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3D cable modelling


This function is an AutoCAD based function to create and edit 3D cable combinations. You start with a 2D cross-section template that represents a cable combination that you want to apply to a 3D polyline. The cable combination can include a concrete protective cast around the cables. The concrete cast will always be horizontal on the top with vertical walls.

In the current version it is also possible to exclude parts of the template when the 3D polyline goes through objects like manholes. You can select to cut the solid (protective cast) or one or more cable/conduits.

In addition you can add new grip points to the 3D polyline and easily edit the 3D polyline and redraw the template.

Note: There is also a new function to draw 3D manholes with block outs.

Typical templates:

Start Novapoint Base and then start AutoCAD from the Novapoint window.

The function is started from the Railway Ribbon in AutoCAD:

The Dialog

Template folder: The path where the templates are stored.

Open – to open a template drawing. Opens a DWG file with the template.

+ - Adds a new template to the template list and folder

- - Removes a template from the folder and the list

List - The list are the available templates.

Preview - The Preview shows the template selected.


Insert – inserts a new grip point on the 3D polyline – mid point between the points on either side.

Delete – deletes a grip point along the selected 3D polyline

Set vertex radius to (m) – If the deflection is more than the selected value a fillet will be applied with the default radius. This is normally the minimum bending radius allowed for the ducting.

No arc applied if deflection angle < (degree) – This sets the minimum deflection between two straight lines where no fillet will be applied.

Convert arc to line segments – base to chord-height tolerance – defines the number of template sections that will be applied to a curve. The lower the tolerance the more accurate the modelling.

Select 3D polyline – select a 3D polyline (line – line) from the drawing.

Select existing objects – Select the objects along the 3D polyline that the defined template should calculate against. Based on the template definition the solid/cables/conduits will be cut by the selected object.

Draw template – defines whether you wish to draw the template together with the 3D modelling.

Draw – to draw to AutoCAD.


Draw a 3D polyline in AutoCAD:


Add a template as follows:

Open a drawing (or draw) a template:

Select +

In the Command prompt you are asked for the Template name – Ditch 1

You are asked Select selection reference point – this is the point that will be used as the basis point along the 3D polyline.


You are asked to Select surface and points in the template – Select the conduits and cables.

Press Enter to skip (not select anything). If selected, the selected point will be used to generate 3D Polyline parallel to final reference line. Line, Arc, Circle, Polyline will be used to generate 3D surfaces).

Press Enter.

You are asked:

If Yes - all selected all surface and points will be cut when they meet selected objects.
If No - all surfaces and points will continue through the selected objects. Enter and select <N>


You are asked to Select solid for section template – (can also be the wall of a pipe).

You can just press enter to skip this if you don’t need any solid. If selected the function will ask for one outer solid (press enter) then inner entities to be used to subtract the outer (or just enter to skip, if solid should not be subtracted). Then the function will again ask for next outer solid, and subtraction object as loop.

Press Enter to finish selection.

Select the cast – (yellow line)

Outer could be ‘cast’, the subtraction object could be ‘outer pipe’ to create ‘Cast solid with hole for pipe’, or, outer could be ‘outer pipe’, the subtraction could be ‘inner pipe’ to create ‘Pipe solid with thickness’.

Select subtractions for solid in section template: - conduits and cables. They must be selected one at a time.

Select Enter.

Select – Select 3D polyline:

If both polyline and template are selected, before Draw, the function will place generated template along the reference line. Please check if any template crosses itself in sharp curves, this must be fixed by adjusting the radius to avoid error - (strange surface, not able to generate solid).

Adjust radius as required and Draw

In xRay mode:

Without the cast (layer turned off):

Draw with objects – Manhole:

Use the same template and select a 3D polyline with manhole. Select existing object:

Select Draw:

Edit with NCO

Adjust the 3D polyline – drag the grips

Select NCO (or write NCO in the Command prompt) select the 3D object and select Edit Objects… and Draw.

You can also delete the 3D trench from NCO.


The 3D model generated follows the layer (and colour) structure from the template.

Last modified: 2016/01/05 15:38 by vn_no_dso