Dynamic Blocks
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Dynamic Blocks

Aug 23, 2019
Video Length:  57:03
Presented By:  Paul Houchin

A dynamic block is a 2D block with built-in guidelines and parameters that change its appearance and behavior each time you place it in a drawing. These changes can take effect instantly, adding an element of variety to your plan without the need to edit the block or alter its definition. We'll show you how to create and use dynamic blocks, as well as how they work with our software. Tune in for a dynamic presentation.

Webinar Contents:

  • Intro/TOC
  • What is a Dynamic Block?
  • Why Use Dynamic Blocks?
  • How to Create a Dynamic Block
    • Tools and Definitions
  • Demonstration of Making a Dynamic Block in CAD

0:00 – 3:27: Intro/TOC

3:28 – 5:19: What is a Dynamic Block?

The basics (3:33):

  • In AutoCAD, a block is a collection of geometries that act as a single object.
  • Blocks can be duplicated but still reference the same definition.
  • Land F/X uses blocks for the majority of its content so your drawings are as streamlined as possible.


What is a dynamic block? (4:30)

A dynamic block is a block definition with custom properties and grips in addition to the block’s visible geometry.

5:20 – 6:21: Why Use Dynamic Blocks?

  • Dynamic blocks can be valuable assets to an array of different applications.
  • For example, dynamic blocks can help with on-the-fly design decisions.

6:22 – 12:54: How to Create a Dynamic Block

Important first step: Make a plan! What actions do you want your block to achieve? (6:25)


Block Editor (BEDIT): Blocks must be made dynamic in the Block Editor. (7:03)



Tools and Definitions (7:25)

Dynamic block definitions contain parameters and actions. (7:25)

  • Setting a parameter means defining the custom grips and properties.
    • Think of parameters as the control points that the user will be clicking on and interacting with.
  • Once you’ve set the parameter, you need to apply an action to it.
    • Actions define how the geometry of a dynamic block reference will move or change when the parameter is manipulated in a drawing.
    • You can think of most actions as stand-ins for regular AutoCAD commands such as MOVE, ROTATE, ARRAY, MIRROR, and others.
  • Parameters and actions work together, but only in certain combinations.


Outline of today’s demonstration (9:33):

  • POINT parameter with MOVE action
  • ROTATE parameter with ROTATION action
  • ALIGNMENT parameter
  • VISIBILITY parameter
  • FLIP parameter with FLIP action
  • POLAR parameter with SCALE action
  • LINEAR parameter with ARRAY and STRETCH
  • Saving the block into the Land F/X library


Not in today’s demonstration (10:13):

  • X & Y parameter
  • LOOKUP parameter
  • Basepoint
  • Constraints


Parameters and compatible actions (10:37):

  • POINT parameter: Just a single point that defines an X and Y location (10:37)
    • Compatible with: MOVE and STRETCH
  • Linear parameter: Shows the distance between two anchor points. Grips are placed at two points with a line between. Actions take place along the line at the set angle. (10:53)
    • Compatible with: MOVE, SCALE, STRETCH, and ARRAY
  • POLAR parameter: Similar to LINEAR, this parameter shows two points with a line between. It’s different in that the grips can rotate, move, and stretch objects at a specified angle and distance. (11:15)
    • Compatible with: MOVE, SCALE, STRETCH, POLAR STRETCH, and ARRAY
  • ROTATION parameter: Defines an angle for the rotation action. (11:36)
    • Compatible with: ROTATION
  • ALIGNMENT parameter: Defines a line that can be used to align the block to objects in the drawing. (11:49)
    • ALIGNMENT always applies to the entire block and doesn’t need any extra actions.
  • FLIP parameter: As with the MIRROR command, you choose a reflection line. You can then use the FLIP action to flip selected objects over the axis line. (12:10)
    • Compatible with: FLIP
  • VISIBILITY parameter: Allows you to set up multiple states of visibility. Similar to stacking layers if only the select layer was visible at any time. (12:20)
    • Only one grip allowed for a block, but you can have as many states as desired.
    • Also requires no extra actions.

12:55 – end: Demonstration of Making a Dynamic Block in CAD

Saving linework as a block (14:15)


Opening the Block Editor to add parameters (14:50)


Placing a block and setting a parameter (15:30)


We recommend naming each callout associated with a parameter (16:50)


Applying an action to a parameter (example: MOVE action) (17:55)


Testing an action (18:50)


Adding another parameter to the block (example: ROTATION) (19:30)


Editing the properties of the ROTATION parameter (example: Angle Type) (20:40):


Modifying a MOVE action to include a ROTATION parameter (23:10)


Adding an ALIGNMENT parameter (24:15)


Demonstration of visibility states (25:57)


Testing a visibility state (30:50)


The Make Invisible option (32:30)


Applying a FLIP parameter (33:05)


Adding an offset line (35:11)


Applying the SCALE action and testing (37:40)


Creating a parking space dynamic block (39:09)


Adding a LINEAR parameter (40:35)


Applying the ARRAY action (41:00)


Testing the dynamic block in Model Space (41:45)


Applying the STRETCH action (42:16)


Choosing the number of grips in a parameter (44:18)


Saving a dynamic block to the Land F/X library using the Save Block tool (45:00)


Placing the dynamic block (46:30)


Tips (47:26):

  • You can name your parameters in the Block Editor. This allows for clear organization. Give meaningful names and descriptions to these items.
  • Every time you add a parameter, use the Test Block button to make sure you get the desired effect.
  • You have several options for accomplishing the same effect with dynamic blocks. Try to choose the simplest solution and avoid authoring blocks that are difficult to understand, use, and maintain.


Question: Is it possible to relate a dynamic block to a Reference Note item? (49:45)

Answer: This is not a capability of the software as of webinar time, but we are looking into it as an option.


Demonstration of the dynamic blocks that come with the default Land F/X block library (50:47)

When you use the Copy Along Line tool, the various versions of the block will appear along the line at random.


Question: How do dynamic blocks and details relate to each other? (54:11)

Answer: We currently don’t support or recommend using dynamic blocks in details because they’ll likely make the details difficult to edit and maintain. However, we’ll look into the possibility.

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