usually for wire, addresses, cd rating etc

d) all background (floor plan, rcp, architectural etc. needs to be color 8

color 8 on our plotter config is 60% screened and helps make the fire alarm

system stand out.

3, Also, could you xref the title blocks into Paper Space. Much easier for me since I only

have to edit tblock info once. I have included the sheet info block in the email. This is

only the sheet name, drawing name etc. (FA-1.0 etc.) the fields take on the name of

the drawing tab and drawing file name."

I also just received a call from the project manager, informing me that if I can't get this figured out, he won't be able to continue to give me work. I really can't afford to lose this client, since they have been providing me with tons of work.

Without completely dumbing down my drawings (or abandoning VW, and investing a huge amount of time and $$ in order to obtain and learn AutoCad), what can I do to make things more usable on their end? Can I do what he is asking with VW Fundamentals? Or do I need to upgrade to Architect or Designer? Or downgrade to AutoCad?

Thanks for any input.

Alan Eby

Draft Tech Design

MacBook Pro 15" 2.4GHz Intel Core i7

Mac OS 10.7.4 Lion

VW Fundamentals 2012 SP4

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When you do your work in Vectorworks you will have to assign a separate line thickness to each of the AutoCAD colors at the class level. So all the green(3) pen objects are the same line thickness. It does not have to match their line thickness just so all the green(3) pen objects are the same. When it comes time to export to AutoCAD, make sure the option "map line weights to colors" is checked in the dialog. You will then get an additional dialog that lets you assign the DWG index color to your line thickness. This is tricky because you have to find the AutoCAD color to match in the dialog. white(7) is easy because it is first, but green(3) is a pure green color and you have to scroll down to find it! I haven't found grey(8) but I am sure it is somewhere there. I would get a free viewer or a lightweight CAD program like Cadopia or ProgeCAD to verify your output and make any changes. No sense in losing your work!

The title block should be drawn at 1:1 scale in the design layer of a new file and saved. You only need to include project based items in this title block file. You then reference this into the Sheet layout and add the sheet based items like sheet number and sheet title and revision block there.

Hope that helps!

Garry Steinhilber

W.T. Leung Architects Inc.

Vancouver, BC Canada

Edited by Garry Steinhilber

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Garry -

I did a quick test file, and tried to map line weights as you suggested. When exporting, I did not get the dialog you mentioned that would allow me to assign the DWG index colors to my line thicknesses.

Regarding the title block, I have been using a 1:1 scale referenced title block for a while now. However, I have been unable to figure out how to get the referenced file to export as a separate file. I am beginning to suspect that VW Fundamentals is unable to accomplish these simple tasks.

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I may be wrong, but I think if you want your Title Block to be an X REF in ACAD it should start out being referenced into your drawing. As Gary says, it should be 1:1 and be a separate file that is then referenced into your drawings.

I'm not sure about VW Fundamentals, but you may be able to work around this by only using the four colours they speak about by establishing these as classes with these colours as the attributes. Then moving stuff into each of these classes before exporting.

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Jim -

My title block does start out as a 1:1 separate file, referenced into my drawings. Upon export, it gets bundled together into one file, and does not stay separate as an ACED XREF.


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