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#23345 by Mark Toce
Tue May 01, 2007 2:52 pm
Now you can quickly draw walls, windows, and doors in 2D, automatically clean up stray lines, and seamlessly convert your design into a 3D model by using smart entities. A smart entity is a drawing element (such as a wall, door, or window) that contains routines and parameters to define its characteristics and to determine how it interacts with other smart entities.

In older versions of DataCAD, when you drew two walls, they didn’t know anything about each other until after you joined them and cleaned their intersection. In DataCAD 12, walls of the same type automatically clean to each other, allowing you to skip the cleanup step manually. Imagine how much time you can save when you take advantage of smart entities.

When you add doors and windows to a wall, DataCAD 12 automatically cuts the wall to accommodate them. If you move, copy, or delete a door or window from a wall, DataCAD 12 automatically heals the wall.

These smart entities know what they should look like in both plan and perspective views. In plan view, you will see the 2D doors just as you did in prior versions of DataCAD. But when you switch to perspective view, you will see 3D doors, complete with jambs, casing, and trim. When you look at your model in the object viewer, you will also see the rendered materials you selected for the walls and other entities.

Of course, you can still use the traditional lines and arcs to create your designs. You can also con¬vert smart entities to simple entities (lines and arcs). Both standard and smart entities happily coexist in DataCAD 12.
What are some of the advantages of using smart entities?
  • You can make changes quickly.
  • You can change the width of a wall and all of its intersections will update automatically.
  • You can change a door from double to bi-fold without removing and redrawing it.
  • You can copy a window from one wall to another.
Dialog boxes or managers help you select and control the smart entities when you create walls, doors, and windows. However, if you want to delete a smart wall, door, or window type that you created, you cannot do that via the managers. Instead, you need to go to the appropriate wall, door, or window Support Files folder and delete the file you created.

Key Terms and Concepts

To use smart entities effectively, you should learn a few new terms. Some terms (for example, Type) apply to all three varieties of smart entities. Other (for example, nodes and Control Line) terms apply to just one of the smart entities.

Type refers smart entity definitions (walls, doors, and doors) that you can use in your drawing. The available types of smart entities are listed on the left in each Manager dialog box. Many walls, doors, and windows are already defined, so you can quickly activate them and put them to work in your drawing. However, you can also customize or create your own smart wall, door, and door types very easily.

Some properties are intrinsically-linked with a particular type of smart entity and can only be controlled by the definition you established for it in the corresponding Manager. Intrinsically-linked properties are called Type-dependent(for example, the width of a wall is type-dependent). If you change a type-dependent property, all instances of that particular type will reflect the change.

You can change some properties on a case-by-case. These properties are Type-independent(for example, the swing angle of a door are type-independent since you can change the angle for each smart door in your drawing, regardless of its type).

Smart Entity Glossary
The following is a list of technical terms and their definitions which relate specifically to smart entites.

Smart Entity
    A smart entity is a drawing object designed for a specific purpose, and is governed by a fixed set of parameters and variables. Since the object has internal awareness of how it should behave, it is considered to be “smart”. Smart entities are controlled by the user via dialogs that provide access to certain settings and their corresponding values.
    A “type” is a named set of settings and their corresponding values smart entity such as a wall, door, or window. Types can be saved to and loaded from external files, or they may be stored within a drawing file exclusively.
    Type-dependent settings are shared by all instances of a given type. Modifying a type-dependent setting will automatically affect all instances of that type.
    Type-independent settings may be modified on a per-entity basis, in spite of their common entry in the Type Manager.
Control Line
    A control line is specific to a smart wall and is defined by the beginning and ending nodes of each wall segment. All geometric aspects of a smart wall are defined relative to its control line.
    A node defines the end point of a wall segment and includes parameters that can be set by the user to determine the behavior and appearance of wall ends, corners, and intersections.
Virtual Node
    A virtual node defines the intersection of two wall segments, or the sides of a door or window as they relate to a wall segment. Virtual nodes are automatically generated when walls on the same layer intersect, or when a door or window is placed in a wall. The behavior of virtual nodes is predefined and cannot be customized by the user. However, virtual nodes can be converted to nodes.

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