New to 2009 – Adding Assemblies to a Tool Palette

I’m sitting here at Chicago O’Hare airport, delayed for over 3 hours due to the nasty storm covering the midwest, and chatting with Nick Zeeben. I was looking for something to write about, and happened to remember something I saw while reading the New Features Workshop (you DO read that, don’t you?) and kept seeing on my tool palettes – assemblies! I tried to add one (the program comes with some pre-installed on a new palette) and was unsuccessful. I tried a variety of different methods, and nothing worked. Instead of beating my head against the wall trying to figure it out (and attracting the unwanted attention of airport security,) I decided to ask Nick. He’s always good for an answer, even if it’s one that I don’t want to hear. If you want to see how this is accomplished, follow the link!

So how did I try this? I built an assembly (actually, I built the right side of an assembly and mirrored the rest of it – I’m definitely a fan of 2009!) Next, I right-clicked it and tried to drag it to the new Assemblies – Imperial tool palette. I got a nice circle with a slash through it (the international sign for “you can’t do this here, genius…”) and then decided to switch tactics. I then LEFT clicked it and tried to drag it onto the palette. That worked…kinda. It gave me an error saying that the drawing had to be saved first. I thought this was an error, and went to Nick for advice. I thought this was going to behave almost like it did in 2008 – where you had to store assemblies as blocks in an “assembly library” drawing of sorts, but it turns out I was wrong.

Nick tells me the straight dope – the drawing DOES have to be saved, but only one time. Once the save is complete and you drag the assembly (using left-click dragging) Civil 3D does some trickery behind the scenes and saves a copy of that assembly drawing somewhere else entirely (It’s in my Program Data folder, which is the Vista equivalent of “All Users” – if you can find your pipe catalog on your drive, it’s a folder next to it called “Aesemblies”)

Side note – this was supposed to be posted last night, but my 3 hour delay turned into a cancellation.   And even with storms back home today, they’re predicting a new on-time departure of 8:00 for my flight this morning…isn’t traveling fun?

At any rate, this is a small, yet very nice enhancement – people ask me quite frequently how they can store “commonly used assemblies” on a tool palette, and up until now the answer was with “assembly library” drawings referenced to a tool palette.   This does something very similar, but all behind the scenes.  I like it when Autodesk makes my life just a bit easier…



  1. Brian Jones says:

    Now with this neat trick, is there a way for one person to create a bunch of assemblies and put them on the network for everyone or do they have to be done on each individual machine? Just out of curiosity. 🙂

  2. Now – how do I get that on the network?

  3. Ramon Tavarez says:

    The assemblies stored into the Tool Palette, are availables for all project (news and existings), or just for the the project where created?

  4. Jason Hickey says:

    I’ve asked and was told to test and see. I’m not going to be able to do that for a while, so maybe someone who is already working with it and has a good network setup *cough* Matt *cough* could help out with that 😉

    To answer Ramon’s question, once they’re on the tool palette, they are available for any drawing opened with Civil 3D, old or new.