Jump to content

Sorting Autocad Blocks into VW Symbols

Recommended Posts

I've inherited a massive file exported from an autocad file which consists of hundreds of symbols - "2d" plans & elevations of multiple types of commercial kitchen equipment. The symbols are just line-work with no fill but are heavily detailed showing every screw and hole etc.  


"2d" is in inverted commas because though the geometry in the symbols is planar much of it is on a 3d horizontal plane - making many of the symbols 3d. Moreover however I think in the exporting process arcs and circles have become multifaceted into multiple short segments.


So in effect I have a huge file of overly complicated line work. We will be using these symbols on multiple projects so we need to find a way of simplifying and standardizing them. 


So I have 3 question I'm hoping to get some help with.


  • Is there a simple way to convert the 3d linework to the screen plane?
  • Is there a simple way to simplify the linework to reduce the number of polys?
  • The symbols have plans and elevations of each piece of equipment. Each view is currently a seperate symbol. Is it worthwhile combining these into a single hybrid symbols with 2d plan, front, side views  etc? I am wondering if doing this will bulk up the size of the symbols too much and slow my file down.


An example of one of the symbol sets below - there are about 500 of these! Thanks for any tips which could save me hours of time!!







Share this post

Link to post

Not a lot you can do "automagically" based on poorly made drawings. It will be very difficult to write a script to connect separate line segments into any form of polys.


As to if you should make the different views into a single symbol with "components" depends entirely on what you want to do with them. If you are only making 2D elevation drawings then it might not be worth the effort, except that it will reduce the number of symbols in your library by a factor of 4. Even then it might not be enough because how will you use them? Would it work and get you the correct view for both a stove installed on the "right" wall and one installed on the "left" wall? What about a view where you need to show the side of some objects and the front or back of others. Multiple symbols might be better. But think about it before you decide.


Finally, your first question about making everything screen plane is the easiest part of the question.



Share this post

Link to post

Thanks Pat!


Yes those scripts are useful esp as I had some similar ones that didn't seem to work in vw2019. I'll have to run in it segments though as running it on all 500 odd symbols at the same time caused the program to crash...


I've now discovered many of the symbols also have nurbs curves in them so I'm wondering if there is a quick way to convert the nurbs curves to polylines without going into each one to edit them individually. I could then run the "set to screen plane" script which should make all my 3d/hybrid symbols into simple 2d symbols.


Thanks for the advice on symbol components.I think we will create hybrid symbols with 2d components on a case by case basis as the need arises. That would cater for different workflows in the office. I guess I was just wondering if hybrid symbols with multiple 2d components are "data heavy" and could slow down the program.

Share this post

Link to post

Hmm so it looks like those scripts do odd things to 3d lines. I think it is if they are not parallel to the layer plane. For symbols it seems to make that geometry disapear. For groups the geometry is moved completely.


 i.e. use with care...


Share this post

Link to post

A wee update on this. I’ve managed (after some hours) to purge out all the 3D line work from this file so I now have a solid set of 2d only symbols to work from.


What to do with symbols that have anywhere between 500 to 10000 lines/poly lines on them!

Share this post

Link to post

@ Boh, make sure there aren't any duplicates (lines on top of one another), try to "Combine" any into polygons... not sure what else you can do other than deleting stuff within the symbol, depending of course, on whether a line is important to the overall appearance of the symbol.



Share this post

Link to post

Thanks Wes. Yes I managed to purge out about 15,000 coincident duplicate objects and the overall file size has come down somewhat. Splitting the various symbol types into different design layers has also helped navigate around the file.


I think we will have to tidy up the symbols as we use them on projects as it's too much to do in one go. I want to do it properly adding record info and standardising symbol names etc so it's going to be an ongoing project.


As well as creating 3d symbols with 2d components out of the different front side/top views I have as mentioned earlier I'm wondering about setting different lines within symbols to different detail level so that the plan views in particular don't have to have all the detail in my schematics but this can be included in the detail plans if required.


This isn't going to reduce the file size but will it increase it?


I haven't really used 2d components or detail levels yet so any sage advice before I dive in on this technique for a beginner would be appreciated. Any particularly good tutorials out there?



Share this post

Link to post

@ Boh ,regarding file size - I've not heard of any increase any more than that many lines in a "standard" view.

Share this post

Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


7150 Riverwood Drive, Columbia, Maryland 21046, USA   |   Contact Us:   410-290-5114


© 2018 Vectorworks, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Vectorworks, Inc. is part of the Nemetschek Group.

  • Create New...