AutoCAD Isometrics

July 2011

Introduction
A new Isometric generator is included in AutoCAD Plant 3D 2012. AutoCAD Isometrics is fully compatible with the Isogen PCF file format, but is MUCH easier to use. It is fully AutoCAD compatible, using AutoCAD Blocks for the symbols, AUTOCAD tables, for the Bills of Materials and other tables, and AutoCAD Dimensioning styles for dimensioning. Here is an example of an AutoCAD Isometric:

Creating an Isometric
As in previous versions of AutoCAD Plant 3D, AutoCAD Plant 3D 2012 uses the same user interfaces to create isometrics. Select from the Isometrics tab in Project Manager and click on the style and then

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right-click on the line number(s) to create a production iso or a quick iso. Alternatively use the Iso ribbon to create the quick iso or production iso when in a piping model. Note – In AutoCAD Plant 3D 2012 the main project default folder for isometrics is now <project name>\isometrics. Each isometric style has a sub-folder (as was the case with isogen in prior versions of plant 3D)

AutoCAD Plant 3D 2012 includes the ability to create PCF files for export to Isogen if the user has a separately licensed copy of Isogen as well as the ability to read a PCF and create an AutoCAD Isometric file. The user interface is changed slightly in AutoCAD Plant 3D 2012 with the biggest change appearing in the ‘Advanced’ selection. Options include: • • • • • Exporting tables to Excel or text Setting Overrides including North Arrow direction Overriding the default congestion level (making an isometric drawing more or less ‘dense’ graphically Determining sheet splits based on a change in property values Setting offset location and rotation

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Customizing Isometric settings
The biggest change users will see is the Graphical User Interface to customizing Isometric styles. Many different styles can be supported and the user selects the style when generating the isometric drawings. Customization is much easier that in Isogen – no need to edit many text files! Customization is found in the Project Properties section in Project Manager. There are five pages: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Isometric Style Setup Annotation Styles Dimensioning Styles Sloped and Offset Piping styles Title Block and graphic content setup (drawing areas, tables, North Arrow direction and graphics, fonts etc.)

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First let’s look at isometric ‘style’. This page is selected by selecting ‘properties’ in the Project Manager and then selecting Isometric DWG Settings >> Iso Style Setup.

It is this page that is used to create a new style (based on an existing style). Page 2 sets up the annotation style. E.g. using circles or squares to enclose the BOM annotations (numbers or letters….) Each end connection annotation has its own text prefix. Annotations are specific to a style.

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Example 1:

Example 2:

Dimensioning styles are defined in page 3. Valve dimensioning styles may be different based on the end connection and these are defined in a bottom right of the page. Also how gaskets are dimensioned are also handled on this page. 3 styles are supported: 1. Gaskets are included in the component dimension (small gasket tick marks appear) 2. Gaskets are dimensioned separately 3. Gaskets are not dimensioned – the leader lines are drawn but no dimension value is drawn

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Page 4 defines the sloped and offset piping dimensioning styles:

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Page 5 is the main page for setting up the title block, the layering, the drawing area, bills of materials….. There are 2 main sections: 1. Setup the Title Block, define drawing area, table setups, 2. How the iso gets drawn, dimensioning styles for themes, isometric symbols….

By clicking on the ‘Setup Title Block’ this screen allows the user to define: • • • • • Drawing Area (Area within the sheet that the Iso will be drawn) Table placement & setup (BOM, Cut Piece List, Weld List and Spool List) North Arrow direction & placement Title Block attributes Iso Themes (layers, text sizes etc.)

The template for the isometric drawing is iso.dwt and is found in the style folder. On clicking the ‘Setup Title Block’ button the following screen appears. Drawing Area, Table setup, and North Arrow placement are all performed in this view.

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Selecting Title Block Attributes, opens the Block Editor and allows you to add attributes to the title block:

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The Iso Themes command brings up this dialog box for setting up layers and styles. Override themes allow things like small bore piping and vents & drains to be drawn on different layers.

Changing the symbols is simple:

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XML Files
There are 3 xml files: • • • IsoSkeyAcadBlockMap.xml – this is a project-specific file that maps the PCF ‘Skeys’ to AutoCAD symbol blocks in Plant3dIsoSymbols.dwg BoltSizeMappings.xml – this file maps metric bolt sizes with metric codes (e.g. ¼” is ‘M6’) and also allows alternate text for valve orientation IsoConfig.xml – this is a style-specific file which is used to create the PCF file according to the style defined above. This file exists in each isometric style folder

The first 2 xml’s are at the project level while the IsoConfig.xml file is applicable to each style. The file ‘IsoSkeyAcadBlockMap.xml maps the iso blocks in IsoSymbolStyles.dwg to the PCF SKEY. This file may be edited.

The IsoSkeyAcadBlockMap.xml file maps metric bolt sizes and valve operator orientation text. The upper section allows the bolt size defined in the specs & catalog to be replaced with a ‘text’ size.

The 2nd section is concerned with the text that is placed in the drawing to define the valve operator orientation:

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Conclusion
Finally – why AutoCAD Isometrics? • • • • Much easier to customize – modern GUI interface Fully AutoCAD compatible new technology has been applied to creating the drawing AutoCAD Isometrics can grow leading to a more powerful isometrics engine in the long term.

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