Sunday, March 20, 2011

Do you believe in ghosts?

Here's my ghost story!

This is something that I have had occur over the years from time to time.  ADT2005, 6, ACA2009 and 11.    I have strange issues occuring with walls mysteriously not cleaning up properly and strange interference from unseen (wall?) objects.  I've called them 'ghost walls' as they aren't there and won't show in any view or display rep even Diagnostic whiich should show something.  I believe they are 'deceased' walls having been killed (erased) but they just don't want to go!  Have they unfinished business? 

I've tried deleting everything from the drawing and the purging the styles using the sweep tool but some styles won't go!  Reading autolisp tutorials I've read that you can query the database for an object and see if it's erased and if it's still present in the dwg database even though erased.  I gather this is for the undo options where items deleted can still be restored if you undo your previous actions.  However I thought this was until you close the drawing and I would have assumed this information is lost forever.  Or so I thought.  Perhaps they don't want to go and come back to haunt my drawing.

What's interesting is that the purge styles function in the style manager (broom) would not purge lots of styles & objects and the purge function would not remove lots of empty layers.  It's like a complete breakdown in the functions.  Thinking I might learn some new useful information I went thru a copy and LAYDEL each layer. (I draw a line on that layer so I can select the layer).  This had the interesting effect of then allowing the Purge Styles to work and Purge on blocks as well??  At that point my Ghost walls had appeared to have 'gone to the light' and I no longer had my cleanup issues.  Some aecmaterial definitions hung on perhaps attached to the blocks still resisting.

I copied my square outlines from the picture file you see here and posted them back into the file I copied to use as a template thinking that they were going to coincide with the previous project walls but they didn't.  Not quite anyway.  Maybe this is a good reason to start from a clean template!

So I'm not sure what I learnt. Not about to delete all my layers from my functioning drawing though I suppose I could WB all the info out and then purge and then bring it all back in and see if that works the same. (I would loose the x-ref connections to the aecElevations).   I had just moved it all to the left away from the ghost walls and the issues go away.  I just can't draw in THAT space.  Hey it's haunted!                 So....

Do you believe in ghosts?

part 2
Well as it turns out, as I was showing my younger workmate my haunted drawing, he pointed out that my Isolate Objects globe was red!  After unisolating objects it turns out that on grabbing a previous drawing as a template, I had certain portions of the drawing hidden and brought it along into my new drawing.  So the hidden walls were causing the cleanup problems!  
Or were they?  After removing all the now unhidden but unwanted drawing portions I still had cleanup issues! Sometimes advances in technology just get too fancy! 

I wonder if this is the answer to the issue I've had over the years from time to time.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Structural objections !

James sent me a bunch of Structural Members he's been playing with that look great except they're not really structural members!  In the great spirit of not accepting a 'tool' for what it is but exploring what it could be James has used SM's to create excellent 2D detailing tools for those repetitive items.  In case you ask the obvious question "what about using the Detail Componant Manager" which is designed to do this, it's not set up with australian  details and there has been no Australian issue like the UK version.  We'd have to customise the database and then learn how to upgrade and maintain yet another Tool!  But yes you could use the DCM :-)

I've been tinkering with Dynamic Blocks to do much the same thing but there is a real advantage for an ACA'er using Structural Members.  The more you use a tool the better you are in applying it and SE's can be very handy in virtual construction.  For e.g. Structural members are great for creating a steel beam, adding end plates and the repeating cleats at set distances.  So essentially the tool can also be used for 2D work in the same way.  
The disadvantage is that blocks can't be rotated or mirrored so you basically have to create the block in the orientation you want to insert it.  However in the case of the roofing purlins in the example shown, the whole SM is simply rotated to the pitch so the purlin block would be inserted as though flat anyway.  Here's a bunch of wall styles SM's.  Constant materials like wall cladding are componants of the SM.  Periodical items like studs or hanging straps are added as blocks.
So you end with dynamic detailing componants that will stretch and add components automatically!  You do need to know when to create a separate style as in the window sill illustrated here.  It's attached to the window instead of the bricks.  Sometimes things get TOO complicated and besides, separate components gives you extra flexibility.

I hate fiddling with those repetitive sheet profiles.
James, having done much more commercial work is good with SM's.  Myself I still struggle to understand why I must create a pier base sideways to get it to insert properly.  But the more I use any of the tools and 'get' how they work I get increased productivity in knowing just how to use a tool, where to use it and when it won't do.  I can model most things very quickly now because I understand what tool to use and how to use it effectively.  Doing what James has done with SM's is going to teach you a lot about Structural Members

So I might as well share with you some of James' other  tricks.

I blogged an option for displaying Vertical profiles mainly for the purpose of rendering but James showed me a better way using a curtain wall, with only Profiled Mullions showing, in the shape of the sheeting. CWA's can have their roof or floor line edited-in-place for easy matching to a building shape and the profile follows suit.  The curtain wall might contain other componants but here it gives flexibility for the sheeting alone.  This is a good quick way of get vertical profiled sheeting into your model. Through components you could control different display for different display reps. ie. this for 3D, just hatching on another component for aecElevations.

Here is a wall style James developed for use in large commercial projects.  Adding components for sheeting, insulation, cladding and each expected purlin and then adding a sweep to each purlin component you get a detailed wall that will section, elevate and off course display well in plan.  Being a wall it will cleanup, has roof & floorline edit and the subsequent purlin components will appear as your height increases.  Higher wall this time?  Add (copy) some more purlin components in your wall style, add sweep and you're done.  If your wall is low, the higher purlins don't appear. 

Hope that helps stretch the paradigm a little for ya!