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Can Auto Cad files used in conjunction with Chief?

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How successfully can AutoCad files be imported into Chief, worked on then exported back into AutoCad?  If an architect sends me a plan generated in AutoCad, can I then convert it (import it) into a chief file, work on it and then send it back to be viewed in AutoCad?  I am faced with possibly having to learn AutoCad, and hope I can skirt that issue this way.  Does anyone have any insights for me?

 

Amie

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I believe it can be done.  Someone else can probably chime in but in my limited experience importing and exporting DWGs it is a very complex matter due to the way most AutoCAD users utilize their layers, pen settings, line weights, etc. and DWG files also seem to be a huge drag on the system in Chief.  At least in my experience they have...anything with any amount of detail can really slow things down to a crawl. 

 

You would probably be best served learning AutoCAD or one of the compatible alternatives. 

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I agree with Michael.  If your workflow was 1 way, as in from architect to you, or you to architect, CA option would be fine.  However, you are talking architect to you and then back to architect - and that isn't going to work smoothly, since you will end up messing up his layer conventions, blocks, or another proprietary app data etc. 

 

Option - since you probably aren't messing with main files - would this work?:

 

1. Import DWG file from architect to CA

2. Make your additions to a customized and agreed layer combo

3. Export ONLY the layers you use and the architect agrees to letting you have in the plan file.

4. Architect imports only the layers designated but keeps the main file integrity the same.

 

I kinda work this way in VW too - where I send to my engineer and he makes the additions/notes, on an agreed layer group and then I only import that 2D data into my file using those layers/classes.  

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Are they 2D or 3D AutoCAD files?

 

2D...maybe feasable

3D...wouldn't even try (personally)

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AutoCAD is by default 2D only, so imports will be 2D from AutoCAD. 3D DWG files can be converted to symbols in Chief Architect but they are, thereafter symbols, limited to the parameters of such objects. I find that importing a DWG (AutoCAD native) file can save time in that you import it and then trace over it with Chief's 3D tools. Used properly it can be a real time saver, just know the limitations of what you are working with.

 

DJP

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Thank you everyone for your input!  There is a free "student" version of Autocad available through Autodesk called AutoCAD360.  I am considering downloading it to begin to understand how to use the program.  Does anyone have experience with that and will that give me a good foundation to the program being used in the industry?  I am an interior designer and currently using Chief X7 for Interiors.

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From my perspective ACAD DWG is 2d and can be imported as such as a guide to create a CA drawing.

The 3d ACAD does not convert to CA.

You can export CA to DWG but layers will need to be manipulated (name changes & color changes) to be used efficiently  in ACAD (my opinion)

I have a LISP that renames all the layer suffixes to prefixes so I can sort them by floors.

I have a lisp the makes all the layer colors "bylayer". I use a block background on model space in ACAD & CA output layer colors are too dark. SO I change them.

I have a lisp that changes all the Blocks CA produces to "byLayer" so there color can be changed too.

I don't modify CA produced drawing except to add text and dimensions as there are way to many line segments to deal with.

The problem with 3d to 2d conversions is the the objects like walls have lines for the top of the wall & bottom of the wall. CA has framing lines & sheet rock lines.

So the result is lots of lines. :)

I usually edit the CA output file, clean it up as needed & then turn it into a block in ACAD. That way if I need to change the CA file I repeat the process & replace the block.

 

My conclusion after a year of CA & 15+ years of ACAD. They do not mix well. Do as much work in CA as you can.

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Don't know about the student version. I've been using TurboCAD Deluxe($150) for 2D as needed for a number of years now and has worked with ACAD dwg's just fine.

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Nothing is Auto about AutoCAD.......

AutoCAD Light may be a good way to go and there is a free trial period

 

Import/export with chief works well but you will not be able to maintain AutoCAD's "Paper Space" function which is the equivalent of Chief's "Layout " function.

 

Eric

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Back in the '90's, I started using CA for design work. So fast that, but the 2D line work was time consuming. For details, I used Acad. I had plans that were both CA and Acad. I had matching border and title blocks. I now use CA for all projects for design and presentation then export to Acad for construction documents. I use Acad LT now. I gave up Acad full when I left a teaching job that provided the full version. To upgrade to full from my own license was going to be close to $3,000 and I had no need for the 3D capability. Acad requires a great deal of effort to become proficient. Adjusting the lines and layers is simple enough for me in Acad. Both programs have a learning curve required for proficiency. I experimented with Revit for the school, but that learning curve was more than I wanted for the Drafting program. I implemented CA for the one class in Architectural Drafting. Much friendlier for the students.

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There is a Free program called DraftSight that I to use clean up the Engineers CAD drawings and then import them into Chief.  DraftSight will open any .dwg and .dxf.  The user interface is comparable to AutoCad 2000 maybe.  It works well, is fairly easy to use and functions just like AutoCad LT.

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