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How to Make Dashed Conduits and Cable Trays

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

It is possible to make conduits and cable trays that are dashed using Design Master Electrical, but there are some limitations.

Set the Layer System Options Correctly

Run the Layers command.

Ribbon: DME: Customization->Project Customization->  Layers

Pulldown Menu: DM Electrical->Customization->Layers->Edit Project List

Select the layer system that you want to be dashed on the Layer System grid. Press the Edit System button.

Uncheck the Conduits and Cable Trays are solid box.

Press the OK button to save your changes and return to the Layers dialog box.

Set the Main Conduit/Cable Trays to Not Plot

The layers used for the main conduits and cable trays need to be set to not plot. With the same Layer System active, select the following layer keys in the Layer Key grid in the top right.

  • CABLE TRAY-GENERAL-2D
  • CABLE TRAY-GENERAL-HANGER
  • CONDUIT-GENERAL-2D
  • CONDUIT-GENERAL-HANGER

For each layer key, uncheck the Plot box in the grid at the bottom of the dialog box.

Set the Linetype of the Hidden Ductwork Layers

The layers used for the hidden conduits and cable trays need to be set to the dashed linetype you want to use. With the same Layer System active, select the following layer keys in the Layer Key grid in the top right.

  • CABLE TRAY-GENERAL-2D-HIDDEN
  • CABLE TRAY-GENERAL-HANGER-HIDDEN
  • CONDUIT-GENERAL-2D-HIDDEN
  • CONDUIT-GENERAL-HANGER-HIDDEN

For each layer key, set the Linetype column in the grid at the bottom of the dialog box to DM_DM-DASHED.

Limitations

The first limitation is that the lines will appear continuous while you are working on the drawing in AutoCAD. It is important for the double-line redraw function that you do not freeze the non-plotting duct layers.

The second limitation is that dashed duct systems will no longer generate hidden lines automatically. You will need to draw those in yourself.

The limitations are an unfortunate result of how AutoCAD generates hidden lines and not something that we can work around.

Updating Existing Drawings

If you make these changes in a project where you already have conduits and/or cable trays drawn, run the Update Drawing Layers to Match Project List command to update the layers in your drawing to match the changes you made in the Layers dialog box.

Ribbon: DME: Customization->Project Customization->  Update Drawing Layers to Match Project List

Pulldown Menu: DM Electrical->Customization->Layers->Update Drawing Layers to Match Project List

Redraw the lines on the conduits and/or cable trays using the Draw 2D Conduit or Cable Tray command.

Ribbon: DM Electrical->3D-BIM->  Draw 2D Conduit or Cable Tray

Pulldown Menu: DM Electrical->3D-BIM->Draw 2D Conduit or Cable Tray

How it Works

Normally, the main conduit and cable tray lines are drawn at the proper elevation using faces. Hidden conduit and cable tray lines are drawn at a very high elevation.

When the AutoCAD HIDE command is run, the faces properly obscure other faces below them. The dashed hidden lines always appear.

Unfortunately, the face entities used for the main conduits and cable trays always appear as a CONTINUOUS linetype, no matter what setting you choose for it.

When you uncheck the Conduits and Cable Trays are solid box, the hidden lines are drawn at the same elevation as the faces.

Setting the faces to not plot turns them off so they do not appear on your final drawing and all you see are the dashed hidden lines. The hidden lines can display your dashed linetype.

Even though the faces do not plot, they still hide items, giving you some of the benefits of automatically hidden lines.

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