modaby

Accurate creation of 2d details and 3D objects

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Hello everyone.  I could use your insight....

I am new to Chief, learning X11 Premium.  I've been running various CAD and 3D modeling programs for 20+ years (AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architectural Desktop, Sketchup) for my residential design firm. 

Most recently, I've been using Sketchup and Layout exclusively to create design and construction drawings for custom homes and extensive remodels.  The lack of parametric objects (walls, windows, doors, floors, roofs, etc.) and automated drafting functions (automatic schedules, automatic dimensions, etc) in Sketchup/Layout has me trying to switch over to Chief.

 

I'm struggling with some of the basic functions of Chief on my first go at a project: 

There doesn't seem to be easily accessible accuracy when creating 2d details or 3d objects in Chief.

In all of the tutorials for creating 2D details, everyone seems to be mostly dragging the grips of shapes around willy nilly without a lot of concern for accurate dimensions. 

Having to Tab to insert accurate fractional dimensions for even only simple rectangular shapes. 

The temporary dimensions do more of getting in the way than helping when drawing small objects such as a molding profile. 

Why can't I type the dimension of the length of a lines WHILE I'm drawing a polyline shape? 

 

These same issues are even more apparent when trying to create 3D objects.  I have heard a lot of "It's hard to draw these objects in Chief"  and " just move it ABOUT where it should be"  when watching video tutorials.  I need better than ABOUT with the accuracy of these things. 

 

Even of the Chief tutorial of creating CAD details, the creation of the keyway in the concrete footing has no regard for actual dimensioned size.  https://www.chiefarchitect.com/videos/watch/5477/adding-cad-details.html

 

The point to point tool seems a clunky tool in this day and age.  Is just moving objects with a move tool, or with grips and automatic snaps (like most all other CAD/3D programs) logical to ask for in Chief?

 

I am using the wrong program if I'm expecting this accuracy? 

Thanks for your thoughts.

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Eric,

As I mentioned at the beginning of my post, I am using X11 Premier.

 

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17 minutes ago, modaby said:

Eric,

As I mentioned at the beginning of my post, I am using X11 Premier.

 

Welcome to our community Eric, glad you chimed in.

Could you give an example of a detail you'd like drawn and I can give you an example of how quickly it can be drawn in chief using the tools that you may not be aware of or familiar with.

Sketchup definitely has a great approach with its input-as-you-draw technique, CA differs but is still very fast with the right methods.

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Thanks for the response Rene.  A couple of examples that I am bumping into right away on my first Chief project:

 

1. In 2D---How would you ACCURATELY draw a custom molding profile from scratch with a lot of shapes (similar to the CA-75 profile that comes in the Cheif Library) that could be dimensioned as a detail and given to the millwork shop? 

 

2. In 3D---I have fluted decorative column that sits on a trimmed out half wall that I need to create in 3D?  (See attached photo) I can measure the physical column, but struggle to accurately model it in Chief.

 

Thanks for your thIMG_3532.thumb.JPG.9003285441aa76247fb623a7a7f0e409.JPGoughts

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1- change your active dimension defaults to at least 1" scale defaults (I have 1-1/2 and 3 on mine) makes the temp dims smaller.

2-make the reverse of one flute, a rod with rounded end, set depth relative to one face of a solid, multiple copy. Then copy all the rods. Now use boolean subtraction to remove the rods from that face to get the flutes. Rotate the column, paste and hold position to put the rods on the new face, repeat boolean subtraction. Repeat for other sides.

You may be making originals as psolids and need to convert to solids, you can work in plan or elevation and rotate on an axis once done and converting to a symbol.

Yes the tools are different, but so is the program. You just have to explore a bit.

 

Edit-forgot to mention that almost any molding profile ever created can be found from just a few resources on the web in dwg format. Most often I take that in a cad detail, click nodes until it closes to get a polyline. Worst case it's an easier place to start but I really prefer designing things that a knife already exists for :) You can also stack smaller moldings together then use polyline union

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2 hours ago, modaby said:

Thanks for the response Rene.  A couple of examples that I am bumping into right away on my first Chief project:

 

1. In 2D---How would you ACCURATELY draw a custom molding profile from scratch with a lot of shapes (similar to the CA-75 profile that comes in the Cheif Library) that could be dimensioned as a detail and given to the millwork shop? 

 

2. In 3D---I have fluted decorative column that sits on a trimmed out half wall that I need to create in 3D?  (See attached photo) I can measure the physical column, but struggle to accurately model it in Chief.

 

Thanks for your thIMG_3532.thumb.JPG.9003285441aa76247fb623a7a7f0e409.JPGoughts

 

 

Whats cool is that you can import SketchUp models into Chief. 

Just download to your desktop and drag into open plan.

You can save them to your User Library too.

So if your good with SU, you may still model there for now.

 

I realize these examples are not exactly what you need, but...

Some fluted columns at SketchUps 3DWarehouse

 

 

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"Why can't I type the dimension of the length of a lines WHILE I'm drawing a polyline shape?"

 

You can.  Just hit the tab key after you start drawing the line and type in the dimension.  Or, try using the "Input Line" tool or the "Input Arc" tool to specify a line or arc.  Or, just draw a line and then open up the specification dialog and type in the info you want.  Or, draw the general shape you want and then use the temp or manual dimensions to make it accurate.  Or, if you want to move an object, use the Transform/Replicate dialog.  There are lots and lots of different ways to do things in Chief.

 

"I am using the wrong program if I'm expecting this accuracy?"

 

Chief is very capable of quickly creating extremely accurate details and models.  Modelling some things is going to be much easier than others though.  If I wanted to create an accurate model of a house, I would choose Chief over any other program available but if I needed to create an accurate model of a toilet, I would probably choose something else.

 

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"1. In 2D---How would you ACCURATELY draw a custom molding profile from scratch with a lot of shapes (similar to the CA-75 profile that comes in the Cheif Library) that could be dimensioned as a detail and given to the millwork shop?"

 

I would probably use a combination of the input line and input arc tool but that's just because I am very picky and would want it drawn exactly the way I want it built.  I obviously didn't draw CA-75 because if you look at it more closely you will see that it is not very accurate at all (some of the horizontal lines are not even horizontal).  You can use the Place Molding Profile tool to put the profile into a cad detail to inspect it or modify it.

 

"2. In 3D---I have fluted decorative column that sits on a trimmed out half wall that I need to create in 3D?  (See attached photo) I can measure the physical column, but struggle to accurately model it in Chief."

 

That column should be pretty easy since it's not tapered.  I would just draw the cross section using the input line and input arc tool (although I would try to be smart about using transform/replicate and copy/reflect to minimize the actual input) and then convert it into a polyline solid to extrude it vertically.  The top and bottom trim could just be molding polylines.  You could then block them together to create an architectural block or convert it into a symbol both of which could be saved to the library for reuse.  If you needed something more complex, like a tapered column or you wanted your flutes to have rounded ends instead of square ones, you would then need to start using the solid modeling tools like Mark was talking about.

 

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2 hours ago, modaby said:

Thanks for the response Rene.

 

 

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21 hours ago, modaby said:

"It's hard to draw these objects in Chief"  and " just move it ABOUT where it should be"  when watching video tutorials.  I need better than ABOUT with the accuracy of these things. 


I’m with you.  This is a common attitude amongst most Chiefers, however I assure you that Chief DOES have the ability to model things extremely accurately and there are a handful of us that do exactly that.  It really just comes down to what you’re using Chief for I guess.  Quick and dirty CD’s and I can’t fault people for just getting it close enough.  I personally however model things to a very high degree of accuracy on a regular basis.  It’s just about investing the time in properly learning what tools you have available, how those tools work, and how to let go of your preconceived ideas of how the tools should work based on your experience with other programs.  
 

Anyway, here are some quick tips that immediately come to mind...

 

1.  Learn what Multiple Saved Defaults are....

2.  ....and set up/utilize Active Defaults from the start.  It’s just very important from a productivity standpoint that you learn to place your various CAD/annotation items using the appropriate defaults, the appropriate settings, and onto the desired layers, etc.  This makes quick work of dimensioning your tiny little molding details as necessary.  
3.  Study and learn the Enter Coordinates dialog (Tab entry method).  It might not be what you are used to, but it’s the method Chief uses, and it’s really quite efficient and effective once you get used to it.

4.  Learn to limit your work to plan views and elevations/sections whenever possible if you want to model super accurately, and in conjunction with those views...

5.  Learn to use CAD Detail From View along with Cut/Copy and Paste Hold Position.  This is the way I always obtain snaps that aren’t otherwise available.  Assign the tools to hotkeys and the process becomes pretty stinkin’ quick.

6.  Turn the various Snap settings on and off as necessary.  The last thing you want when trying to draw things accurately is Chief snapping to the Angle or Grid when you want to snap to an object.

7.  Learn to use both dimensions and the various dialogs to set object parameters.  I know it’s easy to get used to simply typing in parameters during the initial draw with Sketchup and you can do that to a certain extent in Chief using the Tab key; however, it simply doesn’t work the same and in my opinion that just comes with the territory in large part when moving from CAD and basic 3D modeling to a program rich with built in  parametric functionality.

8.  Learn to import, resize, and trace over/measure from images and PDFs.

 

... I could go on all day with additional power tips but those are the top few that come to mind for accurate modeling.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Dermot said:

 

 Or, try using the "Input Line" tool or the "Input Arc" tool to specify a line or arc.  Or, just draw a line and then open up the specification dialog and type in the info you want.  

you can use this in conjunction with the CAD point tool to specify the start point if there is a snap point available and you don't know its X,Y coordinates

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I have been using SU since the stone age.  I've plug-ins galore, use it with rendering apps, and can model just about any house including all its fixtures and furniture.  I had all those SU skills coming into Chief and started with the pre-X version 10.

 

I still prefer it to Chief if I want to do something in 3D, simply because I find it faster due to my SU skillset.  It has kept me from fully using Chief's 3D modeling tools.

 

That all said, Chief has all the tools necessary to do all the totally-to-scale detailing you need to do, and the string of posts above describes all that, and well.

 

But I gotta ask, how often in your work, do you need to draw details of moldings and millwork items that will require molding knives cut, patterns made, etc., and therefore require shop drawings done with precision?

 

One might say, "it's required in historical replications," but in my experience with that, the shops are given physical samples of existing parts to replicate, not drawings.

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Wow, this is a really good thread! 

17 hours ago, MarkMc said:

forgot to mention that almost any molding profile ever created can be found from just a few resources on the web in dwg format. Most often I take that in a cad detail, click nodes until it closes to get a polyline.

In one of the fairly recent forum posts, I think Glenn offered a pretty cool suggestion that lines could be quickly connected with one click by selecting all lines, using 'extend' tool and clicking near the center of the group of lines.  They need to be already touching, but not connected, which is a common issue when using Cad detail from view for moldings.  Michael then discovered that the 'trim' command did the same thing. (I have not tried that one).

17 hours ago, JJohnson said:

Whats cool is that you can import SketchUp models into Chief. 

Just download to your desktop and drag into open plan.

Def. agree.  If you already have the SU knowledge, some things are just far less time consuming to model in SU and import into Chief.  However, I think with what I saw advertised to be improved ability edit p-solids from more than one plane in X12 Chief is getting better at this.  

16 hours ago, Dermot said:

You can.  Just hit the tab key after you start drawing the line and type in the dimension.

I learned that it works fairly quickly once you get used to not looking at the dialogue box, but I do wish Chief would allow a direct entry method similar to other platforms.  It's a hurdle learning not to look at the dialogue box, because a pop-up dbx is meant to be looked at.  But furthermore, not looking at it often causes slowdowns, because the Tab dbx frequently does not take the dragged direction properly...which requires undoing and re-doing the last process then manually adjusting the angle entry.  This definitely needs improvement.

15 hours ago, Alaskan_Son said:

I’m with you.  This is a common attitude amongst most Chiefers,

I also had this 'attitude' coming into Chief.  Part of it comes from the fact that many of the otherwise wonderful training videos skip precision for the sake of speed.  That may be partly to keep the video short, and partly to emphasize speed of Chief to do things, but it wouldn't hurt to have some of the entry level videos show the process of drawing with precision in mind.  

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