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Rail Fence tool

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Has anyone had a chance to play around with the rail / fence tool?

1) How do you get the wall rail to rotate to the pitch of the stair. In Jim's video, the rail was already drawn so you can't tell how it's done. I've tried using the rotate, rotate 3D command and the rotate tool with no luck. I keep getting a message (see attached)

2) Wall rail does not return back to the wall (IRC Code in the U.S. states the wall rail must return to the wall). If 'I'm going to use this tool, It would be nice to draw it to code and not just close enough.

3) Is there way to have the post taller than the rail height or is the rail always over-the-post? What about a post-to-post rail?

4) How do you add custom rail profiles, balusters or posts? The defaults are horrible.

This tool should just be called a fence tool. Rail tool? Maybe for decks, but certainly not for interior use.

If you can select posts, baluster and rail profiles in this tool, why can't this be done in the stair tool? 

I approached Nemetschek last year about incorporating my complete stair symbols library into the program and they just blew me off. They could have used it just like the rail/fence tool or Interiorcad where you can select door styles and hardware styles with a library of choices. Instead, just keep creating work-arounds.

Sorry for the rant, but as a stair builder, and using Vectorworks since it was MiniCad, I'm tired of waiting for the next version thinking the stair tool will be usable. There are so many things wrong with the stairs tools it's insulting.

I think the rail/fence tool was introduced to distract us from the useless stair tools. Seriously Nemetschek, get somebody in there that builds stairs to coach your programmers.

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 1.16.37 PM.png

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I don't know how this reputation thing works either but I'd like to know how I got a negative reputation for wanting something that's been an issue for years. I'm not the only one. I guess you're not allowed to say anything unless it's patting VW on the back. 


Altivec, If you're referring to me, I may have done that by accident while scrolling.

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  • 1 month later...

Okay--I'm really struggling with the rail tool.  I was able to manipulate the stair tool to do what I needed (note--I am really new to VW), but the railing tool. . . it's a beast!  I am trying to make it work and I'm really struggling.  Fence, sure.  No trouble, but STAIRS?  What gives?  The video is basically useless as it only shows how to make it work on a much more spread out pathway.  I could really use a video on how to use this tool on stairs.





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1 hour ago, FORM-DesignStudio said:

Is that how you do it?  


VW should work on it, I think.  No reason it isn't more robust.


Actually, no. I model them from scratch. I also use 2D and 3D stair parts symbol sets to create realistic looking stairs. I also sell them on my website. I couldn't imagine presenting a stair design to a client with no turned posts or balusters.To me it's the heart of the design in the client's eyes. Not only that, but you can't design a staircase accurately without knowing what your parts are going to be. Parts placement is critical when it comes to the baluster spacing, rail centerline and where the posts are installed.The layout of the framing could be very different if 7-1/4" box newels are used as apposed to a 3" turned newel.


The stair tool has been an issue for me for fifteen years. I'm still waiting for the ability to insert custom symbols like posts, turned balusters and rail profiles. Also, some of the dialog box terminology is not accurate, nor is the travel line tread depth when creating winders. You can't create winders that would allow them to meet code regulations. I agree they should work on it. Especially on the Architect version. I would think most architects would rather have a robust stair tool that create really great looking presentations rather than a subdivision tool and some others get a lot more attention to improvements that seems to me, less useful on a daily basis. 

Screen Shot 2016-11-19 at 8.19.09 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-11-19 at 8.19.48 PM.png

Edited by mac@stairworks
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