Pipe Networks and the beloved XML has once again bit someone in the fanny.  This time it is the ‘Can’t Swap Part’ on imported pipe networks.

Here’s the deal.  Among all the interesting stuff an XML file will bring in for you, it won’t bring in the Parts List name.  It contains the Material and size of the part as well as the name, just not the Parts List.  I suspect this is good, considering you may not have that named List, but this still leaves us with pipes that have to be swapped.

It seems as though the Network adopts the creation aspects of the commands settings.  The network is created, and then handed the parts to complete the pipe network.  When it does, it sets them by the information in the XML.  The size is correct, but the XML has no idea what to tell your application about what these should look like, other than diameter. 

The application responds with it’s defaults.  If you have no default Parts List set, then the parts list comes in NULL. Notice the example below.


This is really of no consequence, because when the network is created, the pipes are not connected to the parts list, because they are not derived from the parts list.  They are derived as a generic shell.  I suspect this alleviates the need to do huge bounds checking to whether the part fits a mold in YOUR customized list.  The downside is the need to swap every last stinking structure and pipe.

This had gone unnoticed for some time here because a) not a lot of such transfers were completed, and b) the defaults pipe and structure STYLE was set to the most common parts in my daily use, such that visually things appeared correct.  A little rethink is perhaps in order.


Solution 1: fix the network – In the Pipe Network, set the Network Parts List to the correct listing.  By Swap Part, or by Network Vista, change the pipes and structures to the correct objects.  (If you weren’t sure, this blows)

Solution 2: Promote a Data Reference – Make sure all the Parts List styles are in order, and promote a data Reference into the drawing.  Then the parts will be there, with the correct materials, and the correct styles. 

Note: If you simply copied a part in the list, and gave it a new title and style, the underlying part is the same.  The parts are twins, but underneath they are still 48″ junction structures, and the reference will recreate them that way.  You may want to change the default Autodesk OEM part to the desired style as well. 

Note the example below.  This is an OEM copy, renamed to be something with a company style.  You would be able to see the Part Type, and Part Size Name.  Look that up in the Parts List, and THAT is what you will be getting.


The part will revert to the actual part identity, in this case, the original OEM part.

The moral to this story is that data references are cool. XML is for sending data to others, and for tweaking little problems.

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