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Tag Archives: Surfaces

Autodesk Labs | Interactive Terrain Shaping for Civil 3D

imageAutodesk Labs has just released what might turn out to be a fantastic new method of developing site grading in AutoCAD Civil 3D. The Interactive Terrain Shaping tools.

Many have argued that Civil 3D needed more interactive, drag and drop features, and this preview just might be the start of a new way of developing grading plans in the future. Check out my initial write up on the preview at Civil, and head over to Labs to give it a try.

In Design | 3D Printing & Component Feasibility


For the last week I’ve been popping in and out of this design as I prep it for 3D printing. While I did that I noticed a few things that needed attention. This turned into a feasibility study that has taken more time that I desired, but has resulted in a few good articles that are coming soon.

Oil Fittings (Red)

Due to the scale of the design, there were tremendous problems with the Oil Fittings. While there was room for them in the design, getting them installed was a nightmare. The first reason is that no good 3D CAD fittings were available online. This is another reason I am promoting GrabCAD, so we can put decent content out there for everyone. I’ll post the AN fittings there.

I finally got some models and Manufacturer dimensions that helped me build the actual fittings I wanted to test. Then I used those features to redesign the Oil Port Channel at 45° which was really needed to install the fitting. The old fitting did not have enough throughput on the oil volume so larger fittings had to be introduced.

Aside from the larger fitting result, was getting the surfaces to match up without counter-boring the sealing faces into the model.  A little Inventor surface work was done and while it took more than the 5 minutes I wanted to spend, it resulted in a great surfaces geometry article.

Actuator Access Plugs (Blue)

The original design was scrapped when producing the actual threads for the 3D Printing process. The material was going to be quite thin on the upper edge, and I could see the thing chipping, and any such occurrence would cause the seals to fail. This area is designed wet, and so those O-Rings need a good mating surface. A new thread and plug were evaluated and as a result, another great article is coming about threading geometry in Inventor.

The new plug is designed from a 3/8” UNF cap screw, turned down and truncated top and bottom. The O-Ring evaluated is a 1/4” stretched to hit the right size and shape.

Check back for the resulting articles after I get some things written that I picked up while at AU.

Civil 3D – Using Volume Surfaces to Inspect Changes

Autodesk Civil 3D Surface Comparison Hydro colorationWe often have to verify the condition of Stormwater basins for our clients. In the example today, I was requested to evaluate the volumes of a past as-built, and compare it to a recent version.


While there were difference in volume, the problems lied in the inability to visually evaluate where those differences had occurred. EG Contours are shaped similarly, and spot grades are located differently. Also, I was given half an hour to delineate the differences.


I have the 2 Grid volume surfaces that establish storage volume to the outfall elevation. What I need now is a Volume surface that compares the EG surfaces of the two pond bottoms.  

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Civil 3D – Creating Cropped Surface Tips

Autodesk Civil 3D 2011 Do you have a huge cumbersome surface that you need to cut down to a manageable size in Autodesk Civil 3D? There are a few ways to help make that happen.

  • One is the Cropped Surface tool from the Civil 3D 2010 Subscription Advantage Pack
  • Next is to delete data directly from the surface until it is sized according to your needs.
  • Lastly Civil 3D 2011 already has the SAP features adopted, and Create a Cropped Surface is one of them

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Inventor – Surface Patching Tip

I was prepping a new design, and decided to throw this tip out.  When you have an open surface such as the one in this image, and want to add a face to close if off, you can add a surface by using ‘Patch’.


Ribbon-> Home Tab->Surface Panel->Patch


 image image

It’s quite simple and uses the edges selected to create a face.  One word of warning: Inventor will try to use all the edges selected and create a smoothed face between them, so be careful what you select, and review he results carefully.

Inventor – Projected Geometry and Converging Edges

In the last post we discussed sketched features that rely on projected geometry from features that are not orthogonal to the sketch plane.  Similar errors occur when the face of an object’s angular relationship merger with another.  Kind of like collapsing bleachers.  The results vary depending on how clean the application, and how careful the… Continue Reading

Civil 3D – Simple Surface Paste

I’d like to explain the merits and simplicity of editing an existing flawed (or legacy) surface with another updated region.  Sometimes careful data sifting is required, and in those cases this method will not do.  However, those situations are few, and the Paste method is a great option.  This discussion will follow the notion that… Continue Reading

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