Saturday, December 12, 2009

Post AU2009 - AutoCAD MEP 2010 Settings

Another Autodesk University is behind us.  It will be interesting to see if the new elements of AU such as the virtual AU will be the new norm.

The class I taught this year was a lab on AutoCAD MEP.  It was aimed at the settings that are all too often overwhelming and not understood for those new to the AutoCAD MEP program.  If you attended AU or are a Subscription Customer, you should be able to download the handout from the list of online classes.

One often overlooked and misunderstood parts of set up is Layer Keys.  AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD MEP both use layer keys to automate the process of placing types of objects on the correct layers.  The layer keys that come with either program are based on the AIA layering standard.  To some, that in itself is confusing.

When we drew in vanilla AutoCAD, we constantly changed to a layer, created geometry, changed to another layer for another type of geometry or dimensioning or text.  If we realized after the fact that we had forgotten a note for example, we added it often without changing back to the text layer.  That resulted in both time to change from layer to layer and often objects on the wrong layers.

Layer keys can be by object or system.  The most common way that I have seen them used and used them is object-based.  So if we are designing supply duct, the layer key will "think" it's a duct and it's for supply and then choose the appropriate layer of M-SY-DUCT-SUPPLY.

You can edit and even replace the layer key style, but I would encourage you to only modify one rather than trying to start from scratch.  Always make sure you make a copy of the layer style before you modify it also.  I normally recommend preceding the new style name with your company name.

I would encourage you to look on the AU website for classes that cover layer keys for more information as well.

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