William Sutherland


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Some 2D drawing techniques...

One of the pleasures of using Allplan is the excellent range of 2D drawing tools available...
Please note Allplan 2006 only uses the Advanced Point Entry which supersedes some of the described methods below - revision to follow once 2006 released.
Introduced in Allplan 2003 the Advanced Point Entry was optional.

Trim lines to element Trim Lines to element - Available from 'Modify->Draft' tools.
Although fairly straightforward for single lines there is no Help guidance on how to use it with multiple lines.
The trick is to select the whole line - thus you need to use one of the multiple selection techniques available in Allplan e.g. the 'Open Brackets' feature (a shortcut is to right-click in empty workspace) or draw a selection box or 'fence' around the lines to be trimmed - or what can be very effective (if you remember to turn it off after using it!) is the filter assistant tool 'Select elements intersected by...' rather than the default setting of 'Select elements fully bounded by...'
Once you have selected your multiple lines to be lengthened or shortened Allplan asks you to indicate the reference line and then asks for 'an additional point' - this seems to be the part of the lines you want to keep but I would experiment this with as I sometimes get unexpected results.
(diagram when time allows)
Update September 2004 Although this command has been improved to allow trimming to a 'virtual' line - there is a bug that causes any line trimmed to an arc to extend to meet the arc at both ends of the line. Still there in Allplan 2005.

More uses of command interrupts - you can save a lot of time by using tools and tool assistants which 'interrupt' the main command and allow input of measurements or other operations...
Here I am drawing a window frame in 2D plan - the opening is already drawn (see note at end of example for information on orientation) and the problem is to draw a frame 100 mm thick and the front face of the frame must be 150mm (0.15m) from the outside face of the wall...

Rectangle Click the 'Rectangle' tool and then the...
Offset by Line 'Offset by Line' assistant...
Click on one side of the plan opening - if the arrow indicator does not find the correct corner first time move it by snapping to the point - then enter 150 mm (0.15 m) into the Point assistant Delta offset entry that has appeared onscreen...
(Above) A window opening in plan - the projecting cill shows the outside wall face (Above) The orange indicator produced by use of the 'Offset by line' tool assistant
Press 'Return' to enter the offset value and the Rectangle command reappears with a rectangle anchored to the (here) top right corner and 'rubber banding' a rectangle as you move the cursor around. If you look in the main command line (the line that gives you prompts) you will notice that Allplan is now prompting 'Place a diagonally opposite point or enter the length'. Type in -100 (or -0.1 if working in metres) and press 'Return' - it has to be negative because we want the offset to be left of the anchor point...
Now (Right) you can see that the box is constrained in the 'x' direction but still 'rubber bands' in the 'y' direction.
Allplan now prompts you for the 'y' value with... 'Place a point or enter the width' - here the simplest way to complete the rectangle is to use a 'snap' to just connect to the other side of the window.
(Above) After entering the offset the Rectangle tool becomes active again with the top right corner anchored to the position established by use of 'Offset by line' (Above) After entering the 'x' dimension of the rectangle the box is now constrained in one direction - snap to the other side of the window to complete the rectangle
Important Note: The rectangle command always expects the 'x' value input first. Therefore if the drawing example (above) had required the rectangle to be drawn left-to-right instead of top-to-bottom then it would have been necessary to set
System Angle the 'System Angle' tool to 90 degrees for the example to work correctly.

Offset by Line Using 'offset by line' as a command interrupt - this tool in the point assistant toolbar saves a lot of time. Here is one of my favourite uses - drawing a ridge tile in elevation - which used to require construction lines.
Offset Polyline Select 'Offset Polyline' from 'Create->Draft' - enter '1' for no. of offsets and then an offset for the ridge tile 'thickness' (here 50 mm).
Offset by Line Now select 'Offset by Line' from the point assistant toolbar. Click on the line of the roofslope as illustrated below (note that a positive offset to the 'Offset Polyline' tool draws a line offset above the existing line when going anti-clockwise). The orange dot shows where the line was clicked and notice the arrow added to the nearest intersection showing where the offset is going to be measured from. You will notice that another dynamic 'point assistant' has opened giving the distance from the intersection (here in mm) - replace this with the correct value (here 150) and press 'Enter'. The point assistant now closes and the original 'Offset Polyline' command takes over, rubber-banding the offset line.

Completed drawing

    First step to drawing ridge tile in elevation.
(Above)This is the ridge tile in elevation completed.   (Above)The small orange dot shows where the line was first clicked after invoking the 'Offset by Line' tool and a faint arrow at the intersection shows where the distance is being measured from - the illustrated value is just the distance from the apex to where the line was first clicked - replace this with the desired value - here 150 mm (0.15m)
Click the apex of the rooflines to create one side of the ridge tile,
Offset by Line now click 'Offset by Line' again and repeat the procedure on the left side of the roof - note that as long as the
Offset Polyline 'Offset Polyline' command has not been exited the line drawn will offset correctly - if you have restarted the command you will need to enter a negative value for the offset to this tool for the ridge tile thickness or the line will be drawn on the wrong side of the roofline.
Do not be alarmed by the rubber banded line that seems to dance about on screen when you have completed this stage - either Esc out of the tool or just select the next command which automatically ends the previous command before starting the new one...
1st line completed   2nd line completed and  'Drop Perpendicular' tool being used to close end Completed drawing
(Above)The right side completed.   (Above) Repeat for the left side and then use the 'Drop Perpendicular' tool to close the ends. (Above) Completed using the 'Drop Perpendicular' tool.
Drop Perpendicular A neat way to complete the drawing is to use the 'Drop Perpendicular' tool from 'Create->Draft'. Once invoked click on the roofline and you will then have a rubber banded line perpendicular to the roof slope - click on the end of the ridge tile line to snap to this point and close one end of the shape - the tool remains active - repeat on the other side. Esc to exit the tool.

Offset by Line 'Offset by Line' will work as an interrupt on most commands.

Define Elements for fit Smartfit Module for rendering rubble masonry in elevations

Even in the age of rendered models - there is still a need for 2D elevations!
This takes a bit of setting up in the Smartfit Module. Basically you have to define each 'stone' as a polyline 'element' and then combine them into a 'pattern' that is tile-able. This can then be brought in from the 'Define Elements for fit' tool - which is the same tool that you use to set up the elements and pattern. The real trick is to arrange the elements within the pattern in such a way that when the pattern is repeated it is not obvious that it is a repeat. I used a template created beforehand and left in a reference drawing file which then allowed me to position my elements or 'stones' in the right position (common origin) over this when defining the 'pattern'.
Anyway... Click the Smartfit tool icon (as above) , select your pattern and Click the OK tick button - Allplan asks you to enter the outline of the region to be filled with the tiled pattern. You can do this manually but the 'Outline autodetect' tool is available.
Outline autodetect on/off This tool in Allplan is fantastic - my old CAD system was excellent at this but Allplan is even better! - it takes endpoints and intersections in its stride - Click within an outline or delineate one by hand - press 'Esc' when complete - to add or subtract areas click the 'plus' or 'minus' boxes in the dynamic toolbar and outline another area and again 'Esc' to complete... repeat as often as necessary and then hit 'Esc' one extra time - your pattern appears on the end of your cursor - put it down somewhere - Allplan asks you to show how you want it tiling - I pick the bottom left corner (I placed a point here when creating the pattern) a copy of the pattern appears fastened to your cursor - and then I place it a top left - Allplan asks for the tiling position the other direction and I pick the bottom left (the pattern is now 3 patterns high for some reason) and copy it to the bottom right - Allplan thinks for a minute and then offers an outline of a 3 x 3 set of patterns on the end of your cursor - now I find that it is best to 'drop' this within the area you wish to fill - I suppose you can 'snap' to a point if you wish - it may be important with some patterns - once dropped Allplan does quite a bit of 'thinking' - don't panic if it looks messy! When finished the Smartfit dialogue reappears in case you want to fill other areas. To finish off you might try...
Filled Line Paint out the edge line Allplan leaves to the region boundary or use
Explode placement to 'explode' the patterns (and lose the 'intelligence') and then
Split Polylines into discreet lines to 'explode' the polylines (so that you can delete individual lines)

09.10.01 - see also Tips & Tricks Page 4 for a couple of issues.

Chamfer tool and scuntions - tapered reveals to windows and doors are the bane of every draughtsman who works on old buildings - they seldom repeat exactly in angle and so you cannot assume that you can draw one and copy it elsewhere - also the wall thicknesses often vary. Allplan comes to the rescue -
In this example the left reveal has already been done - there are various ways to set this up - this method demonstrates using the measure command as an interrupt to the chamfer tool...

we want to make the right reveal the same as the left one...

click the Chamfer tool and click one of the elements to chamfer - here I have clicked the vertical element first...
the chamfer tool gives guidance in the command line but also displays a dynamic tool bar as shown top right - click on 'standard' to follow this method - confusingly the toolbar now displays 'centre line' but that is just the next option...

Allplan is asking for a reference point for the first element and offers a perpendicular from the cursor position - just ignore that and click the junction of the window and opening reveal...

Allplan now asks for a reference point on the other element and rubber-bands a line from where last clicked - note the 'angle' dynamic tool bar offering yet more options for making the chamfer...
now assuming - as often happens to me, that you have forgotten to set up a construction line to snap the final point to - click on the 'Measure' tool, 'length' and then click on the leftmost point of the left reveal - then using 'linear snap' obtain the horizontal dimension to the window - then click the result 'L= xxx ' in the measure tool results window that appears...

Allplan inserts the measurement into the waiting 'Chamfer' tool and 2 option points appear - click on the one you want - here the right hand one...
and the chamfer is made.... spot the mistake?... the chamfer is drawn in the current pen and not the pen of the 'wall' outline - something to check for! :-)

Most Allplan 2D drawing tools exhibit a remarkable flexibility in use which is not apparent without a bit of 'digging'. It really is a credit to the programmers the way they have anticipated what the draughtsman (or woman) is trying to achieve at a practical level.

offset by radius Drawing up triangulated surveys - This neat tool on the point assistant tool bar called 'offset by radius' prompts for circle centre, point or radius and then again for a second and then offers points of intersection between the two circles to be chosen. I use it in conjunction with the 'create point symbol' when drawing up surveys. Much quicker than drawing regular circles and then having to delete them after each pair of measurements.
Parallel lines at equal centres- To subdivide a space between 2 parallel lines (such as a stair outline in 2D plan or glazing bars to a window) draw the 2 lines, then click 'Parallel lines' tool, click the first line, then click...
'Division Point' tool on the Point Assistant toolbar, choose the first line endpoint, then the second line endpoint, the 'no. of sides' pop-up will appear and you can enter the number of subdivisions required, press 'Enter' and temporary points will appear showing the subdivisions, press 'Enter' to select the default position of '1' , the first parallel line appears and the offset is entered into the command line enabling the remaining lines to be created just by pressing 'Enter', (confirm which side is the offset for the first line so created and thereafter just repeatedly press 'Enter').

Modify Offset - available from the main 'Edit' menu or 'Shift+Ctrl+A' this tool works in 3D as well as 2D and is just wonderful... it is hard to desribe in words but basically operates as a stretch tool with an orthoganol lock built in - for all those times when you need to stretch a roof slope in section for example where you do not want the pitch to alter... if there is no reference line handy just click the line you want to move twice and it will reference itself. Diagram coming when time allows...
Drop Perpendicular - this little tool is another gem on the 'Create->Draft' menu - I use it all the time to 'freehand' draw any box shaped object or close the ends of 2 parallel lines. Diagram coming when time allows...
Middle point between 2 parallel lines - need to locate the midppoint between a pair of parallel lines - use the 'Angle Bisector' tool from 'Create->Draft'. Diagram coming when time allows...
Sketching /Freehand drawing - Hold down the 'Alt' key. This creates a polyline. The 'granularity' or segment length is set via the 'Create->Freehand Line' tool. I usually set this to around 0.75 for units set to mm. See also under Top Tips page 2 here.
Change pens in the entire (or part) drawing - Useful sometimes when you have imported a drawing with 'wrong' pens. The same technique applies to change any pen property (group, layer etc. (see below for layers).
Click 'Modify Format Properties->' then click the tick boxes for the line type or thickness you want to change TO.
In the Filter Assistant click 'Filter elements based on a pen' or use the 'double chevron' button to match an existing line on the drawing. At the command prompt it will ask you to Indicate the Elements to be modified - draw a box round all the elements required using the middle mouse button (you can further use the polygonal boundary tool here or more filter options (see Top Tips page 2).

Derive Circle - Available from 'Create->Draft' tools. A most impressive tool for making circles fit between other elements. The many options available are described in an example page in the online Help (F1) and copied here .
Transfer measurements to command line - It is not explained anywhere as to how the measure tool can be used to transfer a measurement to an active command input. The simplest example is the Calculator - available under the 'Tools' top menu bar. Activate the calculator and press the double chevron button which brings up the measure tool dialogue. Measure some existing element. To transfer the measurement to the input line of the calculator just click on the measurement within the list given by the measure tool - easy when you know how (it only took me 6 months to find this out). Drawing commands can be 'interrupted' by clicking on the Measure Tool and the input transferred to the command line in the same way.
Office 2D Toolset - Just in case the settings ever get wiped and for general interest here are my main 2D drawing toolset and the Point Assistant tools which work in tandem. I change these about from time to time but these are the core functions I use every day. 3D tools I bring in as required and using the 'Com' functions (double right click an existing element to create another).
2D without 3D - you can use all the time-saving 3D tools - like walls, windows and doors just for 2D if you wish. In the 'Tools->Options->Architecture' dialogue untick the 'Create 3D elements using 2D'. This prevents the display of 3D attributes - if you change your mind later on then use 'Modify->Architecture->Architecture->Restore 3D view' to show the 3D attributes - this will also re-check the option in the 'Tools->Options->Architecture' settings previously described.

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