Mechanical Applications for AutoCAD Electrical

23 May, 2013 By: Stan Wile

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Make use of all the tools in Autodesk Product Design Suite.

Editor's Note: This tutorial courtesy of IMAGINiT Technologies.

Now that AutoCAD Electrical is included in the Premium and Ultimate versions of Autodesk's Product Design Suite, many companies have gained access to this software package. However, more and more often, I'm seeing those same companies choose to not install it. "We don't create schematics," they say.

A few weeks ago, I was listening to a company describe its needs, several of which could have easily been solved if they had had AutoCAD Electrical installed. The company owned many seats of Product Design Suite, but this group only used the AutoCAD Mechanical portion of it. Their Inventor group didn't have Electrical installed either. Maybe if users could see some of these features, they might think twice when choosing which software to exclude from their install.

To use these features, you will need to open the drawings using AutoCAD Electrical. Other than a hidden block or two, nothing else will be added to your drawings. More detailed information on any of these topics can be found online.

Edit Block Attributes

AutoCAD Electrical has many easy-to-use attribute tools for existing blocks.

Without editing or exploding a block, users can hide, move, add, rename, stretch, change justification, and more. These changes affect only a single block instance, not the block definition.

AutoCAD's Enhanced Attribute Editor can perform many of these changes, but it does so one attribute at a time. With these tools I can modify multiple attributes from several blocks at the same time.

I can also add an additional attribute to a single block. There are times when an additional line of description text would be nice. Add an attribute named DESC3, then double-click on the block. DESC3 will be a new attribute listed, waiting for a value.

Title Block Update

Typically all the drawing title blocks in a project share much of the same information. Using the Title Block Update utility from the Project tab, you can automatically update all the title blocks in the entire project with mapped information. Project Descriptions can be pushed to all title blocks in the project. Drawing Settings can be pushed to each individual drawing's title block.

To get this one to work, you'll need to set up three files:

  1. A project (WDP) file for each project. This file is created when creating a New Project. 

  2. A shared Project Line Description (WDL) file. This is simply a text file named default_wdtitle.WDL and placed in a shared folder between all users. The sample WDL file below shows modified project description labels.

    Using a text editor such as Notepad, name the project description lines using the following format. (This helps users know what information to place in each line.) 
    LINE1=Title 1:
    LINE2=Title 2:
    LINE3=Title 3:
  3. A Title Block Mapping (WDT) file. This file is created by the Title Block Setup wizard. It's found on the Project tab. You will specify the name of any block(s) that will require attributes to be updated, then map the project and drawing descriptions to those attributes.

After setting up these three files, add all necessary drawings to the new project and you're ready to start pushing descriptions to title blocks.

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