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Tips and Tricks Share helpful modeling ideas

Old 08-03-2007
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Default How to prepare an AutoCAD drawing for Flexsim import.

  1. The following steps are designed to help you prepare an AutoCAD drawing before converting to dxf format and importing into Flexsim through the use of the VisualTool object.
  2. Crop and clean drawing such that it contains only necessary detail. Remove text, as the dxf translator within ACAD is unable to convert text anyway. Note that hidden (all) layers in ACAD will be written to the dxf and thus show in Flexsim. After clean-up, purge all unused layers with the by typing the “pu” command. It often easier to copy (ctrl-c) the desired lines of a drawing and paste (ctrl-v) to a new ACAD drawing file.
  3. Orbit drawing in 3D to determine if the drawing contains any 3D objects. If the original designer has taken the time to apply materials to these objects they may be able to be brought into Flexsim by export them to 3DS or VRML format. All 3D should be removed before conversion to dxf. If the object is critical to the simulation model, trace a footprint so that a Flexsim object can be positioned easily in its place.
  4. Ensure that the entire drawing is in one plane (z = 0).
  5. Explode the drawing by highlighting the entire drawing and typing “explode“ in the command window. Repeat this step until ACAD can no longer explode any objects in the drawing. In the end, your drawing should consist of only simple lines and no blocks (groupings of lines). Purge unused layers again to lighten the file size.
  6. Move your drawing such that one corner or known line intersection is positioned at the origin of the ACAD drawing space (x = 0, y = 0, z = 0).
  7. Take note of the scale of the drawing. It is recommended to scale the drawing such that one drawing unit equals one meter. Otherwise, scaling can be performed with the Flexsim VisualTool object. Example: If drawn in inches, the SX, SY, and SZ values will be 0.0254. Note you will likely have to adjust your number precision within Flexsim (Edit>Set Number Precision = 4).
  8. Before writing to dxf you should be in Top View (View>3D Views>Top). Save the drawing as 2000 dxf format. File > Save As > (filename.dxf) > Save
  9. Within a Flexsim VisualTool object, browse for the dxf file, set SX, SY, and SZ according to the original drawing unit as described in step 6. Also, set RX = -90, Minimum Magnification = 0, and Maximum Distance = 100000.
  10. Once the layout is in a desirable position within the Flexsim environment, toggle the No Select, such that the drawing cannot be inadvertently clicked on while modeling. It is wise to name the VisualTool object accordingly “PlantLayout” so it is easy to identify in the Flexsim model tree.
Old 11-07-2007
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Cliff King Cliff King is offline
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Default Step-by-step instructions

I'm not a trained AutoCAD user, so every time I'm tasked with importing a client's drawing into Flexsim as part of some new simulation project, I end up spending a lot of time searching the help and relearning just enough AutoCAD to strip down what is usually a massive CAD drawing so it will import nicely into Flexsim. Well, this week when I had the task, I decided to document my steps for my benefit and the benefit of others. My steps were documented using AutoCAD LT 2007 (because that's what I have); however, I tried to use commands rather than menus whenever possible to apply to other versions of AutoCAD as well.

Here's the link to my post in the Downloads section of the this Community site:

Last edited by Cliff King; 03-15-2008 at 06:33 PM. Reason: Updated the instructions with some corrections

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