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Stair headaches...


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First off, i'm new to vectorworks (1 week smile.gif" border="0 )

As i'm plodding through this new tool (longtime acad veteran) i have run into a roadblock with respect to using the stair tool. No matter what I do with the settings, it absolutely refuses to place a stair.

Since the manuals and online help have been of no use, I'm hoping somebody can explain the process of placing a 3d stair in a floorplan.

Thanks in advance...

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To place a 3D staircase in VectorWorks Architect 9.0.1, first find the stair tool in the objects pallet. Select this tool, then click on the stair preference button in the mode bar. This will open a dialog asking what parameters you wish to set the stair. Click ok and then click twice on the drawing. The first click will set the position and the second click will set the orientation.

If you would like to adjust the parameters later, you may select the object, and use the shape tab of the object info pallet.

Matthew GiampapaTechnical Support


Originally posted by Suukmel:
First off, i'm new to vectorworks (1 week
smile.gif" border="0

As i'm plodding through this new tool (longtime acad veteran) i have run into a roadblock with respect to using the stair tool. No matter what I do with the settings, it absolutely refuses to place a stair.

Since the manuals and online help have been of no use, I'm hoping somebody can explain the process of placing a 3d stair in a floorplan.

Thanks in advance...

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Thanks for the reply.1. Using 8.5.2 (don't know if that makes a difference)

2. Your solution is of course the obvious and logical progression of things. Unfortunately, I do all that and get nada. It shows the ghost of the stair as I place the insertion point and then as I drag the orientation. Then, when i click the second time the stair is gone.

It's hairpulling at it's best!

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

In VW 852, stair objects were auto-classing in the class 'Vert Trans-Main' (for VERTical TRANSportation). You should have this class visible and your class options should be 'show other classes' or less restrictive.

My guess is that in fact you HAVE been placing the stairs; you just need to turn on their class...

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

1. Classing;1.1. If you're placing the stair using the Stair Tool you can set its default class by opening the Create Plug-in command on the Organize menu, then scrolling down to the stair, selecting it, then clicking the Properties button. Then you will see a dialog that allows you to set the default class of an object placed with a tool.1.2. If you're placing the stair from a red symbol, you should open the library that the red symbol is in, and using the resource palette, change the symbol insertion properties to be the class you want (see VW9 manual p 11-19).

2. The 2D break is not moveable. The bug with the handrails disappearing was fixed in VW 9.01.

HTH, Robert

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What determines where the 2d break goes?

As it is, it basically will require drawing a 2d representation of the stair for CD purposes and use the 3d stair for modeling only. Obviously this is twice the work (or more) and not very efficient.

What would be nice is if we could define the cutting plane for a level or could define break lines for objects manually.

It's no wonder that everybody in the office has fallen back to using the program for 2d only. Seems like a waste to me, but the reality is our CD's will always be seen in 2d. If drawing in 3d is too labor intensive it will never be done on a regular basis.

This was exactly my experience with ACAD/architectural desktop. It basically turned into a really expensive library of symbols and a nice schedule generator. We didn't even use he walls command in that program. It was just easier to draw lines.

Ok, i'm stepping down from my soapbox now. I just so want to be able to justify drawing in 3d and it just doesn't seem likely any time soon.

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Suukmel (and others), I have been grappling with this issue (it seems like) forever. I have now gotten to the point where I will only use 3D if 1) a project is too complex to visualize in 2D ; 2) a client asks for it, or 3) just to play around. The fact is that 3D modeling in VW/RW 9.0.1 works great and much faster than in previous versions. You can actually model nearly photo-realistically. It does take a lot of time to learn and to do. The biggest downside is that it seems impossible to acheive the desired graphic attributes (line weights, shades, hatches, etc) when creating 2D WD's from 3D models. Hopefully this is something the software developers are aware of and working on. Best PLC

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Suukmel, I'm a little confused by your statements. You say that because you don't find enough flexibility in where the _2D_ break goes, you won't draw in _3D_? Seems contradictory. Please explain further, and also if possible explain your office standards for drawing stair breaks (so we can improve the stair object accordingly).

In any case, there's an easy workaround for your problem. Simply draw the stair with _no_ 2D breaks and draw a "blocking" polygon with opaque fill to hide the portion of the stair you want hidden. Then draw a line or use a "break line" object to close the break. If this is unclear, I can send you a simple MCD file demonstrating this technique. If you want this, email me directly at mailto: randerson@nemetschek.net

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Well for starters, the stair break issue is merely a symptom of a much larger problem. The larger problem revolves around the inflexiblity of static tools. As for the stair, the default break would be fine sometimes but other at times we want to show something under the stair which requires us to break the stair lower or at the opposite angle. All i really want to be able to do is toggle the angle of the break back and forth and locate where the break along the run of stairs.

While on the stair topic, and keep in mind i've only used this program for 7 days, the stair tool itself seems rather simplistic. It would seem well conceived for a fire escape, but when you want to create a complex stair there doesn't seem to be any tools customize the shape of the stair or where the landings should occur. Basically i have had to resort to building floors for the landings and creating short straight stair runs for the stairs. Of course then you end up having to fill in railings at the landings. Is there a way to generate a stair along a path?

I recognize designing this level of flexibility into a piece of software is somewhere between a herculean and impossible task.

As far as drawing in 2d vs 3d goes, this is my point. I can draw 2d lines to represent exactly what i want to see in a contract document and IF there is a client need/desire for 3d or if i'm creating perspective views of a space i will build what i need in 3d for the view i want.

Most of the framework is already there. Walls, doors, windows, cabinets generally work fine (although they are a pain to get working right).

examples of the tedium:1. any time you have 3 or more wall elements coming together at the same point it takes a phenomenal amount of effort to get them to display properly. To the point where most peoplein the office have given up and accepted a certain amount of wall overlap.

2. Again, 7 days, but i can't for the life of me get doors and windows to insert logically (horizontally) in the walls. If i want them centered it works fine, but i would like to be able to specify a distance offset from a wall intersection (corner).

3. Getting cabinets to insert the way you want is trial and error. I have yet to figure out an intuitive way of determinining where the bloody things are going to snap/rotate to.

I'm more determined than most, so if there is a way i'll find it. I won't give up that easily.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Suukmel, thanks for your reply. I understand your issues much better and will give some thought as to how we can "free up" the stair object. To address your issues:

1. Techniques for "Y-joining" of walls are addressed in the VectorWorks Architect documentation. I don't know if your office is using VectorWorks or VW Architect.

2. To obtain a specific offset of a wall-inserted object (e.g. door or window), you can use the 'Offset Insertion' mode of the symbol tool. (see p. 10-13 of the VW852 manual or p. 11-11 of the VW901 manual.)

Once you've placed a door or window in the wall, and want to change its offset, it's easy to do using the "Position" button in the Object Info palette. Just select the object, click the Position button, and you'll see a picture of the object and its wall. You can set the exact offset in this little picture dialog.

3. Cabinets (at least in VW900 and later) are set to insert along the surface of a wall without breaking it. You can change this behavior by using the Create Plug-in Object command. This command is documented in the VectorScript Language Guide (I strongly recommend the on-line version availble in VW900 and later). Look at "Setting options for the Object", page 12-3.

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Again, thanks for the reply. I will definitely look into the window/door position functionality.

I have seen the section in VW/Architect for wall problems. It just seems like those 5 conditions should be covered under a command like "wall heal". All the stretching and trimming and capping stuff is just a convoluted way of paching a problem that hopefully will be fixed with the wall clean-up tools in a future software update.

As for the cabinets, is there a way to show uppers as dashed lines in the plan view? The idea being that the cutting plane is between the base and the upper. Currently i'm solving the problem by sending them under the base cab's and drawing a dashed polyline to represent the uppers above in plan.

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This has been an interesting discussion to follow. New users are often the best indicater of an apps limitations and/or confusing procedures. Us old users don't even bother dreaming anymore of effortless and flexible software, we just live with the limitations

My "work-around" on dealing with the location of the stair break is to duplicate the 3-d stair, and place that copy on top of the original stair. I then deselect "show 3-d", then select "show 2-d stair break", and then ungroup this second symbol. I am now able to use the polygon re-shape tool to adjust the location of the break line. By giving it a new class, you will be able to control its visibility with the various sheet views.

I find this much more simple than using a "blocking" polygon, which sometimes block other info as well.

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Thanks for the tip Neil, I'll try it out.

You are no doubt correct that new users can definitely expose confusing and/or inflexible functions in an application that the experienced user has developed workarounds that have become so natural they no longer think of them as workarounds.

The frustrating part of this for me is that I was the experienced user last month and now I'm the "new" user. I could make AutoCad do anything I wanted and while it may seem absurdly complicated to the "new" user, it was endlessly flexible (at least it seemed so to this experienced user).

Anyway, I will always be a frustrated user because I'm pretty sure the perfect tool will never find my computer. The reality is that if you really want a presentation quality model of your building your going to have to hire an experienced 3d modeler to build it. And they won't use VW or autocad to do it. Nor will they use objects. These objects are great for us architects, but modelers will always wants the flexibility of surfaces and solids. The architect will never have the time or money to spend on a great model.

I completed a theatre last year where we (the client rather, as they wanted the model to help market the opening season) paid thousands to model the auditorium. It took weeks to build and model from our 2d plans and details. It did however come out beautifully as I worked closely with the modeler to map all the materials and place all of the lighting just as it would be on opening day. I could place 2 photos in front of you and you'd be hard pressed to identify the real deal.

Someday i'd like to be able to build that model myself as part of the design/documentation process.

We all have our dreams....

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