It may just be my perspective, but I seem to come across more and more users inquiring about this custom functionality lately. Although this is customization above and beyond what we deal with here in Product Support, I thought some users would like a more in depth overview than what is found in the HELP file: Assigning Optional Properties to a Part Size
Part 1: Edit the XML
These optional properties are mostly used for labeling purposes, for example you would like a catalog number or additional comments to be displayed in a label or table. First we will start out by modifying the Part Parameter Configuration XML File, specifically AeccPartParamCfg.xml. This can be found here:
Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Autodesk\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011\enu\Pipes Catalog\Aecc Shared Content
Windows 7 & Vista: C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\C3D 2011\enu\Pipes Catalog\Aecc Shared Content
Open this XML either via right click>Open With>Notepad, or by default it opens in Internet Explorer. Once open in Internet Explorer (IE8) click Page>View Source.
In this example we are going to add a new String data type as an optional properties, and just for fun the name of this optional property will be our New Hampshire State motto “Live Free or Die”. Under the section <AeccParamDeclaration> is where we will start the process. Simply copy (CTRL+C) a line that works and modify accordingly. Here is the example I have copied and modified:
<AeccDfParameter name="LiveFreeorDie" desc="LiveFreeorDie" context="LiveFreeorDie" index="0" datatype="String" usage="String_General" managelist="True" unit="" visible="True" internal="True"/>
Next we will move on to the <AeccParamUsage> section and place the counterpart for our new optional property. Our example will look like this:
After doing this save and close the edited XML file.
Part 2: Part Builder!
Now comes everyone’s favorite: Part Builder. You are going to need to add this newly created property to the appropriate Part Family. So launch Part Builder (HOME tab>CREATE DESIGN panel dropdown>Part Builder) select the desired Part Family, for this example I am going to select Concentric Cylindrical Structures. Click the Modify Part Sizes icon, and the Part Family will open. Select Size Parameters, right click and EDIT CONFIGURATION.
Now we find ourselves in the Edit Part Sizes dialog much like if we were adding custom part sizes. However this time we are going to add our new property to the entire Part Family. Click the “new” button and all of the available properties will display, and we will select our custom property which will now display along with the others. Now I went one step further and added options to select from the list when we add this parts to the Parts List. Now just click OK, Validate, Save Part Family, and now you have survived the Part Builder portion of this blog post. (congratulations)
Part 3: Drawing and Labels
Now that will got all of the logistics out of the way, now comes the bread and butter. First lets start by running the command PARTCATALOGREGEN, then adding the Part Family we just modified in the previous steps. Just like you would be adding part sizes, you right click on the Part Family and select Add Part Size. You will notice that the custom property will now be displayed, and you can enter the value or select from the list depending on how it was set up.
Now that we have the structures in our Parts List, lets go ahead and draw our network using these newly modified parts. One you have the structures in place you can go ahead and label these to showcase the customer property. Create a new Label Style, and when adding a new Text Component you will notice that the custom Property will now be an option to select and add to the label.
After making the necessary changes to the style to reflect what is desired to be displayed, click OK and label the structures. This also can be applied to a Table Style to display this custom information, just add a new column and you will find the custom property available as a component just like in the Label Styles.
So that’s pretty much the overview of this custom functionality, you can make it as simple or as complex as you see fit. Please keep in mind that this is customization of the stock product and is above and beyond what we are available to troubleshoot here in Product Support, so I would suggest making backups of your XML files prior to modifying them just in case you need to revert back to stock settings. Hopefully this gives a bit more insight beyond what is provided in the HELP menu, and have fun trying this out in your designs!