Author Topic: Wall Plugin for SketchUp  (Read 16841 times)

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Offline Medeek

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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #375 on: March 09, 2019, 11:14:05 AM »
Version 1.0.7 - 03.09.2019
- Added the ability to generate wall (framing) elevations with the Create Scenes tool of the Medeek Documents module.

You can select the wall panels you want scenes for or click the "Select All" button to automatically grab all of the Medeek wall panels in the model.

This tool is quite basic at the moment but I've set it up so a myriad of options can be added as needed per customer request. 

Note that when you create the scenes you first want to toggle the appropriate layers first in your model (or Scene 1) then create the scenes.  I haven't added any specific logic in for making specific layers visible or invisible yet, but I probably will once I receive a bit more feedback on this feature.

The elevations are obviously shown in parallel projection with the view or "eye" always looking at the exterior side of the wall, so that the start of the wall is always on the left side.

Items for future work include but are not limited to:  floor plans, floor framing plans, roof framing plans, foundation plans, electrical plans etc...

Along with the framing elevations I have requests by a number of users to add in some form of auto-dimensioning of the wall panels.  I will give this further consideration.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #376 on: March 10, 2019, 08:33:23 PM »
Version 1.0.7b - 03.10.2019
- Added the indexing parameter for walls and beams to the General tab of the global settings.



The indexing parameter is the auto-increment variable that determines the enumeration of the wall panels and beams (eg. Wall1, Wall2, Wall3 etc...)

Now you can set this value to any number you choose (must be an integer) or reset it at anytime.

Also note that any wall or beam label can be modified at anytime in the edit menus.

Exposing the indexing parameters to the user just makes it more convenient if for whatever reason you want to start your count over or set it to a specific value.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #377 on: March 12, 2019, 01:40:33 AM »
First look at a framing elevation created with the Scene generator and framing dimensions turned on:



In wall columns and shearwalls will also be auto-dimensioned when the framing dimensions are enabled.

The API does not allow for the setting of fonts, text height and dimension size however one can easily setup their preferred dimension and unit options under the Model Info tab and then the dimensions created by the plugin automatically inherit these settings.

In this example I used the Flux Architect font with the dimension aligned to the dimension line and above it, font size 12 PT.

I will be setting up an additional layer just for framing dimensions so that they can be toggled on/off independent of other callouts and labels.

Also the offset or spacing between dimensions will be able to be set in the global settings.

I will probably need to add a few more dimensions that are not shown in this image (eg. header height, initial stud offset).
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #378 on: March 12, 2019, 06:32:54 AM »
Garage doors and top plate offsets:

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #379 on: March 12, 2019, 12:35:50 PM »
Here is another screenshot showing the inclusion of header callouts (text).  I'm able to set the insertion point of the text and vertically I can adjust it perfectly however there does not seem to be a way to specify the justification of the text (left, right, center) so the user may have to make some minor adjustments as they bring the scenes into Layout:



Note that all of these dimensions and text callouts are being generated automatically by the plugin.  When a wall panel is regenerated or modified the dimensions are updated accordingly.  So any manual modifications will be blown away if you change the wall up.  This of course is good and bad to some extent.

Good because it is fully parametric, bad because manual mods to the auto dimensions will not be retained if the wall is regenerated/modified.

Hopefully this feature will be a time saver for those needing to generate framing plans.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #380 on: March 12, 2019, 03:38:43 PM »
Version 1.0.8 - 03.12.2019
- Enabled auto-dimensioning for wall panels (to be used in conjunction with the Scene Generator for creation of framing elevations).
- Added the Dimension Offset and Framing Dimensions parameters to the General tab of the global settings.
- Added Dimension Layer 4 specifically for auto-dimensions (Layer tab of the global settings).





There is probably quite a bit more to be done here with auto-dimensioning of framing elevations, but at least I've taken an initial crack at it.  We will see what the feedback is from my production builders and component manufacturers and then make any needed course corrections.

The model can get quite cluttered (and ugly to be honest) with all of these dimensions floating about.  If you have layers enabled (which I highly recommend) then you can turn off the dimension 4 layer in the SketchUp layers tray and only toggle them on in the scenes that need to show the framing dimensions.  This will remove the clutter from the scenes that you are primarily working in.

To further increase performance I would actually suggest not enabling the auto-dimensioning until you are at the tail end of your primary design phase then toggle it on in the global settings and regen your wall panels and they will then show all of the framing dimensions.  From there proceed to generate your scenes for the framing elevations.

Some designers prefer to apply their dimensions in Layout rather than bringing them in from SketchUp.  For that reason the Framing Dimension parameter exists and allows one to choose to enable or disable this feature.

I've been receiving a lot of questions on workflow lately and I am hoping to further flesh out the documents module to help automate more of that process.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #381 on: March 13, 2019, 01:18:03 PM »
I've made a few small changes to the icons of the primary toolbar with Version 1.0.8.  Unless you are running 4k resolution (UHD) you will probably not notice any difference or you shouldn't notice any difference.  I need some feedback from both Windows and Mac users to see if my "fix" for the toolbar icons will work.  Once I am assured that it is effective I will proceed to update the rest of the toolbar icons.

See API development thread here:

https://forums.sketchup.com/t/4k-monitors-and-toolbar-icons/90714
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #382 on: March 13, 2019, 06:15:59 PM »
Version 1.0.8b - 03.13.2019
- Updated toolbar icons to be compatible with 4k (UHD) resolution monitors.

I have decided to go with the simpler solution of upscaling the icons by 2x in size rather than switching to SVG and PDF icons.  The toolbar icons should now render properly with 4k (UHD) display devices.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #383 on: March 13, 2019, 09:08:04 PM »
Before I proceed much further with the documents module, specifically with generating scenes for floor plans (and associated auto-dimensioning) I really need to put the project module into place.  This new module will include a tool for assigning project meta data to a model (eg. customer, address, designer/architect, engineer, project title etc...).  Even more importantly this module will include the levels tool which will allow the user to configure various levels/stories for a project. 

In order to properly organize a model the wall panels really should be assigned to a specific level.  Then automating certain tasks will become much easier and logical.

This module will also include a tool/interface for entering in site criteria (engineering!) for the specific job:  Ground snow load, Seismic Data, Basic Wind Speed, Frost line Depth, Soil bearing capacity etc...  Eventually this data will then be utilized by the engineering module to automatically run lateral and vertical calcs on the architectural -> structural model.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #384 on: March 15, 2019, 05:52:23 AM »
The Medeek Project module will actually form a new plugin within the mdkBIM suite.  For now there will be no cost associated with this "add-on" plugin.  I am separating this module out into its own plugin because the features it enables are designed to work with all three plugins rather than just the wall plugin.  I will probably also move the Medeek Estimator into this plugin as well.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #385 on: March 15, 2019, 03:00:05 PM »
Two new plugins that will then bring the total number of the plugins in the mdkBIM suite to five will be:

Medeek Project
Medeek Engineering


The engineering plugin is still a little ways out but the shearwall module (not for calcs but for adding the actual shearwall into the wall panels) will actually be part of the Wall plugin.

Initially I will allow the user to create segmented or perforated shearwalls.  I am actively looking for practicing engineers and engineering firms who would like to become involved a chance to become a development sponsors and be listed in the sponsors section of my plugin pages.  Primarily the role would involve testing and feedback and any additional comments that they feel should be voiced.

I realize that many aspects of the architectural elements and estimating are far from finished and I am not taking my focus off of those in any way however I do want to lay out the template/foundation for where I am hoping to take all of this.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #386 on: March 15, 2019, 10:28:02 PM »
The Shearwall Module icons and toolbar:



A good portion of the necessary code for this module will be borrowed from the Simpson Strong-Wall module with some distinct differences.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #387 on: March 16, 2019, 09:25:12 PM »
Please take a look at the latest Podcast by Aaron (SketchUp) on residential construction:



I agree 100% with John Brock, there is no need to go to Revit, we should be able to design, engineer, estimate and construct a building using only SketchUp
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #388 on: March 17, 2019, 05:10:39 AM »
After listening to Aaron's latest podcast on the state of the residential construction market and how it relates to SketchUp I think I have at least a few points that I would like to add to what has been said.

The residential construction industry has been notoriously slow to change I think many of us can agree on that but I also do see a paradigm shift and the industry appears to be on the the verge of upgrading to the "high tech" world of BIM and 3D modeling like its commercial and industrial cousins already have.

The reason for this shift seems to be three fold in my opinion.  The first reason is that the 2008 financial crisis caused everyone to tighten their belts just a little more.  Methods that worked before were just not good enough anymore.  Further increasing efficiency and eliminating waste became the necessity.  This need for more control of the process requires better models and a better understanding of the actual amounts of materials being used.  As Brock noted, 2D plans only get you so far, they leave a lot of the structure undesigned or unaccounted for.  An accurate 3D model eliminates waste and requires the designer to fully understand and contend with the structure.  Clashes and potential flaws are much easier to identify and fix prior to the actual construction in the field. 

I see a big push by production builders to pre-fab wall panels in a controlled (shop) environment.  This allows for better quality control and also for less skilled laborers since all of the thinking has already been done for them.  Each wall panel has an accurate framing plan associated with it and it is no longer up to the individual carpenter to decide how to build the structure.  The skilled carpenter has and will become a thing of the past.  The new construction laborers will be more like worker bees and less the skilled craftsman they once were.

This brings me to the second reason for the shift.  The upcoming generation (millennials and Gen Z) are less savvy when it comes to the trades and using their hands.  These are the generations raised on Angry Birds and Pokemon Go.  For some reason they seem to lack some of the skill and craftmanship associated with the skilled laborers and carpenters of the past.  Asking them to cut stair stringers and hip rafters/jacks makes their head spin.  This lack of skilled laborers in the field further necessitates the need to further automate the design and build process and take the thinking out of the hands on the job site.

Finally the third biggest reason for the paradigm shift is the moving on of the Baby Boomer generation (the old guard).  Most of the boomer generation saw a major point of inflection at the crisis in 2008 - 2012.  A lot of retirement happened and continues to happen.  Before the crisis even in my own family my Dad was building spec homes in Utah like their was no end in sight.  The crisis completely took the wind out of his sails and even though the housing market has recovered he did not.  At 72 years old he doesn't have the energy or the drive to start over and so has consigned himself to retirement.  I think this same story is not unique to just my family but to many other small and medium builders out there as well.

The industry is now run by my generation (Gen X) and maybe some day by the millennials (perhaps somewhat of a scary thought still).  With the changing of the guard comes new ideas and new methods.  My generation was raised on computers and tech, we are not afraid of bringing this new beast into the workplace and finding ways to leverage it to our advantage.  Working from emails, screens and PDFs come naturally, paper is nice but not a necessity anymore.  Resistance to change will always be there but BIM and other "technological concepts" are far more likely to take hold among this newer generation of construction professionals than the previous one.

So yes, the residential construction industry is on the verge of change in my honest opinion.  In fact, I think many professionals are actively seeking the vehicle of change (eg. Revit, Chief Architect, ArchiCad, AutoCad, SketchUp), based on my many conversations (email and phone) with various players in the field.  Unlike the commercial industry, no single player has taken a firm hold of this market yet, its still too early and the smoke and dust literally has not settled. 

This is why there is such an urgency by myself and other developers (PlusSpec, John Brock, etc...) to try and put together a system(s) which would allow SketchUp to become a significant player in this emerging market.  In the next few years the battle lines will be drawn and someone or something will emerge from the fray to dominate the residential (BIM) design and construction market.  My goal is to make sure that SketchUp is able to capture that prize.  I am hopeful that Trimble/SketchUp can also recognize the seriousness and magnitude of this paradigm shift and their potential role within it.  As such increased development and efforts on improving the performance of Layout will go a long ways in cementing their position of strength within the marketplace.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #389 on: March 26, 2019, 06:45:17 AM »
I've been putting out a few fires the last couple of days and one thing that I would like to provide some clarity on is the current system that handles custom data from the User. 

Specifically I am talking about wall presets, custom materials and custom headers.

Currently this user generated data/settings is stored within the plugin subfolder within the following three sub-folders:  preset, library_mats, library_headers.  Within each of these sub-folders is a simple text file that acts as the database and where all of the parameters are actually stored. 

When the plugin is uninstalled SketchUp deletes the entire plugin subfolder and hence any custom settings stored in these files/folders are removed as well.  The long term solution to this problem is to store this information in a folder that is outside of the plugin folder itself (change up the way the plugin is storing this information).  The short term solution is to simply copy these three sub-folders to a different location (back them up) and then uninstall the existing plugin and then reinstall the new version.  Once the upgrade is complete then you can simple drop the contents of the backed up sub-folders into the plugin sub-folders overwriting the (default) config files and you get all of your wall presets and custom materials and headers back.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #390 on: March 27, 2019, 03:49:32 PM »
Initially the gable wall matrix will look like this:



Since only one gable wall type will be enabled.  It has been nearly six months since I started working on the gable walls and unfortunately it has been quite a bit more complicated and problematic then I originally imagined. 

Gable walls change up almost every aspect of the wall from connections to other walls to trim and wainscoting.  The differences between rectangular walls and odd shaped walls is so drastic that I've basically had to write completely new modules for windows, doors, garage doors, trim, wainscoting, advanced options etc...  its almost like there are two plugins running side-by-side.

To get to all the other gable variants is going to take some serious coding but the leap is less than from the initial leap from rectangular to gable so I am fairly optimistic that it will be manageable.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #391 on: April 01, 2019, 12:42:51 PM »
Version 1.0.9 - 04.01.2019
- Fixed a bug with exterior wainscoting.
- Fixed a bug with midspan blocking and wall presets.
- Added the Shearwall toolbar and icons.

The fix with the midspan blocking and the wall presets is a critical fix if you are using wall presets and I would highly recommend upgrading to this latest version of the plugin.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #392 on: April 03, 2019, 02:24:57 PM »
Version 1.0.9b - 04.03.2019
- Fixed a bug with the data logging module.

Not exactly a critical fix, just another box to check off.  Some of you may have noticed an occasional pop up that warns about an error connecting to the Medeek server.  This fix should resolve that minor annoyance.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #393 on: April 27, 2019, 08:48:14 PM »
Okay, let's try this again.  I've uploaded a new version of 1.1.0 with all the show_modal calls replaced with non-modal calls.  My conclusion is that show_modal is a complete disaster when using macOS, realistically one can only use non-modal html menus.  I'm just hoping now that this does not somehow create issues for users in Windows.  I don't think it will based on my limited testing thus far.

If it does then I simply add some logic which switches to non-modal html menus if macOS is detected.   However, I would rather that the plugin behaves in a similar fashion for both operating systems.

Please re-download Version 1.1.0 and let me know what you get.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2019, 09:22:03 AM by Medeek »
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #394 on: May 22, 2019, 03:19:06 PM »
SketchUp Essentials latest video:

Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #395 on: June 19, 2019, 11:32:40 AM »
Version 1.1.1 - 06.19.2019
- Corrected the code for raising and logging exceptions.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #396 on: June 25, 2019, 08:01:14 PM »
Version 1.1.2 - 06.25.2019
- Fixed an HTML/javascript bug with the wall edit menu (specific to Internet Explorer).
- Fixed an HTML/javascript bug in the General tab of the Global Settings (specific to Internet Explorer).

These two fixes were prompted by problems being encountered by users of SketchUp 2015.  I haven't quite decided yet but I will probably end support for SU 2015 and 2016 in the very near future as I have already done with the Truss plugin.  At some point the effort to maintain compatibility with older versions of SketchUp is no longer feasible or profitable.

If you are a registered or even trial version user of the plugin and still using SU 2015 or SU 2016, please contact me so that I can get a better feel for how many users are still requiring this compatibility.
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Re: Wall Plugin for SketchUp
« Reply #397 on: August 16, 2019, 12:39:01 PM »
Excellent live modeling session by Aaron this afternoon:



After spending quite some time modeling this very simple structure it quickly becomes clear to me why extensions are so important. 

I am hoping to get the gable and shed walls out shortly to close that gap.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, P.E.
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