Automatic Component Quantity in LO Labels


#1

Description of Issues/Problem to Solve: I use SU to perform detailed design for structural steel and LO to create fabrication drawings. I LOVE components because I use a lot of common connection plates and other repetitive items. In creating my fabrication drawings, I always have to check my model for the number of instances of the components and that number is hard coded into my LO label. This is not a problem until I have to go back and make tweaks to my SU model based on customer feedback which results in a quantity change (this happens a lot). If I don’t remember to go back and find that plate in my fab drawings I end up with too many or too few plates. This is the problem. I have checked out dynamic components, but that doesn’t have a “Count” attribute or similar capability. Maybe I am missing something obvious, but I can’t find any way to integrate components quantity into a Layout label automatically. Reports are a great way to get a macro summary, but our organization does everything (procurement, production planning, etc.) off issued shop drawings. Please help!

Feature Request: Add a “count” or #ofInstances" attribute to components that can be easily referenced in Layout for use in labels in fabrication drawings.


#2

I have asked for something similar in other forums. My background is in AutoCad where we would put a TAG block on every door, window, cabinet, etc. A TAG could be a data list of as many details as you want and you can show or hide whichever details you choose. You can copy and paste a TAG to duplicate instances of components. Then build a parts list from all the TAGs that updates when you add or subtract them.

So it seems like this could easily be done with the information in SketchUp components. I would think that the #ofInstances count would be built into a parts list function, (or components list), built into Layout. I wouldn’t want to add each number to into the attributes of each component.

I have never used cutting list extensions in SketchUp. Do any of them cover this functionality?


#3

A block with certain attributes all ready to go.

You do not need a “block” (which is a component) in SketchUp.

SketchUp has attribute dictionaries, which can be attached to any entity (even non-visible entities like the Layers collection.) Every entity can have a dictionaries collection, with any number of dictionary objects attached.

So you can attach your custom dictionary, directly to your door component definition or to only certain of it’s instances that have been added to the model.

For example, the Dynamic Components extension attaches it’s custom dictionary to component definitions and instances, making them “dynamic” (within the operational limits of the extension’s dynamism.)

But the SketchUp interface does not come “out-of-the-box” with a custom attribute dictionary editor. And the Pro edition’s DC “Component Attributes” dialog is crafted to interface only with the DC extension’s dictionaries.

You’ll need to install a 3rd party extension to create and edit your custom dictionaries.
EW search on “attribute”: http://extensions.sketchup.com/en/search/site/attribute

Now we diverge from AutoCAD or whatever CAD, … in SketchUp so far, all attributes are hidden, and are simple data kept in the value field of the dictionary. They are not assumed to be text, like in CAD. (To see them, use one of the attribute editor / inspector plugins.)

I think this is fine for SketchUp which is the “model space” of the SketchUp / LayOut family.

But I have long advocated that LayOut get flexible attributes like CAD has. (We decide which are hidden, locked, visible, etc.) Some are used for under the hood data manipulation, some are used to visibly enhance the drawing.

But LayOut also needs a report generator to leverage attribute data, as well as a “live” API for plugins. (The LO API was only just introduced last cycle, and is not yet a “live” API. It can only be used to work on files.)


#4

Exactly. Enter the data in the model, control its visibility in LayOut, even if it is hidden in the model.

The big mechanical programs – Solidworks, Inventor, etc. – let you tag, (sometimes called balloons since the arrows with circles on the end look like balloons), assembly parts to build your Bill of Materials in the drawing. It’s a big improvement over doing it all in Model Space. Autodesk programs now let you insert QR Codes into drawings to link to a digital parts list, inventory control, whatever.

B’sOM were the first thing I thought about when access to attributes showed up in LayOut’s Labeling command. It seems like a simple next step, though I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to programming.


#5

Thank you all for the comments and interest. Here is an image to help better explain the problem. Sketchup already counts the number of instances of the component in the model (so the information already exists), but Layout cannot seem to access this information. My request is for a simple autotext field (similar to “ComponentDefinition>”) that pulls this information from SketchUp into Layout so that I don’t have to run a separate report or manually input the number of instances. Make sense?


#6

Hi Dan,

the attributes-helper extension is a great plugin to get CSV info of the ComponentAtributes , do you know if there is a plugin that works the other way around?
I am currently working with a lot of Components wich I would like to update ‘all in once’ (pricing,naming,description,etc) I can export these attributes and build a database ,but it would be great if I can alter them in the database and then import it back to the Components in SketchUp.
thanx in advance


#7

Not offhand, no. (But there may be, check the Extension Warehouse.)