Layout Tools

These are used in conjunction with the Layout menu to create scale drawings of the physical location of equipment in racks and consoles.

19in Rack


This is a Plug-In object used to place a 19-inch equipment rack on the Rack Layout layer.

The rack ID, height width and depth can be edited directly in the Object Info palette. As well as 19-inch standard racks we also now support 23-inch recks common in IT and telecom installations.

Rack Ruler


This is a Plug-In object that puts a ruler on the drawing showing height in metres and rack units. This is useful for checking the ergonomics of equipment positions. You can edit the ruler length directly in the Object Info palette.

The rack base offset parameter lets you add extra height when racks are mounted on plinths or mobile bases.



The menu command Put Devices on Rack Layout creates an EquipItem object for each device on the schematic. Using this tool you can also add extra equipment that has not yet been designed to complete the Layout. Here’s a quick tour of the parameters:

  1. Name, Make and Model fairly self-explanatory. Note: if the Name corresponds to a device name on the schematic connectCAD will assume that this EquipItem is the physical representation of that device and update its location.
  2. What to display? Name or Model? and text alignment.
  3. You can set a front panel symbol using this button if you want a more pictorial look and if you have the symbols of course.
  4. Dimensions: If the EquipItem is rack-mounting you can set the height in RU and select whether it is full or half rack width.
  5. Modules that mount in Rack Frames have the Fit-to-Slot property checked and can occupy more than one frame slot.
  6. Location data: EquipItems can detect where they are on the layout. So here for example this audio mixer is located in rack 1 at U 27.

Location information is transferred automatically to the schematic but can be updated manually if need be using the Update Location Info command.

Rack Frame


This object is a generic rack frame for modular devices (to house DA’s, or converters for example).

The Rack Frame object can be configured to emulate rack frames from almost every manufacturer by editing the parameters in the Object Info palette. You can choose how many slots there are horizontally and vertically, and the number and location of the power supplies. You can also adjust the relative size of the power supply to the slots.

RackEquipItems calculate their slot position from the data provided by RackFrame.

RackFrame2 is a newer version of Rack Frame that supports a rectangular array of slots. This supercedes the original Rack Frame object and should be used in new drawings. Equipment items can be dropped into either frame type. (You won’t find many of the old ones around this change happened 6 years ago)

Create Symbol can be used to save particular frame configs in the resource pallete as ‘red’ symbols. These are pre-configured objects that can then be drag/dropped onto the drawing.

Blank Panel


This is a Plug-In object used to place blank panels on the Rack Layout layer. The size of the panel in rack units can be edited in the Object Info palette.



Plug-In object used to place Mains Distribution Units on the Rack Layout layer.




A Plug-In object used to place 3D Racks on Plan/3d layers. How this works…

When you’ve done your rack elevation, connectCAD lets you visualise the physical layout of your system in 3D. You create an additional layer for each level of your building and either draw or import a floorplan for each level.

You can place 3D Rack objects on these layers with ID’s that match the rack bays defined on the Rack Elevation layer. When you rotate the view into 3D, the racks draw themselves with equipment installed. All this without you having to do any complex 3D drawing operations.

Here’s a quick tour of the parameters:

  1. Rack ID: this is the most important one. For the 3D rack to draw its contents it has to know what they are. So the rack ID must match the ID of a 2D rack on the rack elevation.
  2. Physical data: Height in RU, width, depth and weight of the rack itself. And the rack opening can be 19in or 23 in.
  3. Checkboxes let you choose to display side panels, doors etc. and important rack contents. Toggling the rack contents checkbox updates the contents if changes have been made.
  4. Power and Weight: 3D racks calculate their overall weight and power consumption including all equiment and can display this information in Top/Plan view making it easy to provide building requirements to E/M and structural engineers

3D Console Bay


A Plug-In object used to place 3D Console Bays on Plan/3d layers.

These work in a similar way to 3D Racks, but instead of being stand-alone objects. they are designed to be placed on tables or incorporated in console furniture that you design. Vectorworks has wonderful 3D tools to help realise furniture designs – some examples will be posted on the site to show how it’s done.

3D consoles have an additional parameter, slope. This lets you set the entire object at an angle convenient to the operator.

Weight and power consumption are calculated in the same was as 3D Racks.

Conn Panel Object:


The ConnPanel Object is an object used to assist in visualising and design custom panel layouts. It works by linking up with Connector Panel devices on schematics and importing their connector details into the object. The ConnPanelObj can then draw the corresponding panel connectors in detail on a to-scale drawing of the panel.

Here’s a quick tour of the parameters then we’ll look at the workflow:

  1. Conn Panel Setup: opens the setup dialog (see below)
  2. Distribute, Center, Pack: these buttons let you auto-arrange the connectors on the panel in various ways. Snap-to-Loci is available if a panel template symbol is being used and places the connectors on the template’s loci.
  3. Connector Names and Symbols: Normally these are brought in from the schematic layer but is you need to add or modify them you can.
  4. Connector Area handle: you can drag this to modify the area in which connector get placed.
  5. Connector handle: you can drag the connector around to any position using this handle.

Conn Panel Setup


The Conn Panel Setup button opens this dialog to let you set up the object.

  1. If you’re linking to a schematic device then you can select it from this dropdown. That automatically names the panel and sets the correct number of connectors.
  2. If you’re creating a panel manually then you can enter the panel name here and specify the number of connectors
  3. To set the physical dimensions of the panel you either pick a pre-built panel template symbol OR
  4. Set the size, mounting holes, bezel, label size etc. directly by entering the data here.

Panel templates are a new feature in 2015 . Templates let you use a 2D to-scale drawing of your panel saved as a symbol as the basis of the panel object. If the symbol contains loci for the connector centers then the object can automatically snap connectors to these positions making panel design much faster.

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