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Drawing details

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I assume you are talking about 2d Details. Just create them at the appropriate scale in one or more Design Layers. Any data (objects) in Design Layers can be copied and pasted from file to file.

Even better, after you create the details, as per above, turn each one into a 2d Symbol. Then you can use these symbols like any other resource, accessed via the resource browser.

Once you build up a symbol library of details you can place the file(s) in the App/Library for easy access in any active file...

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i am talking about 2d. i just created the details, made them viewports added text and tried to save them as symbols, but i get a msg telling me i can't because "illegal objects are selected" i tried to cut and paste them to a new doc and it tells me i can't paste between different docs. this shouldn't be difficult. i thought this would be the sort of thing that ALL CAD users would do to save time. there must be a way.


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ok, i figured that out, but i'm having a hell of a time with the scale. what should i be setting the scale to in the design layer. most of my drawings are done in 1:48 but i would like the details different. like 1:16. when i add it to the sheet layer it's huge. also the drawing label doesn't associate. if i add it to the objects before making it a symbol it obviously doesn't work, and after i place the symbol it doesn't associate.

Edited by wildernessbob
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I draw the detail on a design layer set to the scale of the detail then use a viewport to place it on a sheet layer. If you're going to place the detail on a sheet with 1/4" stuff, create a design layer with the scale set to that of the design layer. Then you can use one VP for the 1/4" things and another VP for the details.

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There are a couple theories regarding scaling of details for detail libraries: 1) Draw the detail at the scale it will be view at, thereby gaining total WYSIWYG control of all your graphics, or 2) Draw all details at 1:1 and then scale them in the viewport at time of use. Try to think ahead regarding text size for either method. In other words, if you always want the text at 12 points regardless of the scale of the VP, then it's safe to say that you should draw the detail to scale using 12 point type. Alternately, if you draw the detail at 1:1 you will probably need to add text to each and every VP every time that detail is used. My suggestion is to play around with it a bit to see what best fits into your preferred workflow. One of VW's greatest strengths is its versatility for these sorts of things.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Bummer that NNA doesn't have any detail sheets in the BIM sample files. It would be great if Jeffrey could chime in here with his thoughts about ideal workflow for details in a BIM project.

This would be helpful. As a new user I am struggling with what the work flow is for 2D details. Should you put each detail on it's on layer, or should you put multiple details on a layer and make viewports out of each one. None of the getting started or help menu seem to touch on details at all.

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There are long and informative discussions re. the pros and cons of various 2D detail creation methods on this forum. Try searching "details" or something like that from as far back as three to four years.

I generally extract information, in the from of basic line work, from VP sections of the 3D building model. Based on this I create individual details on a sheet grid on a design layer in a separate file for each anticipated scale. Then I reference, via VP, these detail groups to a design layer in the construction document file. From there the detail group is viewported and laid up on the appropriate sheet layer. This method is very flexible as you can mix and match sheet layer viewports using crops. I have this down to a very efficient process.

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i find that details fall into a few categories. If you are using standard products, you should go to the manufactures web site and look for PDF details. PDF files can be imported into Vectorworks page by page, so you can import just the part you want. The details can be viewported to give you just the detail you want.

Also look on the manufactures web site for details you can import and use. Some have Vectorworks drawings. These can be opened in Vectorworks and edited. These details should be saved in a library, sorted so you can find them easily.

draw your own custom details in 2D and save them in a library.

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  • 8 years later...
  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

A trick I often use is to create an "empty" sheet layer viewport (with no layers visible), set the scale, then place my detail in its annotations. If needed, you can make a symbol of the detail (from within the annotations) and place it in other "empty" viewports. The symbols can be copied or referenced between files and placed in more "empty" viewports as needed. The nice thing about this approach is that you don't need to worry about creating any design layers for this.


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If you want to copy the details from one project to another there are two approaches:

  1. make the detail into a symbol and and save it to a library. That way you can use the Resource Manager to find the detail and use on a design layer, or as Matt suggests, in an empty viewport. 
  2. Place all the details you need for a material on a design layer and save this in a file. Then reference this design layer to your project. 

I usually have detail design layers at 1:10 or 1:5 depending on the size of the detail. Window installation details are usually 1:5, foundations (which trend to be bigger) at 1:10. 

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