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Suggestions Requested for Organizing Blocks
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* August 12, 2012, 12:45:43 PM
Hello All,

During the course of learning how to work with TurboCAD, I have created a myriad of blocks to use in developing residential construction documents.  This includes everything from 2D door and window blocks to blocks that represent plumbing fixtures. Is there a way to efficiently organize them?  It is easy to lose track of what is available and what needs to be created.  I used a standard prefix (e.g. FIXT for fixtures, CAB for cabinets), but having some sort of structure in which to store them would be very beneficial.

Thank you,

Kate---


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Kate---

TurboCAD Professional V19.1 x64


August 12, 2012, 01:08:56 PM
#1
I wonder if it would be beneficial to make a library of symbols made from copy of each block in the very fashion you mention because symbol libraries can have that organization. You may need to explode the symbol once when dragged into a fresh drawing, since all symbols come in as a group. There is nothing to say that a symbol can't be a block.


* August 12, 2012, 01:51:56 PM
#2
Hello All,

During the course of learning how to work with TurboCAD, I have created a myriad of blocks to use in developing residential construction documents.  This includes everything from 2D door and window blocks to blocks that represent plumbing fixtures. Is there a way to efficiently organize them?  It is easy to lose track of what is available and what needs to be created.  I used a standard prefix (e.g. FIXT for fixtures, CAB for cabinets), but having some sort of structure in which to store them would be very beneficial.

Thank you,

Kate---



Kate, have a look XRefs, you can organize all of your blocks into the required catagories in separate folders all kept in a master folder. (Hmm...does that make sense). I new to this area of TC and I'm sure others will be able to give more help.

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DonCW
2017 Pro with Light Works Plug in
2018 Platinum

Windows 10
There's so much to learn and not much time left to learn it.


* August 12, 2012, 03:32:14 PM
#3
Don C and Don W,

Thank you very much for your suggestions. I have been thinking about organizing component data with TurboCAD.  There is the potential to create and acquire many components, especially for folks like me who grab vendor product libraries because, "you never know when you might need 'em." ;-)

I admit confusion about the many file types of these components.  I have used blocks, groups, and libraries within TurboCAD.  Vendors often provide CAD consumable files in DXF, PDF, and DWG formats. Libraries seem ideal in they provide the capability to organize components in the familiar file structure hierarchy. Xrefs sound interesting and I will learn about them as an option. But it seems that I need to be able to get my blocks into another format.

As for DFX files, they seem to come into TC as a collection (top, front, and side views), which I  break into blocks .

Can I reformat blocks into a format that could be placed in a library?

Kate---




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Kate---

TurboCAD Professional V19.1 x64


* August 13, 2012, 03:08:56 AM
#4

This is one of my wishes
It would be nice to be able to organise blocks within a file into categories - like the library file.
The library is great if you are only going to use the block once n your drawing .
You cant drag blocks from a library into a wall because library files are groups not blocks.
If its an architectural drawing you can have lots of different blocks in one drawing.
What I have done is I start all my blocks for windows with win_ or my doors with d_ It works but you need to keep the name short so that you can see the whole name in the properties dialogue box.

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Nikki
TC20 platinum
TC 2015 platinum
TC 2017 with lightworks


* August 13, 2012, 10:04:36 AM
#5
Hi Nikki,

I have been researching blocks, groups, xrefs, and symbols and trying to come to terms with how each components is best used.

So (and this is definitely open for discussion) here are advantages and disadvantages of the above components (plus a  few questions...)

Blocks Advantages:
* Blocks are treated as a single objects for purposes of selecting and editing.
* Blocks increases file size very little because blocks are stored as references.
* A user can update a single instance of the block and changes are propagated throughout the file.
* Blocks are used to create Xrefs.
* Blocks have a mechanism that supports re-usability within a file (Blocks Palette)

Blocks Disadvantages:
* Blocks cannot be stored in library which allows for hierarchical organization.
* Block organization is accomplished by a flat naming scheme.

Groups Advantages:
* Groups are treated as a single objects for purposes of selecting and editing.
* Groups are used to create symbols.
* How does one find groups used with a file?  Is there a list somewhere? (i.e. Groups Palette??)

Groups Disadvantages:
* Each group contains its own drawing data. This means that making a copy of a group increases the
size of your model.
* I cannot see how groups can be effectively managed for re-usability within a file.

Symbols Advantages:
* Symbol libraries can be accessed while in any drawing. (e.g are global once loaded)
* Symbols seem to be essentially group objects that are global.
* There are two ways to save an individual symbol - saving the entire file or dragging selected
objects directly into the Library.
* Symbols have a supported mechanism for global re-usability within TC. (Library)
* Symbols are easier to find because of a file folder-like facility found in the library.


Symbols Disadvantages:
* If symbols are groups, does this mean drawing data is stored with each instance of the symbol? If so, this has the potential to increase file size.

Xref Advantages:
* Xrefs can be taken from files any formats readable by TurboCAD.
* Xrefs are blocks and are not stored in the file itself, they are loaded upon inserting and are only referenced to. This means they increase file size very little.

Xref Disadvantages:
* One cannot edit an xref in the Blocks Palette - one must change the original file. Does this mean an Xref is updated once a file that uses the xref is loaded? If so, then this may be an advantage and a disadvantage.
* Xrefs are more difficult to find and manage because of a lack of a library-like tool.

So, for now, I am using blocks. Of course, as listed above, blocks can be difficult to manage without a library to organize them. To address that issue, I created a naming methodology. If anyone is interested, I have included below my naming methodology that will help (hopefully) organize the many blocks I have developed.

Kate---
BLOCK NAMING METHODOLOGY
Does this methodology potentially produce long file names?? You betcha. Is it overkill? Probably. But they can be read in list view in the blocks palette.

Examples:

CARP_Beam6X8_P --> 6X8 timber beam section
CARP_Beam4X4_P --> 4X4 timber beam section
CARP_CABTVUCD2721_F --> Thomasville  under counter desk cabinet
METL_SimpsonFB24_F --> Simpson metal 2X4 fence bracket
METL_SimpsonFB26_F --> Simpson metal 2X6 fence bracket


Syntax: Item Type_
Identifier Product Type
Manufacturer Manufacturer's Product Identifier
Size (W X H X D)_
View Type

Details:

1) Item Type: Some based on Masterformat 2004
http://www.mc2-ice.com/services/estref/popular_conversion_files/construct_code/mf2004/mf2004.html

CONC - Concrete
MASN - Masonry
METL - Metal
CARP - Carpentry
DOOR, WNW - Doors and Windows
SPEC - Specialities
EQPT - Equipment
FURN - Furniture
CONV - Conveying
PLUM - Plumbing
HVAC
AUTO - Automation
ELEC - Electrical
COMM - Communication and Telecommunication
SURV - Surveillance

2) Product Type and/or Manufacturer. Manufacturer is optional. I use this if I download CAD files from the manufacturer.

SIMP - Simpson
TV - Thomasville

3) Manufacturer's Product Identifier (if available, and if necessary)

4) Size (W X H X D), in units typical for the item (if needed to uniquely identify from other items)

5) View Type
P=Plan (Section)
T=Top
S=Side
F=Front

CARP_Beam6X8_P
CARP_Beam4X4_P
CARP_Beam4X12_P

CAB_TVUCD2721_F

METL_SimpsonFB24_F
METL_SimpsonFB26_F










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Kate---

TurboCAD Professional V19.1 x64


August 13, 2012, 10:53:14 AM
#6
Hi Nikki,

I have been researching blocks, groups, xrefs, and symbols and trying to come to terms with how each components is best used.

So (and this is definitely open for discussion) here are advantages and disadvantages of the above components (plus a  few questions...)

(remainder of Post ommitted)


Hi Kate,

First of all:  Thanks for using so much detail, articulation, and logical sequence in your Posts.  We appreciate that.  So many Posts are written in "text-speak", or whatever, that oftentimes we  have a very hard time understanding the author's intent.

----
Yes, I think you are making this Blocks thing not only much, much more difficult than it needs to be, but also somewhat "non-user friendly".  However, I do understand- and have often wished for myself- the desire for the ability to organize Blocks in a typical Windows-type Folder heirarchy system.

----
On Blocks:  I think it is best to use Blocks only when I will be using more than one instance of those groups of objects that are the Block in my drawing.  For that exact reason that you described: Editing the single Block edits all instances of that Block in your drawing.

----
I have come to find that I am using Group more and more.  If there is only one  instance of the "grouping", I have found the ability to isolate and edit that Group via the Edit|Edit Group Content very useful.

----
XRefs (External References):  Big down side-- If I open the file in another computer or share it with someone else, the External Reference doesn't reference... well, anything in the "other" computer.  (The same for Symbols I believe.)

----
I think- until the developers create the Folder/Heirarchal system for Blocks that we are wishing for here:  Create Symbol Libraries of everything you want (it seems like you want it all) :).  Then bring those Symbols into a drawing only as needed for that particular drawing.*  That will not only reduce file size, but make finding them in the Blocks Pallete in your Listing Scheme much easier.  (Because there will be a lot fewer Blocks.)
    *To expound on this suggestion:  Immediately after bringing in a Symbol, I would Explode and Format|Create Block.

----
Again: Thanks Kate for structuring your Posts so detailed and articulate and.... well.... intelligent.  That is so appreciated.

-Alvin
« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 11:14:43 AM by Alvin Gregorio »

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Alvin Gregorio
(mostly Residential Architectural 2D; no formal CAD Training; intermittent TurboCAD user since yr. 2000 [ver6.5])
---TurboCAD: V21PP; V20.2PP; V19DL; V11.2Pro; Windows-7-Pro/64-bit; Intel-Core-i3 CPU; 2.27ghz; 4GB RAM; Intel HD Graphics (CPU based)


* August 13, 2012, 12:57:00 PM
#7
I think you are creating a database, Kate. :) What works for me is:
 You can create a template file with many different types of wall, door and window styles. Then delete any layers you do not want and delete all content in the drawing. Then save as  tct template file. Then you can either use that template file to start with or start a new file and choose the “extract from” under the file menu. Follow the prompts to the file you wish to extract from then un- check all then expand the “drawing set up” and check “styles” then hit open. Now you’ll have all the custom AEC styles available to use. I use the library symbol palette for storing general notes, title blocks, images,custom block designs and drafting objects that are used frequently. Have you tried the house wizard yet?
 On a side note, you might want to look into turbofloor plan . It has a large database of editable content and offers “Bim” (building information modeling). The two programs work wonderfully together.

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"What do I know, I'm still learning"..
Windows 7 64 bit HP > 2019-2018-2017, TurboCad Platinum 21,20,19 and 18.Using LightWorks, Anilab lab 5.  HP all in one  23" Touch smart screen with Nvidia Geforce 210, open gl 3.3. Intel Core i5 ,2.27GHz,4 GB ram.


* August 13, 2012, 01:36:51 PM
#8
Hi Alvin ---

Is it easy to tell I am an IT geek??? ;-D

Your suggestion makes so much sense and it was something I did not consider: use Symbols as global objects (potentially available to many TCW files) because they make good sense in that space, and use Blocks and Groups as local objects (objects whose scope is the current TCW file) because they make good sense in that space. You pointed out that it is not difficult at all to convert between object types.  That the missing piece for me!  That addresses my wanting the ability to more effectively manage collections of symbols I may use over time in the Library, while using only symbols I really need as blocks or groups in a specific drawing.  Did I get that right?

Cool! Now some of this is starting to make sense.

Thank you for your very kind words. I was getting so "wrapped around the axle" with these objects and sometimes formulating a question for the forum helps me straighten some of my own thoughts.

I appreciate you sharing your experience and expertise with TC. Now I can unwrap myself and get back to drawing.

Many, many thanks!

Kate---


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Kate---

TurboCAD Professional V19.1 x64


* August 13, 2012, 01:57:04 PM
#9
Hi Dean---

In the IT world, I am a data/application engineer, so everything to me looks like a database!

May I ask how you handle vendor supplied CAD files? Are they considered drafting objects that you maintain in the Library?

My * ultimate* goal is to create a template that has most of the components I use frequently.  I do not like to repeat the same tasks over and over if I do not need to, primarily because it  is so easy to forget things. But, there is always that dreaded first time through an application.

I have a version of Turbo FloorPlan, and I am looking forward to trying it out. I have read in the forum that the two products can work well together.

Thanks again for your response!

Kate---

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Kate---

TurboCAD Professional V19.1 x64


August 13, 2012, 02:22:27 PM
#10
Hi Alvin ---

Is it easy to tell I am an IT geek??? ;-D

Your suggestion makes so much sense and it was something I did not consider: use Symbols as global objects (potentially available to many TCW files) because they make good sense in that space, and use Blocks and Groups as local objects (objects whose scope is the current TCW file) because they make good sense in that space. You pointed out that it is not difficult at all to convert between object types.  That the missing piece for me!  That addresses my wanting the ability to more effectively manage collections of symbols I may use over time in the Library, while using only symbols I really need as blocks or groups in a specific drawing.  Did I get that right?

Cool! Now some of this is starting to make sense.

Thank you for your very kind words. I was getting so "wrapped around the axle" with these objects and sometimes formulating a question for the forum helps me straighten some of my own thoughts.

I appreciate you sharing your experience and expertise with TC. Now I can unwrap myself and get back to drawing.

Many, many thanks!

Kate---



Hi again Kate,

Regarding the highlighted comment in your (quoted above) Post:

I thought that'd be your next question:

1)  Go to View and Select Symbols Palette.  That should open the Symbols Palette on the right side (which is dockable, or not-- you'll see)

2) In the Symbols Palette navigate to whatever Symbol you want to bring into the drawing (i.e.:  All Symbols\Kate's Symbols\Architectural\2D\Furniture\FamilyRoom\Couch) and simply Drag that into the drawing (Model Space).

3) The just-inserted Symbol should be Selected.  If not, then select it*.  If you don't have a keyboard-shortcut already set up, then- with the Symbol still selected- go to Format|Explode*  ("Explodes" the Symbol Group into it's "next lower"..... [read up on Exploding-- it's not what you might think it to be; it's not what I first thought it was.])

4)  Without "un"-Selecting all the objects, place them on a Layer that you know that you will always have turned on (such as the "0" Layer; that's what I do- or you can create Layer like "Block Entities")

5)  Still having all the entities/objects selected that were once the original Symbol, go to Format|Create Block- you'll figure out what to do from there.

*via the View in the Menu toolbar, Select Selection Info.  That opens a window [right side of desktop, usually] that shows you what everything is.  If you have the Selection Info window open through the whole process of bringing in the Symbol, Exploding it, Format|Create Block, you can watch the process and know what you are dealing with.

One note:  Be sure that there are no extraneous Groups within the Exploded Symbol-group.  That can cause you some hiddden issues down the road.  Like I said, keep an eye on that Selection Info window; within it, you can Select individual entities within the current selection.
 
----
I like this idea much better (that I suggested and you seem to be on board with)- that you create your organization system as Symbols in Symbol Libraries.  That way you can have all the countless number of Symbols that you so desire, without cluttering up each drawing with anything other than just those you need for that particular drawing.

Also, via Options|Program Setup|Symbol Libraries you can see and control the directories your self-created or downloaded symbols are in.

Feel free to post often with any questions.  We're all more than happy to help; especially since you seem to be "getting it" so rapidly.

-Alvin
« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 03:34:13 PM by Alvin Gregorio »

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Alvin Gregorio
(mostly Residential Architectural 2D; no formal CAD Training; intermittent TurboCAD user since yr. 2000 [ver6.5])
---TurboCAD: V21PP; V20.2PP; V19DL; V11.2Pro; Windows-7-Pro/64-bit; Intel-Core-i3 CPU; 2.27ghz; 4GB RAM; Intel HD Graphics (CPU based)


* August 14, 2012, 12:17:00 AM
#11
You can create the block before making the symbol. When you bring the symbol in explode once and it is already a block.
If you need to use the symbol again use the block palette

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Nikki
TC20 platinum
TC 2015 platinum
TC 2017 with lightworks


August 14, 2012, 06:41:49 AM
#12
You can create the block before making the symbol. When you bring the symbol in explode once and it is already a block.
If you need to use the symbol again use the block palette


Yeah, I'd agree with Nikki (quote above).  That'd not only save a click or two, but the Block would retain the name that you assigned it in your Naming Scheme and be the same Name throughout all your drawings.

I would just make sure that all entities of the Block- that you use to create the Symbol- that you later bring into your drawings to Explode to a Block- are on a Layer that you will always have/want in all drawings and that will always be turned on- such as Layer "0" (that's what I use).

-Alvin

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Alvin Gregorio
(mostly Residential Architectural 2D; no formal CAD Training; intermittent TurboCAD user since yr. 2000 [ver6.5])
---TurboCAD: V21PP; V20.2PP; V19DL; V11.2Pro; Windows-7-Pro/64-bit; Intel-Core-i3 CPU; 2.27ghz; 4GB RAM; Intel HD Graphics (CPU based)


* August 14, 2012, 12:01:00 PM
#13
Nikki and Alvin,

Something that seems really obtuse to me yesterday is now working really well thanks to your information and process. I have been able to create a small library of symbols from blocks and back again.  It is great!   Thank you so very, very much!

Kate---

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Kate---

TurboCAD Professional V19.1 x64