SketchUp Extensions > Medeek Engineering Plugin

Development and Updates for the Medeek Engineering Plugin

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I haven't fully committed yet to coding all of my engineering calculators within the SketchUp API, but I am heading that direction as I further contemplate my next Sketchup Plugin: Medeek Structural Plugin.

The largest obstacle is the ability to generate MS Excel files and PDF documents (reports). For this to really work I need a way to have my plugin's calculations export their data into nicely formatted spreadsheets and/or PDF reports. I have no idea where to even start and don't even know if this sort of thing is remotely possible with SketchUp, the API or Ruby, I'm assuming it is because I am sure other people have run into this same sort of thing as me.

Any assistance or direction in this regard would be greatly appreciated.

Ultimately, I am hoping to create a structural plugin that will allow an engineer to do all of the lateral and vertical calcs for a typical residential or light commercial wood structure. The reason for using SketchUp for this sort of thing is the ability to leverage SketchUp's intuitive drawing interface to create all of the building primitives/elements and provide an easy to use method for viewing and inputting building geometry and other design criteria.

I've actually had the idea to create this type of program since about 3 years ago but the show stopper was always the graphical interface and 3D component of it. Not until I began tinkering with the API about a year ago and waded into a full blown plugin development (truss plugin) did I realize the potential available within SketchUp. SketchUp and its API solves the 3D interface hurdle magnificently and now I am hopefully on course to create the one piece of software that will be the apex of my engineering career and hopefully further automate and advance the field of residential structural engineering.

I've really only been working on the truss plugin for about a year now and there is a lot more to be done as well as two more plugins that I am hoping to get started on into the new year:

Medeek Structural Plugin

Medeek Wall Plugin

The structural plugin will deal less with the actual framing geometry and more specifically with the lateral and vertical engineering of the structure.  It will be geared toward other structural engineers with the intent to automate residential structural engineering as much as possible.

Wood Shear Walls (segmented and perforated), Diaphragms (roof)
Beams, Headers, Joists, Rafters, Footings, Posts, I-Joists,
Rafters, Trusses

What will make this the killer app is that the 3D model will be able to automatically propagate the loads down through the structure while at the same time allowing the user to create the structure's geometry in an intuitive and friendly 3D environment - SketchUp.

Of course the real power of such a plugin only becomes apparent when you create a model and then decide to build that same house or structure in a different location with different site criteria.  Rather than having to start from scratch you simply enter in the new wind speed, ground snow load, and seismic design criteria into the model and the plugin recalculates the entire structure and then alerts you on any members that are undersized or over stressed.  This would be particularly beneficial to homebuilders who have a set number of model homes they use but build in various locations.

Its not much to look at but this is the beginning of the Medeek Structural Plugin:

I think I am going to try and utilize the Wall and Truss plugins as the jumping off point for the Structural Plugin.  I've got to spend some more time fine tuning the  shearwall module of the Wall Plugin first then I think we will be ready to try and develop this further.

I am really interested in this plugin.  I am General Contractor in NE Oregon and draw up a lot of the house plans that I build for clients.  It would be extremely helpful to have a tool that did the lateral and gravity calcs for me during the project design.


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