October 19, 2009

Plotting Out Consultant Sheets

Plotting Out Consultant SheetsA few rules I like to follow when plotting out consultant sheets are as follows: 1) Plot out pdf's in color when layed out in Plotmaker/Layout Book (so that line weights come through) and 2) Plot out plt's from plotflow (open directly with plotflow by right clicking and use "open with" - MAC and PC have this option - this option alone saves you time from having to lay it out in your layout book, so if you can ask your consultants to send you plt's along with the pdf's, do so)

Note: These rules of course are settings used based on a particular HP DesignJet Plotter... so it may work differently on other brands and/or models.

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August 20, 2009

Plotmaker 9 File Does Not Open

Plotmaker 9 File Does Not OpenNow, in a case where you simply cannot open an .lbk file for whatever reason, it does not mean that you have completely lost everything. You will however need to spend a little time recovering your plotmaker file. Two things to do before you undergo this process, are:

  1. Restart you computer and see if that helped
  2. Try opening your "PlotMaker Layout Book Backup File" (a duplicate of your main plotmaker file)
So if none of the two methods mentioned above works, use this as your last resort:
start a new/blank layout book and import views from your corrupted .lbk file using the import command. You may have to re-link view sets to the corresponding .pln file but its better than nothing and starting from scratch.

July 26, 2009

Export To DWG From ArchiCAD

Export To DWG From ArchiCADI will probably add more info on this topic in the future but for now I would like to record and share with you a recent experience that could end up saving you some valuable time when exporting your ArchiCAD drawings to DWG format. I recently had to coordinate some drawings with a consultant that used AutoCAD. Taking note of what AutoCAD version they are using is very important because you will have several options to export your drawings from ArchiCAD. Once this is all settled on your export preferences... make sure that your current view that you are about to export to DWG has all layers "unlocked". You have to make sure that none of your layers are locked as this may be a serious issue for AutoCAD users on their end and may result in a lot of unnecessary back and forth email exchanges.

June 27, 2009

Problems Generating ArchiCAD Elevations

I have ran into a few circumstances where my exterior elevations do not want to generate or rebuild... for this problem I have used a simple procedure which works 99% of the time:

  • slightly slide the marker cutline
  • if you have shadows turned on, adjust the sun settings by a bit
  • do a combination of method 1 and 2
  • rebuild elevation from model and it should work
Home this helps.

June 14, 2009

The Architectural Calculator

The Architectural CalculatorEver find yourselves needing a calculator tailored for architects? Well, archCalc is a nifty construction calculator designed to run as a standalone calculator or alongside with other programs. What I like most about this calculator is that you can have archCalc float above other programs allowing anyone to use it while viewing your other documents. Pretty handy if you don't have multiple screens or just need it to be visible while viewing your CAD software or spreadsheet etc... archCalc runs on Windows and Macs and is free to use with minor limitations and even if you wanted to purchase it, it does not cost much. I highly recommend it to people using CAD.

May 25, 2009

Virtual Building Explorer

Virtual Building ExplorerI saw this posted a few months back on Graphisoft, a new way of presenting/sharing designs modeled in ArchiCAD! I have to be honest, I was impressed by some of its features and abilities. I speak of Graphisoft's "Virtual Building Explorer" for ArchiCAD. You can see a tour of this new product through this link. VB Explorer (Virtual Building Explorer) has the tools necessary for any CAD person to deliver interactive 3D presentations to clients, consultants and/or design team members. Here are some of the key features I found to be useful in VB Explorer based on the tour:

  • VB Explorer files are stand-alone (anyone who recieves them do not need to install anything).
  • VB Explorer allows on the spot measuring tools.
  • VB Explorer gives viewers the opportunity to view it how they want to (easily switch from cartoon/sketch mode to realistic mode to solid lines mode or a combination of the available view modes.
  • VB Explorer retains important 3D data, which can be instantly called upon when desired.

What really impressed me was the fact that I can save my models as a VB Explorer file and send it to someone without worrying about how the recipient will be able to open the file/s! I mean, take PDF for example.....it is pretty mainstream now... but you still need a PDF reader of some sort. Sure some OS systems have built-in apps to open such files but when it comes to complex model files using BIM... where does one start? VB Explorer files open on their own which reduces the amount of time it takes to explain to consultants or clients how to open the files. How about for the CAD people themselves? Imagine not having to try to navigate through the model using ArchiCAD's 3D navigation tools which where specifically designed for 3D modeling but instead being able to navigate through your model through a system specifically designed for viewing.

Ultimately, ArchiCAD users would want all these functions built-in and in one monster ArchiCAD program. Until that actually happens, VB Explorer offers some nifty tools for those looking for a solution at present times. I recommend checking out the tour videos to get a feel of the product and if you want more, Graphisoft offers a free trail version. All this can be found on the links I provided earlier. The pictures do not do it justice.

August 4, 2008


under development.. stay tuned.