Mechanical Applications for AutoCAD Electrical

22 May, 2013 By: Stan Wile

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

Swap and Update Blocks while Mapping Attributes

AutoCAD's Express Tools has a feature called Replace Block; however, it leaves copies of the original attributes inside the new block, along with all of the old block's attributes. AutoCAD Electrical's Swap/Update Block command allows the use of an attribute mapping file. Attribute values are written out to a scratch file, then written back into the newly placed blocks. This can be done projectwide as well.

I have used this several times now for companies that needed all their title blocks swapped out for new ones. Simply add several hundred DWG files into a temporary project, then run this utility projectwide. Remove all the drawings and repeat the process.

Copy Project

If you have a series of drawings with a project name in each drawing's file name, and wish to copy all of them to start a new project, try Copy Project. This utility has a nifty find-and-replace feature that can be used when renaming all of the project drawings. Create a temporary project file, add all the drawings into the project, and start the Copy Project command.

Toggle NO/NC

This command switches one symbol with another, while at the same time carrying all of the attribute values with it. In the electrical world it's used mostly for switching a symbol from normally open to normally closed. However, I can think of several other uses:

  • Switching from a proto title block to a released title block
  • Switching DIP switch positions
  • Front and side views of hardware
  • Hinges or doors shown in two different positions.

From a mechanical perspective, all you need to know about this command is that both block names are the same except for the fifth character, which is either a one or a two. Insert both of these blocks into your drawing and start toggling.

Batch Plot

AutoCAD has its Publish option; however, this method uses page setups. Too often the drawings are missing the needed page setup. Also, removing unwanted layouts or model space tabs from the Publish dialog can be tiresome. Using Electrical's Batch Plot utility allows global plot settings as well as page setups and pc3 files.

There's also an option for running a pre- or postscript on each drawing during the Batch Plot process!

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