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# Is there a way to tell if something I'm about to do is likely to break VW?

## Question

Hi All,

I've been a VW user for many years, but have mostly used it for theatrical lighting plots. In the last year I've started doing some sculptural work and am using VW to iterate on different ideas.

I'm running into an issue currently. I'm trying to model something that, admittedly, is a rather complex geometric shape for VW to model. Essentially, I'm trying to make a tube out of a bunch of "rebar" that is twisted together and then take that tube and bend it over into an arch. My method so far is to use the helix tool and a circle and extruding along path, then mirroring that extrude, adding the two solids, duplicating, rotating the duplicate in plan, using add solids to combine, rinse and repeat until I have a cylinder. Next step would be to use the deform tool to bend this over into an arch. The resulting generic solid has a ton of surfaces vertices and empty space, so I'm not exactly surprised that VW becomes unresponsive when I try to use the deform tool. However, I'm not sure where VW's limit is for a function and it would be great if there were a way to vet an action before performing it and then having to force quit VW because it dutifully starts to try to calculate the impossible.

So, two questions here. First, is there a way to have VW warn me or for me to check BEFORE VW starts a ten minute long calculation that will ultimately fail? Second, does anyone have a recommendation for a process to do this idea that WON'T break VW?

## Recommended Posts

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The answer to the first question is "no".  But what you're doing is a great way to break VW :-).

The second question is hard to answer without seeing a picture of what you're trying to do.  But bear in mind that you can extrude more than one surface object at a time along one path, and you can edit it after the fact.  So there may not be a need to rinse and repeat.

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Ways not to break VW:

Are the twist and arch constant? i.e. are you able to make say a a full turn turn of the twist, and when you bend it just make x number of degrees of bend and do them both as symbols. I've had such shapes cause Autocad and sketchup stutter to a halt.

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Thanks for the replies!

I'm 100% confident that it's failing because of the way I'm building it. I'm just trying to figure out the right way to build it without a ton of trial and error.

Where I am right now: I'm using the nurbs curve tool to create the "arch", then applying the helix tool to that. Then creating a circle and using duplicate array to make a "circle of circles"...then extrude along path of the curved helix. It's still not quite right, but at least I'm not breaking VW 🙂

What's going to be REALLY entertaining is watching VW try to render the light sources I intend to put inside of this thing when I can finally get it drawn.

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There are a couple of ways to decrease the chance of crashes while having complex modelling.  First, Vectorworks can get pretty grumpy if the Solid Subtractions/Additions become too nested (solid addition inside solid addition inside solid addition, solid additions all the way down).  If you're adding a lot of solids, try to have them all in the same solid addition rather than adding them, copying and pasting, and adding them again.  When I model, I try to find ways to keep them to one addition and one subtraction (and maybe one more addition after the subtraction if required).

That all being said, something you should try that negates all of the advice above is to grab your object and convert it to a Generic Solid before trying the deform tool.  You'll lose all solids editing ability, so be sure to either do it to a copy of the object or at least save the solids object as a symbol so that you can go back if you need to.

Before you try to light it, definitely make sure that it's stored as a symbol.  Symbols, even complicated ones, are more "lightweight" in terms of memory than groups.  Also, one way I've dealt with lighting a complicated model is to make the model a referenced design layer viewport in the lighting drawing.  It certainly makes it a lot more clunky if you have to make adjustments to the model and work back and forth, but it's still faster than losing work to crashes.

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Thanks everyone for the great replies! I'm still not 100% where I want to be, but the method that got me here was 1) create NURBS curve 2) use helix tool to give a slight "wave" to the 2D curve 3) create a "circle of circles" 4) extrude along path. The thing I'm missing right now is that I'd really like the "rebar" to twist and overlap in a more organic manner instead of all running perfectly parallel, but the attached images are fine for where I am in the development process.

That said, if anyone has any idea for how to twist and otherwise randomize the extrudes while keeping the general shape of arches...I'm all ears.

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Stephan Moenninghoff models a rope towards the end of this video - I don't know if what he does has any bearing on what you're trying to do twisting the rebar...?

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Circles extruded along path, especially multiple circles, create many surfaces. The circles extrude segmented, creating about 250 facets per circle.  Rather invisible in renders unles the view is very close.

So, maybe two models on separate layers or in separate files?

One for those long views with lighting using extruded triangles or squares or hexagons instead of circles.  This will really cut down the rendering overhead.

Another model for close views and shop drawings uses the circles.  This one might be only a partial sculpture, just enough to illustrate the weaving/overlapping, or other detail.

-B

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

The circles extrude segmented, creating about 250 facets per circle.

Why ?

I do not think this is necessary.

This is something that ACIS can handle fine and keep circles circles and

curves curves. Also Parasolid Modeler Core which also VW uses, kept

mathematical Volumes in Microstation in the mid 90ies.

I avoid Extrude along Path in VW,

as it already destroys my simple rectangular hard edged Paths into

harder to edit NURBS after starting EAP. Which makes later changes

more difficult. Same with the default of Profiles geometric center.

For me it looks like EAP in VW  is a legacy relict that needs some extra love.

I also wonder why an Extrude from a Rectangle where you cut out circles,

already in 2D, works fine, while when you Subtract a 3D Cylinder from a

3D extruded Rectangle, the cut out will end up facetted.

(At least after any any later Edit like Push Pull Tool)

Edited by zoomer
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7 hours ago, zoomer said:

Why ?

Exactly!  I am not sure why this has not been addressed as the software upgrades year after year. Basic arc and circle shapes must indeed be some legacy relic, desperately in need of repair, so that the EAP and other functions with circles remain continuous. If vwx is using or has access to same geometry representation as other, similar software (eg parasolid?), then why cannot we at least have circles that represent as continuous rather than faceted.  grrrrrr!

Also wonder about that difference between extrude of closed shape with circular holes vs solid subtraction of extruded cylinders from volume.

Also I don't like that circles become polys in the edit screen when they are clipped as holes from a 2d shape.  Best edit is to delete the polys and replace with new circles (which  become polys as soon as exit the edit screen)

sigh

-B

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