Using Panel Templates

Panel templates are a new feature of connectCAD 2015. They let you quickly and easily set up the Conn Panel Object to the dimensions and connector centres of manufacturers standard panels. Let’s see how that works in more detail.

Setting up a panel using a template


Here we’ve chosen the symbol called ‘pnl_PNL-1425. And just so you can see the result I already did the setup once before and clicked Snap to Loci to place the connectors correctly. Now let’s see where those symbols are stored.

connectCAD_Data folder


All panel templates are stored in a file called ‘Panel Templates’ in the path ‘connectCAD_Data/Connectors’. You can see the full path on the Mac above. On Windows the path is slightly different and you can find this in the Vectorworks Options menu.

Panel Templates file


Each template is a symbol stored in the ‘panel_templates’ symbol folder. And each template symbol name has the prefix ‘pnl_’. We need this prefix to filter out irrelevant symbols in the Conn Panel Setup dialog. So if you want to create your own panel template symbols you need to follow this naming convention.

Anatomy of a panel template


I’ve just chosen to edit this symbol (2D part). It’s a simple drawing of the panel(1) with mounting holes (2) and loci (3) to indicate the connector centres. The drawing of the loci is important. They should be placed in the order you want the connectors allocated. Here we’ve started top-left and we work our way across and down in the normal way.

The panel label text (4) is linked to the ‘panel_title’ record which is attached to the symbol. This is how the panel label displays the text set in the Conn Panel Object. You can use normal Vectorworks text attributes to style the label.

Template import


Panel templates are not part of the normal connectCAD resources. Not every design needs them and there’s no need to make files bigger than necessary. So these are imported into your drawing automatically by connectCAD when you need them. And the process is triggered by clicking the Conn Panel Setup button in the Object Info Palette.

Conn Panel Setup creates two new folders ‘panel_conns’ and ‘panel_templates’ and add the relevant symbols to these folders. Each time you do the setup dialog the symbols are re-imported. So if you need to make a permanent change to a panel template you should edit the Panel Templates.vwx file.

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