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Kevin Ford

Divide and construction lines...

Question

In an attempt to do some development drawings today, I realized the glaring omission of a divide tool in Vectorworks. It would be an enormous help to be able to have the program divide an object into a given number of sections. I realize the Arc into Segments and Line into Segments can help; however, this is not enough. There is no way to easily divide polylines for instance, or circles. I tried to duplicate along a path to no avail.

Also, something similar to AutoCAD's construction lines would be a great addition. Yes, you can use 2d locus and use snap to locus but this creates a few problems. First is that I can't snap to anything but the locus line, and second, it's not possible (without realigning the origin) to angle the snap lines of the locus. At the very least a means to quickly (i.e. an F-key) toggle snap to locus on or off.

Thanks,

Kevin

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I'm not sure the lack of this tool is quite so glaring. Are you talking about dividing a polyline into segements of equal length? That's the only operation I'm aware of that would be difficult, if not impossible, given the current software. But I can't picture a need for that kind of calculation . . .

As for construction lines, you can draw lines and put them on a non-printing layer. Less convenient than ACAD's feature, and they don't extend to "infinity" either, but isn't the VW method easy enough?

[ 02-08-2003, 03:42 PM: Message edited by: P Retondo ]

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quote:

...something similar to AutoCAD's construction lines...

...only better, not limited to lines. That's Guides, in the Edit pull-down menu. Select any object, then Make Guide. You can snap to guides the same as to any other object, and can hide or delete them all at once.

quote:

...easily divide polylines for instance, or circles...

I used to use the Divide command in AutoCad a lot, not because I wanted the line to be in separate pieces, but because I wanted to know where one third or one fifth of something would fall, and AutoCad didn't have any good ways to do that. But VectorWorks does. For example, if I wanted 17 risers to fit a 9'-7" floor-to-floor height, I'd draw one riser beginning at the lower floor, Group it and then Edit Group, Array it into 17 risers (or Mirror it if I only want 3 or 4 iterations), then Exit Group and stretch the group to the upper floor. Much faster.

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As for the need to divide a polyline, I strongly suggest you try doing a development drawing to understand just how nice it is to quickly divide a polyline. For instance, if I'm doing a sheetmetal layout fo a cylinder with a hole cut out of it. It doesn't translate to anything resembling a straight line or a regular arc. Even dealing with the simplest of development drawings I need to quickly be able to divide a circle quickly.

As far as using guides go, yes, they are quite nifty, but perhaps a quicker way of implementing them? Once I convince the powers that be to upgrade to 10, I suppose I could add it to a contextual menu. It might also be nice to not have to mouse over them to snap to the edges.

[ 02-08-2003, 11:48 PM: Message edited by: Kevin Ford ]

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the other trick in dividing line is that fields in the object browser allow calculations

so say i have line of 1000mm long and want it in thirds.

1000mm/3 in the length field

or just click after the lenght there and type'/3'

if have the control handle set to the middle

you'll be left with the middle third.

these field can be use for all sorts of calculations

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quote:

...I need to quickly be able to divide a circle quickly...

I'm still not getting the concept here. You want the circle to be made up of several arcs? Why not draw an arc and Array it around its center? Wouldn't that be just as quick as the reverse method?

If you want it to stay a circle but with snap points at regular intervals, 1/5 for example, you could place a locus point on it and then array the locus 360/5 degrees around the center.

quote:

...guides...a quicker way of implementing them...

A lot of things would be quicker if there were a keyboard macro utility built into VectorWorks. Wouldn't it be nice if you could draw your construction line, then while it's highlighted just press F9 to make it a guide?

Absent that, I use a shareware keyboard macro program called mgSimplify (there are a lot of others for the PC, including EZMacros, and there's Quickeys for the Macintosh) to assign the commands I use most often to Function keys, and a Focus 8200 (or 9200) keyboard with 24 function keys. The Focus also has a built-in calculator that can send its calculated value to the cursor location.

[ 02-09-2003, 09:00 AM: Message edited by: jan15 ]

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Hey, have you studied the Constraints Palette?

For segment division you can use the Snap to distance (double click to see it's preferences).

It will give the divisons with an Along Line snapping screen hint. Works on lines, arcs, circles and up to some extent on arc-based polylines.

Another helpful sort of 'construction lines' is brought by the Snap to Edge constraint (also double-click for preferences).

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quote:

Originally posted by jan15:

I'm still not getting the concept here. You want the circle to be made up of several arcs? Why not draw an arc and Array it around its center? Wouldn't that be just as quick as the reverse method?

If you want it to stay a circle but with snap points at regular intervals, 1/5 for example, you could place a locus point on it and then array the locus 360/5 degrees around the center.

A lot of things would be quicker if there were a keyboard macro utility built into VectorWorks. Wouldn't it be nice if you could draw your construction line, then while it's highlighted just press F9 to make it a guide?

Absent that, I use a shareware keyboard macro program called mgSimplify (there are a lot of others for the PC, including EZMacros, and there's Quickeys for the Macintosh) to assign the commands I use most often to Function keys, and a Focus 8200 (or 9200) keyboard with 24 function keys. The Focus also has a built-in calculator that can send its calculated value to the cursor location.

As per dividing a circle, yes, I would love to have the equivalent of arraying loci around a point. That's one way of doing it and I've also drawn an arc of 180 degress and used the arc into segment command. Honestly, if I NNA would expand the abilities of Arc into Segments to include circles and do the same to Line into segments to include plines, life would be grand. The work arounds are there, but it would be helpful to be able to do it in 1 or 2 clicks.

And finally, keyboard macros would be a boon. I think that should DEFINITELY make the wishlist.

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quote:

Originally posted by Alexandre B A Villares:

Hey, have you studied the
Constraints Palette
?

For segment division you can use the
Snap to distance
(double click to see it's preferences).

It will give the divisons with an
Along Line
snapping screen hint. Works on lines, arcs, circles and up to some extent on arc-based polylines.

But if only it would work on ALL polylines!

My problem with snap to edge is that it requires a mouse over to activate. That's one of the neat things about x-lines. They're actual objects that are always active.

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quote:

Originally posted by Kevin Ford:

As for the need to divide a polyline, I strongly suggest you try doing a development drawing to understand just how nice it is to quickly divide a polyline. For instance, if I'm doing a sheetmetal layout fo a cylinder with a hole cut out of it.

Okay, point well taken. But I still take issue with the word "glaring." [smile]

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