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New Cable Suite - Preview


JuanP

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With Vectorworks Spotlight 2021, we are giving you a sneak peek into our new Cable Tools. This preview feature of re-engineered Cable tools will present an alternative workflow that will give you more flexibility to work in both 2D and 3D and take advantage of the most current Vectorworks functionality. These objects are compatible with Braceworks so that cable impacts on a system can be calculated seamlessly and without current workarounds. Additionally, the new Cable tools present a condensed interface making it easier to integrate in a 3D workflow. 

This Preview Feature will give you the opportunity to provide suggestions on the Vectorworks Community Board for improvements on a redesigned system for cabling.

 

For additional information, see the Vectorworks help.

Edited by klinzey
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  • 3 weeks later...

Checked and yes its there in the spotlight only workspace. The video does not mention that it needs to be in the spotlight workspace, it just says the pallet menu.  My apologies.  I work out of many many workspaces and as soon as I fired 2021 up it just wasnt there, so I just hastily did what I always do and edited the tools into it.  I find the default workspaces do not fit my workflow often.

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On 9/23/2020 at 11:03 PM, Mark Aceto said:

Hopefully this alternate workflow won’t be met with resistance

 

Perhaps.
The 3D snapping is greatly improved, and the different jumper cable path routing options are cool.  Integration with Braceworks is an obvious desirability.

However...

Have you tried to lay out a show with it?  Controlling part ends (cable breaks) is difficult.  Graphic indications of cable breaks are almost invisible.  One can only control cable breaks with the split tool.  This seems cool, but creates separate cable objects which prevents construction of cable build lists.  Even without the use of the split tool, cable parts are buried in a dialog which cripples interactive adjustments.  The cable path tool is cool engineering and kind of fun, but I don't see any advantages, and I do see some drawbacks when comparing its use to just duplicating cables and converting them to the needed type.  Still, the duplicate and convert workflow is available to the new tools, so the user can pick.  How one adjust cables to provide for different swag amounts among different cable runs I cannot determine.  In fact, I cannot figure out how the "Cable Swag (%)" value is applied by the user or how it is incorporated in the graphic display or in the computation of length.  Also, the addition of parts or extra length to provide for different parts of the rig to move doesn't seem possible.  If it is, the method is opaque to me.  3D is cool, but the path is rarely displayed in build documents, and when it is those documents are in top plan view.

As for extracting data from the cable drawing, I see no way to make a list of build list of each of the cable runs, i.e. a list of each cable run, each of which has a list of the parts in the order they are placed.  To make these essential build lists requires hand copying the information from the dialogs, or so it seems.  There seems to be no way to create loom build lists, looms that are made up of different parts of different cable runs.  There is no way of making box packing lists.

 

Understanding the distributor -> cable run -> distributor work flow will take some investment of time.  There needs to be a much better description/example of cable types, their creation and use, since these control all the aspects of the graphic display of cables and the creation of elements of the cable inventory.  There is no provision for different cable inventories.  Have you ever used more than one vendor on a show, or had to change vendors on a show.  There has been no improvement or expansion of assigning data between fixtures and cables. Only cable name and cable number are given to the instrument.  No jumper information is given to the instrument.  No jumper information is given to the breakout.  I could not find anyway to assign unit number or channel to the breakout circuits.  There must be a way (I really hope so), but I could not find it.  There is no way to assign jumper information to the breakout.

 

If you have solved these issues, please, let's have a Zoom meeting and give me a lesson.

 

As far as I'm concerned, there is no way to use the new cable tools on a real show, compared to other options.  This does not mean that these problems cannot be fixed.  I have not seen the task document for this feature, but a much more comprehensive task document than the one I am imagining exists will be required.  The users I have talked to in the last 2 weeks will definitely resist adopting this new workflow.  I imagine there will  be others that don't know of any other option than this new way and will struggle to make it work.

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@Sam Jones I was honestly just trying keep the power puns going in response to "current workspace" because I'm that big of a dork but those are all good points.

 

For me, I leave the LX prepro to my excellent production electricians, so I'm really only messing with audio, video, and utility. I also work with an excellent power vendor that prepros everything (in AutoCAD) from the gennies to the transfomers, plus utility. I would love to convert them to VW... 

 

Anyway, I took a crack at the new preview tools, and also had a lot of questions. I think the big thing for me, and probably my #2 question for the Q&A in a few weeks is that we now have 3 very different modalities for working with cabling, one of which I pay extra for as a VSS add-on:

  1. The OG tools ported from AutoPlot
  2. The new tools (developed in house?) 
  3. ConnectCAD

So, as a VW user, I would just like to know which tools I should get attached to, invest in, subscribe to... and, more importantly, when I can just use one toolset to get the job done? Apologies if that sounds snarky (not my intention).

 

A couple things I did notice:

As usual, the drum I'm banging on is improved communication / managing expectations / a clear roadmap, so I'll bite my tongue until Oct 6 to see what's planned for the future... 

 

Edited by Mark Aceto
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@samjones your points, as always are valid. I always leave the cabling to master electricians so I don’t really utilize the cable tool functionality. 
 

What I do find myself doing on a regular basis as a production designer and production manager is drawing out 3D representations of complicated cable paths. I have found that having a single technician that runs a cable incorrectly during a load-in can bring a complicated production to a halt for a long time while this is rectified.  The time spent extruding along path, calculating specific overall lengths and detailing where and how a cable gets from dimmer world on a catwalk, to a pick, down to the floor for load-in, back up to a grid, back down to a truss structure by way of a chain slider, etc. is invaluable.  

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3D is also a boon to figuring out site lines.  Cables are notorious for hiding their impact on site lines in a 2D drawing.  3D is intriguing if the editing problems can be solved.  I think they can be solved, but the problems are not trivial when one is depending on the tool to control and render cable breaks and editing and keeping track of extra cable needed for rig moves and swag.  That being said, much of what the MEs use AP cable tools for is most easily (for now) accomplished with 2D paths and vertical parameters.  They need shop orders, build lists (both for single runs and looms), the ability to specify extra cable for rig moves, to share data with fixtures about both circuit values and jumpers.  If the actual route is complex, a simple 3D poly as an example of route can be drawn.  I find it interesting that you feel the need to extrude along the path, but that's cool.  I doubt that you would want to create 3D objects for 30 cables that go out to the cable bridges and catwalks to the FOH and it 3 or 4 trusses, but I can certainly see the desirability of describing the 3D path(s).  The new tools are a large and interesting step toward a 3D solution, but they currently don't get enough of the job done.

 

Like Mark, one can become fond of styles as they combine attributes and parameter values into a single conceptualization of the object(s) needed, but many MEs are going to become frustrated investing the time to realign their workflow when classes and attributes can handle the functionality and making changes along the way is easier.  If one puts in the effort (as I think one should), to develop the comprehensive style library needed, then making ad hoc changes will be made much easier by styles.  While styles are an intriguing solution to showing the collective result of graphic needs for an object (good), they have a tendency to hide their modifying source (bad).  Like Mark, I will pay more attention to styles for all the objects that implement them, but I'm not sure I would want to receive the tech support calls that are going to be coming in from MEs.

Looking forward to the next generation of the new cable tools.

Edited by Sam Jones
spelling
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On 10/4/2020 at 1:00 PM, scottmoore said:

@samjones your points, as always are valid. I always leave the cabling to master electricians so I don’t really utilize the cable tool functionality. 
 

What I do find myself doing on a regular basis as a production designer and production manager is drawing out 3D representations of complicated cable paths. I have found that having a single technician that runs a cable incorrectly during a load-in can bring a complicated production to a halt for a long time while this is rectified.  The time spent extruding along path, calculating specific overall lengths and detailing where and how a cable gets from dimmer world on a catwalk, to a pick, down to the floor for load-in, back up to a grid, back down to a truss structure by way of a chain slider, etc. is invaluable.  

HAHAH, thats assuming that your local crew actually reads the documents you send to them... I cant count how many shows I have added cable Breaks in truss lines and made the warning in big bold flashing neon lighting on the plan and still they do not pay attention... The tools and pre planning are only as god as the crew building it.. I try my best, and just facepalm damn near every time I have a local crew... 

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27 minutes ago, CETLV said:

HAHAH, thats assuming that your local crew actually reads the documents you send to them... I cant count how many shows I have added cable Breaks in truss lines and made the warning in big bold flashing neon lighting on the plan and still they do not pay attention... The tools and pre planning are only as god as the crew building it.. I try my best, and just facepalm damn near every time I have a local crew... 

That is so true. It helps when you are the one signing everyone’s check. 🙂

 

To the point of this thread, it will be interesting to see if adding the 3D functionality to the cable toolset is really all that crucial or is it just easier to direct model things out in 3D when needed. 

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  • 2 months later...

I am struggling to understand the Spotlight > Preview Features > Manage Cable Parts function, and more specifically the “sets” available.

For some reason the cable parts this accesses depends upon the file I have open.

So creating a new blank file; a new file with metric.sta template; or a new file with Spotlight (UK metric).sta all show the old cable sets of “Indoor cable” & “Outdoor cable”.

 

The only way I get access to the more up to date and useful metric and imperial sets is to open one of the .vwx files in

C:\Program Files\Vectorworks 2021\Libraries\Defaults\Cable Tools.

 

It is as if vectorworks cannot see the Default folder.

 

Is this the way I should expect to access the metric cable set ?

 

Is there a difference in how this works on windows and macs ?

 

To work around this going forward I can accept I could make a .sta template file built up from one of the Defaults\Cable Tool .vwx, but can see unwanted workarounds if I want to try the new cable tools on existing drawings.

 

Whilst I’m here that’s another vote for user created sets to speed up workflows with different lighting companies.

 

Cheers

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi Carlos


Have you used the update button in the lower right corner of the manage cable parts dialogue ?
It will completely refresh the manager and all other elements of the cables tools suit and give you direct access to the updated libraries. This needs to be done whenever you edit or update the default library vwx files. This has to be done manually so that any service pack library updates from our end do not cause problems with an active document if there are changes to the libraries.

 

 

You can create your own cable sets. There are 2 methods depending on whether you want to use the set for more than one document.

  • if you only need the set for a single document
    open the manage cable parts dialogue and select the desired part
    you can either double click to open the parts' complete data record or use the direct list editing function to access the set name field directly
    then type in a new set name and hit enter.
    as soon as you exit the dialogue the preview cable preferences will have the new set name available in the use cable set drop-down.
     
  • If you want the set to be available in more than one document then you need to directly edit the cable parts library
    open the the library you want to edit
    right click on the part in the resource browser and select the attach record command
    highlight the cable part record, making sure not to accidentally uncheck the use tick mark or you will lose the contents of the data record
    hit the edit values button
    type in the new set name in the set name field
    exit the dialogue and save the library file
    the last step is to update the cable tools using the update button in the cable parts manager

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

I'm trying to do some cabling with the "Daisy Chain Mode" for a multi breakout to some fixtures. The fixtures should be plugged in to the same circuit number.

When clicking on the second fixture there will be made a connection but it doesn't turn up in the OIP when selecting that fixture.

The first fixture has the circuit name and circuit number, but all the next fixtures have it empty. 😞

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  • 3 months later...

I have a question for viewing and or exporting the data behind the New Cable Suite.


With the old tool set you could create a worksheet that displayed the cable by parts:

image.thumb.png.0305ebbd4b623b8969bd710acc1e28c6.png

 

With the new tool, when I create a worksheet I only see a "Used Parts Sum" column, is it possible to display this data in different cells?

image.thumb.png.d8e27e6d0d6e68ddbecd275cd18d69c7.png
  

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As best I understand it, you can't display the parts this way as part of a set of cable database rows.  It might be possible to write a script to write the separate parts into separate regular worksheet cells.

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Thanks @Sam Jones! I missed your post above about extracting the data from the drawing, great notes.

 

From an ME perspective, for this tool, the way the data is currently linked in one cell it makes it impossible to generate paperwork in excel (Loom Lists, Cable Stickers, Gear Lists by Position, Etc.), without writing additional Visual Basic Code to separate the data, which is less than ideal.

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12 minutes ago, Russ said:

makes it impossible to generate paperwork in excel

 

Also, if you want to end a cable part at a geographic location that is a shorter distance than the part length, you will have to use the Split tool to cut the cable run into 2 parts that share a cable ID.  Now the cable report has more than 1 row, and each row may have more than one part.  That means  that a report of parts cannot really coherently be done.  So far, in my limited experience, the only way to get any kind of part location control and part reporting is to make sure that you split any cable run into individual cable parts using the split tool, making sure that no part has no more than 1 part inside it.  You would then get a database report with each part of each cable run on a separate row related to each other by Cable ID.  You would have to sort by Cable ID to make any sense of this, but you probably would anyway.  So far, making build lists and cable stickers is a mess, unless Jesse can enlighten us further.

Edited by Sam Jones
correct spelling
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PS:  Imagine the issues when different parts of a cable run are members of different looms.  Try and generate the paperwork for that.  Again, use the split tool to split every cable run into single cable run parts.  I'm still looking for the "Loom" parameter field.  Fun, fun.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@Russ

sorry for the slow reply, I was out of the office last week.

 

The new cable tools suite uses a different workflow form the old tools and as far as I know there is no direct way to separate the parts into individual worksheet columns like the old tools did. The intention is that worksheets are used to create the build lists for cable runs/looms and the new Create cable report command is used to create cable pack lists and inventory lists.

 

The Create Cable Report is in the Spotlight preview features menu. It will create a spreadsheet style list of the cables based on the filter and group settings when you run the command.

Filters include

  • All objects, which will give you every cable (part) used in your file
  • Selected objects, gives you a list based on what you have currently selected. For example all the cables on the front truss
  • Visible objects, which will filter based on your class and layer visibility

Group by options (Class and Layer), will break the list down into sections based on how you have assigned the cable objects to classes and layers.

One important thing to be aware of regarding the Create Cable Report command is that the lists it creates are static and will not automatically update if you have to revise your design.

 

 

When creating a cable worksheet the 'Used Parts Ordered' criteria displays the cables in the build order that you have defined in the cable object using the cable configuration dialogue (accessed in the cable properties). To change the order in the cable configuration dialogue, make sure the selected parts pane is set to list all parts mode, then you can change the parts order by dragging the parts up or down in the list.

The 'Used Parts Sum' displays the total number of each cable needed to build the cable object

 

Here's an example of how I would create a cable run build list and the parts list using both

 

cable run build list.PNGcable part list.PNG

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for following up @JCodgell, greatly appreciated! 

 

The issue with the cable reports that you have generated above is it makes it impossible to create Loom Lists and Cable Stickers, on lager shows these processes need to be completely automated for efficiency and to ensure accuracy. Without addition code being written by the user I don’t see how this cable tool can be used in a real-world show environment such as a large-scale tour, festival, or one-off.

 

With your example above, you demonstrated how to create a gear list but how would you generate the data in a form that one could create a Loom List and Stickers?

 

The paperwork below can all be instantly generated using data from the old cable tool with a simple worksheet extraction.

 

Loom List:

image.thumb.png.339145adb7e7bed6afdbc254796fba0a.png

Cable Stickers:

image.thumb.png.3832e24165970d6ae3717201f973f81d.png

 

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@Russ no problem, It helped me better understand the problem that needs to be addressed.

A loom list is relatively easy to create,

Loom List

Loom List.PNG

 

but as you pointed out in our discussion it is not possible to extract the info you need from it to create the cable stickers which include the length data (or other part specific data) on them. I will put an enhancement request in to have this addressed.

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  • klinzey changed the title to New Cable Suite - Previewhttps://forum.vectorworks.net/index.php?/topic/74035-new-cable-suite-preview-features/ Features
  • klinzey changed the title to New Cable Suite - Preview
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