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how to draw a steel section column/pillar???


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Hybrid symbols are not that hard to make and are very useful. There will always be scenarios that the PIOs can't cater for and hybrids provide a means of dealing with these (without the user having to resort to scripting).

Understanding how hybrid symbols work and knowing how to create them will make you a much more capable VW user.

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A hybrid symbol wont modify easily when the design changes...for that it's got to be a PIO...since symbols can't be resized.

...and of course resizing the symbol pretty much means redrawing it from scratch.

Insert a steel profile, convert it to a group, convert it to a pillar, convert it to nurbs, convert it to a symbol, add a 2d component, rotate it in 3-d so it's horizontal rather than vertical, place it, in plan.

Move a bearing point, start from scratch.

Change a member size, start from scratch.

Yes, it can be done with hybrid symbols.

The fact that there isn't a PIO is assine in my opinion.

Enough with the work-arounds already.

Edited by brudgers
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Can someone shed some light on why we cant dash 3D objects?

I can appreciate that being able to dash extrusions isnt going to fix everyones problems but from what I can see from the last 6 months of previous posts it would fix a hell of a lot of problems. Hybrid symbols work if you know exactly what you want from the beginning but the y are extremely cumbersome if you are trying to develop a plan. you could use extrusions for roofs, floors, beams, pillars, joists.. the list could go on, if only they could be dashed in plan. This program is used to generate plans basically and the only tool we can use to create customized 3D shapes cant be dashed so no good for plans. Im sure I cant be alone on this.

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CS1, all 3D objects can be dotted in Top/Plan View - just change their line style on the attributes palette. They will still render as solid line objects, as shown in first attached image below.

Joist objects have a centreline option which can be shown dotted (solid option with the attributes changed to dashed) or with a centreline. The latter is shown in the second attached image.

Framing member objects don't have a centreline option like joist objects, but normally you wouldn't show every single roof framing member dotted on plan. Instead you would show the 2D form of the roof over. If you are modelling the roof framing it is easier and more sensible to do this in a separate layer.

You appear to have a preoccupation for using extrudes rather than the architectural objects and plug-ins provided with the program. Many of your issues are not issues at all. Correct use of Class attributes and the objects and plugins 'solves' most of them.

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Yeah but there are limits to the architectural objects provided with VW, obviously it would be impossible to create architectural objects that will cater for everyones needs which is why we are able to build customized objects using extrusions and solid subtractions etc, what good are these thou if we cant show them the same as other architectural objects (dashed), what good are they if their final output is no good for plans with out copying them to 2D so we can change their appearance.

Try creating a 3D "I" beam at a 30? angle to horizontal that can be stretched and shown in plan as dashed without copying it and converting to lines.

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CS1, non rectangular pitched beams are an issue and it is a capability that VW needs.

There is an existing work around though - in the design stage, when everything is still fluid, you can use a Rafter object as a mock beam (you can get the lower end vertical by seting the overhang to 1 mm and the bearing inset to 0 mm). Once the design has firmed up and the beam length is fixed replace this with a hybrid object having the 2D appearance and 3D form that you require.

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The logical issue with this workaround is that drawing beams with the rafter tool, doesn't save any effort in the process of generating profiled beams.

Nor is it helpful in generating sections during schematic design and design development.

And out in the real world, a typical late stage design change (construction documents phase) often invloves shifting a structural grid a few inches.

It's an exercise in building modeling not architectural design, in my opinion.

The work around is hopelessly brittle.

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Programming is an exercise for which I do not have the temperment.

And one which if I had the talent an inclination to undertake, would almost certainly find an outlet other than perpetual attempts to "fix" Vectorworks.

As for my lack of effort in writing structural PIO's, it is perhaps somewhat more excusable than NNA's inertia in adressing this issue.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I went to rotate (so its a beam not a column) and I got the message: "This operation only works on hybrid objects in plan projection".

What am I missing?


if you "Edit"(Command+}) this object you've created and choose the 2D option that appears then delete the 2D object you are presented with, you should now be able to rotate your object in ANY plane as you've eliminated the "Hybrid" shackles that VW ties you to.

Nothing to do with my vast knowledge base, just some VERY useful tips passed on to me by Pat Stanford after he enlightened me as to how i could solve this rotation problem i'd been suffering from and complaining about for what seemed like forever. Thanx again Pat . . . . .

Thing is, i knew about it, i'd just forgotten it. i felt like a real Schmuck!!!


Edited by AndiACD
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In VectorWorks 2009, both the Column object and the Framing Member have been substantially expanded to handle standard steel structural shapes as an integral part of the object. For more, see:


Ok so lets say there is some object I need to create or some kind of odd beam that I am unable to achieve using the tools described above, I am going to need to create it myself say using extrusions, solid subtractions etc, Ive done this before, now I need to show these on my floor plan and I am going to need to show them dashed if they are above, is this going to be possible without creating a "hybrid symbol"?

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I think there is a bi-directional misunderstanding.

The Framing Member object is a parametric Plug-In Object (PIO). It has a set of features and parameters built in to cover a large, but not exhaustive, number of configuration of structural members. The user doesn't "draw" the cross-section and extrude it; the user draws the path, selects a profile from a number of options and the tool takes care of creating the 2D and 3D geometry.

Most of what you just proposed, would be handled very well by the PIO. You wouldn't have to "draw an "i" shape" if it is a standard manufactured profile. This would be selected from the tools options. To create a custom, non-standard profile, you would draw and create a symbol of the desired cross-section.

However, cutting holes in the object is not currently an option of the PIO. To achieve such an object, you would have to create a custom, static, hybrid(2D&3D) symbol.

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OK so no matter how good a tool is there is always going to be a limit to what you can do with it (which is understandable). In which case you need to be able to create your own object, maybe not a beam maybe I want to create a "lump" I can create that fine with the various 3D modelling tools, but the reason Im using this program is because I draw plans and in plans I need to be able to control how the objects I draw look, I know I could make the lump blue in 3D I could make it have a solid green outline in top/plam view. what if the "lump" is on the first floor and I need to show it on the ground floor plans as dashed? Can I dash (show as item above current view, which is the standard) the 3D object?

PS I dont want to have to draw it twice (hybrid symbol).

Edited by CS1
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This is why the suggested workflow involves using Sheet Layers and Viewports to create different graphic attributes for different views of the same object.

Design Layers -> Modeling/drawing data, Sheet Layers -> Presentation of data.

You can do exactly as you wish by overriding the class graphic attributes for your object, or part of your object, in a sheet layer viewport. These viewports are not just "sectional". They can contain plans and non-orthogonal projections. Their power is in their ability to control the view of the data, for a particular purpose (e.g. floor plan graphics of a wall versus reflected ceiling plan graphics of a wall).

Your lump, if the classes are done properly, can have the outline change line style, color and weight for each plan viewport by overriding the graphic attributes for that class, in that viewport. The overrides will NOT affect any other viewport or the model/drawing on the design layer.

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You can do exactly as you wish by overriding the class graphic attributes for your object, or part of your object, in a sheet layer viewport.

Your lump, if the classes are done properly, can have the outline change line style, color and weight for each plan viewport by overriding the graphic attributes for that class, in that viewport.

This only works if the SLVP view is set to anything but top/plan.

As plans are required to be in top/Plan view for all the other 3D objects (eg walls and joinery) to look correct, it is not possible to dash the extrusions.

Edited by CS1
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