Tag Archives: CAD and CAM

Architectural Technologist – Summer Solstice

summer-solsticeOver the weekend, we had the longest day, no not the film, but the event that is part of the way the earth rotates about the sun and the effect of the tilt on the seasons and more importantly, the weather. As we progress with our CAD programs and shadow becomes so  much easier to use, well it is on Vectorworks, we should start to understand what and why we celebrate the Summer and Winter Solstice.

This web site on NASA is one of the best over all explanations I have seen, and will be an excellent starting point to some research on shadow and its effect on our building.

I do a walk about tour of Birmingham looking at the effects of shadow on detailing, and general orientation of the building, and this is my opening presentation.


Architectural Technologist – Autocad Love it or hate it

AutoCAD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I, as many of you might be aware draw with Vectorworks, I have done so for some considerable time, with short intermissions where I worked freelance in practices that used Autocad, this was fine, I got the best of both worlds, I kept up my use of Autocad during the day, and at home I used Vectorworks, but for the past few years I have not used Autocad, simply because I have not done any freelance work in an Autocad office. And here lies the problem, I went to teach some students yesterday, and did not know I needed Autocad, went to load the program and thought, Oooer, what next, luckily I managed to remember enough to get through,

It highlight two problems, one, if you don’t keep using a particular program, you  forget, second, Autocad is not cheap, I went onto the Autodesk site to look at the Mac version and saw it was, well very expensive, to much to buy, just to keep up with it, I have the reader version, and an account with Autodesk, but it’s practice I need to keep up.

So I am at present limited to watching a series of Autocad tutorials on Youtube, there are loads, but it does not satisfy the need to practice and get used to the command line again. The college have student copies so at least one day a week I can open up and practice, if I have time, perhaps thats all I need, we will see. I have a separate project on my CPD list for Autocad, I think it’s time I upped the hours here with some practice and actual drawing time, perhaps with a project or two.

As an addition to todays blog, I went onto Autodesk, and managed to download a student Mac copy of Autocad, I’m a lecturer at Gloucester College so qualify for a free download, nice one Autodesk.

Don’t forget, I will host a tech hangout every Friday at 3 pm, call in to chat, moan,find out something, anything to do with Architectural Technology. follow me on Google + “+stevescaysbrook”

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Architectural Technologist – Long Day, but did you miss me !


Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Yesterday, I just did not have time to write a blog, usually if I know this to be the case, I will post date a blog, but yesterday, I thought I had time in the morning to write, but as lady luck would have it, I had other work to sort before I went out to spend the day with a client installing Vectorworks Dropbox and Skype on a new Mac., together with a working copy of a large Arboretum Vectorworks file.

This was not a simple hand over of a single Vectorworks file, we have had problems with shifting design layers, and I’ll blog later on this specific point, so we have desided to work group reference a series of surveys that don’t normally require any more drawing work, that are there for reference only. We are also setting up a series of print files that are also work group referenced to all the files, that the gardening staff can use,

But it’s the simple use of Dropbox and Skype that wowed the client, no longer does he have to worry about things he just Skypes me, and shares his screen to show me wehat he wants, or needs help with.or needs certain areas altering, because I can do it real time all he has to do is refresh the screen. Even the very large photo stock now being generated will be shared this way,, all the client has to do is load and geolocated photos to a specific Dropbox folder, we see them and add links to the Vectorworks files.

So there you have it, a long day, with only a single pint and excellent beef and ail pie to keep me going, plus endless coffee.

Zemanta, the program I use to link previous blogs and outside links has just been updated with the ability to add photos, so each link has it’s own phto, not sure about this, does it take up to much room, I wil review it over the next few blogs and let you know. But thinking about CPD, there is a little here, it’s all about servicing your client, making sure he is happy, and using the best communication means out there to add quality to your relatinship with him, or her.


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Architectural Technologist – Vectorworks file corruption problem

3D Modeling in Vectorworks 2009: Book Cover Art
3D Modeling in Vectorworks 2009: Book Cover Art (Photo credit: Vectorworks)

Yesterday, I had a long Skype chat with my busness partner, re a problem we had with the data attached to a large map, it was getting corrupt, the question is how do we repair it, Simple answer to any Vectorworks problem like this is to export it to an older file and the reimport it back into the newer version, in this case 2012.

One other way we thought of was to create a brand new file, with no clutter, and import the required Design, and CLass layers via the import feature on create new design of class, this we have done and I must admit its cleaned it up no end, we had collected a lot of Symbols with data and the like, and since the rebuild these are no longer there. Unfortunatly the import would not bring in the Sheet viewports, I can’t understand why, so I had to rebuild these, a bit of a pain, but again it served to make me think about the layout and the information we are trying to send out, plus the sheet numbering and drawing titles.

We also looked at the purge command to correct any items, again we tried this, but on reflection we thought this was a little to draconian and did not use it.

Has it cured the problem, Not a chance, we did some tests with our large files and it was still a problems, so back to the drawing board. It took me the best part of two hours to do this, plus the hour or so talking about it, with a map thats 2.2mb smaller, but still has a bug.

Should Nemetschek make a better repair script, I think so, the bigger the file the more that can go wrong with it, I would like to be able to repair a file, with something like Purge, but with a little more in the way of data integrity, rather than just removal of unused layers symbols or classes. I await the Vectorscript programers to come up with a neat little plugin.

As we all use, well most of us, CAD this seems to be a continued discussion point across many different CAD packages, not just Vectorworks, when I was working on an Autocad job, we continually had to purge a file before we sent it out. And if your saying this is not CPD, then think again, this is a day to day issue that affects us all at some stage, so learning about it and ways to correct and repair a CAD file is certainly a transferable asset to any technologist.


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Architectural Technologist – Northumbrian University BIM Conference

BIM vectorworkout
BIM vectorworkout (Photo credit: Scays)

I recently found a link to Northumbria University regarding their BIM Academy, a nice site with some interesting links and a rather useful diary of events, whuich includes their own conference on BIM between Wednesday 5 and Friday 7 September 2012, the call for papers is current and entries should be in for Friday 9 March 2012. I must admit to being seriously tempted to putting a paper in for the small to mediam user of BIM, I shall give it serious though over the weekend.

Just about every paper or magazine to do with Architecture, or construction has BIM as a headline or has a large and I mean large article on the subject somewhere within the content. Agreed, for large projects its masive and the savings by linking live realtime information from the drawing side to the client and contractor and the consultants will make major savings, but, and here is the but, all have to be on the same hymn sheet, the link between must be coherent, it’s no good, one being on Vectorworks and the rest being on Autocad, it just will not work. So hence the major push from the big CAD companies to take them onboard. almost forcing the others, particularly on large projects to comply, gone then is the need for any restraint on the CAD companies to hold prices down if they can get the lead Architect on board, the rest will have to follow, unless their is computability, and this is not so between the majors.

But what about the small guy, designing extensions and small works,  is BIM applicable, of course, but who is the BIM aimed at, the client or the contractor, both could benefit, the client from thermal and volume info and general construction info, the contractor from area, volume, material list, counts etc. Back to the Northumbria BIM Academy, I suspect that it will major on large collaborative projects and thats fime, but it should include some if not just one small project presentation, perhaps that wil be me, we will see.


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Architectural Technologist – Vectorworks Essentials Tutorial Manual – Jonathan Pickup

Rendered view 1
Image by Scays via Flickr

After a long week keeping up with things I have finaly sat down to review the Vectorworks Essentials Tutorial Manual by Jonathan Pickup, as I mentioned before, this book is one that should be read. It does not matter if your a new Vectorworks user or a seasoned pro, do not and I repeat, DO NOT SKIM, so many times I have read through Jons excellent manuals and come to a bit I thought I new all about, and skipped it. Only to ring Jon way later to ask him how to do something and his first reply is “it’s in the manual”, or in other words I have skimmed that section. So read it all.

Although the manual is set out into 5 distinct sections I think that the first 3 are what I call the essential reading overview. Chapters 1, 2 & 3 are where Jon looks at the program and the basic way it works. Chapters 1 and 2 are the layout and feel of the screen realestate, and what each of the different pallets consist of and do,

Chapter three then goes into organising information, and this is again required reading because in it, Jon set out how Vectorworks differs from all other programs in the way design layers are used together with viewports, again an excellent tutorial and loads of pictures and Video to peruse. and it’s one very one should read, time and time again, it’s an essential read., as it’s here Jon picks up on the basic 3D concept and BIM.

Chapter 4 is a catch up chapter with an exercise showing how something so simple as a bracket can be made into a 3D unti. My advise is try the written text first, then use the video.

The second major part, chapter 5 and onwards is were Jon pulls it all together and demos so much of what you should have learned and adds more concepts such as the wall tool and inserting symbols such as windows and doors, and finishes off the section with a little intro into BIM with worksheets (Vectorworks Spreadsheets), plus general drawing techniques. This is 3D almost in it’s entirety, and quite rightly so, I know I keep on about 2D, but BIM to be used properly on larger more complex projects, then 3D is a must.

Jon makes use of three distinct types of media, written text, short and to the point instructions on the use of Vectorworks, screen grabs of the point he is making and best of all video, which shows just what he is describing, which come in the PDF version of the book via a disk at the back of the book, and are accessed via the movie symbol. seen dotted about the book.

Experienced users of Vectorworks should not think that this book is not for them, Vectorworks has changed over the last few issues, with the stepping up of BIM, and 3D use. I can highly recommend this book to any beginner of Vectorworks CAD, its essential reading, and lays the way open for the more advanced Architect and 3D tutorial books which I shall review in detail later. More experienced users should also read this book, it wil bring you back on path with the changes in Vectorworks and perhaps highlite areas where you should really look into.

If you can’t get a copy from your own dealer, go to the Nemetschek site and order or please contact me I am now a Vectorworks dealer and can supply any number, especially the UK users. To come clean, I was sent these books free, to review, but had I not liked them I would have reviewd them as such, but in all honesty I could not, they are excellent and well worth the expenditure. The link above to the Nemetschek site will also have the other excellent tutorial books by other others such as Kevin Lee Allen’s just released  Entertainment and Lighting Design with Vectorworks Spotlight.

As for CPD, well there is a gold mine here, you could easily add 3 or 4 hours just reading through with some basic practice. The picture is again one of Jon’s online practice session models.I did make other shots of the books on my desk, but Flickr was to slow in linking them to Zemanta so Jon’s model came to the rescue.


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Architectural Technologist – Vectorwork trainer leaves training lectures notes online

steves intro
Image by Scays via Flickr

This morning, I received a Linkedin note telling me that Jonathan Stoppi a lecturer in Vectorworks in the USA has left some lecture notes online,  they are excellent, you should see the comments on the linkedin site. 

They are clear and concise detailed instructions on using Vectorworks 2011 and for the most part below that issue date. I particularly like the cornice detail and the shed, I also like the idea of getting 3D symbols from the Sketchup  Warehouse, I think I might look at that in more dtail and do a small video.

I can’t praise this action from Jonathan Stoppi, I hope you pop into the site and have a look at thes excellent notes or just visit the Vectorworks Cad Software group in Linkedin

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Architectural Technologist – Autocad time line, and a very nice tree house

Vectorworks Viewer
Image by Scays via Flickr

Just were do you fit in this time line of Autocad releases, I must admit, that despite my use and love of Vectorworks, I have had to use Autocad, especially when I do freelance work, and the practice is Autocad orientated, Its also interesting to see the way the Mac has come, gone and come back.

No CPD, just interesting. but I like this site, there are some interesting stories, such as the human nest, an article on tree houses, just excellent, now that is worthy of some CPD time I might just add it to my house design section, not that any one has ever asked me to design a tree house, well once perhaps, when I was about 12, and lived on the back of a farm that had a large wood, in which we built a tree house !.


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Architectural Technologist – Nemetschek Launch Vectorworks 2012

The company logo of Nemetschek AG, Germany
Image via Wikipedia

I will be online to hear the news, !–

Columbia, Md. (September 1, 2011) – Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc. presents the Vectorworks® 2012 U.S. Virtual Event, Sept. 13-16, 2011, to unveil the next version of Vectorworks software.

Beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT    17:00 (GMT)  on Sept. 13 with a keynote address by CEO Sean Flaherty and CTO Dr. Biplab Sarkar, the event will include demonstrations on what’s new in Vectorworks Architect, Landmark, Spotlight and Fundamentals software, as well as feature videos and information about popular Vectorworks plug-ins. Industry experts will be on hand to answer questions, and attendees will have the opportunity to network with other designers and share their experience through social media.

The online event will continue through Sept. 16 with feature-specific presentations led by members of the Nemetschek Vectorworks engineering team. Topics will include Building Design and BIM, Site Design, Collaboration Improvements, Entertainment Design, Rendering Improvements and more.

Attendees will have the opportunity to register for a chance to win a license of Vectorworks 2012 with Renderworks® by inviting friends and colleagues to register, as well.

For more information and to register, please visit: www.vectorworks.net/2012-virtual-event/info

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Architectural Technologist – Review of my CPD

CPD Records
Image by Scays via Flickr

I tend to review my CPD activity quite regularly, as I add new records to my spread sheet, I can see from the Project list of my CPD records in Google Docs just what needs to be looked at, where I’m light on study, and if I need to add a new subject,

I have for a long time thought I have neglected my Autocad skills, I us Vectorworks  predominately but Autocad is still so dominant in the CAD world, it’s not good business sense to ignore it, so I have added Autocad CAD to the list, it’s not of great importance, so the priority number is low, but it will remeind me to get some hours in. I looked at the Mac Autocad program over the weekend, and downloaded the free Autocad WS program, also went onto the main site to look at the MAc progra, and at £4500 or thereabouts its not cheap, in fact its dam expensive, and will not be a purchase, but need to know about it, so started looking at current Autocad Video tutotials and sites, to remind me .


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