How do you approach layer naming?
I've been looking at national CAD standards, but it seems too cumbersome for what we need. I'll spell out my layer names and conventions in another post.
I used to use a default linetype of .007, and .004 for dimensions. I've since switched to .007 for fine, .010 (default) thin, .014 medium, .020 wide, and .050 for borders.
From contributor R:
I set up the layer standard for the company I work for and basically used the NCS as an example, then simplified it and adjusted it to our needs. I tried to group our layers together in relation to what was on them. (Granted I do not work for a woodworking shop or for an architect, so this might not work in your case. I work for a civil engineer, land surveying company.) So I group all of the paving, grading, utility, storm drain, and existing features topo layers together by using prefixes such as PA for paving, GR for grading and so forth, similar to what the NCS does. I would try to use this system regardless of discipline. Once you get used to it, it works great! And as far as cumbersome, I would rather see a layer name that explains what is on that layer than see 4-8 letters that don't mean anything to me.
I think in the cabinetmaking industry, simplicity is probably best. I wouldn't be surprised if there are guys out there with only 3-4 layers. I set up our layering system, and here it is, as I promised:
I start everything with an A- that way I can immediately identify any stray layers if they wander in from a cut and paste, or a block. I use small case sub-letters for arranging them into most used layers at the front. The naming conventions I took from national CAD standards when it was available.
I like the way you resolved your situation with the prefixes. Looks to be a great idea. What do you use for lineweights in your industry? What is your default line weight?
A big help to layer names is an add-on application that expands the layer drop down. Go to www.cadwerx.net and look up FixCombos. DocBar is good also.
We just use a primary layer, a secondary layer (lighter) and dimensions (two like the original questioner, one for all dimstyles and one for full scale dimensions), a hidden layer, a text layer, and a few others. All layers have a specific distinguishable color. Makes it easy to know what layer stuff is on just by looking at it.
I am personally over the top about not accumulating unwanted blocks, layers, and the like cluttering up a drawing.
One important aspect of this concept is what some gurus call "stacked drawing". This is where you draw stuff on top of stuff, on top of stuff, and so on. (Since you have seen some of my previous posts, you probably know what I am talking about). Being able to draw this way (efficiently) is fantastically accurate, and very real world, and what separates CAD from just electronic drafting. But, you have to have layer management. Once you have set that up, it's all rewards.
The example above is for architectural, but just as easily adapted for casework.
The reason templates are initially setup with so many layers is so that staff does less thinking about adding layers and layer naming.
I can really see the advantage of stacked drawing, but will have to work out how we will best use it. It'll be tough to give up layers having a specific, distinguishable color, but I can see how layer filtering might make that irrelevant.
Thanks for the original post. Definitely a productivity boosting topic. I like your layer naming strategy and may combine both your ideas.
Oh, ya know why I limit to ten layers? Cause the 11th makes a scroll bar in the drop down window. I know, I know, it's really anal. I checked out cadwerx. Cool looking stuff - thanks for the tip.
As for the colors, it takes some thinking and testing. Use a white background, if you don't already. That gives you more contrast. Use the same color for same types of layers; like text layers are maybe always blue and wall layers are always 32. Play around with colors and layers until you get the right blends with contrast in the grouping of layers that are viewed together most of the time. It can be done, just takes a little trial and error. Then make a template, and a CAD standard that no one messes with the colors.
As you've guessed, I think layer setup, standards, and management are the core to good CAD work. Layering is all too often underrated.
Stack drawing also has its opponents, although I am a firm believer. Maybe we can get more feedback on that.
Here's another interesting observation: By far the most comments on this site are AutoCAD related. People have obviously chosen CAD to do their work, and are not choosing software packages (CabnetWare, etc.). Or, they have gone MicroVellum or use multiple software in their operations, like Acad for drawing and Pattern Systems for cutlisting, etc.
As far as our layers and the simplicity of them, they are as simple as they can be with the size projects that we do and we still will have upwards of 300 layers in a project base. However, for the woodworking jobs that I draw up, I can get away with many fewer layers. The rule that I live by on layers is make it simple for stupid people. I want anyone who is not familiar with our system to be able to come in and pick up this system and embrace it in a short period of time. As far as the number of layers, that is determined by how many things you want to be able to isolate. Regardless of the application, I hate to try to isolate something and have a bunch of clutter still remaining in the drawing that I don't need.