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Custom truss library

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I have been using Vectoworks Spotlight for not long for the lighting fixture libraries.


Now I have to work to create the truss library as well.


On the internet I did not find a precise guide, but scattered information that I tried to reconstruct.
To create a truss (straight, circular, angular) the procedure should be the following:
 - Build the geometry, also inserting two locus points in the center of the lateral cross sections.
 - Convert it to a symbol. Insert the truss record and fill in the data.
 - Use Braceworks to convert this symbol to truss.
 - Enter the technical data (dimensions, weight, moments of inertia, type of material, etc ...) and specify the connection points.


I state that I do not have Braceworks, so before proceeding with the purchase I would like to make sure that it is necessary.

My fine is to create this library and proceed to insert it into Vectorworks.


My questions are as follows:
 - Is the procedure for processing a library as described?
 - I sent my library of light products a few months ago to my local distributor. He informed me that the request has been forwarded to Vectoworks but they have not been informed when it will be posted.
Is there the possibility of having a contact to insert this library?


I apologize in advance if I wrong topic.



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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi Vitalio


The content team should be reaching out to you about the truss library and time frames.


You don't need Braceworks to create truss symbols, but it does make the workflow a bit easier as you then have access to the convert to truss command in the Braceworks menu and you can check the Braceworks behavior of the truss after creation.


The workflow/best practice for creating truss symbols without Braceworks is

  • create the 3D geometry for the truss
    • geometry should be as simple as possible, as the more complex the geometry the bigger the performanence impact. The main point is to consider the level of detail that is needed, so things like rivet heads and dial and writing engraved into the truss should be removed, and truss chords and diagonals should not be hollow for example
    • All geometry should be converted into a single generic solid, Meshes and NURBS can have a huge performance impact.
    • put 3D loci at the each end of the truss as insertion guides, need to be positioned at the bottom center of each end (the left hand one will line up with the symbols internal origin once converted) and assign them to the Rigging-Truss-Insert Points class
    • The main 3D geometry should be assigned to the Rigging-Truss-Truss class
    • A second 3D bounding box geometry section should also be created for the simplified view, this should be assigned to the class Rigging-Truss-Simplified
  • Create the 2D part of the truss symbol, correctly lined up with the 3D geometry, with he same classing (Rigging-Truss-Truss)
    • this should include a text label with the short name of the truss and its length and assigned to the class Rigging-Truss-Label
    • a 2D loci should be added at the middle point of each end of the 2D geometry and assigned to the Rigging-Truss-Insert Points class
  • select the 2D and 3D geometry and run the Create Symbol command from the modify menu.
  • In the create symbol dialogue make sure to correctly define the insertion point, using the 'Next Mouse Click' option in the insertion point section. The truss should be orientated as if it is lying flat on the ground with the center of the left hand end (at ground level) being the insertion point
  • Once the the symbol has been created in the resource manager right click on it and use the attach record command to attach the truss record and the edit values button to fill it in.
  • Activate the insert truss tool and insert the truss symbol, the first time you try to use the symbol the Truss Properties Dialogue will open and you can then configure the truss.
    • Object Data
      • The type field is important as it combined with the Connectable with field define what truss symbols can connect with each other. So every truss of a particular type (HD-44, H30V, etc...) must have the same type identifier
      • Name is the full name of the truss
      • Length is the length of the truss from left to right when lying flat on the ground and defines how our auto connect function works with the symbol
      • total weight and distributed weight
    • the Cross Section data defines how the truss behaves for Braceworks calculations.
      • You can assign the structural behavior data to the symbol using the change cross section button, either rigid if you have no data, select from the existing list or if you have the data you can create your own by choosing the custom cross section option and filling in the fields.
        Important note: If you create or enter your own cross section profile it is your responsibility to make sure the data is correct and put in the correct fields.
      • height and width are based on the physical dimensions of a vertical cross section of the truss
      • Connectable with controls what types of trusses the symbol can connect to with auto connect, for example Eurotruss FD34 and HD34 can be connected with each other but are different types
    • the Connection section controls whether the truss symbol uses a male and female end or neutral. in most cases we leave this as neutral by default unless the truss has forked ends
  • Once the properties have been filled in the Truss Properties dialogue they will be saved into the symbol for future use

    If you have any questions PM me



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  • 1 year later...
  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Thought I should add a quick update to this post,
The above workflow is for 2021 and earlier versions of Spotlight, In 2022 you will need to add truss magnets

There are a number of ways this can be done

  1. Use the truss magnet tool in the rigging tool set, to access it right click on the truss tool and choose the truss magnet tool in the menu that appears. You will need to insert the magnets in the 3D component of the truss and they should go into the Rigging-Truss-Magnet class. Insert them at each connection point, making sure that you set the connection type (defined by the position of the magnet on the truss) and the allowable roll ( all 4-chord truss should be set to 90°,180°, 270° for example).
  2. Automatically using the Update Truss Magnets command from the Tools>Utilities menu. This will add magnets to all the truss symbols in your active file resources. Its good for updating existing custom truss libraries. If this command is used make sure to check the classing and configuration of the allowable roll paramter for the magnets as it may not set these correctly.
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  • 1 year later...

Hello all,

I'm using VW 2024 Update 1.

I'm working on making my own Truss symbols from manufacture provided assets.

i'm following the steps above and the Coffee Break on VW University, and having good luck until I use the "Update Truss Magnets" command which is putting both magnets on one end of the truss instead of using the truss data to seperate the points.  Is this my mess up in the process or a VW24 bug?



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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

@Bill_RiosThis is a known issue that has been corrected in Update 2. Simply take the right magnet and in the X coordinate in the OIP move it to the desired length. This is what I have been doing as I have been churning out new truss libraries to be released in the November 2023 Premium Library update. It is cumbersome but it works.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

When I need to just do a couple of new symbols I copy/paste them into a new document and then run the full command and then import and replace. I will see about a feature request for the command. I never do it piecemeal because I make brand new libraries and just do the whole library in the end but I can see how piecemeal could be beneficial.

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  • 1 month later...
On 10/17/2023 at 7:06 PM, JustinVH said:

@Bill_RiosThis is a known issue that has been corrected in Update 2. Simply take the right magnet and in the X coordinate in the OIP move it to the desired length. This is what I have been doing as I have been churning out new truss libraries to be released in the November 2023 Premium Library update. It is cumbersome but it works.

Good evening all,

it seems that the magnet issue has come back to haunt us in update 2 2024

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