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Exploded Construction Drawings

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I primarily draw production drawings, light plots, etc. I will often draw scenic pieces, but never really draw the construction side of the scenic pieces. I am actually working on building a bookshelf for myself at my home which is bringing me to my question.

I read a lot of the wood working magazines and handyman type of magazines. When they put projects in the magazine they often have exploded views of the projects. I am curious if there is a good way to quickly/easily do this in vectorworks. I have been looking into solidworks for other projects and it appears that you can easily make prints of exploded diagrams in solid works. Are there any tips or tricks to simply do this in vectorworks?

My main concern is that I can do this and have it be something that will "update" when I make adjustments to the 3D geometry. I can make my own little exploded diagram, but than if I make an adjustment I have to re adjust all the pieces that were edited on the main model and the exploded diagram.

Any thoughts?



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No. There isn't a baked in way to do this.

In the past I've faked it by classing each piece of an object and using multiple stacked viewports in isometric view. Each piece ends up in a it's own viewport.

I'll attach an example. But you should check out Bruce's exploded views. http://draw.biz He may have drawn one of the examples you were looking at in a magazine.


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FWIW: An automatic "Explode" capability is available with the Vectorworks interiorcad plug-ins. You can set all sorts of parameters for the explosion. It is not, however, live, and one has to re-explode after an edit. It is also only available for certain types of objects.

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That is what I figured. Oh well, that is a bummer.

My main concern is about how to handle revisions. I have made exploded drawings from a 3D model before, but I haven't had a ton of revisions. My fear is if I start making a ton of adjustments it might get a bit more tricky.

Oh well maybe at some point there will be some integration for that.


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  • 2 weeks later...

For a similar, but not identical, workflow I use symbols. (I'm also in entertainment design." I'll build my model of a set piece. Then I make each chunk of it that I want to detail on shop drawings into a symbol. I create a new design layer and put the symbols on it (staggered, so I can look at each from the top, front and side without seeing others behind it). I then make cropped viewports of each of the symbols to put on sheet layers.

This way, I can edit the original model and the changes will propagate. (Note that it seems that editing a symbol will not make the viewport get the red out-of-date border, but updating it will work.)

You could arrange your symbols on the second design layer into an exploded format, then edit them in either place.

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Here's an easier way which maintains integrity of your model but allows you to explode a duplicate of it.

It's not live - but it is relatively quick, easy and repeatable.

Export to 3ds

Import to Simlab software


Reimport back into VW as 3ds

pepper to taste:



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