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Use Tool Palettes for Dynamic Block Creation
Tip# 4098 By Danny Korem On 01-Apr-2013
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Categories : Dynamic Blocks
Software type : AutoCAD 2013
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Tool palettes provide a consistent vehicle to get your company’s blocks into drawings.

Frequent tipster Danny Korem offers several tips for creating AutoCAD dynamic blocks and deploying them to users.

“In previous tips, I referred to the tool palettes as a toolset for deploying and creating standard data. Among the contents I deploy to my fellow workers, I sometimes create dynamic blocks. Those blocks have the capability to adapt to different situations, such as an angular opening door that would conform to a series of door widths, for example. This example will show that similar instances of the door can be inserted, then adapted to match your design needs. In the example here, you can select the block, opt for the block editor option, and find out that three different actions were attached to a single linear parameter (stretch twice and scale once).

(Click to enlarge image.)

“Pay attention to the vertical stretch of the door panel managed by the angle offset override (90°). This is accessed by selecting the stretch action icon through the Properties palette.

“The dynamic block creation will charge its creator with a large dose of patience. My tips for this are:

  1. After inserting a parameter, connect an action to it and immediately test it within the block editor using the test block option.
  2. If needed, as in this example, try to attach more than one action to a single parameter.
  3. Be aware that beyond the options as they appear in the block-authoring palette within the block editor interface, you can access the parametric ribbon creating geometric constraints that may be useful. Repeat item 1 and test it.

“Then, the linear parameter was attached to a list of door widths (that are standard widths in our office). Finally, I saved the drawing (containing the dynamic block) and dragged it to its spot in the tool palette, where I assigned the layer for inserting the block. That means the tool palette will always place the block in the same layer; furthermore, if the drawing file does not contain the specific layer, it will be created during the insertion with the same properties as in the original file.”
Notes from Cadalyst tip reviewer Brian Benton: Dynamic blocks are extremely useful in that they can adapt to the current needs of your design. Blocks representing doors and windows are easily made to be dynamic blocks because their design details are often similar overall or in theme, but they vary in exact size and orientation. Dynamic blocks can fill the need for multiple window blocks because you can change them as needed with simple grip edits. This keeps blocks consistent and to spec.

Using tool palettes to manage your block library is one of the best tips anyone can give you. Tool palettes provide a consistent vehicle to get your company’s blocks into drawings. It also means that managers can maintain the blocks on the network and have every user updated instantly. Blocks can have properties assigned to them (like layer in the this tip) via the tool palette. This means that you can create project-specific tool palettes that tweak blocks meant for a specific project’s needs without having to create a new set of blocks.


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