Setting Frame, Grate & Cover for Parts

Have you ever wanted to enter custom data for Frame, Grate, and Cover in the Civil 3D Parts Lists?  If you have, you may have had difficulties getting the data to stick (at least with Civil 3D 2009).  For example, you type in custom information, click  “OK”, and then go back into the part the custom data is gone!

After the jump, see how you can get the data to stick.


The problem is the fields are set to work as a drop-down menus, not data entry boxes.  So when you type in custom information that is not preset in the drop-down choices Civil 3D reverts back to what is available in the drop-downs.  So, the question is – “where do I edit the drop-down choices”?

If you are using Windows XP and have an out of the box (OTB) install go to: “C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\C3D 2009\enu\Pipes Catalog

There dig into “US Imperial Structures” OR “Metric Structures” depending on – of course – if you are working with Metric or US imperial structures.  In one – or both – directories look for the file “AeccShareedPropertyLists.xml”.  In fact, if you don’t known where your company’s Parts Builder Catalog is located, simply search for “AeccShareedPropertyLists.xml” on your C:\ or company CAD resource drive (may want to talk to your company CAD guru if it is not you).


Once you locate the file, open it in Windows Notepad or XML editor (Notepad XML).  I find it easier to use Notepad as shown below.

In the image below you can see how to edit and\or add entries. 

Once complete, go back to Civil 3D and click on any part to edit OR create a new part.  When you click the drop-down now you should see the options you edited and\or added.  Simply set each part and you are off to the races!


For example, in the Parts List you can set the same part to have different Frame, Grate and Cover choices (see below).

 2009.08.03-PartsList Changes


Why is this Useful?

With parts set you can create handy structure schedules and label details on profiles such as Box type, Frame type, Grate type or Cover type. At my company we had to be a little creative with the terms Frame, Grate & Cover and used them as follows:

For inlets, the added data included:

  1. Frame Type (Concrete vs. Steel)
  2. Cover Type (Type-C, Type-M, Type-S tops) [PENNDOT frame types]
  3. Grate Type (Bicycle Safe vs. Standard)
  4. Material (Std Box, Type-1, Type-2, Type-3, Mod-1, Mod-2 box…) [PENNDOT standard box types]

For Manholes, the added data includes:

  1. Cover Type (24" cone vs. 36" cone)
  2. Frame Type (24" MH Lid vs. 36" MH Lide)
  3. Material (Concrete for all)
  4. Grate (Standard for all)

As a result, we can now create informative tables and show added design information on our profiles, like so:
2009.08.03-Str&Pipe Tables ON-SCREEN

2009.08.03-Profile Str Lbl

Thanks, and I hope this helps!

[P.S. If anyone knows how to ADD a Parts List property shoot me an email.  I would love to know how and would offer to post.]

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