Medeek Wall Plugin


#705

Here is a quote from a review of Nick Sonder’s book on Amazon that parallels some of my own thinking. The reviewer first touched on his use of the book but his final remarks regarding SketchUp and design work really hits home:

This books has a lot of different tips when working with SketchUP. But I have to say, after going through many weeks thinking I was able to use this for production drawings I was sadly mistaken. By time I was able to get everything exported out to Layout, the drawings just did not look good at all. The resolution was way too grainy for my liking. The vector overlay was too bulky and raster was too pixelated. I am sure there is a way to fix this, however the next part made me re-think the whole process. Layout was so slow to regenerate the image. Each time I would pan it would pulse the screen and my workstation grade computer was just not able to do what Layout was requesting of it. My computer and workstation graphics card is not by any stretch old or limited. The thing runs all other software great. This was a huge disappointment…

All around if you are thinking about transition from your existing software to Sketchup Layout I would recommend some hesitation. However, if you want to learn a decent way of putting a Sketchup model together, I do recommend the author’s techniques. I still use them for normal Sketchup use, I just cannot see investing in the time and patience with regards to Layout work. If someone is thinking of transitioning it might be better to look at an actual BIM software and if you are like me Chief Architect seems much more appropriate. I want to love this, because I think Sketchup is by far the most flexible software when it comes to heads up design. You are not stuck in dialog boxes, which for design flow and immersing yourself in the architecture SketchUP is great. I wish Trimble would take a few notes from a software like Chief Architect and simply some of their rules and plop them into Sketchup. I also think if Sketchup spent more time thinking how Architects might use Layout as full production drawings would be great, you really should not have to go through some of these crazy steps to get great drawings from SKUP. It’s just not quite there, and this process does not make it that much smoother.

I’m not wanting to disparage Nick Sonder’s work or his workflow, I think out of anyone his is some of the best. My concern is with Layout and SketchUp itself as an architectural tool. I feel like the plugins are starting to bridge the gap or parametric edge that Chief Architect has had over SketchUp (with a fair distance to go yet). However, the other area we are falling down in is the creation of construction drawings and documents.

I am excited to start work on the automation of this piece of the puzzle and really dig into the Layout API, however at the same time I am genuinely concerned with Layout itself, and how well it functions as the 2D engine underneath the hood. SketchUp’s recent updates to Layout in the last two years/iterations have been tepid at best. We really need a solid 2D drawing environment, something that can go toe-to-toe with AutoCAD. I realize that this is a big ask, but it needs to happen.

I’ve already invested a considerable amount of my time into developing these plugins and I will continue to invest more. I’ve been full time at it since April of this year and rather than work a salary man’s job I chose to pursue this much more interesting path (we will see whether this was foolish on my part in the months to come).

As I continue to develop these plugins I think it will not only benefit myself and the designers who use the software but also SketchUp itself as more architects, engineers, designers, contractors and draftsmen are able to utilize SketchUp as their primary design tool. The work I do, as well as others like PlusSpec and John Brock to name a few, is helping put SketchUp on the map in the architectural design world. We are helping pull users of other design software, such as Revit and Chief Architect, and converting them to SU. We are trying to do our part.

It is now up to SketchUp to boost the Layout development and do their part. We need a world class 2D engine. Without it, we can’t compete, it doesn’t matter how good my 3D models are, they have to translate into construction documents, and it has to be seamless and effortless and a joy to use. Unless Layout is brought up to par I will be forced to go alternative routes such as exporting floor plans to DXF etc… This is really not the route I want to go but right now I am seriously considering it.


#706

I’m adding two extra parameters which will allow an extension of the bottom of the stringer as shown in the detail below:

This detail was taken from literature for LVL stringers. Notice the use of framing anchors to help bear some of the vertical load.

I prefer to extend the landing back to catch the full bearing of the stringer but I guess there are some situations where additional headroom is needed or other configurations where this method of stringer support is optimal.


#707

First look at the stringer extend option with its associated notch:

You can also enable the thrust block with the extension/notch but I don’t really see the point to doing that, it only further weakens the stringer at its point of bearing.

I’m thinking I should probably extend the side spacer down all the way until it meets the landing/notch, unless there is a good reason not to.

Also I’ve been reviewing all of the html menus and there are quite a few places where I am displaying
or requiring input in inches and it would be nice to also display the same dimension in ft-in. (fractional), I am looking at this now.


#708

Version 0.9.9s - 12.06.2018

  • Added two parameters in the stair module to allow for extended stair stringers.
  • Draw and Edit Wall menus now display wall height in feet and inches (fractional) when using an imperial units template.
  • Added the action: “Regen Wall Assembly” in the context menu for all wall assemblies.

I’ve also gone ahead and enabled the feet-inches dimensions for other applicable dimensions within the global settings tabs (Walls, Door, Windows, Stairs).


#709

Here is a first look at the updated draw wall tool with a temporary dimension enabled:

I think it came out alright, however I can change up a number of parameters to improve the aesthetics if there is call for it. The parameters for the temp. dimension currently are:

Extension Line: 18"
Dim Line: 12"
Ext. Line Offset: 1.5"
Dim Color: 0000FF
Text Color: 0000FF
Text Size: 14pt
Text Font: Arial
Arrow Width: 3"
Arrow Length: 7"
Line Weight/Width: 1


#710

For the color of the text and dimension lines I’ll go with: rgb #447088

https://www.color-hex.com/color/447088

It’s kind of a muted green-blue. Eventually I will make the color configurable for the user.


#711

What I really need to do is enable some additional options in the global settings for construction dimensions:

Color: RGB value

Endpoints: Closed Arrow / Tick

Text Size: 14 Pts default

Also the ability to enable or disable them.

The color will also apply to other temporary dimensions and graphics utilized in the wall move and opening move tools, as well as the upcoming stretch wall tool.

I think it is imperative that I allow the user to set the color so that they can find an appropriate color to work well in their particular style. It would be very bad if the dimension color and the background color were too close and the user could not distinguish between them.


#712

Version 0.9.9t - 12.09.2018

  • Enabled temporary (construction) dimensions for wall panels in the Draw Wall tool.
  • Added a section in the General tab of the global settings for configuring construction dimensions.

I’ve also added the option for closed arrows, open arrows and ticks:

Note the larger text size set to 18PT versus 14PT in the previous to screenshots:

The endpoint, color and text size of the dimensions can be configured in the General tab of the global settings:

Hopefully this is flexible enough for most users. Alternatively you can also turn off the construction dimensions if you would rather not have them displayed.


#713

Figured I might as well add construction dimensions to the beam and stair modules:


#714

Tutorial 7 - Stairs (23:19 min.)

Unfortunately there is just too much information to convey regarding this new module and the video doesn’t really dive deep enough into all of the details and options, but hopefully this will be enough of a primer for getting started with stairs.

I also discuss the new wall isolation concept in some detail in this video.


#715

For CMU I actually use two textures/materials to simulate the look and feel of CMU brick. One for the vertical faces and one for the faces normal to the vertical (horizontal faces). I could add a couple parameters in the materials tab of the global settings which allows the user to select their own material for these two face orientations for the CMU framing option.


#716

As many of you know I am currently programming the plugins full time (ie. its my only income). As such my wife and I sat down yesterday to review the progress made on the plugins in the last year and our prospects moving forward into 2019. As I have previously mentioned I will be re-assessing my pricing and licensing as we bring the Wall plugin out of BETA.

As much as I detest subscription licensing that seems to be the direction I need to be going otherwise I will not be able to keep working on the plugins full time. I am not a huge fan of any form of subscription licensing, I prefer to BUY a product not lease or rent it. This is why I have remained at odds with going to this form of licensing even though it does make financial sense and would give me more stability and resources to continue further with the development.

I guess my biggest issue with subscription licensing is that if your subscription lapses then you are essentially locked out of any of your previous work/projects. I can totally understand the frustration with something like this, for many including myself it is a deal breaker.

After pondering this problem with this form of licensing it occurred to me that maybe one could set it up in such a way that all of the editing and misc. functionality of the plugin is retained even when the license has lapsed however the ability to draw new geometry (assemblies) would be limited. In other words you could still use the plugin to edit existing walls, beams, stairs, windows doors etc… However you would not be able to draw new elements or assemblies unless the license was active.

Let me know if such a compromise with regards to adopting subscription licensing would be acceptable.


#717

Short answer. I hate subscriptions. That and bloated software are what pushed me away from Autodesk. What’s wrong with the Sketchup Model? You buy the software and pay for the maintenance. If the user decides to stay put they can as long they like. Eventually they will have to deal with compatibility issues and miss out on new features but they get to continue using what they paid for. This seems like the fairest model to me.


#718

I will say that I am still very much on the fence on this. Comments like yours lead me to believe that subscription licensing is bad but at the same time how to keep pressing forward? I am taking all things into consideration and will not be making this decision lightly or even into the next couple of weeks. If I do make the move to subscription licensing there is probably no going back so I will take a few weeks and look this over very carefully.


#719

At the end of the day you have to provide financial security for you and your family. If what you’re selling is compelling enough people will complain but get on board.

I think it’s for more important that you get your demographics right. Who’s your audience and are there enough of them that are serious?

I had so much more written about this yesterday but deleted it. I feel like I know a little about what your doing because I have personally drawn thousands of schematic truss and framing plans in the real world. I still do.

But look at Vali Architects he is all subscribers and seems to make it work.


#720

Completely and wholly depends on price. If it’s priced correctly (i.e. cheap enough to not hit your financial conscience) then I have no issue with subscriptions. But if it’s Autodesk levels of subscription then it’s a big no go (as they say, at least Dick Turpin wore a mask). From your point of view it’s likely the only way to go to make it sustainable. Paying a one-off is great but then you have no continual income at your end, just a one-off hit at the start.

As mentioned Vali seem to make it work but then I’m pretty sure he has his architectural practice which pays him enough on it’s own. The PlusSpec boys are also builders/designer (but not Architects) and also which helps them pay for their day to day. Have you thought about offering your modelling services to supplement the plugin development? There’s always call for good modellers (I’m assuming you are). Split your time 50/50, slightly slow plugin development speed and get some other income…another option would be to contact Trimble and offer your services to them (ala Tom Tom et al, or was he head hunted? Either way he’s there). These type of plugins as native commands within SU are really where development needs to go if Trimble want to take it from what many see as a hobby product (ouch) to something that could kick Revit and (finally) AutoCAD into the weeds, or at least in the nuts

One comment I’d make on your plugins is that they seem extremely comprehensive, perhaps almost too comprehensive if I’m honest. I’m an AutoCAD (grrrr), SketchUp and Revit user. I’ve tried your well plugin BETA and it’s superb but (even compared to Revit) there are a bewildering amount of variables and settings. Have you thought about simplifying them?


#721

Why not offer both options? (like Office 365 vs. standalone license)

Set your pricing so that the subscription is clearly a better deal (plus lower upfront cost), but leave the buying option available for those who hate subscriptions.

That way, at least some percentage of your income would be recurring — and the purchases would be periodic higher-margin revenue injections.

You don’t want to turn off customers because of an overly-rigid business model, but I understand the need to make it sustainable for you to be able continue development.