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An Intro to Autodesk Toolsets

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“The intentions of a tool are what it does. A hammer intends to strike, a vise intends to hold fast, a lever intends to lift. They are what it is made for. But sometimes a tool may have other uses that you don’t know. Sometimes in doing what you intend, you also do what the knife intends, without knowing.”

– Philip Pullman

If Pullman is correct, there are then many benefits to tools; first, there is the clear benefit of their usage, but there is also the freedom they provide to explore, create, and do more. That is also the benefit of the specialized toolsets in AutoCAD. In 2019, Autodesk introduced specialized toolsets to its AutoCAD software that helped users not only get more from the software but more from their own work as well.


What is Autodesk?

Autodesk is a suite of software applications (over 90+) that enable drafting, designing, and more in 3 primary industry verticals: Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC); manufacturing; and media. In addition to allowing users to design and draft, the software can also facilitate modification, editing, collaboration, project management, and administration, or structural integrity testing.

For many, Autodesk is known as the primary publisher of AutoCAD, the ubiquitous computer-assisted design and drafting software.


What is AutoCAD?

Since its release, Autodesk’s AutoCAD software has been an industry leader in the designing and drafting space. As the first CAD (computer-aided design) software to hit the market, it soon became the standard for industries that used to rely on hand-drawn designs and models that took considerable time to create. Another great benefit in Autodesk’s CAD software was the time teams also saved when collaborating versus the traditional modifying and sharing physical drawings or models with those who needed to provide input or feedback.

AutoCAD enables the drafting of both 2D and 3D designs, which are saved in the cloud allowing access from anywhere in the world. That access means editing, modifying, and developing projects across multiple tasks (facilitated by other Autodesk applications) is easier than ever.

autoCAD toolset toolbar


What are Autodesk Toolsets?

One of the advantages of working with an industry-leading software application, especially one that’s been around as long as Autodesk and AutoCAD have been been the inclusion of robust toolsets and features that one may not find with other applications.

Over the years, the Autodesk team has been able to identify the tools and functionalities most needed by different users in different fields and develop specialized toolsets to streamline frequent tasks. In fact, an Autodesk study found an average productivity gain of up to 63% across all the toolsets.

The Architecture Toolset

The Architecture Toolset features a vast library of pre-designed objects typically used in architectural design including, but not limited to: windows, doors, walls, roofs, and more. The toolset automates common tasks such as creating outlines for rooms, building sections, and ceiling grids. The goal of the architecture toolset is to simplify and speed up frequent tasks to allow designers more time for more complex tasks that invoke their true skillset. As a result, users may see a 61% increase in productivity.

The Mechanical Toolset

The Mechanical Toolset features over 30 options for creating complex but frequently used shapes within AutoCAD. The toolset recognizes identical parts, even when hidden as well as common elements within layers to speed up object placement. The mechanical toolset speeds up both calculations and tasks providing more time for solving complex problems and project challenges. As a result, research suggests users might see a 55% productivity increase.

The Electrical Toolset

The Electrical Toolset boasts the largest productivity gain at 95% which may be related to the menu which includes over 2,000 schematic symbols. Further, it automatically connects associated wiring and components, as they’re created, via a numbering and parent/child system without the need to handle that manually. Additionally, it features one-step commands for common schematic drawings. In short, the toolset has simplified tedious tasks and optimized your electrical engineer’s time.

The MEP Toolset

The MEP Toolset (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) boasts a collection of parts, configurations, and plans in all three areas, including HVAC. Including all three interior building components in one set allows users to build out for requirements quickly. For plumbing, the piping layouts are easily set up using templates, and the plumbing lines can be quickly routed and connected to the library of plumbing components. When the bones of the house are in place, the MEP toolset can increase MEP design productivity by up to 85%.

The Map 3D Toolset

The Map 3D Toolset provides a huge add-on benefit to designers and construction teams working with geographical data impacting their overall structure design. With three mapping workspaces, including planning and analysis, maintenance, and 2D drafting, users can download map data to reflect up-to-date geographical data.

Further, a separate tab enables users to compare drawing details and map details to prevent potential issues. When it comes to applying map data to parcel and structure development, ensuring that you’ve got the most up-to-date information and a streamlined method to compare the drawing and map details saves valuable time. In fact, the Map 3D toolset has been shown to improve productivity by up to 60%.

The Plan 3D Toolset

The Plant 3D Toolset provides a huge add-on benefit to designers and construction teams working in the manufacturing space where piping and instrumentation design (P & ID) are crucial to purpose. Manufacturing spaces are incredibly complex due to the various and intricate systems that must be engineered to work together. This toolset permits users to create and modify P & ID layouts based on specifications, all while managing precise engineering data. Users have experienced up to a 74% productivity gain, demonstrating that even tricky tasks can be simplified when using the correct tools.

The Raster Design Toolset

When it comes to image editing, being able to edit raster images can be a tremendous asset when manipulating large images and files, especially those that previously only existed in paper drawings. Giving users the ability to edit raster images is why Autodesk created the Raster Design Toolset. Similarly, when working with existing map data or even satellite data, the toolset enables designers to manipulate existing data to plan for development. Users of this toolset have experienced up to 48% productivity gains.


Top 3 Benefits to Using Industry-Specific Toolsets

As discussed above, these toolsets are specifically designed to facilitate AutoCAD users and the tasks they regularly and repetitively perform while doing their jobs. Autodesk and AutoCAD have grown to be pretty responsive to users developing tools and functionality to assist them and deliver:

1. Increased productivity

As noted in the toolset descriptions above, each toolset has, according to research conducted, seen an average of 63% productivity increases with some toolsets boasting numbers above 90%. That means with the job-specific toolset, you or your team can be more efficient and get on to solving more demanding challenges or more products. It’s no secret that productivity impacts profit.

2. Improved project accuracy and error reduction

Regardless of industry, one of the biggest workplace problems is human error which can result in lost time, money, productivity, or even cause injury. Further, one of the most prominent causes of human error is the performance of repetitive tasks. Because the primary goal of AutoCAD toolsets is to improve productivity and streamline processes through the automation of repetitive tasks, the result is improved accuracy and fewer errors.

3. Work faster (and smarter), but not harder

Nearly all of the toolsets include libraries of tools and commonly used features that enable users to create, recreate, and in some cases, save objects they often use This means that other tasks take less time with an individualized toolset specific to the user’s project goals in addition to automated tasks. They’re easy to find, they’re integrated, and they’re already set up for you.

In addition to providing users with toolsets and consistently looking to enhance their product to improve the end-user experience, Autodesk also utilized specialized partners who add benefits as well. If you’re looking for an industry partner with Autodesk experience who can help guide your software decisions as well as assist you in getting the most of the product, get in touch today.

The TPM team has over 20 years of experience with Autodesk and in the AEC industry and is, therefore, uniquely qualified and positioned to help you leverage the tools you need to grow.