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Jeffrey W Ouellette

Vectorworks User Poll - Stair Tool, Part 2

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Why can't one say that nothing in the object meets one's requirements? 2D, 3D & notation are all useless here.

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It seems like the whole point of the poll is to determine that the stair tool is lacking in functionality. Much improvement is needed in the tool for it to work well enough to use consistently.

Hopefully all of the feedback will be put to good use to implement a 'new & improved' stair tool.

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AVD, if that is the case, I'm not sure that the poll results are going to be as representative as they might be if the questions were written differently.

I use the stair tool as a hybrid object and I use it "as is" but that doesn't mean that I'm particularly happy with it. I do a fair amount of drawing over the 2d component and I don't use the railings because they don't behave properly and they don't have the options that I need. The notations DON"T meet my needs (I turn them off and draw my own) but I didn't respond to the third question because it only applies to those who are not using the current version of the stair tool. If the question applied to me, I'd actually check all four boxes.

Respondents aren't asked WHICH version of VW they use, so I'm not sure what they mean by "current version" of the stair tool. I'm using VW2008 and the stair tool that comes with it.

I didn't even know that there were third-party plug-ins for stairs. Who has them and where do I buy one?

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I have been using VW for a number of years and I am surprised that the stair tool is so far behind the competitors. I can say this because I use Revit and Archicad and find VW lacking. I love the program but it needs to step into the 21 century. PLEASE!!!!!

Currently I create my own Hybrid symbols for 2d and 3d. I then create a VertCirc Layer to host it and turn on and off classes to produce the required views.

A few of the issues....

1) What ever happened to concrete stairs? I know that these still exist in the real world. What was the logical reason for taking the option out?

2) The Handrail/Guardrail options suck! As far as I see it it is made only for the US market. Metal rails actually have bottom and top rails that are not installed in the manner portrayed in the tool.

3) CODE issues. We know they exist why aren't they included as a part of the tool's setting dialog box? I assume that we are all not just designing to get our creations kicked back because of noncompliance.

I think it is possible to make a fully functional tool that just requires the user to input a set of known variables and then make slight adjustments to get what is "required" to meet code.

Just my 2 cents.

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We are well aware of the limitations and bugs with the existing implementation of the Stair tool. The purpose of the Poll is to get a GENERAL idea about the tool's use by our user base.

The required work needs to be prioritized. Right now we see 2D controls, Notation controls, 3D controls, and Stability as the 4 major areas that need to be targeted. We want to get a generalized user perspective on the priority order of these areas.

The purpose of limiting the choices and discussion was to avoid a thread that turned into a huge, ongoing rant about everyone's problems with the tool. Instead, an aggregation of numbers gives us a STARTING point to weigh the direction and effort into all the areas mentioned above. For example, as much as I push 3D and BIM, I need to know, from actual users, how much emphasis/effort they even put on using 3D. If 2D "wins" in the overall poll, then we know how to emphasize the next stage of development. That isn't to say we would ignore 3D, but it would give us a general indication about what "thread" needs to be the primary focus and which one an ancillary focus.

This poll is only be the beginning. From here, we may develop a plan and go to the beta testers and distributors and further vet our decisions. This poll is an effort to get initial input from a larger pool of users before we get more specific. We thought you might appreciate that.

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I'm with panta rhei here - in Q3, I want to tick the first 3 boxes. The survey looks like the sort of survey you have when you've already made up your mind what you're going to do, and it's so general, you can draw any conclusion you like from the result. If I could use the tool to draw stairs and balustrades the way I wanted it to look in 2D and 3D, I would use it, but I can't at the moment, so I draw my own in 2D. If I say that in the survey though, it could be concluded that there is no demand for 3D capability!

It concerns me that the stair tool is apparently only going to be tinkered with - it sounds like doing up a Cuban taxi when really you need a latest generation hybrid - maybe the structure of the existing tool is fundamentally flawed and needs to be re-thought from first principles.

Incidentally, Julian Carr at Ozcad has a balustrade tool system that is a considerable advance on the standard VW tool, not as intuitive as it could be, but it will produce balustrades for decks, stairs and ramps, including curves, and glazing. Maybe NNA should talk to him, and the guys at ComputerWorks in Germany, before doing anything else.

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OK, let's see.

My conservative estimate is that 90% of stairs constructed are architecturally mundane & designwise trivial. Nevertheless, these stairs need to be configured and dimensioned.

With these, there is litte need for fancy 3D, but it is still important ? even mandatory in some situations ? to show (more or less schematic) sections of them.

At the other end of the spectrum are architectural stairs, which simply cannot be designed and visualised with a parametric object.

My vote would go to a tool that would do fairly simple 2D using globally adaptable notation & equally simple 3D for sections, without endless options and dialogs.

Code compliance? Well, the most difficult issue, I think, is determining the widths & locations of emergency exit stairs as one has to consider the number of people, fire compartments & distances to exits ? maybe occasionally the overall functionality of the building, too... A stair tool is not likely to help much in this. However, even the simplest head cleareance calculation/visualisation/warning system would be very helpful.

One particular thing: one should be able to define any number of flights. I seem to get three flights per floor quite often, sometimes even four.

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...The required work needs to be prioritized. Right now we see 2D controls, Notation controls, 3D controls, and Stability as the 4 major areas that need to be targeted. We want to get a generalized user perspective on the priority order of these areas.

If that's the case, I'd recommend changing Q3 to read something like, Area that I believe requires the most improvement.

I'd also change d in Q2 to read "explode and/or modify"

Otherwise, you're not going to capture the opinions of those who use the current version of the tool but are not satisfied with it.

In truth, I think that you could do away with the first two questions and simply ask your users where they'd like you to focus your efforts on the tool but that's just one user's opinion.

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jeff, i use the stair tool as a good massing tool. the 2d should be flawless and the 3d second. as for the picture posted by Pantai Rhei i would custom model that as the project developed. using the 3d part of the current stair tool at the start of the project as a type of place holder.

i have included a pic of a custom steel stair. there is no way you can get the stair tool to do all things. the stair tool was used at the start of this project then discarded when i set up another file to make the stair in the pic

Edited by digitalmechanics

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