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# Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?2

## Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

(OP)
I like the looks of stacked fractions and use them a lot to detail steel pieces I design. If I place the dimensions one at a time, the fractions stack like I want after I hit the space bar. When I occasionally use the Continuing Dim feature, the fractions do not stack even after I hit the space bar after the denominator.

Is there a system variable I can set to make the fractions automatically stack? I did try to look it up in the AutoCAD help but I am not a fan of their help file. I thought I would try my luck here.

TIA

_____________________________________
I have been called "A storehouse of worthless information" many times.

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

Why are you typing the dimensions manually? I assume you're not drawing to scale?

If you're drawing to scale, the setting is in your dimension style.

_________________________________________
NX8.0, Solidworks 2014, AutoCAD, Enovia V5

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

(OP)
Yes, we don't draw to scale and I type in each dimension. As my handle implies, I design and draw T-Line lattice towers. We have a lot of long skinny members with long distances between bolt holes and lots of bolts at the ends close together. We also draw in engineering units and not architectural or fraction type.

Picture a 2x2x3/16 angle that is 30 feet long with 2 holes in the end 1.5" apart then 5' between 5 single holes with 2 holes in the far end. The holes are on a 1" gage line. So we draw an angle with the white space shortened between the single holes so we can show the 1" gage clearly. The white space between the 2 end holes is expanded so the 1 1/2 dimension fits between the dim lines. Back in the old days of hand drawing, this was done routinely so the fabricator can read the paper drawing. We just try to replicate how the old hand drawings look.

If you draw the above angle to scale, you get lots of horizontal white space between holes and 3 horizontal lines very close together and you try to show the gage line of the holes. Also there are 10 to 15 of these details on a sheet to minimize the number of sheets.

_____________________________________
I have been called "A storehouse of worthless information" many times.

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

I used to do the drafting for another engineer that did comm tower designs.

Draw the angle to scale in model space.

Create 'x' number of viewports in paper space. Say you have 5 breaks in the view. You'll need 6 rectangular viewports all in a horizontal row. The same 'angle' is to span across all viewports, at the same scale, with a gap between viewports everywhere you want to eliminate 'white space'. Dimension in model space and move the text to make sure it shows in the viewports.

The fastest way to do that (that I know of) is to make one viewport at the desired scale, that's big enough to show the whole part. Then copy it 'x' times, in place. Then just use the grips to resize one of them at a time, until they're all where they need to be. This will keep the part in place, at scale, and all viewports will have the same origin, so the part will be in the right place in paperspace, to line up. I've attached a .dwg of this, because I don't even know if that made sense. I know what I mean, and it's hard for ME to make sense of what I wrote. haha.

Then you can dimension across viewports. Change your dimension style to be fractional/architectural. You don't have to change your UNITS, just the DIMSTYLE setting. Otherwise you'll never get the function you want with continuous dimensioning. At all. You can't make overridden dimension text automatically continue anything... it's no longer automatic as you broke all 'intelligence' in the object. It's now just a text string in a dimension object.

Alternatively... couldn't you just add a "hole chart" to a drawing, telling them at which points to put the holes, all tailed from one end? Then you don't have to dimension anything, you can just show a bunch of holes in a stick anywhere. Put a "1, 2, 3, 4, ..." ID# (or alphabetic) to correspond with the hole table.

_________________________________________
NX8.0, Solidworks 2014, AutoCAD, Enovia V5

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

(OP)
I never use paper space and just put in a title block in model space (11x17) and scale down my parts to fit in the title block sheet. I've attached a couple of examples of the old manual drafting (scanned from a microfilm) and a PDF if I can figure out how to attach more than one file.

_____________________________________
I have been called "A storehouse of worthless information" many times.

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

"I never use paper space" - Bingo - that's your problem! CAD has advanced so far past the stone age that using Paper Space is the way to go. Draw full-size, full-scale in model space, put nothing but the objects there. Use lots of dynamic blocks and layers. Use viewports in Paper Space and never override a dimension. It may take some getting used to but it saves you tons of time in the end. Particularly since you can XRef one drawing into another, which only imports Modes Space, making it easy to build from stock parts. I never trus a drawing that has manual dimensions.

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

(OP)
I tried PS once upon a time many years ago and it did not go well. IIRC, I did my dimensions and then somehow I zoomed and the object moved and the dimensions stayed. I gave up and went back to what I know. It's not like I do drawings all day. I pick up ACAD once in a while when I design something and draw the parts up full scale to see where the bending planes are so I can size the plate thicknesses. I'm also about a year past retirement age and still working, so it's tough for an old dog to learn new stuff.

I'm pretty much self taught on ACAD and the old guys that showed me what to do didn't use PS. I have tried 3D with some limited success, but T-Line lattice towers are a strange thing with very few right angles.

_____________________________________
I have been called "A storehouse of worthless information" many times.

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

I had a boss once, and now have a co-worker, totally lost with paper-space, and it is frustrating at times to query why something looks wrong or offer a suggestion, only to discover that it had been drawn "wrong" in model space to fit in the title block. I remember learning how to use paper space. Yes, it was a struggle, but the effort it saves once it is mastered, especially when making corrections to design changes is valuable, and the improvement in presentation to customers is marvelous. The trouble you describe is a very common "rookie error" but with practice you would overcome it entirely.
Oh well, the audience here will poo-poo your drawings style, and so do I, but I can also give you a straight answer.

If you're using a later version of AutoCAD (you didn't say) then double-click the fraction that did successfully stack. The window that pops up will offer you the options you need. Make sure to click on "AutoStack" and review the settings of the 2nd box that pops up. If you haven't got any stacked numbers, for whatever reason, then maybe it's completely turned off. You can still stack the numbers because the text field is edited like all text, and a menu bar should appear above the text block as you edit it. There is a "b/a" button on the bar; top row, middle.
Let me know if you're using older AutoCAD versions. It was different back then.

STF

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

(OP)
I should have said I use the latest 2016 version of ACAD. We are on annual maintenance contract and get the latest when it is available. We have 4 network licenses for about 10 people to use because we don't draw stuff every day.

As a side note, Autodesk sent out some eMail that they are doing away with a perpetual license and I'm not sure what that means for my employer.

In any case, yes I know how to edit the dimension after I type it to make it stack the fraction. I just wondered if there was a way or a setting for the dimension continue that it would autostack, and evidently there is not. On some of my dimensions, we list the dimension between holes then the overall angle length. Let's say we have an angle with 2 holes (1 on each end 1.25" in) so the text between the 2 holes would be:
2'-6 3/4 (L2x2x3/16x2'-9 1/4) and traditionally we do not use inch marks(") so without some lisp program to do this it is just easier to type the dimension in.

It's not like I need to detail a whole tower. We have a consultant that does that for us and he has some special autolisp routines for whole towers.

I just draw a few parts here and there to see if they fit on old towers (like my example a few posts above this). I do appreciate the help and all the opinions, and if I get some spare time, I will try to do some experiments with paperspace.

_____________________________________
I have been called "A storehouse of worthless information" many times.

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

You may be missing the "Autostack" control. It's in the window for me, using 2009 and in 2015.

Autostack probably won't work if you type {2-9 1/4} without a space at the end, and it also might fail to stack if you type {3/16x2}.
Autostack requires a SPACE or some other delineating character after the fraction sequence to recognize what should be stacked. Probably before the sequence, too.

Type {_1/2_x_4_}, and then type {1/2x_4}, and then type {1/2x4} and see if you get different results.

STF

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

(OP)
Yes, I know about the space after the denominator and it should initiate the autostack. In regular dimensions it does work as I expect as I type in the dimensions. If I have a line of holes and use the Continue Dim in the Annotation tab to continue after placing the first dimension, it does not autostack the fractions even after using the space. It also does not work for baseline dimensions.

When I do a linear dimension, it suggests a number (like 1.21625) but I want to type in 1'-7 3/16_ so I hit the "m" key and a CR or space so I can manually enter the dimension text. Now if I want to Continue or Baseline and select those icons from the Annotate tab, it wants me to select the next object like a hole and it defaults to the distance but I don't want that one, so I can manually type in the one I want but I can't type the "m space" or it just places m as the dimension. If I type in 1'-7 3/16_ it does put that in but unstacked. I can go back in and edit the text and when I hit a space after the denominator, it stacks like I want.

_____________________________________
I have been called "A storehouse of worthless information" many times.

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

transmissiontowers - You and I are in similar mindsets about learning new stuff with some of our tools.

If you have not yet found a solution to your stacked fractions, please comment on the following:
- Are you creating Associative Dimensions (Dimassoc= 1 or 2) or not (Dimassoc = 0)?
- What is your default model space unit?
- What is your Dimstyle Primary Units set to?

If your Dimension Units are set to Architectural, type < 6'-5 1/8" > without the <> - as soon as you type the <quote> the fraction should stack. Check the setting for Autostack - you can get to this easily by right-clicking an existing stacked fraction and choose Stack Properties from the drop-down. Then click on AutoStack and check Enable AutoStacking and Remove leading blank.

Regarding Paper Space - LEARN IT!! It's is really cool once you can wrap your brain around how to use it.
It would be more than helpful in your situation. Let me offer my analogy on the topic so that you might reconsider your thinking:

1. You already know what Model Space (MS) is. Here you construct whatever your model consists of (tower, building, widget, whatever). The units you choose in MS are real world units. You draw the model as it should exist in its entirety.

2. I want you to imagine Paper Space (PS) as a sheet of opaque vellum of whatever size you typically use. Imagine that vellum placed in front of your model. In that sheet you then cut holes so you can see the portions of your model that are relevant.

3. Moving that sheet (PS) closer to, or farther away from, the model controls how much of the model your can see through the holes. Adjust the distance to best fit the holes around that portion of the model you want to show. This is your Standard Scale (a ViewPort property).

4. Since you want to show only portions of your model, create the number of holes (thru the sheet), aka ViewPorts, that are appropriate. By carefully (but easily) arranging the ViewPorts, they will all fit on the paper size you choose. More on the actual steps later.

5. You create your standard drawing border & titleblock in PS (on a Layout Tab). This Tab's properties will match whatever your typical paper size is. Create additional Tabs for different size paper when you're ready to go to this leap.

6. Paper Space - aka Layout Tab - gets plotted at a 1:1 scale, unlike plotting from Model Space where you have to set a plot scale to suit the model, or just Plot Extents (or Window) to fit.

7. It's really quite simple once you've used it 2-3 times. Consider the advantages:
- your model in its entirety is created with real world units - should take no longer to create than would only portions of the model
- dimensions used for the model can always be in Real World units and your dimensioning problem goes away
- you can Freeze layers in specific ViewPorts to hide things like construction lines or Notes To Self.

More on how to start your first Paper Space (or Layout) Tab if the interest is there.

Ralph
Structures Consulting
Northeast USA

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

Note - a dimension in Paper Space that spans viewports will not be correct - it will have to be entered by hand. What I like about only putting the objects in MS is that when you XRef it into another drawing, that is all you get, so building assemblies is very easy.

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

(OP)
RHTPE;
I stumbled across this old post of mine. I guess the notification by eMail does not work for this forum or I don't have it set right.

Some answers to your questions, no I don't do associative dimensions and I use decimal and draw in inches units. The architectural style is close to what I am used to seeing but a pet peeve of mine is the inch marks. In my industry, the old hand drawn details of T-Line towers rarely ever used the inch marks. They could be misinterpreted when a D size drawing was reproduced down to 8.5x11 to fit a notebook and a 1/16 " might look different. We also did not use the slash between numerator and denominator so we would have something like 1'-5 11 16 where the 11 was like a superscript and the 16 was like a subscript with smaller text height and they were on a diagonal offset. The old hand drawn towers were fabricated by the 100's and the fabricator had to read the manual drawings.

As I said up above in the OP, I know how autostack works and use it where possible. I typically draw the angles at full scale to see if they fit or where the OSL clips need to be made, but when I go to do the details of the angle, I usually copy the actual size piece and take out the white space between holes. As I have said somewhere on the forum, my piece may be 35'-7 3/4 long with 4 holes along the length and it is 3 inches wide. If I did it in a PS view port you can't read the text for the gage line of the holes or the dimension extension lines force the text to be outside the lines. I typically plot on 11x17 paper and I want to get more than one angle per sheet. Take a look at some of my attachments above to see what I am talking about.

_____________________________________
I have been called "A storehouse of worthless information" many times.

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

You are correct that one viewport will not show your part properly. But, multiple viewports with breaklines will. It's easy if you are fluent with PS / MS but painful if you are not. I routinely detail structures with long sloped beams and always draw full size, full scale and then "zoom in" to the end, middle and end with three viewports to show the end details and the middle. I put only the beams and other parts in MS and all titleblock, text, dimensions, notes, etc in PS. I'm particular about this and don't find too many firms that do it this way. To each his/her own, everyone uses their tools to the best of their ability to communicate their design to their clients or stakeholders.

Creating s custom dimension style makes it easy to make your dimension text look like you want. I mainly use 6 dimension styles to get what I want, same for Leaders or MultiLeaders, same for various text styles. I keep them all in a template drawing along with all layers and use Ctrl-2 to copy to new drawings when I Purged some out and need them back.

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

transmissiontowers
- Forgive me for not looking at your examples. Perhaps if I had I would not have been so quick to put in my 2¢.

The lettering style you describe is exactly what I used to do with manual drafting. While I miss that personal style touch of architectural lettering in AutoCAD, I got over it relatively quick. I was really happy that stacked fraction functionality was added and once I tweaked that to my preference I kinda just resigned myself to the fact that the inch symbol (") would always be attached to my dimensions.

The hand lettering font that I use in AutoCAD is my best contribution to maintaining the old manual lettering style. I share your lament that AutoCAD can't automatically provide the style of lettering that we prefer. My search of a way to accomplish what you seek was fruitless. For me, it was never a high priority when using AutoCAD - accuracy in overall layout along with accuracy in my fabrication details is paramount. Whenever one has to manually type in a dimension, it opens the door to potential errors in typing that I will not accept.

I my field we had similar issues with some dimensions being misunderstood (1.e. 1'-2" being read as 12") and established a policy of displaying any dimension of 2'-0 or less in inches only, i.e. 2'-0" as 24", 1'-7" as 19", 1'-1" as 13", etc. This helped to minimize the errors in reading the drawing.

I do not produce a lot of piece part drawings, so when I do I will often do the model in-place. To compress the item so that a reasonable representation fits on the paper size used, and to enlarge it so that important features & dimensions are clear, I simply display it in Paper Space using a number of ViewPorts. This allows me to eliminate long portions where "nothing is happening". For me, the beauty of this method is that any changes will always be updated in the piece part drawing.

Again, my apology for not taking the time to get to understand your dilemma. If you ever find the means to do what you prefer, please repost here on Eng-Tips.

Ralph
Structures Consulting
Northeast USA

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

I've done steel fabrication drawings where the beams in elevations were drawn "symbolically", with exaggerated height to show flange thickness, etc., and so you can visibly see the hole offset locations from centerlines, face of flange or whatever. The linear dimensions are strung out sequentially but not to scale, almost in chart form.
Drawing this way can be done in spreadsheets, too. If you format the spreadsheet right, the fabber can input it directly into his CNC machinery to automatically drill and cope the beams. Drafters, per se, are being left out of the equation.

ps: I'm an old drafter; I just tried to do a "ctrl s" on this post.

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

Ah ha Buggar, you still use all of the MS-DOS keyboard shortcuts as I do.

Ralph
Structures Consulting
Northeast USA

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

(OP)
I'll attach some of my crappy acad drawing sheets so you can see what I draw up. This is a HSS that we use to bolt to a T-Line tower to replace the arms and move the wire a little higher. It was in a long piece but they wanted it broken into 3 sections so it was easier to handle while 60 feet in the air.

_____________________________________
I have been called "A storehouse of worthless information" many times.

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

Great style. Simple, looks hand-drawn. Your length dimensions don't add up to equal the definition of the HSS length. I figure the tolerance block on sheet 1 deals with that. Or there's assumed trimming of the HSS before welding to the end plates.

(I check other people's drawings every day. I can't help it! Don't bother explaining if those lengths are intentional.)

STF

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

I agree with SparWeb - Great drafting style. The pride and professionalism (and sometimes art) exhibited by our hand-drafted drawings does not show through as well when using CAD.

transmissiontowers, Your style is very much like some of the better steel detailers I've worked with in the past. The required information is easily found and logically located to leave no doubt about what is to be fabricated.

The one thing that CAD does not easily given us:
The ability to accurately model in real world dimensions yet present component details, fully defined, but with the images condensed to fit on a reasonably sized sheet of paper (or on the screen). It can be done, but it's clunky.

Linear scale is easy to exaggerate manually - not so when trying to utilize the CAD model in Paper Space to keep the item detail linked to the Model.

Very often I'm dealing with constantly evolving temporary works projects that require custom fabrication - linking the fabrication drawing to the model can be helpful & time-saving. Not to mention almost absolutely accurate.

Ralph
Structures Consulting
Northeast USA

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

(OP)
Ralph and Spar;
Thanks for the kind words. I'm mostly self taught in ACAD and picked it up since the 1980's in ACLT. I could always draw the lines and circles, but in the early days the text notation was the hardest part to get to look right and I used all kind of different text heights. I worked on my text and only use a couple of heights that look OK when plotted on 11x17. Also with the advent of plotting to PDF, it is easier to share details with fab shops.

I surely don't consider myself and expert, but I used to deal with a local fab shop and I knew they had ACAD so I sent them my DWG and they could not open it and had to get me to save it in an older version. I did that and they still could not see my fonts because I used a special hand letter font. I sent them my font file and they could not figure out how to put the new font in their font folder so my DWG would open correctly. I finally ended up printing on 11x17 paper, cut it in half and faxed the 2 pages to their fax machine. After that fiasco, I figured out how to plot to a PDF at 11x17 and eMailed that to them the next time they had to build one of my designs.

I pick up ACAD probably once a month to sketch out my designs for stuff that will be bolted on a Transmission Tower.

On the dimensions not adding up, I should have put the section cut of the tube to flange connection. The flange plate has a hole in it just a little larger so the tube slides 1/2 way into the plate so you have to add half the thicknesses of the flange plates to get the tube length. We do this for better galvanizing drainage when you dip the assembly in a vat of 800° zinc so it flows smoothly out the end. Hopefully this piece will sit outside for 40+ years.

I do have a question about changing profiles that I will post in another thread.

_____________________________________
I have been called "A storehouse of worthless information" many times.

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

I note your method of connecting the end plates to the HSS by sliding in the tube and welding. This is common and successfully used in the electric industry. But for some reason, I seldom see this detail elsewhere. I like it because of the "double" weld which can be simple fillets, sized to develop the HSS capacity.

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

#### Quote:

... the tube slides 1/2 way into the plate...

A worthwhile idea I can put in my own "storehouse of ideas".

STF

### RE: Stacked Fractions in Continuing Dimensions?

(OP)
On our big T-Line poles that are big enough where you can stand inside and not reach the other side unless you play in the NBA, there is a smaller hole so the welder and reach inside and seal weld the inside to the 2 to 4 inch thick baseplate. Formed plate at 12 sides welds to a big base plate then the whole thing is dipped in molten zinc and we hope all of it runs out the end. On the small HSS tubes, we usually telescope the tube into the plate so the galvanizing drains out. You do have to watch the silicon content of the plates because if it is to high, the zinc really builds up thicker than it should and you can chip off big wafers of zinc.

If I had to guess, our structures sit outside in the rain and weather for 40+ years so we galvanize everything. The building guys have a roof and walls over the steel core so it is dry and they can paint it. I'm not sure what the bridge guys do for coating. I suspect that the bridge builders and designers have a brother-in-law in the painting business to keep the profits in the family. ;)

_____________________________________
I have been called "A storehouse of worthless information" many times.

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