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Tips and tricks on how to handle large scale drawings in CAD
Tips and tricks on how to handle large scale drawings in CAD

Optimization, Large, Design, Size, Slow, Not Working

Vito Bindokas avatar
Written by Vito Bindokas
Updated over a week ago

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Sometimes, working on large-scale designs, you can notice that AutoCAD has become slower. In order to solve this issue, we have come up with several tips and tricks that will help.

Xref the topography

XREF stands for external reference, and we can use external topography files as a reference for our layout. This improves AutoCAD performance and also allows 2 users to work simultaneously using the same XREF file.

Before attaching the external file containing the topography information, it is important to have taken the following points into consideration:

  • Cloud point data is not valid. Only Contour lines and 3D face objects can be used as XREF topography.

  • XREF should not include mixed topographical survey data. For example, if you have both contour lines and 3D face data, when using XREF the software will only take into account the one that has more objects.

  • The external file must contain only topographical information. Anything else in the drawing will be imported into PVcase as topographical data, leading to an incorrect terrain model.

  • In the main file, the XREF file must be placed on a dedicated layer. When selecting the first object representing topography, PVcase will read all the components inside the layer in which this object is placed. If this layer contains other information not related to the topography, PVcase will create a non-realistic model.

We recommend using the QSELECT command to identify contour lines that have zero elevation, or different drawing elements that do not belong to the contour lines themselves.

After having cleaned up the external file, we can proceed to attach it as an XREF to the main file:

1- First, open the XREF manager by typing XREF on the AutoCAD command bar:

2- Then attach your contour line topography file:

We recommend working with the same origin point for both the XREF and the new design file. To do that, just leave the Specify On-screen checkbox unchecked and make sure that all the coordinates are on 0.00.

3- After having the file properly attached, just use the command PLAN from AutoCAD to check the contour lines. This command displays an orthographic view of the XY plane of a specified user coordinate system.

4- At this point, you can XCLIP a portion of your file to work with. The XCLIP command allows trimming an external reference to a specific area. This is super useful when you are working with a large file that has extra details that you don't need on your current design.

5- After clipping a boundary, proceed to the ordinary processes of selecting the topography and generating the frames:

It's worth mentioning that even if you have more than one topography layer on your original file, after having it loaded as an XREF, the layers are merged together and you need to select just one of them.

One important note is that if you extend the clipped boundary you need to reselect the terrain again for PVcase to read the newly clipped information.

Optimized frames

Furthermore, you can enable the "Optimized frames" check box. This will optimize the frame visual representation by removing the modules and leaving just the outline of the frames.

This function can be found in Layout generation settings under Layout settings by enabling the "Optimized frames" check box. Example below:

Turn off all unused layers

Moreover, we highly advise freezing all unused layers such as topography, wetlands, tree representations, etc. This will not only make your design cleaner but also increase its performance.

Use smaller PV areas

Additionally, from the common practices, using smaller PV areas not only gives more flexibility but also enables you to work more efficiently.

In case one big PV area was generated, and it needs to be divided into several smaller PV areas instead of doing it manually, the "PVCASEGROUPING" function can be used. After typing the command, the user will be prompted to select the grouping type if the stringing was not done choose group frames by capacity, and as a final step select "YES" to add grouped frames to a new PV area. Now the frames can be grouped and assigned to new PV areas. Example below:

Turn off unused PV areas

Lastly, turning off unused PV areas and working on one PV area at a time not only boosts the performance but also lets you work more efficiently.

In order to do that, open Layout information settings and turn off the unused PV areas by clicking on a light bulb. Example below:

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