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Suggestions for Organizing Detail Sheets


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...When I need to add a detail to a Sheet Layer that already has one or more major VPs referencing the model, I add a new empty VP with no Design Layers referenced at the scale of the detail to be imported. I open the VP and drop or draw the detail in it. After this the detail VP can have the scale adjusted retrospectively without causing Text, Dimensioning or Hatching problems. ...

M5d, are you dropping the symbol/group into the annotation space of the vacant VP? Do your symbols already have notes & dimensions in them (so that drawing and notes are commingled?)

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After carefully reviewing Bill's last post, I can see that I erred a bit too hastily with Reece's (M5d) workflow.

For details that are used over and over and over, presumably at the same scale every time, placing all the information in one symbol on a design layer seems appropriate. Then create a VP on the desired sheet and place the Detail Label in the Annotation space of the VP.

For all "custom" details, in an ideal BIM-centric, best practice workflow, the detail VP is a view of a larger section taken from the building model, then further elaborated and noted in the annotation space of the VP.

The idea is to only draw the basic information once and then use views/viewports to create specific views at different scales with unique information/annotation.

Building model > Building Section VP > Partial Building Section/Wall section VP > Detail VP.

Of course this assumes anyone is willing to work in a workflow that heavily incorporates 3D modeling of the building and use of sheet layers, exclusively, for the drawings set, not design layers.

The idea is that design layers are for model/building data and that sheet layers/VPs/annotation space are for presentation/data views.

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Hi All

Jeff is right. Details that are commonly reused with little need for editing are the kind of details I was referring to above. Bill, these 2D symbols intended for dropping into empty SLVPs I draw with all the structural details grouped together and then lay the text and dims over and this is how they import as symbols into the VPs. They are reasonably flexibly for both editing and scale adjustment this way. Regardless of how frequently they are used however, I usually find the need to rearrange them easily on sheets around other major VPs makes this method quick and adaptable to changes on my sheet layers.

I do find most details are unique to the projects they are created on. These details I generally create by duplicating my major sectional VPs and then cropping and changing the scale. After that it's kind of the same though. I 2D draft over the model being referenced by the SLVP in the the actual VP (if and where required) and then group / lock the addition 2D elements together before adding text and dims. This way I still have the flexibility to move, re-scale and edit them on my Sheet Layers as the Sheets fill up.

Since switching to Vectorworks I have religiously tried to keep my Design Layers 3D only. I don't see any problem with adding 2D information into the annotation space of my detail VPs and my section VPs on sheet layers but I have wondered if this is standard practice. The alternative method of drawing details on design layers with different scales and then using SLVPs seems similar to the way you have to work in Autocad with similar problems albeit arrived at in a slightly different way.

Edited by M5d
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Just tried M5d's suggested method and came to other vision about detailing.

Create 1 DL for details. Doesn't matter what scale it is. Draw geometry there. It might be also 3D, include symbols, groups, etc. Then, create viewports, send them to appropriate SL and all text and dimensions add there - in VP. If you change scale of the VP, text size, dims and hatches change to look same size as previously. With this method, your geometry is stored in 1 place - DL.

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  • 2 weeks later...
So, HOUCAD, are you ONLY using design layers for your details and not using sheet layers at all? Are you using sheet layers for any of your drawing set?

First of all I am very new to VectorWorks so I am no expert but I have been drawing plans using cad software for a long time. It didn't make sense to me to use the sheet layer and have viewports all over the place. That is the way this office does it and I assume this is what was intended from following the discussions here.

The detail sheets I have been drawing have different scale details on them but I inserted my border using page setup onto my 1/4" design layer. You could create a 1:1 design layer which might make more sense but when I started this sheet I thought there would only be 1/4" scale details. As I needed 3" and 1/2" etc details I created new design layers. The advantage is that everything shows up on every design layer scaled to whichever layer you are on. I didn't have to use a sheet layer and I never used a view port. You draw in place on whichever design scale you need and print from whichever layer.

With the drawings I have had to pick up on here it was very confusing because you have no way of knowing if something will fit on your finished sheet and I see a lot of things getting cut off by viewports. Also, with all the viewports floating around I found I was moving or deleting viewports by accident. Its just a mess to have to plan out a sheet this way. The only time I could see having to use a viewport is when you want to blow up a part of a drawing on the same sheet at a different scale.

I may be missing something with sheet layers since I am new to VW but the way I have them set up just makes so much more sense to me. Draw in place on the sheet at whichever scale you need.Just make sure your view settings are set to show everything or grey others if you want.

What are the advantages to using viewports and sheet layers?


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  • 4 weeks later...

Good discussion here.

I have been working on our office's detail library and agree with the approach drawing, dimensioning and labeling details on the design layer. I use a detail template file that has design layers for all common scales. A pre-scaled bounding box allows me to draw viewports that will fit our standard sheet layer grid (NonPlot class).

Once a detail is complete I transform it into a symbol. This symbol can be referenced into the target file via the resource browser. There it is placed on an appropriately scaled Design Layer and placed on the Sheet Layer with a viewport.

Careful when importing and placing the symbol: the drawing label adjusts to the scale of the active layer.

Any subsequent changes to the original detail file will automatically update. If the detail needs to be adapted to the project or disconnected from the detail library I convert the symbol to a group (see M5d above).

I do not use Design Layer References as they have a drawback: when breaking the file reference all classes that are used in both the current and the detail file duplicate, creating a big mess. In general DLRs slow down file loading.

I agree that Sheet Layer References would be helpful. To stay consistent in VW's methodology of separating dimensions and notes from the actual drawings SLRs would be necessary.

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Just to throw another option into the pot here and that is to use workgroup referencing to reference in any standard detail drawings from an archive into any active project file. This has the benefit that should the standard detail change all the files that use it are updated. You can also do the same with notes. Works especially well with the new pdf referencing and snapping in VW2009.

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  • 1 month later...

I would like to continue this thread. Are there any relevant changes in VW 2009?

I am currently using the system I described above. What has been causing difficulties is that referenced symbols by default use absolute file references. This has caused some issues with references pointing to outdated detail files. Is there a way to set the default file reference to relative?

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  • 4 weeks later...

What is your standard for naming the symbols? Say for foundation details floor details wall details rain screen and door details?

using the masterformat numbers wont work, because I can think multiple details that could go in multiple categories. Is there a assembly spec similar to the masterformat. I could always, make my own prefixes.

Any Ideas.

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So I need to put together some detail sheets with different scales on the same sheet.

Any suggestions on how to organize sheets, layers and viewports to make this as easy and flexible as possible?

Thank you for any suggestions you have.

In my opinion, there's no easy and flexible way to organize sheets, layers, and viewports for detailing in vectorworks.

In my opinion, it is one of the least flexible aspects of the software.

It's an area where everything is a workaround and a compromise because of the software's limitations.

So you'll just have to kludge your way through it.

So if it is not to your liking how should it be done? What would make this work better and create the Nirvana for Sheet layout with Details?

Just wondering and so may NNA?

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Our details are printed off on Arch D size sheets, and placed at the end of the set. Before we would duplicate a file with the details we need and delete the details we don't need. I like the idea of using symbols and reference importing them.

I draw the symbol on a design layer with the appropriate scale. The trouble I am coming across is how to label the symbols so as to find them quickly. We have projects for town homes and apartments, foundation/floor details differ. I was thinking apartment details for one vectoworks file town home details for another. I am labelling the details the same as the titled, however I think the names are too long and would like to make them shorter. Any ideas?

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