Jump to content
  • 0

Associative dimensioning that is useable

mike m oz


I long for associative dimensioning that actually works and is useful:

? It needs to recognise objects such as walls, doors and windows

? It needs to recognise corners so that you don't have to choose an object to associate the dimension to

? You should be able to move a dimension line to a new location as a whole rather than having to move each one laboriously

? You should be able to add or delete points to a dimension string by clicking on the appropriate point

? Making dimension style changes should be simpler

Link to comment
  • Answers 56
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters For This Question

Recommended Posts

  • 0

I just want the dimensioning to be less like 'electronic drafting'.

The program has come a long way since MiniCAD 4 when I first started nearly 11 years ago but there a few things which are basically the same as they were then.

Dimensioning is one of these!

It needs to come into the 21st century.

Link to comment
  • 0

Went to an ArchiCAD 9 demo last Tuesday night - just keeping tabs on what the opposition are up to. Many of the new features they were pushing are capabilities that VW and even MiniCAD have long had.

Two things that stood out in ArchiCAD 9 as being better were the dimensioning and text handling. (Apart from live sections of course).

The ArchiCAD dimensioning has the functionality that VW should have - NNA really needs to bring the dimensioning up to a similar capability. (Even if only in Architect.)

The new text handling capability is also impressive - works like a word processor with all of the options for formatting available. (No mention of how it would export to dwg and the like though)

Also the ability for text to retain its orientation when the 'container object' (eg. module) is rotated.

Link to comment
  • 0

You can decrease the problem of snapping to witness lines by increasing the witness line offset in your Dimension Standard definition (Document Preferences > Dimensions tab).

That was one of the first things I did when I started using MiniCad, and I haven't noticed a problem since then. That may be partly because I'm using the vastly more supple version 8. But other people, using versions 9 and 10, have reported success with this solution.

Link to comment
  • 0

i don't have much of a problem snapping to witness lines. The reason is that I use Fixed Witness Line Length. This is an option that you set when you set up a custom dimension standard. this will keep the witness lines away from the object that you are dimensioning.

Also, remember that you can tell VW not to assign dimensions to the Dimension class. This means that you can put dimensions on the same class as the notes for the drawing. As an Example;

you can put the foundation notes and the foundation details on the the same layer as the walls, but put them both on the same class;

then you can put all the framing notes and dimensions on the same class, on the same layer as the walls.

you can make a viewport of the wall layer and make a foundation plan easily.

Of course, this is only available in VW11.

Link to comment
  • 0

Thanks guys. It took me a while to figure out how to accomplish what you describe. When you go to the Dimension Tab, those choices do not exist.

Jonathan gave the vital clue of "when you set up a custom dimension standard". Doing this and clicking on the Edit tab reveals a whole new world. I had no idea this existed. I will give it a try and see how it helps.

Thanks again.

Link to comment
  • 0


Originally posted by Petri:

And, NNA, while you are implementing Mike's wishes (all seconded): one should
be able to snap a dimension to a witness line of another dimension.

I second this! This current behaviour is dangerous. Unless you zoom in close and inspect every witness line origin, you can unexpectedly be dimensioning to witness lines and not to corners of walls.

When wall dimensions are critical, this can be the making of an expensive lawsuit. We need to have the confidence that the dimension line is dimensioning the object selected and not to another dimension line.

Link to comment
  • 0


Originally posted by archoncad:

i don't have much of a problem snapping to witness lines. The reason is that I use Fixed Witness Line Length.

Your builders must love your drawings! Now, I come from the Old School (1970s): we used to have up to 10 chained dimension lines on the top & left side of the drawings, with teeny weeny witness lines, and the poor builder had to decipher what they meant. But graphically the drawings looked fantastic! Not to mention the buildings. Well, our builders also came from the Old School and actually knew what they were doing. What a luxury!

(Don't take this too seriously, Jon!)

Link to comment
  • 0

That's OK, I remenber the old days when a builder knew what building paper and a flashing were for.... ahh the good old days.

but seriously, I draw an extra framing plan that makes it easy to read the dimensions, as only the walls and openings are shown.

But if the dimension is not clear i will but a ghost line from the dimension to the measuring point. This doesn't happen often, so I can use fixed witness line....

Link to comment
  • 0

Ah the good old days when building was a profession rather than a business!

Seriously though NNA there are a lot of gripes about dimensioning generally.

We users trust that you are taking these concerns on board and are working to bring dimensioning up to date, and that you will make it truly associative in a useable way.

Link to comment
  • 0


Our architectural dimensioning needs to come out of the 'CAD Stone Age'.


There probably needs to be two types of dimensioning:

- standard dimensioning for non architectural contexts

- architectural dimensioning where the dimensioning is intelligent enough to recognide architectural elements such as walls, doors and windows.

Seriously - a major priority for the next version must be to update the associative dimensioning so that it becomes useable - something like the functionality provided in both ArchiCAD and BOA

[ 03-03-2005, 05:00 AM: Message edited by: mike m oz ]

Link to comment
  • 0

Never trusted the dimensioning tool myself. ALWAYS checked it for accuracy maually. Thank god for Archcalc or Calculated Industries feet, inch, metric calculator( add, subtracts,divides, etc in fractions)

Ok, so this seems weird to me. May be I'm crazy here. Why when your in the units dialog box, when you set the fractions to say none or 1/2" or something large ,rounding off basically, when you run a chain string, they will not necessarly add up to the overall dimension. IT DOESN'T ADD UP CORRECTLY ?! This really got me in trouble once. How can a CAD program that is super accurate to a millionth degree do something like this? Am I doing something wrong here ?

There is really no need to dimension a house to anything less than a 1/2". Carpenters are not nuclear scientists here folks and we are not building the space shuttle. They have tape, a square and a hammer, and build with wood studs that vary up to a 1/2" in size. They work off a foundation that maybe out of wack by inches since concrete tends to push and pull the forms all over the place. Why should I be dimensioning to an 1/16th or a 1/32nd?

Of course you guys out there lucky enough to be born into a metric world never have to deal with fractions. Lucky bastards.

Link to comment
  • 0


The USA decided to adopt the metric system back in the 18th Century! The problem is you never got around to it and you are now the only country in the world that still uses the imperial system. How stupid are you Yanks (joke).

Metric is so much easier, and yes not having to deal with fractions makes life easier. I agree with you on the accuracy part - I saw a set of old drawings (40 years old) that had brickwork dimensioned to 1/16" right down to the detailing. It was an absolute nonsense and totally unachievable on site.

Getting back to the topic of associative dimensioning. I want VW architectural dimensioning to come out of the 'CAD Stone Age'. The architectural dimensioning needs to be truly associative, rather than the quasi situation we have now. It needs to have the following capabilities:

? Recognise architectural objects such as walls, doors and windows

? Recognise corners so that you don't have to choose an object to associate the dimension to

? Be a single entity so that a dimension string can be moved to a new location as a whole rather than having to move each single dimension laboriously

? Be a dimension string which automatically updates when an element is moved or deleted.

? Be a dimension string which can have points added to it or deleted from it by clicking on the appropriate architectural point

? Be a single entity so that style changes can be made quickly and easily.

Other CAD programs have managed it so why not VW.

I don't particularly want automatic dimensioning, but others may. I have an inherent uncertainty about automatic dimensioning and prefer to do it myself - this allows me to get the layout I want and to know the points I want are dimensioned.

[ 03-04-2005, 08:49 PM: Message edited by: mike m oz ]

Link to comment
  • 0

Kurt, I had the same dimensioning problem. It was equally amazing to me how dimension strings would not add up to the same totals.

I resorted to lowering the tolerance to 1/8". I got some pretty strange looks from the framers. They asked me more than once why I would dimension a wood framed wall to the 1/8 of an inch.

I too would like an answer to whether I am doing something wrong here.

Hey Mike: What do you Aussies call a 2x4?

Link to comment
  • 0

As a former carpenter I see nothing wrong with dimensioning to the 1/16". I would tell them for accuracy. As for tolerances, I would add a "hold to" or similar note for dimensions in kitchens, baths, anything that needs accuracy and let adjacent rooms soak up the difference in materials, foundation errors etc. I would never set my dimension tolerance to anything that would not add up in a string. Oh and I used to dabble in nuclear science...

Link to comment
  • 0

Kevin - a 2x4 was called a 4x2 when we still used imperial (35 years ago). It is now a 100x50. We have always put the bigger dimension first, as they do in the UK and most other places in the world.

1" = 25.4 mm as a hard conversion. We rationalised things and did a soft conversion so 1" = 25 mm, and 1' = 300 mm

So for example:

- an 8' x 4' sheet of ply is now 2400 x 1200

- a 4' x 2' ceiling tile grid is now 1200 x 600

- a 6" sq ceramic tile is now 150 x 150

Ray - tolerancing depends on what you are dealing with. 1/16" on brickwork is a nonsense because the manufacturing process results in bigger variations than this.

Kurt - your dimensioning addition problem is probably to do with the Rounding you have set for Dimension Objects (Primary). Try setting it to 1/16" or 1/32".

This discussion, whilst interesting, is a bit of topic and no longer about the issue of associative dimensioning. I would like it to get back on topic. For me the quality of the dimensiong methodology is a long way short of what we deserve. I would like to see other's opinions.

Link to comment
  • 0

Thanks Mike. While off topic, it does help me understand the metric side of things. Doesn't sound so bad.

I agree with you on the dimensioning needing more refinement. My pet peeve is that I often find myself dimensioning to a dimension line instead of the corner of a wall.

I would like to be able to concentrate on the design and not have to worry if my dimensions are accurate.

Link to comment
  • 0


Metric is a breeze after imperial.

I too have the problem of snapping to the wrong thing if you are zoomed out. The mis-snap problem really annoys me - this is definately an issue on the Mac platform.

I just want dimensioning to be quick, simple and accurate. At the moment it is a slow chore, particularly when you start making changes.

Link to comment
  • 0

Dang you yankies are strange.

You have decimal currency and imperial measure.

Go shooting up every country to get peace.

And you drive on the wrong side of the road.

Make a damm good programme tho.

I have dealt with old tradesman about the old measure of Imperial before we woke up. and the inaccuracies come out in a measure called lean and bear depending which side of the thick you want to be on.

thats useless Go metric!!!!!

But who cares what I think , Im from an island in the South Pacific most dont know exits.

( please just having fun)

Regards Brendan

[ 03-05-2005, 02:13 AM: Message edited by: B.Balemi ]

Link to comment
  • 0


Getting off the subject a little bit here. Yes, I know about setting the tolerance back up to a 1/16th or higher but I thought it was funny that strings don't add up at a tolerance less than that. As an Architect this seems like a workaround to me. Why is this NNA ? And yeah metric is way more logical and I would be more than happy to change to metric myself but we norte americanos are stuck with the fraction (thanks to the british ?). Tell a framer to get a 100x50 and you'd get some strange looks. Unfortunately, we are stuck w/ Bush too, The folks I hang with here in SoCal don't particularly like shooting up other peoples countries either. Although Brendan and those bloody pome boy's might be speaking Japanese if we didn't and reading the vwks manual from back to front (Just kiddin). And speaking of framers, no disrespect intended on my comments above. I was just trying to make the point that the dimensioning should be adjustable to the type of industry you work in. Architects should be able to turn down the fractions and be confident that the string will add up. That way the framers will not need to break out their inch/feet cell phones 16'-4 7/8" in the air. Nuc sci guys and Space shuttle engineers can have them way up. And to add to the weirdness of americans, machinists take it to the 1,000th of a inch. What is that, Decimal/Imperial ?? I think dimensioning should be accurate and trustworthy and adjustable to your particular industry or country which brings me back to the subject at hand.

Link to comment
  • 0

Maybe I'm not understanding, but dimensioning is accurate. When you round off a dimension, how is it even possible to have accuracy? The dimension doesn't display the actual measurement when rounded. If you want tolerences of even inches or 1/2" why not draw it that way and use precise dimensioning.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Answer this question...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...