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I custom made a pergola. I made each beam and after rendering, it was amazing. The customer loved it. It was 10' high with the bottom beams being at 9'. Now they want to have the front at 9' and the back at 8'. How do I lower the back 12" to 8' while keeping the front even at 9'?

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee


I did this not long after starting with Vectorworks 2008, so it isn't new...but easier with the enhanced 2D/3D editing. In a Side view, choose the rotate tool in the basic tool set and pick the bottom corner of the rafter that will be higher (as your pivot point). Then the next click would be the current horizontal orientation. The third click becomes the new angle in positioning the rafter that will become lower. You may want to offset a surface to represent the desired lower height, so when you rotate the rafter, you can identify where it needs to be placed. If the higher end of the rafter needs to be moved, I would do that by a 3D move first then do the rotate. You can do this function with all of the rafters or move one and then duplicate array to provide the set of rafters.

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Whenever I make custom extruded (or other) 3d shapes that will be used more than once (eg: the repeating beams of a pergola) I use the Create Symbol command to turn the first one into a usable and repeatable symbol. Should it need to be modified later (which is often the case) all it takes is a quick edit symbol to change the 2d shape from which the thing was made in the first place... This may not help you now, but might come in handy in the future...

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Thanks, I will keep it in mind. Does making it a symbol, make it harder to change? I know the edit function and I have used it, I just like grabbing the blue squares and changing it that way. I ended up using the rotate tool and it worked okay, I was just thinking there might be an easier way.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

What Mr. Cipes brings up is a crucial point..especially if you have several rafters and they all have a ornamental cut in the end...say you decide to change one...well instead of starting over or editing them all individually the symbol method makes this much faster. You should consider this as well for the posts...if they have similar bases or attachment methods...the symbol is the way to go. One other thing....if you plan to quantify the lumber needed for this pergola, you can get linear feet calculations by creating the rafters, joists, beams and posts as an extrude along a path (i.e. 2x6 (1.5"x5.5") rectangle extruded along the line drawn at the length of the rafter. This gets linear feet calculations where a simple extrude or push/pull would not.

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