You are on page 1of 35

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture

Speaker
Dennis McNeal, AIA Software Quality Analyst, Autodesk Inc.

Assistants
Bill Glennie QA Manager, Autodesk Inc. Matt Dillon Consultant Nauman Mysorewala - CAD/BIM Manager, GBBN Architects

AB300-1 In this hands-on lab, youll get an overview of the AutoCAD Architecture Details feature and learn how to make your own custom detail components. Learn how easy it is to make your own details from within the Details interface without having to manually create/edit complicated XML files. Once we make a custom detail component, well leverage AutoCAD Architectures Annotation Scaling tools to complete a realworld detail. This lab will help you supercharge your detailing productivity!

About the Speaker:


Dennis McNeal has been a licensed architect since 1992 and has been an Autodesk product user since AutoCAD 2.6. Dennis joined the AutoCAD Architecture team as a Quality Analyst about six years ago and has been involved in the design and testing of improvements made to AutoCAD Architecture Details and other AutoCAD Architecture Features. If you have questions or comments feel free to contact him. dennis.mcneal@autodesk.com

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture About the Assistants:


Bill Glennie is user number one of AutoCAD Architecture. He joined Autodesk as a QA Analyst in 1997, a year before Architectural Desktop (the original name) was released. From versions 3 to 2006, Bill was the designer of the Stair and Railing features, and is now QA manager for the AutoCAD Architecture team. Prior to this, Bill taught several CAD courses for 14 years at the University of Pennsylvania and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He worked for 5 years with a small architecture and solar consulting firm as a programmer and design analyst after receiving a B.A. in Architecture and an M.S.E. in Civil Engineering from Princeton.

Matt Dillon is a non-practicing, registered architect in Texas, specializing in consulting with architectural and engineering firms to make the most of their AutoCAD Architecture and other BIM software. Matt is also a regular speaker at Autodesk University.

Nauman Mysorewala is a CAD/BIM Manager for GBBN Architects, Inc. a multi-national firm specializing in Healthcare, Housing, Institutional and Entertainment. He has over nine years of experience in this role as well as working as an architect. He has been working with Autodesk products including AutoCAD, AUTOCAD ARCHITECTURE, Revit, 3D Studio Viz/Max since 1986. He also teaches AutoCAD & Architectural Desktop at College of Mt. St. Joseph to Interior Design Students and has been teaching at corporate level and conducting customized training sessions for Architectural Desktop and Revit. Nauman holds a Bachelors of Architecture degree and is an Autodesk Architectural Desktop Certified Expert.

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture Overview


Detailing tools are an important part of AutoCAD Architecture and can significantly improve your productivity and ultimately the quality of your documents. AutoCADs drafting tools combined with AutoCAD Architectures Detail Component Manager provide an efficient and easy to use system for detailing your projects.

This lab assumes that you already have a basic understanding of AutoCAD but are not an expert in using AutoCAD Architectures Details.

AutoCAD Architecture Details is a database driven feature. The good news is you dont need to know anything about databases to use or understand Details. Just knowing that Details is organized by a database and can be edited easily without needing a database editor is all you need to understand.

What is Details?
AutoCAD Architecture Details is a 2D detailing program made specifically for architectural and structural documentation. Details can be productively used alongside of your AutoCAD Architecture model. Your AutoCAD Architecture model can be externally referenced into your detail drawings as an outline and drawn over. As the model changes and the external reference reloaded you can easily see when your detail needs modification.

AutoCAD Architecture Details is complemented by traditional AutoCAD drawing and editing tools and AutoCAD Architectures Aec Modify tools, available from the context menu. Details is made to quickly assemble and edit your specific detail drawings

What Details Is Not


AutoCAD Architecture Details is not a 3D detailing program so the detail is not extracted from your AutoCAD Architecture model. Also Details is not a block management program Design Center and Content Browser are the suggested tools for managing your finished blocks.

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture

Details Interface
The primary interface for accessing AutoCAD Architecture Details is the Detail Component Manager accessed through the Navigation toolbar.

Starting Detail Component Manager The organization of Detail Component Manager should be familiar to many US design professionals as is based on CSI 2004 standards. If youre familiar in finding products in Sweets Catalogs you will easily find the detail components you need in AutoCAD Architecture Details.

Detail Component Manager Dialog

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture


Finding a Detail Component is as simple as expanding a Division until you find the component you need. Lets say you need a single slope wall coping component. Starting with Division 07 Thermal and Moisture Protection (1), simply expand the logical categories to find your component (2 & 3). In this case, multiple coping sizes are available for your selection. We will discuss later how you can easily add your own custom sizes to the list.

Expanded Component List Adding a Component to your drawing is achieved by simply selecting your Component from the list then picking the Insert Component button.

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture


In your drawing the Property Palette provides information and options for the Detail Component you selected. You can do things like select an entirely different Component Category, Component Type or as shown below, pick a unique view to draw.

Detail Component Add Options Another way to add Detail Components to your drawing is Tool Palettes. AutoCAD Architecture ships with many stock detailing Tool Palettes. By right clicking the Name bar on the Tool Palette you can easily select the Detailing Tool Palette Group.

Displaying Detailing Tools

Sample Detailing Tools

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture


Tool Palettes are easy to customize to your own common detailing needs. Detail tools contain most of the properties you see in Property Palette and can be setup to provide your common options by default. Simply right click a tool and set properties to your preferences and the next time you use that tool those properties will be the default.

Tool Properties Example

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture Under The Hood

AutoCAD Architecture Details is database driven using a Microsoft Access database organizing thousands of pieces of content. Many components contain multiple 2D views (Top, Front, Side, etc.) and each of these views is made available through an XML recipe. Detail recipes are like cooking recipes in that they contain the ingredients for creating the component. A simple recipe might insert a block and determine things like its Layer and Linetype. Complex recipes can call routines to draw Detail Components and use complex jigs to help you place the Components in your drawing. Unless you enjoy working with XML files you dont need to understand recipes other than to know that XML recipes are an important part of Details and are made for you automatically when you customize AutoCAD Architecture Details. Important! Before we make any edits to the Detail Component Manager database you need to make a backup copy of the database. By default the Imperial database file is found at: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\ACD-A 2008\enu\Details\Details (US))\AecDtlComponents (US).mdb. 1. 2. 3. 4. Open Windows Explorer and browse to the database file Select the file, right click and select Copy Right click again in Windows Explorer and pick Paste By default Windows will paste a copy named: Copy of AecDtlComponents (US).mdb

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture Adding Sizes to Default Detail Components

Adding additional sizes to default Detail Components is done from within the Detail Component Manager. By selecting the Edit Database button (1) and adding your field values to the data grid (2) you can make your own Detail Components. Congratulations, youre now a database genius! In the image below we are adding a 1x2 Lumber component to the database. To complete adding your new database component just unselect the Edit Database button and confirm the prompt that you want to change the database. Thats all there is to adding a new component size!

Adding a New Component Size

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture

Dancin A Jig

A jig is used by AutoCAD Architecture Details to provide greater flexibility when you add Detail components to your drawing. There are six types of jigs available to you for creating a Detail component and they are described below.

Stamp Jig

Use the Stamp Jig to place single instances of a component or the same component inserted multiple times. AutoCAD Architecture Details offers many Stamp Jig components Custom Millwork is a good example.

Bookends Jig

The Bookend Jig uses three blocks to make a single Detail Component. The interior blocks are arrayed at a specific distance and the bookend blocks are placed at the start and end points. The Fixed Aluminum Louvers component is a good example of a Bookend Jig.

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture Linear Array

The Linear Array jig arrays a single component along a straight path. The Wood Strip Flooring component uses the Linear Array jig.

Surface

A Surface Jig Draws a predefined rectangular component based on user start and end point picks. Paving components use a Surface Jig.

Surface Linetype

The Surface Linetype jig extends the Surface Jig to include a user defined linetype. Resilient Flooring is an excellent example of a Surface Linetype jig.

Surface Top

The Surface Top jig is exactly like the Surface jig except it doesnt draw the bottom line of the rectangle. The Concrete Topping component uses the Surface Top jig

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture Dancin Your Own Jig Making Custom Detail Components

Now we will examine how to create Custom Detail Components. Lets say youve been using Details to place wood framing members in your section and detail drawings. Youve noticed that most standard lumber sizes can be had using components from Nominal Cut Lumber and you want to make spaced lumber components to represent joists or studs in your details. Using standard jigs we can easily make Detail Components that automatically draw spaced framing members. The first step in making a custom Detail Component is to decide where they are located in the Detail Component Manager. For our lumber enhancements your first inclination might be to modify the existing Nominal Cut Lumber components but his will be problematic. As you can see in the image below, when you edit a stock Nominal Cut Lumber component you find that they use pre-programmed parameters that arent editable.

Nominal Cut Lumber Parameters

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture Creating Spaced Lumber Components


Our Spaced Lumber component will be used for drawing things like joists, studs or rafters and will take advantage of the Linear Array jig. Before making our database additions we need block content to represent our framing and a nice image for the Component View Window. To save time Ive already made these for you and they are on your computer. Instead of modifying the existing component we will simply add a new component to the database by following the steps below: 1. Expand & select the Wood Framing category in the Detail Component Manager as shown in the dialog above 2. Select the Edit Database Button 3. Select the Add Component button 4. The New Component dialog displays with the General tab active 5. Fill in the general tab as shown in the image below. To specify the image, right click in the Viewer Window > Specify image > Browse to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\ACD-A 2008\enu\Details\Details (US)\06 - Wood, Plastics and Composites\images\Spaced Lumber.png

Spaced Lumber Component General Tab

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture


6. Select OK in the New Component Dialog & notice that you have a new component under the Wood Framing Category. 7. We will now fill in the Parameters information. Select Spaced Lumber component > right click > Edit & select the Parameters tab. 8. Fill in the Parameters tab as shown below then select OK

Spaced Lumber Component Parameters Tab

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture


9. After exiting the dialog you will notice that the Description field is active in the data grid. Fill in the data fields as shown in the image below.

Completed Component

10. When the data grid is fully filled in, deselect the edit button and confirm that you want to save your database changes.

Congratulations, you just made a custom Detail Component! If you want to create additional spaced components for a 2-0 spacing you only need to repeat the above steps with a new Component name and increased gap size.

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture Using Your New Spaced Lumber Components
Adding your spaced lumber components to a drawing is as simple as opening Detail Component Manager and selecting a component followed by picking the Insert Component button. Helpful Hint: When adding a Detail Component to your drawing, Properties Palette provides many useful options, therefore its recommended that you enable the Properties Palette by typing Props @ the command line or selecting Properties Palette from the Standard toolbar before inserting a component.

To add a Spaced Lumber component to your drawing, follow these steps: 1. Open Detail Component Manager, select and Spaced Lumber Component then pick the Insert Component button 2. I selected 2x8 @ 16 O.C and the Property Palette is populated with the component data.

Property Palette during Component Add 3. Lets say you changed your mind and wanted 2x10 @ 16 O.C. instead. You only need to pick the Description dropdown and select that component.

Dropdown in Property Palette

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture

4. Follow the command line prompt and pick a point to start your component placement. 5. When prompted for a second point just drag your cursor without picking and notice your 2x10s drawing @ 16 O.C..

Component Highlights when Dragging Curser 6. Complete the routine by dragging the cursor and picking when you see the desired number of components or drag & type a distance to fill. 7. After picking the second point AutoCAD Architecture returns you to the command line and each 2x10 in your drawing is a unique block. 8. During placement you might have noticed the additional command line options that were available. Lets take a quick look @ those. 9. A cool way to add additional spaced detail components to your drawing is to select one of the 2x10 blocks, right click and pick Add Selected from the context menu.

Component Context Menu

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture


10. Observe the Command Line & notice the three options Xflip/ Yflip/ Count 11. Typing X or Y followed by enter will quickly show you how component orientation can be changed. These are toggles so you can test orientation options. 12. Type C for count followed by Enter. 13. You are now prompted to Type number of members: Type a value of 4. 14. Your cursor now displays four members and you only need to pick an insert point and array direction to complete the routine.

Creating Platform Lumber Components


In this example we will use a Bookend Jig with our lumber blocks as repeating elements and new blocks for the bookends. The Platform Lumber component will draw an array of wood joists or rafters in section plus start and end rim joists plus a sill plate thats found in platform frame construction.

Platform Lumber Component Parts 1. We will start making our new component by entering the Detail Component Manager and selecting the Wood Framing category, then picking the Edit Database button 2. Now select the Edit button The New Component dialog displays with the General tab active 3. Fill in the general tab as shown in the image below. To specify the image, right click in the Viewer Window > Specify image > Browse C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\ACD-A 2008\enu\Details\Details (US)\06 - Wood, Plastics and Composites\images \PlatformLumber.png

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture

Platform Lumber General Tab

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture


1. Select OK in the New Component Dialog & notice your new component under the Wood Framing Category. 2. We will now fill in the Parameters information. Select Platform Lumber component > right click > Edit & select the Parameters tab. 3. Fill in the Parameters tab as shown in the two images below then select OK

Platform Lumber Parameters Tab (Top)

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture

Platform Lumber Parameters Tab (Bottom)

1. After exiting the dialog you will notice that the Description field is active in the data grid. Fill in the
data fields as shown in the image below.

Completed Platform Lumber Component 1. When the data grid is fully filled in, deselect the edit button and confirm that you want to save your database changes.

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture Using Your New Platform Lumber Components
To add a Platform Lumber component to your drawing, follow the following steps: 1. Open Detail Component Manager, select and Platform Lumber Component you want to draw then pick the Insert Component button 2. During the insert process you will again see that Property Palette is populated with the component information and all of the components are available to you

Properties Palette - Component Insert 1. You will notice the bookend blocks of the components previewing on your curser. Follow the prompt and pick a first point in your drawing area 2. For the second point you can drag in any direction, using Xflip or Yflip Command Line options if needed or drag and type a distance.

Platform Lumber Drag to Second Point You will sometimes find the need to adjust framing to match your project requirements and this is easily accomplished with AutoCAD editing commands since the inserted framing members are individual blocks. Each block is a unique anonymous block so it can be easily edited without the worry of changing other blocks in your drawing.

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture


Helpful Hint: To add additional Detail Components without reentering the Detail component Manager try one of the following: 1. Select any one of the blocks inserted from the last exercise 2. Right click your mouse and select Add Selected from the context menu 3. The Platform Lumber insert routine is run exactly as if started from the Detail Component Manager. Or 1. First open the Tool Palette 2. Drag/drop any of your detail blocks onto a palette to create a tool

Custom Tool If you right click your new tool & select Properties you can see the default properties of this tool and you can change the properties of the tool here. By selecting the tool you can easily insert the Platform Lumber component.

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture Create Lumber Beam Component - Section View
Although Details provides many wood lumber sizes they are all inserted as single members using a Stamp Jig. In this exercise we will again leverage our lumber blocks to make multiple member beams or girders so you can draw beams in a single step. The Lumber Beam component will use a Linear Array jig to allow you to place a beam and control the number of members by dragging or specifying a count. Once the beam is in your drawing it will be made of individual blocks for easy editing.

Lumber Beam Components 1. We will start making our new component by entering the Detail Component Manager and selecting the Wood Framing category, then picking the Edit Database button 2. Now select the Edit button The New Component dialog displays with the General tab active 3. Fill in the general tab as shown in the image below. To specify the image, right click in the Viewer Window > Specify image > Browse to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\ACD-A 2008\enu\Details\Details (US)\06 - Wood, Plastics and Composites\images \LumberBeam.png

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture

Lumber Beam General Tab 4. Select OK in the New Component Dialog & notice your new component under the Wood Framing Category. 5. We will now fill in the Parameters information. Select Lumber Beam component > right click > Edit & select the Parameters tab. 6. Fill in the Parameters tab as shown below then select OK

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture

Lumber Beam Parameters Tab 7. After exiting the dialog you will notice that the Description field is active in the data grid. Fill in the data fields as shown in the image below.

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture

Lumber Beam Component 8. When the data grid is fully filled in, deselect the edit button and confirm that you want to save your database changes.

Using Your New Lumber Beam Component


To add a Lumber Beam component to your drawing, follow the following steps: 1. Open Detail Component Manager, select the Lumber Beam component you want to draw then pick the Insert Component button 2. During the insert process you will again see that Property Palette is populated with the component information and all of the components are available to you

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture

Properties Palette Component Insert 1. To complete adding your Lumber Beam component, pick a point in your drawing then drag to add the desired number of members. The Count Command Line option is also very useful allowing you to specify an exact number of members to make up your beam.

Lumber Beam Components Creating an Additional View


Sometimes you will want to draw a beam in elevation view or plan view. In the following example we will create a new Elevation View for your Lumber Beam component. Making a Plan View is very similar. 1. We will start making our new component View by entering the Detail Component Manager and selecting the Lumber Beam component, then picking the Edit Database button 2. Now select the Edit button and set the Parameters tab active 3. Select the Create New View button 4. Fill in the Parameter information as shown in the image below

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture

Lumber Beam Elevation Parameters Tab 5. After exiting the dialog you will notice that the data grid has changed and now provides fields for thickness and hatch. Fill in thicknesses shown in the image below.

Completed Lumber Beam Component

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture


6. When the data grid is fully filled in, deselect the edit button and confirm that you want to save your database changes.

Using Your New Lumber Beam Component Elevation View


To add a Lumber Beam Elevation component to your drawing, follow the following steps: 1. Open Detail Component Manager, select the Lumber Beam component you want to draw then pick the Insert Component button 2. During the insert process you will again see that Property Palette is populated with the component information and all of the components are available to you 3. Select the View dropdown field in the Property Palette & notice that you now have Lumber Beam Elevation in addition to Section. Select Lumber Beam Elevation 4. You also have a Yes/No toggle for Hatch Item in the Property Palette. Set Hatch Item to No.

Properties Palette Component Insert 5. To draw your Lumber Beam Elevation follow the Command Line prompts to Pick start point and Pick end point.

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture Using Details with Your AutoCAD Architecture Model
Even though details are not automatically created from your AutoCAD Architecture model you may find the following solution to be very productive and useful for coordinating your documents. Due to time constraints (& the length of this document) Ill cover this workflow suggestion from a high level. You may need to investigate further on your own or ask me questions if needed.

Suggested Workflow Your Results May Vary


Ideally you are modeling your building in 3D and using AutoCAD Architectures Drawing Management feature. You can use this workflow using only 2D drafting and standalone drawings but you will have fewer options. 1. Begin by modeling your building using as many AutoCAD Architecture features as needed to create a valid 3D model. 2. If youre using Drawing Management, simply create a new View of your model & start creating Sections and Details from the model using callout tools from the palette. You can also do this manually using AutoCAD Architectures 2D Section/elevation tool or by using AutoCADs Xref/Clip functionality. 3. In the image below I used AutoCAD Architectures 2D Section/Elevation tools to cut a building section.

2D Section/Elevation

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture


4. Having this simple section provides you with an outline of building components to detail and help you coordinate your 2D drawings with your model. 5. After youve drawn and annotated your section you can simply turn off the 2D Section/Elevation layer or unload the xref. Your final Section drawing might resemble the following image.

Wall Section using Details Drawn Over 2D Section/elevation Object 6. If your building model changes you only need to update the Section/Elevation object, and then edit your 2D wall section to match. 7. Another production tool related to Details worth mentioning is Annotation Scaling. Lets say we want to make a large scale roof edge detail from the section above. Again, by using Drawing Management I can make an xref copy of the annotated section at a large scale and just add any additional dimensions and notes. By reusing the original section drawing and annotation Im assuring that my drawings are coordinated.

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture

Detail Partially Created From 2D Wall Section

The Details Feature in AutoCAD Architecture Conclusion


Hopefully these examples of customizing AutoCAD Architecture Details will inspire you to make your own Detail Components. When making your own content using the jigs provided, just refer back to the previous examples if you need help. If you get stuck, feel free to send me an email dennis.mcneal@autodesk.com detailing your problem or post a question to the AutoCAD Architecture newsgroup. If you want to understand AutoCAD Architecture Details in greater detail there is excellent help available from within AutoCAD Architecture: Select Help > Contents tab > AutoCAD Architecture Users Guide > Other Utilities > Customizing and Adding New Content for Detail Components. There are numerous topics here that will help the novice and advanced user to fully understand Details. In closing I want to remind you of several important points to remember when you edit AutoCAD Architecture Details. 1. Before making any edits to the Detail Component Manager database you need to make a backup copy. If you mess up the database you can start over with your copy. By default the Imperial database file is found at: : C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\ACDA 2008\enu\Details\Details (US))\AecDtlComponents (US).mdb. 2. Make a backup copy of drawings and images used in making your new database components.

Feel free to show off your custom Detail Components to your boss, workmates and clients. If after seeing your cool routines they think youre a database expert, your secret is safe with me!