Today’s article is going to cover one of the most important topics in project setup, creating external references.
Major decisions in setting up a folder structure:
1. Do we need to show equipment without piping (GA’s?).
2. Where are we going to store our models?
3. What are we going to call them?
The results of these decisions are up to you and will vary with company. In this post on setting up equipment models we discussed the effects of decision 1. Here’s a few tips for storing files.
- Use a template to create the models. In our sample setup, we are going to use the coordinates template from our post on creating a project ucs.
- The more folders you use, the more times you (and everyone else) will have to click to get to a particular file. Keep your folder structure to a minimum, so you can spend more time working on the file, and less time explaining where it is and getting to it.
- Setting up a standard file naming system will help navigation (and allow you to use less folders). For our sample project our model naming convention will be Area N Type.dwg where N is a number larger than 0 and Type is a selection from the following (Piping, Equipment, Overall). I like to use Area at the start because most of our work in done in these models, so you don’t have to scroll far to find them.
- Store a configuration file in the folders. CADWorx will automatically use the cfg from the current folder when it opens a drawing. The only downside I’ve found to this is that currently the NUMBERPID/NUMBERSET (Process Drawings) prompt to select a database instead of using the db from the cfg. This only occurs if the P&ID’s are kept in separate folders from the piping models.
- Make a shortcut in your open dialog box, it beats navigation to the project folder every time.
In the walkthrough sample, I created an Area 1 Equipment.dwg file using the Coordinates.dwt template, and for our purposes, we will use the following project folder structure:
As you can guess, the blocks folder is for project specific blocks. Reference materials will hold cut sheets or other relevant project information. The Drawings folder will hold all my models and drawings.
The individual equipment models (one per equipment tag) are stored in the equipment folder since there could be many files. The Master Models folder will hold Building models (multiple areas all grouped together). The external reference hierarchy will look something like this:
This allows other disciplines to reference an entire building at one time if they need it, and give the ability to isolate sections of it for better performance. In the next post we’ll discuss how external references should be created/setup.