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Messages - Medeek

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Medeek Wall Plugin / Re: Development and Updates for the Medeek Wall Plugin
« on: December 10, 2018, 04:04:34 pm »
Figured I might as well add construction dimensions to the beam and stair modules:

Version 2.2.5b - 12.10.2018
- Added the Extend function for (solid) groups and components. This function allows the user to extend a member to a single plane/face.

The tool also has the ability to handle fairly complex, prismatic beams etc...

A huge shout out to ThomThom and John (John_DrivenuptheWall) from the SketchUp forums for helping me sort some of the issues out with the algorithm and code. 

Tutorial 10:

After giving this some more thought here is my proposed algorithm, feel free to find the holes in it:

1.) User selects the (end) face of the stud, joist, beam or rafter they want to extend.

2.) The user then selects the face (plane) they want to extend to.

(now the algorithm in the API)

3.) Find all of the vertices and edges belonging to selected face in step 1.

4.) Find each edge attached to the vertices in step 3 that is not belonging to the edges that make up the face.

5.) Check each edge found in step 4 by assigning a vector to one of them and then checking that each edge is parallel to this vector. If they are all parallel then proceed to step 6, if not abort.

6.) Check that the normal of the target face (step 2) is not perpendicular to the vector in step 5, if it is abort.

7.) Calculate the geometric line for each parallel edge (step 4). Then find the point (new vertex) for each line with the intersect_line_plane method and the plane (step 2).

8.) Calculate the distance between the new vertex (point) and the existing vertex (point), then move each vertex the calculated distance in the direction of the vector (step 5).

For some time now Iíve been wanting to create an extend tool. The most common utilization would be for extending rafters or studs to meet a wall or plate (face).

The problem I am seeing with this feature is how to determine which edges to extend. I canít really base it on axis orientation since studs are typically drawn along the Z-axis and joists and other elements such as rafters could be along an arbitrary axis.

I canít really base it on edge length either since you may be starting with a very short stud or block and the edges that you want to extend may be shorter than the end edges.

I donít know that there is an easy solution to this problem.

Just putting it out there to see if anyone has any ideas on this topological problem.

Medeek Wall Plugin / Re: Development and Updates for the Medeek Wall Plugin
« on: December 09, 2018, 05:04:50 am »
Version 0.9.9t - 12.09.2018
- Enabled temporary (construction) dimensions for wall panels in the Draw Wall tool.
- Added a section in the General tab of the global settings for configuring construction dimensions.

I've also added the option for closed arrows, open arrows and ticks:

Note the larger text size set to 18PT versus 14PT in the previous to screenshots:

The endpoint, color and text size of the dimensions can be configured in the General tab of the global settings:

Hopefully this is flexible enough for most users.  Alternatively you can also turn off the construction dimensions if you would rather not have them displayed.

Version 2.2.5 - 12.08.2018
- Added Trim 2 icon to the Medeek Tools toolbar.
- Added the trim 2 function for (solid) groups and components. This trim function allows the user to select two trimming planes.

This additional trim function will be helpful in trimming more complicated geometry like hip rafters and triangular pieces of roof sheathing or cladding.

Similar to the regular trim function this tool can also be utilized on any non-plugin geometry so long as it is a (solid) group or component.

View video here:

Medeek Wall Plugin / Re: Development and Updates for the Medeek Wall Plugin
« on: December 08, 2018, 07:54:42 am »
What I really need to do is enable some additional options in the global settings for construction dimensions:

Color: RGB value

Endpoints: Closed Arrow / Tick

Text Size: 14 Pts default

Also the ability to enable or disable them.

The color will also apply to other temporary dimensions and graphics utilized in the wall move and opening move tools, as well as the upcoming stretch wall tool.

I think it is imperative that I allow the user to set the color so that they can find an appropriate color to work well in their particular style.  It would be very bad if the dimension color and the background color were too close and the user could not distinguish between them.

Medeek Wall Plugin / Re: Development and Updates for the Medeek Wall Plugin
« on: December 07, 2018, 03:45:21 am »
Here is a first look at the updated draw wall tool with a temporary dimension enabled:

I think it came out alright, however I can change up a number of parameters to improve the aesthetics if there is call for it.  The parameters for the temp. dimension currently are:

Extension Line:  18"
Dim Line:  12"
Ext. Line Offset: 1.5"
Dim Color:  0000FF
Text Color:  0000FF
Text Size:  14pt
Text Font:  Arial
Arrow Width:  3"
Arrow Length:  7"
Line Weight/Width: 1

Medeek Wall Plugin / Re: Development and Updates for the Medeek Wall Plugin
« on: December 06, 2018, 02:50:29 pm »
Version 0.9.9s - 12.06.2018
- Added two parameters in the stair module to allow for extended stair stringers.
- Draw and Edit Wall menus now display wall height in feet and inches (fractional) when using an imperial units template.
- Added the action: "Regen Wall Assembly" in the context menu for all wall assemblies.

I've also gone ahead and enabled the feet-inches dimensions for other applicable dimensions within the global settings tabs (Walls, Door, Windows, Stairs).

Medeek Wall Plugin / Re: Development and Updates for the Medeek Wall Plugin
« on: December 05, 2018, 06:47:27 pm »
First look at the stringer extend option with its associated notch:

You can also enable the thrust block with the extension/notch but I don't really see the point to doing that, it only further weakens the stringer at its point of bearing.

I'm thinking I should probably extend the side spacer down all the way until it meets the landing/notch, unless there is a good reason not to.

Also I've been reviewing all of the html menus and there are quite a few places where I am displaying
or requiring input in inches and it would be nice to also display the same dimension in ft-in. (fractional), I am looking at this now.

Medeek Wall Plugin / Re: Development and Updates for the Medeek Wall Plugin
« on: December 05, 2018, 10:49:17 am »
I'm adding two extra parameters which will allow an extension of the bottom of the stringer as shown in the detail below:

This detail was taken from literature for LVL stringers. Notice the use of framing anchors to help bear some of the vertical load.

I prefer to extend the landing back to catch the full bearing of the stringer but I guess there are some situations where additional headroom is needed or other configurations where this method of stringer support is optimal.

Medeek Wall Plugin / Re: Development and Updates for the Medeek Wall Plugin
« on: December 05, 2018, 07:48:51 am »
Here is a quote from a review of Nick Sonder's book on Amazon that parallels some of my own thinking.  The reviewer first touched on his use of the book but his final remarks regarding SketchUp and design work really hits home:

This books has a lot of different tips when working with SketchUP. But I have to say, after going through many weeks thinking I was able to use this for production drawings I was sadly mistaken. By time I was able to get everything exported out to Layout, the drawings just did not look good at all. The resolution was way too grainy for my liking. The vector overlay was too bulky and raster was too pixelated. I am sure there is a way to fix this, however the next part made me re-think the whole process. Layout was so slow to regenerate the image. Each time I would pan it would pulse the screen and my workstation grade computer was just not able to do what Layout was requesting of it. My computer and workstation graphics card is not by any stretch old or limited. The thing runs all other software great. This was a huge disappointment...

All around if you are thinking about transition from your existing software to Sketchup Layout I would recommend some hesitation. However, if you want to learn a decent way of putting a Sketchup model together, I do recommend the author's techniques. I still use them for normal Sketchup use, I just cannot see investing in the time and patience with regards to Layout work. If someone is thinking of transitioning it might be better to look at an actual BIM software and if you are like me Chief Architect seems much more appropriate. I want to love this, because I think Sketchup is by far the most flexible software when it comes to heads up design. You are not stuck in dialog boxes, which for design flow and immersing yourself in the architecture SketchUP is great. I wish Trimble would take a few notes from a software like Chief Architect and simply some of their rules and plop them into Sketchup. I also think if Sketchup spent more time thinking how Architects might use Layout as full production drawings would be great, you really should not have to go through some of these crazy steps to get great drawings from SKUP. It's just not quite there, and this process does not make it that much smoother.

I'm not wanting to disparage Nick Sonder's work or his workflow, I think out of anyone his is some of the best.  My concern is with Layout and SketchUp itself as an architectural tool.  I feel like the plugins are starting to bridge the gap or parametric edge that Chief Architect has had over SketchUp (with a fair distance to go yet).  However, the other area we are falling down in is the creation of construction drawings and documents.

I am excited to start work on the automation of this piece of the puzzle and really dig into the Layout API, however at the same time I am genuinely concerned with Layout itself, and how well it functions as the 2D engine underneath the hood.  SketchUp's recent updates to Layout in the last two years/iterations have been tepid at best.  We really need a solid 2D drawing environment, something that can go toe-to-toe with AutoCAD.  I realize that this is a big ask, but it needs to happen.

I've already invested a considerable amount of my time into developing these plugins and I will continue to invest more.  I've been full time at it since April of this year and rather than work a salary man's job I chose to pursue this much more interesting path (we will see whether this was foolish on my part in the months to come). 

As I continue to develop these plugins I think it will not only benefit myself and the designers who use the software but also SketchUp itself as more architects, engineers, designers, contractors and draftsmen are able to utilize SketchUp as their primary design tool.  The work I do, as well as others like PlusSpec and John Brock to name a few, is helping put SketchUp on the map in the architectural design world.  We are helping pull users of other design software, such as Revit and Chief Architect, and converting them to SU.  We are trying to do our part.

It is now up to SketchUp to boost the Layout development and do their part.  We need a world class 2D engine.  Without it, we can't compete, it doesn't matter how good my 3D models are, they have to translate into construction documents, and it has to be seamless and effortless and a joy to use.  Unless Layout is brought up to par I will be forced to go alternative routes such as exporting floor plans to DXF etc...   This is really not the route I want to go but right now I am seriously considering it.

Medeek Wall Plugin / Re: Development and Updates for the Medeek Wall Plugin
« on: December 04, 2018, 05:54:56 pm »
Version 0.9.9r - 12.05.2018
- Added a "2 riser gooseneck" Over-the-Post termination option for all handrail profiles.
- Adjusted the auto-corner configuration algorithm so that wall panels can be placed within larger groups within the root of the model (wall panel isolation).
- Fixed a bug in the Over-the-Post section of the handrail/stair module.

Medeek Wall Plugin / Re: Development and Updates for the Medeek Wall Plugin
« on: December 04, 2018, 05:27:25 pm »
Running the stair module through a few tests this evening, found one minor bug and was fairly pleased with the stair envelope for checking headroom height:

I've also added one additional termination (OTP with a 2 riser gooseneck) which is typically used where you go from one flight of stairs to the next as show below:

As long as the riser heights match (like they should) for each run of stairs then the 2 riser goosenecks matches up perfectly with the starting ease of the next run of stairs.  Of course the specified hand rail height for each run must match as well.

Note that the white color (handrail fittings) components are not being automatically generated by the plugin those were manually inserted, however the brown sections of handrail are automatically generated and they matched up perfectly as expected (Z height).  I left the fittings white so you can see what elements were required to be brought into the model.

These fittings will be included with the plugin in the library/handrail_fittings subfolder.  If I get ambitious I may have to actually model up some volutes for the bottom of the handrail but for now the list of supplied fittings (for the LJ6010 profile) is:

- S7011 (right handed)
- S7019
- S7020
- S7021 (right handed)

You'll also notice that in the top image I've created a landing with a 2x4 pony wall supporting it (sorry barely visible).  When you go to create walls like this it would be nice to have the plugin ignore any surrounding walls and basically treat these walls as completely isolated from the rest of the structure.

With that in mind I reworked the auto-corner configuration algorithm ever so slightly, so that it is now possible to place any number of wall panels within an over arching group.  What this does is effectively isolate these walls from any other groups within the model.

I will need to make some updates to the estimating module so that it is smart enough to look for groups in the root of the document with embedded walls.  I will also need to make a video demonstrating this technique, and when and where it would be useful.

Granted, I have not extensively tested out this new feature so I would say proceed with caution but my preliminary testing shows that it is quite effective and convenient when modeling sub-assemblies within a larger context.

Medeek Wall Plugin / Re: Development and Updates for the Medeek Wall Plugin
« on: December 04, 2018, 09:49:47 am »

I think the key issue with which I am trying to address with this new tool is best summed up when you compare SketchUp (SU) with Chief Architect (CA).  Both can be used to model a structure, one is fully parametric but is quite locked down and restrictive while the other is very free form, allowing the user to do as they please.  The downside to this freedom is that the program has no way of keeping track or making sense of all these custom changes and hence the parametric ability cannot natively exist.

CA does a nice job of keeping everything well contained but its 3D environment locks the user down too much in my opinion, and for the designer (who is not too different from an artist) who wants to express their creativity, I think this can be too restrictive.

Being able to insert "custom" geometry into the wall, roof and foundation assemblies, whilst categorizing and tracking it maintains the parametrics (and estimating) but also allows flexibility.  Being able to retain this custom geometry after a regen is critical to the success of this paradigm.

In a nutshell the plugin is trying to maintain the flexibility of SU while giving the user the parametrics of a program like CA.

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