Original Article Date: July 16, 2001
Read this and learn how to set up your MicroStation V7 plot scales, fine tune your paper sizes and deal with plotting a metric file even if your plot driver is in imperial units!
Getting Started…the Plot Dialog Box:The first step in plotting with MicroStation is determining what you want plotted – either the contents of the a view, or the contents of a fence. Defining your plot area with a fence is preferable since it allows the user greater control over specifying the plot area.The following options are available:
Using a Metric Design File and Imperial Plotter Units:If your design file is set up in metric (1m:100cm:10) or (1m:1000mm:1pu) and an imperial plot driver file is being used, a conversion factor must be calculated. We know that there are 2.54 cm/inch which is the same as 25.4mm/inch or 0.0254m/inch.Knowing that at a scale of 1:1 - 0.0254 meters in the file will equal one inch on the plotter, we can simply multiply our output drawing by 0.0254m/inch in order to determine the plot factor:
1 : 100
2.540 m / inch
1 : 50
1.270 m / inch
1 : 25
0.635 m / inch
Fine-Tuning Sheet Sizes:The size records in the plot driver files are typically adequate, however they can be easily modified to suit your plotting requirements. The typical size record appears as the following in the plot driver file:size=(17.0,22.0)/num=0/off=(0.27,0.27)/name=c
The Maximum Printable Area:All plotters have physical/mechanical limitations which restricts the plotters ability to utilize the entire width or length of a sheet. The area that the plotter can plot to is commonly referred to as the “maximum printable area” or “hard clip limits”.MAXIMUM PRINTABLE AREA = PAGE SIZE PLOTTER MARGINSBy knowing the maximum printable area of your plotter, you’ll be able to set up your paper sizes to avoid the problem of “clipped plots”.
Plotter Page Setup:To set up your sheet border in MicroStation and determine your size records in the PLT file, use the following:sheet height - (top margin + bottom margin) = height for size recordssheet width - (left margin + right margin) = width for size recordsFor example, for a 24" x 36" sheet with a 1 1/2" left margin and 1/2" margins around the top, bottom and right sides of the sheet, the calculations would be:24" - ( 1/2" + 1/2") = 23" (height)36" - (1 1/2" + 1/2") = 34" (width)
Recall that the offsets are the distances from the plotter origin to where MicroStation starts plotting.If you are not sure of your plotter's origin, fence and plot a small rectangle (5" x 5") to a large sheet. The corner of the rectangle closest to the corner of the paper is the plotter origin.
Metric Plotting:To plot in metric units, use the metric size records and resolutions in the plot driver file:; Metric size records; size=(158,244)/num=0/off=(0,7)/name=a4; size=(229.0,355.0)/num=0/off=(0,7)/name=a3; size=(355.0,508)/num=0/off=(0,7)/name=a2; size=(788,508)/num=0/off=(7,7)/name=a1; size=(1066,813)/num=0/off=(7,7)/name=a0; resolution(MM)=(0.025,0.025)By default these records are commented out with a semi-colon and are set to millimeters. Meters can be used as the unit by simply moving the decimal point of the sizes 3 spaces to the left. Remove the semi-colon on these records, and then add semi-colons to the imperial records.Note that if you’re using PRINTER.PLT (the system printer), the Metric/English setting is controlled in the Control Panel under Regional Settings in Windows.Using a Metric Design File and Metric Plotter Units:To calculate the plot factor, you need to specify the number of master units (m) in the file to be plotted per mm paper. For example:1: 5,000 means that 1mm on the plot represents 5,000mm on the ground. Thus to calculate the plot factor use the following cartographic scale formula where:Scale Factor = Map Distance / Ground DistancePlot Scale = Scale Factor x (Master Unit / Plotter Units)For example: The plot factor for a 1:5000 is calculated by:5000 x (1m/1000mm)= 5
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