Creating Custom Subassemblies From Polylines?

Corridor modelling in Civil 3D can be challenging. If you need custom parts, that can be challenging as well, unless you feel comfortable with Subassembly Composer. Unfortunately, I am not someone who can rip through Subassembly Composer, so I am not in that category. For that if you want to be able to create a custom subassembly but don’t want to venture into the joys of Subassembly Composer, you may not realize that there is a possible solution right at your fingertips. What is it? The magic button? Not quite, but it is pretty easy. There is a command to create a subassembly from a polyline.  Wait, did I say easy? Well…….there are important steps that have to be completed in order for this to work, so I don’t know if that makes this “easy”.

Before we jump into this, let me be upfront and let you know the good, the bad, and the ugly about this process. First, lets talk about the good. You can create a polyline that has whatever weird shape you need for your project and turn it into a subassembly as shown below. Pretty cool, right? Ok, now for the bad. There are no parameters that can be edited with this process. That means, no adjustable dimensions, targeting, etc.

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Are you still with me? That bad part is not a deal breaker in my opinion, but it is definitely a limitation to keep in mind. OK, and now……the ugly! There are specific codes that have to be applied to the part, or it will not function the way you would want it to. There are link, point and shape codes that if not applied, you wont be able to create surfaces that encompass the part, extract feature lines from the part, or pull material quantities that include the part. This is all important items to keep in mind. Once again, not a deal breaker in my mind.

All righty then! With that being said, lets jump into it! In the video below, I will go into a finished part and reverse engineer how I created it.


So that’s it. Give it a shot and see what you think. Despite some limitations, I think this will give you more tools for corridors than maybe you were previously thinking.

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