Medeek Wall Plugin


#425

Version 0.9.0d - 08.09.2018

  • Added logic so that callouts for stacked windows are properly cascaded.

Note that there is still an issue with stacking windows in the full framing mode. The plugin will not throw any errors (within the ruby console) but I will need to add some additional logic to properly frame up the cripple studs between windows, if any are required. Also the algorithm for the trimmer studs will require some modifications.

Initially I did not foresee stacked windows but they do seem to be quite common so they have become a high priority.

View model here:


#426

I have updated the title and on my web page to show that the extension is still in BETA. Even though a lot of progress has been made, I am of the opinion that I am still a little ways off before I can confidently say the plugin is ready for production work.

I am hoping to wrap up some major items in the next couple of weeks and hopefully this will get us to Version 1.0.0 and the official release.


#427

Looking at this screenshot one would think I am attempting to edit a wall panel however if you look a little closer you will notice that I am actually drawing a wall panel:

The HTML draw menu (Graphical UI Option) is almost ready to release. I have a bit more testing to do and some additional javascript logic to add to the HTML itself and then I think it will ready for prime time.

I think everyone will find this is a much quicker and easier way to create wall panels than the legacy (non-GUI) method. However, for those who prefer the old menu system that will still be available by setting the graphical UI option in the global settings (General tab) to “NO”.

The other upside will be the ability to select from your presets rather than having to edit the wall panel after the fact.

Pressing the spacebar will exit out of the draw wall menu and tool, as is usual for SketchUp tools.

Pressing the ESC key on Windows will exit the current wall panel polyline and allow the user to start a new series of wall panel(s).

Clicking the Update button will update the draw tool with the parameters shown in the menu and allow the user to change things up mid-stream during the creation of wall panel(s).

I am hoping that this will be a big usability improvement for the plugin and make it quite a bit more efficient.


#428

I’m afraid i only read the last few hundred posts (!) but i noticed in earlier ones that you are using a grid on the ground plan to align walls to.
Can you use guidelines instead of grids - or adjust the grids? (like the Levels in Revit)?


#429

Absolutely, you don’t need to use grids or guidelines, I just find them to be helpfully in laying out a floor plan to a standard 1ft. increment. The grid is generated by the grid plugin, available in the Ext. Warehouse (free).


#430

Version 0.9.1 - 08.15.2018

  • Added an HTML “Draw Wall” menu option. This is toggled in the global settings with the Graphical UI parameter.

I would actually consider this a critical update since the improvements with this new menu system almost make this a completely new plugin. Please upgrade to this latest release at your earliest convenience. If further testing proves that this is the best way to go I will probably devise a similar system for drawing windows and doors.

Using an HTML menu allows for much more complexity and control (ie. javascript) as well as tooltips and other cool features such as SVG graphics.


#431

Sorry if this has been asked before, but is there a way for me to add my own material textures to the pop-up menu of wall cladding materials?


#432

By the way, I decided to try out the plug-in on a real project this past month or so. Being just a carport with a roof deck, it’s just a rectangle with 4 walls and one floor. It seemed perfectly small in scope for a first run. Want to see any of the results?


#433

The plugin should allow you to select (in the drop down select) from any materials that are defined in the model.

Alternatively I would like to create my own material library/editor within the plugin for defining materials etc…


#434

Absolutely, please post images/models I would love to see how the plugin was utilized in a real project.


#435

I’ve got a lot of things on my plate right now (plugin development and other unrelated items) but as I’ve been communicating with various parties today regarding the current functionality of the plugin it would appear that a common theme is the ability to better manage and apply materials.

With that being said I’ve decided to develop my own material manager (within the global settings of the plugin). The user will be able to easily add, edit and delete materials. A material can be either a color or image based material. For an image based material the user will be able to specify the image (upload to library) and then specify the scaling (horz and vert). For a color based material the color can be set with a palette picker or RGB code. Additional customization (ie. transparency) can be accomplished via the standard SU material dialogs/tools.

This will allow the user to setup commonly used materials and have those populate the various drop downs in the draw and edit menus of the plugin.

Initially I wanted to go the SKM route but this has some serious backward compatibility problems so I’ve since abandoned that idea.

Currently the wall cladding drop down allows for the selection of any material currently defined within the model however this methodology is flawed in that it becomes too cluttered with materials that the user probably does not care to utilize for the wall geometry.

I may also incorporate some sort of flag system so that the user can specify which custom material will appear in which drop down field (ie. sheathing or cladding or both). I will need to give this some additional thought.

There will still exist some standard materials that are hard coded into the plugin and cannot be removed (ie. OSB, Plywood etc…) The idea being that some users may not want to spend the time defining a custom library and just want some standard materials right out of the box.

I think I’ve nailed down most of the details on how this will all go together but any suggestions or thoughts are always helpful.


#436

On a slightly different note I am very curious as to how the plugin(s) are actually being utilized. I rarely see posts with good examples of the plugin(s) in action. My most recent call for projects on the boards did not have a very large response so I often wonder if people are actually using these plugins as I intended, or do they just get purchased and then put off to the side.

In order to spur some interest I am considering offering a cash prize (and additional time added to any plugin licenses) or some other similar prize/reward and possibly make it into some form of a contest. My idea being a contest where you can submit a project (one per person/firm) and then have a community vote to determine the winner. Each submittal would consist of five images or some similar sort of criteria.

I would post a permanent page on my website highlighting the winners/contestants so it might also server as an advertising vehicle for some as well.

It would also serve as a form of advertisement for the plugins as well since it would showcase their capabilities and utilization in actual projects.

I’m not a rich man (yet) so I was thinking of starting out with a $100 cash prize, with future such contests hopefully garnering even more interest and then being able to up the stakes considerably.

At this point it’s just an idea, thoughts? Is there any interest?


#437

OK, well, I put up an example in my gallery thread here. A carport with an option to become a full garage.


#438

How would you call out a entrance door with sidelights?

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Feather-River-Doors-63-5-in-x-81-625-in-Rochester-Patina-1-2-Lite-Unfinished-Smooth-Right-Hand-Fiberglass-Prehung-Front-Door-w-Sidelites-873191-3A4/203126132

Along that same vein here is a schematic of how the single and double side lites for doors will be calculated:

Rather than provide doors with side lites as a new type of door I will probably just make side lites an additional option for existing doors.

Switching a door from RH to LH will move a single side lite to the same side as the door knob, this seems to be the most common configuraton. Of course a door with a double side lite will be symmetrical and it doesn’t matter on the door handedness.


#439

I’m not a user of the Medeek products yet but am considering a purchase (the purchase price is insignificant to a professional firm, by the way - the cost and risk of shifting our workflow to incorporate this new tool is the primary concern, as well as the reliability of the tool once implemented). I’d probably use it first on a small personal project to test it.

I’m really curious who you see your target market is for this software and how they would be using it?

A few of my thoughts (based on my local design/building industry which may work differently to North America):

Builders and Suppliers - to help quantify materials? (i don’t personally know of any builders who use 3d modelling software) - Some truss and frame makers might make good use of- their main output would be detailed schedules and cut lists.
Architectural Designers - to visualise a structure - we don’t care too much about details like branded wrap, but we do design a lot of bespoke junction details which are very difficult to automate. I don’t even bother showing framing in walls any more (a thick black line with the notation: Standard timber frame, studs @ 400mm centres" is adequate.)
Architectural Draftspersons - probably a market that should be using it, but still constrained by LayOut.
Structural Engineers - they hardly care about visuals and want calculations/numbers. Usually need customisations relating to their local engineering code & products.
Hobbyists/DIYers - would love this - but the scale of their projects is small/basic and they wont pay much for the extension.
People who analyse building performance - would need more properties such as thermals, embodied energy, structural specs, etc - probably a different user base although your structural geometry might feed into to IES software? (not my area of specialty).

You mentioned earlier the issue with LayOut - I completely agree this is holding Sketchup back from being a proper architectural tool. The rhetoric from Trimble and some of the sages seems to be that LayOut works just fine and only incremental change is necessary. That makes me think they aren’t seeing SU+LO as a proper competitor for Revit/Archicad and it will remain a ‘concept design’ or hobbyist product only.

Using an extension such as yours would allow more architectural work can be done in SketchUp beyond the concept phase but perhaps the future is in making sure the model is part of a workflow that integrates easily with AutoCAD for documentation/2d drafting??

I would caution adding more and more options and details to the tool (it will never end) before having a very clear idea of market demand. Just my 2c.


#440

Thank-you for an in depth break down of the potential markets for the plugin(s).

Arguably the plugin(s), after further development, will be able to play a role in all of these markets. In fact, if I can pull everything together as I would like to, the 3D model created by the architect/designer will form the basis for the estimating (suppliers/builders) and engineering (structural engineers) modules which can then analyze the model further to pull out the pertinent information.

The LT version of the plugin is to help fill the DIYer market where price does become an issue. I still need to come up with an LT version of the Truss Plugin (roof and floors).

After speaking with some designers and insiders about Layout I am cautiously optimistic that SU and Trimble will be applying more energy in that direction. I would contend that if Layout worked like it should SU+Layout would quickly surpass Revit and other competitors and become the dominant player in the market.

Down the road if Layout still continues to be a bottleneck then I would probably work on a solution that allows the user to export DXFs of floor plans, elevations etc… so that all of the documentation could be completed in AutoCAD if necessary. I’ve been an AutoCAD user for years (and quite a bit of background with AutoLisp) and even now when it comes to generating production drawings I still fall back into my old ways simply because Layout is not quite up to the task in my opinion.

The primary target is residential architects and designers however I’ve also been contacted by a number of pre-fab wall panel companies who are very interested in the plugin and what it can do for them. I’ve also been contacted by estimating companies who are interested in having the plugin generate a bill of materials (CSV) that they can bring into their spreadsheet programs and run with it. There are a number of interested parties who all have their own industries and requirements.

My ultimate goal is to have the architect create the model in SU with the plugins and then this model can then be passed from architect -> engineer -> estimator/supplier -> builder -> owner. Each step along the way the plugin(s) can be utilized with the model to pull specific information from it.

I still have a long ways to go. I’m only now just scratching the surface with the architectural elements and some of these elements are literally plugins within a plugin, so yes the plugin is very deep and the options and details seems endless at times.

One thing I would caution any professional firm interested in using the plugin(s) in their workflow is that before committing to using them and purchasing it would be a good idea to simply test the trial versions first to get a better feel for how they work and whether or not it is a good decision to make the move.

Also realize that all three of the current plugins are works in progress and even though I have spent considerable time and effort at developing them I still do not consider them to be mature products. Hence the continual development and refinement:

http://design.medeek.com/resources/wallpluginchangelog.html

http://design.medeek.com/resources/pluginchangelog.html

I am hoping as I continue to gain traction with what I have created so far that I am able to snow ball my efforts into something even larger than just what one man and a keyboard can create. The amount of programming that will be required to fully implement the engineering module is probably a couple years worth of work for one full time programmer. I am going to need some help with the code but help can get expensive so the speed at which I can accelerate the program is dependent on the uptake. To keep the momentum going I need to keep my foot on the gas, there is no time to twiddle my thumbs and contemplate my market share and other intangibles. I’ve always believed that if you build it they will come.


#441

Version 0.9.1b - 08.16.2018

  • Configured the HTML “Draw Wall” menu to remember the previous settings.

#442

That’s changing, and will change more as software gets easier to use. Builders generally don’t like programs that are difficult to learn or use. Most don’t even want to learn how to draw, but will use a program that ‘does the drawing for you’. See the comments in the comment section of Building Creator Extension.

I believe that is where extensions like this and my Building Creator extension come in. It’s automated drawing for a specific industry. I think the value of building this as an extension to SketchUp rather than a stand alone program like SoftPlan, is that if you come across an edge case that the program doesn’t handle, you can easily draw that part using the native SketchUp tools. Now Nathan’s extensions might soon be so comprehensive that there are no edge cases. :wink:


#443

In the world of large scale projects, I’ve heard of several examples of large contractors getting REVIT and hiring an employee to use it to glean the construction and estimating benefits even where the architect hadn’t used it to begin with.

In June I attended a series of three, 2 hour lectures by Phil Bernstein on the past, present and future of technology in architectural practice. He is reportedly the person responsible for AutoDesk acquiring REVIT, and then was Vice President of the division that developed it at AD. He’s stepped down as VP now, but is still a consultant, and is certainly the master mind behind AD’s over arching grand philosophy and strategy. What Nathaniel is doing with his plugins is what Phil describes as where CAD has progressed, except to his mind with REVIT, they’ve already been there and done that in the 2000’s, and are moving on to whatever the next great disrupter is. I see Nathaniel’s plugins as bringing some of that parametric drawing progress to SketchUp and small practices like mine while REVIT still caters to big firms with deep pockets.


#444

I’m not saying I’m even close to REVIT right now but if I can eventually compete with the likes of REVIT and Chief Architect I will feel like I’ve accomplished something. I’ve only every mucked around with a trial copy of REVIT just to see what all the buzz was about (back in the early 2000’s) and I was pretty much turned off by the overall experience. I’m sure once you have become familiar with that software it is a pleasure to use but I never got that far I guess. I’m hoping the learning curve with this plugin is a lot less daunting. Some decent tutorials and the manual will go a long way in that regard.