August 20, 2006

Structural Member Wizard

You may already be familiar with the Structural Member Catalog, a handy feature that has been available in Autodesk Architectural Desktop since at least the 3.3 release. The Structural Member Catalog provides an easy way to create Structural Member Styles based on real-world structural members. [Images here are from the 2006 release.]


But perhaps you have a need for a structural member style that is not in the catalog, whether to use it as a “generic” member, until the actual member is determined and you prefer not to use a real-world shape to make it easy to distinguish later; you have a special size not in the catalog; or you have some other need for a shape not in the catalog. For example, a while back, Brad Crouse had posted in the AUGI Forums [see this thread and this thread] that he was trying to create model in ADT at 1/16 actual size, in order to show, at full size, the “toy” buildings he intends to build.

One option would be to create custom structural member shapes, by drawing each outline as a closed polyline, and then using the -AecsMemberShape command to create the shapes. But if the shapes you need match “standard” structural shapes, with non-statndard size parameters, you may be able to save yourself some time and effort by using the Structural Member Wizard. You can access the Wizard from the pulldown menus, Format > Structural Members > Wizard…, or by invoking the _AecsMemberStyleWizard command.


The Structural Member Wizard is a handy, dialog-driven utility that prompts you for the appropriate dimensional parameters for various types of concrete, steel or wood shapes, then generates a Structural Member Shape and Style for you to use. You can see the available options in the images below for concrete…

…steel…

…and wood.


Let’s assume that our project is in the Schematic Design Phase, and we have managed to get the structural engineers to commit to using W14’s for the columns. We do not know the exact size for any of the columns, but the engineers have allowed that the largest column would be a W14x99. For schematic purposes, we want to make certain that our column enclosures can handle both the widest and deepest section, so we will use the Structural Member Wizard to create a “composite” structural member that combines the flange width of the W14x99, 14.656”, with the depth of the the W14x82, 14.31”, rounded up in case the final calculations sneak in a larger member or two. Our schematic column will have the following parameters:

A – Depth: 14.5
B – Flange Width: 14.75
C – Web Thickness: 0.625
D – Flange Thickness: 1.00
E – Weld Radius: 0.75

Start up the Structural Member Wizard and choose the Steel Wide Flange (I) option on “page” 1 of 3.

Select Next > to move to page 2 of 3, and enter the data noted above.

Select Next > and enter a style name, like “W14-Schematic” on page 3 of 3, then select Finish.


The Wizard then creates both a Structural Member Shape Definition and a Structural Member Style called “W14-Schematic”, ready for you to use.

Comic Relief

For those of you out there in the architectural profession who may be taking your job just a little too seriously, this site may help rebalance your outlook. At the very least, you may get a chuckle or two.

Thanks go out to Bryan L. Myers, in the AUGI ADT/ABS "Watering Hole" Forum for the link, in the "What they don't teach you in Architecture School" thread.

August 13, 2006

ADT Schedule Feature Resources

Here are some links to various resources that can help you understand the Scheduling Feature of ADT/ACD-A. Some are from some time back, so the specifics for more current releases may be slightly different, but all have something to offer. Do not forget to check out the ADT/ACD-A Help, too.

Brain Dumps 13, Schedule Basics and 15, Creating Schedule Tags, by Matt Dillon
Grab these from Chris Yanchar's Between the Walls ADT Weblog
or go to the original threads that were the basis of the Brain Dumps:
Brain Dump 13, Schedule Basics
Brain Dump 15, Creating Schedule Tags
9/1/2008 Update: The links to the Brain Dumps in Chris' blog appear to be dead, so you will have to go to the original threads.

Brain Dump 13, Schedule Basics, updated for ADT 2006
This is an update of Matt Dillon's classic, based on ADT 2006 means and methods.

Property Data Enhancements, by Scott Arvin
This "must read" covers the "new" property types that were added in ADT 2004, including formula properties.

NOTE: AUGI now has "levels" of membership, and access to the AUGI Training Program (ATP) materials is not part of the free membership level. In order to have access to the ATP materials noted below, you will have to join at one of the paid levels.

ATP071 Schedule Basics Course Materials, by David Koch
If you are a member of AUGI [its free], you have access to archived AUGI Training Program course materials. Download the materials for ATP071, which can be found by logging into the AUGI website and, from the Home page, clicking on the following links:
Education > AUGI Training Program > Archived ATP Courses
Scroll down to April, 2005 and download the course materials for ATP071. Then visit the archived Course Forum [click on the link] and look for the "Formula Property Exercise" thread. Download the supplemental exercise on formula properties that is attached to my first post in that thread.

Not an AUGI member yet? Sign up here.

ATP121 ADT Formula Properties Course Materials, by David Koch
This course was offered in June, 2006, and is also available in the ATP Archives.

Autodesk University 2007 - AB114-4 Get Fully Equipped in AutoCAD® Architecture Session Materials
Details on how to access the session handout and sample files can be found in this blog article.

Here are some previous articles in my blog, related to the Schedule Feature, that you may have missed:
11/25/2004 - Autodesk Architectural Desktop Tags
12/21/2004 - Overriding A Property Value Using A Formula
12/22/2004 - Clustering Spaces Within a Unit in a Space Schedule
12/24/2004 - Electrical Device Schedule Using Clustering
01/12/2005 - "Unformatted" Properties for Formulas
01/29/2005 - VBScript Operators for Formula Properties
03/21/2005 - ADT 2006 Tags Illustrated
04/03/2005 - Formula Property Interface Improved in ADT 2006
04/19/2005 - Scale-Dependent Tags in ADT
07/03/2005 - Structure/Flow in Formula Properties: If/Then/ElseIf/Else Construct
07/04/2005 - Multi-Line Room Name Formula Improvements
07/09/2005 - Multi-Line Room Name Formula Revisited
07/09/2005 - Structure/Flow in Formula Properties: Select Case Construct
07/16/2005 - Unformatted Properties and Numeric Precision
07/16/2005 - WxH Formula For Windows
08/03/2005 - Schedule Column Loss in "Old" Drawings
08/31/2005 - Rounding Up Property Data Values
08/31/2005 - Rounding Revisited
09/03/2005 - Rounding Redux
09/15/2005 - Rounding to Death
09/24/2005 - Scale-Dependent Tag Tools in ADT 2006
11/02/2005 - Filtering Objects in an ADT Schedule
11/14/2005 - Dealing with NA in Formulas
12/13/2005 - Sorting Schedules by Door Numbers with Suffixes
12/20/2005 - Underline in Tag But Not in Schedule
12/24/2005 - Schedule Table Placeholders
12/28/2005 - Schedule Basics Brain Dump for 2006
01/04/2006 - Residential Door Tags
01/12/2006 - Sorting Character Strings Like Numbers
01/14/2006 - Sorting Character Strings Like Numbers Image
01/14/2006 - Richard Binning: Auto Tagging With VBA
01/15/2006 - Door/Window Assembly Frame Depth in Window Schedule
01/25/2006 - Using System Variable Values in Formula Properties
01/28/2006 - Formatting Areas and Volumes in Schedules Using Drawing Setup
02/03/2006 - Underline in Tag But Not in Schedule II
03/11/2006 - Enhanced Property Data Features in ADT 2007, Part 1 [visibility and order]
03/21/2006 - Enhanced Property Data Features in ADT 2007, Part 2 [anchor and graphic properties]
03/24/2006 - Enhanced Property Data Features in ADT 2007, Part 3 [unit type]
03/31/2006 - Enhanced Property Data Features in ADT 2007, Part 4 [list definition]
04/08/2006 - Enhanced Property Data Features in ADT 2007, Part 5 [table title and header overrides; formula columns]
04/27/2006 - Stacking Properties in a Schedule Table
05/01/2006 - Using Property Data Formats to Force Real Number Interpretation
05/04/2006 - Retrieving the Door Type of a Door Style
05/23/2006 - Retrieving the Door Type of a Door Style 2
06/10/2006 - Tag for Polyline-based "Rooms"
06/17/2006 - Separating Structural Shape Names in a Complex Structural Member Style
06/24/2006 - Automatically Displaying a Viewport’s Scale
07/29/2006 - Room Name/Number PSD Heads Up in 2007
09/03/2006 - NA in Formulas Revisited
09/09/2006 - List Definitions and Multi-Line Room Names
01/09/2007 - Formula Property VBScript Help
01/10/2007 - List Definitions - Utility to Import/Export
01/20/2007 - Scale-Dependent Schedule Tags in ADT 2006 or 2007
02/16/2007 - Dealing "*Xxx not found*" Location Property Result
03/03/2007 - Adding a New Scale to a Scale-Dependent Block
03/20/2007 - Another Formula Property Override Example
04/01/2007 - ADT 2006 & Prior - Angular Automatic Properties
04/06/2007 - Annotative Tags With Leaders in ACA 2008
04/10/2007 - Multiple-Line Room Tags
04/15/2007 - ACA 2008/ADT 2007: Setting a Different Property Data Format in a Formula Property
04/26/2007 - Revising a Schedule Table Style
06/16/2007 - AU 2007
06/16/2007 - Rounded Values and the Quantity Column
07/01/2007 - Anchor Property Sample
07/25/2007 - Pasting Formulas
12/24/2007 - AB114-4 Class Materials and Webcast
05/01/2008 - Property Set Tools
06/16/2008 - Text Case and the Quantity Column
07/28/2008 - Copy/Paste and Formulas
09/15/2008 - On Error Resume Next
09/16/2008 - Z-Coordinates of Aec Objects
10/27/2008 - Zoom To from Schedule Table Fails
11/15/2008 - Creating Annotative Tags in AutoCAD Architecture
12/19/2008 - Non-Project Door Tag Using Room Number with Prefix and/or Suffix
04/10/2009 - Deleting Property Sets Using the Properties Palette
06/12/2009 - Copying a Schedule Table Between Drawings
08/28/2009 - Another Automatic Property Override Sample
11/25/2009 - ACA Scheduling by "Mark"
12/29/2009 - Space Schedule with Header Rows, sorted by Level and Building/Wing
11/25/2011 - Rounding and Column Totals
02/12/2012 - ACA: Extracting Text from a Style Name
03/27/2012 - ACA 2013 - Grouping and Subtotals in Schedule Tables
06/24/2012 - ACA: Occupancy Load Calculations and Division by Zero
06/26/2012 - ACA: Occupancy Load Calculations with a Column Total
03/26/2013 - ACA 2014: Property Set Defintion Auto-attach