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Lighting pipe ladder


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The Lighting Pipe Ladder tool is just a means of creating geometry, as are the Lighting Pipe and Truss tools. When you convert an object to a Light Position Object, Spotlight will move the lights with the position, but it doesn't read the 3D geometry of the position.

To layout a hybrid, vertical position, you need to use the Create Plot and Model Views command or another Design Layer Viewport method. There are a few threads on the techboard about it.

Having Lighting Devices automatically stick to their position's 3D geometry has been a much discussed wish list item, but having them do so in a hybrid workflow is easier said than done, I think.


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Thanks for the response. It seems very strange to have a Light Pipe Ladder tool that you can't actually hang lights on, I mean really, what is the point!!

Anyway, I created my own ladder using four pipes created with the Convert to Light Position, but now something even weirder is happening. When I move the pipes as a group, it usually works fine, but when i try to move it into the position I need it in on my set, four of the 8 lights disappear. I Undo, they come back. Move another direction, fine. Move where I need them, four disappear.

I've been working on getting a simple 4 rung light ladder for over four hours now. I can't see why it is so difficult. Screen shots of the magically disappearing instruments attached. All I did was go to plan view, move the group, then back to front view, and they've gone. I am pulling my hair out.

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David -

I'll echo what Josh recommended:

1) Create your ladder assembly (including fixtures) on its own Design Layer, as if the assembly were lying flat on its back on a stage.

2) On your main working model's Design Layer, create a Design Layer ViewPort of your assembly, rotating it upright and placing it where you wish. Then, assign that DLVP to its own Class, which can be shown, grayed, or hidden at-will.

This has the benefit of effectively creating a legible 2D "plot" element (by showing the "lying flat" DL) AND an "actual placement" 3D model but only creating/editing the ladder in once place.

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  • 1 month later...

I have been playing with this also and may have come up with a goofy solution.

First you create a light boom, set your spacing, rotate the 3D portion into vertical. In Top/Plan view, convert it into a Lighting Position.

Import the lights you wish to use.

Then duplicate the lights you wish to use and edit each of the duplicates 2D components.


The top light is a 26° ETC - leave it as is.

The second light down is a 26° - move the 2D component down the distance of your ladder spacing - if your ladders are on 2' centres move it down Y -2'

The third light down is a 36° ETC - move the 2D component down -4'

The fourth light down is a 36° ETC - move the 2D component down -6'

Go to your top plan view and position the modified ETC Symbols in order with the insert position all at the same point as the top/first fixture. Notice that the 2D symbols are offset 2', 4' or 6' - nicely inline for viewing.

Now go to a ISO 3D view and drag each 3D light over to the appropriate rung - find the insert point at the centre of the clamp and use the snaps to centre it on the centre of each rung.

Go back to 2D view and notice that the 2D components are still in place - Beauty!

You can select the light object and change the Z and the lights move with it.

This I like - now i can move my scenery around in 3D view and not have it run over a bunch of lights lying flat on the floor!

I haven't played with duplicating/mirroring the ladders but that will be my next experiment.

If I always use the same ladder spacing, then I will save the duplicated/converted symbols as Favourites.



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  • 1 year later...
  • 8 months later...
  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
9 minutes ago, Hearthfire said:

I'm having trouble creating a vertical, instead of horizontal, lighting pipe ladder. Is there a trick to this?


I believe setting the "I Rotation" field near the bottom of the Lighting Pipe Ladder's Object Info Palette to 90 will do this.

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