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    By Andy Davis

    If you have ever created block-based fittings in Plant 3D and added them to a catalogue, you may not be aware of where the blocks have been saved and how that location is related to the catalogue.

    Plant_3D_2020___Block-Based_Fittings_and_the_Shared_Content_Folder_-_1.png

    When you add a block-based fitting to a catalogue, the Spec Editor performs several actions:

    1. It looks for a Windows folder with the same name as the Plant 3D catalogue (.pcat file) within the AutoCAD Plant 3D shared content folder.
    2. If no catalogue folder is found, the Spec Editor creates it within the shared content folder in the sub-folder CatalogSupportFolders.
    3. If they don’t already exist, the sub-folders ..\DWG and ..\200 are also created.

      Plant_3D_2020___Block-Based_Fittings_and_the_Shared_Content_Folder_-_2.png

    4. Within the ..\DWG folder, the Spec Editor creates an AutoCAD drawing file, a part family file, that will contain all of the blocks used to represent different sizes of the new fitting. The file is assigned a unique name with a GUID identifier; it is essentially a block library.

      Plant_3D_2020___Block-Based_Fittings_and_the_Shared_Content_Folder_-_3.png

    5. Within the part family file, a new block is created to represent the fitting. The block is assigned a unique name with a GUID
    6. Within the ..\200 folder the preview image (.png file) of the fitting is saved from the first size to be created. The name assigned to this image consists of a prefix of the part type (Valve, ValveBody, Coupling, etc) followed by the same GUID used to identify the part family file.

    Plant_3D_2020___Block-Based_Fittings_and_the_Shared_Content_Folder_-_4.png

    When you add a block-based fitting to a pipe spec from a catalogue, the Spec Editor adds a reference to the name of the block used to represent the fitting, the name of the drawing file it is stored in and the name of the source catalogue folder.

    When you are modelling in Plant 3D and choose to place a block-based fitting from a pipe spec, you must have read access to the catalogue folder and part family file to enable Plant 3D to import the block into your current drawing. The catalogue folder must be located below the shared content folder.

    Shared Content Folder

    During installation, standard catalogues and pipe specs are saved into the shared content folder. The default location of this is: C:\AutoCAD Plant 3D 2020 Content\

    Plant_3D_2020___Block-Based_Fittings_and_the_Shared_Content_Folder_-_5.png

    You can move catalogue files to different folders and you can also change the location of the shared content folder.

    Anyone with Admin rights can re-path the shared content folder directly from the AutoCAD command line.  From inside Plant 3D, you type the command PLANTMODIFYSHAREDCONTENTFOLDER; this command also gives you the opportunity to copy the entire contents of the current folder to the new location.

    Alternatively, you can perform the same task using the Modify Shared Content Folder... option on the Tools menu of the Spec Editor. Again, you will need Admin rights.