Loading Equipment with CADWorx Plant

Pretty frequently  we get asked how to load equipment in CADWorx Plant.  Today I’m going to walk through how CADWorx get’s loaded into AutoCAD.  To learn how this works we will discuss the support file search paths, and files that AutoCAD loads automatically. Since I am a big fan of knowing why things work, we’ll cover some CAD theory to start with, and the list the steps towards the end.

AutoCAD has a behind the scenes feature called “Support File Search Paths” which is stored in the profile.  By having a list of folders to search through, AutoCAD let’s us specify a file name (in lisp or even at the command line for certain commands) and locates the file from the search paths associated with the current profile.  AutoCAD also uses search paths to load some files, like the acaddoc.lsp, acad.lsp, and acad.rx.  AutoCAD loads the first file it finds in the search paths.

My Support file search paths

Because CADWorx uses the acad.rx mechanism to load, CADWorx creates a profile that has the installation directories’ support folder as the first item in the list.  CADWorx wants to be first because it must ensure that no other acad.rx is found before the one in the Support folder.  That being said, if you can guarantee that a folder you want to use is going to be read first, you can move it to the top as long as it does not contain an acad.rx.  We do this most often for P&ID so that network blocks are found before installed blocks.

So, putting the pieces together.  To load CADWorx Equipment into CADWorx Plant, we will need to edit the C:\CADWorx 2010\Plant\Support\acad.rx, and add a line to load the CADWorx Equipment arx file, and then we will need to add a support file search path to the Support folder for CADWorx Equipment.

After you’ve edited the acad.rx it should look like this (the sls.arx is for people with builds from Nov. 10, 2010 forward):


You support file search path should include the path to the Equipment folder similar to below:


You may be tempted to run P&ID inside of Plant too, but I have run into lots of little problems (double-click broken sometimes, P&ID turns O-Snaps off), so I recommend against it.