Archive for the ‘Tips & Tricks’ Category

Adding Single Pieces With the Layout Wizard

Someone asked us the other day whether there was an easy way to add a piece in relation to another.  It went like this: “Hey Builder Guys – I just want to add another piece on top, how can I do that quickly?”

Answer is: Using the Layout Wizard

The Layout Wizard is for adding multiple pieces based on one piece, but it can also be used to very quickly add a single piece.  So if you want to add a second piece on top, beside or behind another, you don’t need to type in special positions or wiggle it into place, just use the Layout Wizard.

Here’s how:

(1) First, select the piece of lumber you want to copy with your left mouse button.

(2) Next, bring up the Layout Wizard, located on the toolbar under this icon:

The Layout Wizard

The Layout Wizard Toolbar Icon

(3) Depending on where you want the new piece added, set the Layout Wizard accordingly:

Horizontal - If you want to add the piece to the left, or right of your selection.

Vertical - If you want to add the piece in front of, or behind your selection.

Up/Down – If you want to add the piece on top of, or underneath your selection.

(4) Select ‘Inside to Inside’ on the ‘Layout Measurement’ field.

(5) Select the number of pieces you want to add, in these examples, just 1.

(6) Add a small amount in the ‘Measurement between pieces’ field, like .05 of a 1/16 (as shown) and remember, if you add a negative amount here (as in our second example below) you can position the new pieces on the opposite side.

Here’s an example of adding a second piece on top of our anchor piece (shown in green), below is the Layout Wizard settings we used:

Example 1 - Layout Wizard Settings

Example 1 - Layout Wizard Settings

Here is the result, with a new piece added on top.

Example 1 - The Result

Example 1 - The Result

Here’s another example of adding a piece in a different direction using ‘Horizontal’ and also a negative amount in the ‘Measurement between pieces’  field:

Example 2 - Layout Wizard Settings

Example 2 - Layout Wizard Settings

And here’s the resulting piece.  A second Horizontal piece added to the left of the anchor piece.

Example 2 - The Result

Example 2 - The Result

Notice how the piece has been added to the left of the anchor piece.  That’s because we specified the measurement between pieces as a negative amount (-.05).  Had we used a positive amount (.05) the new piece would have been added to the right of the selected piece.

This is just one example of how the Layout Wizard can be used to quickly add new pieces.  Let us know if you come up with other good examples on your own.

Happy Building,

Cool tricks with the Layout Wizard

Today we’re discussing cool things you can do with the Layout Wizard in 3D Build Planner.  The Layout Wizard is used to add multiple pieces based on an anchor piece.  For example, you want to add several Fence Posts spaced 4 feet apart as measured as center to center, the Layout Wizard can do that.  Here’s another example where you don’t know the spacing.  I have a 5 foot Fence Rail and I want to add my Fence Boards to it,  problem is, I don’t know how much privacy I want, how many pieces I need, or what the spacing between each piece would be.

Here’s where the Layout Wizard really shines.  This second example happens quite a bit.  Adding Fence Boards is one example where you might not be sure how much privacy you’d like or what the spacing would be for each choice. Maybe you’re adding roof pieces to a Pergola and again, you’re not sure how many pieces to add or what the spacing would be for each.  This can be quite time consuming to figure out by hand and a real pain.

Two Slotted Fence Privacy Options

Two Slotted Fence Privacy Options

If you know the measurement you need to span, such as the length of the Fence Rail, you can use the Layout Wizard to add a certain number of pieces and calculate the spacing when you’re happy with the choice.  So how?  The Layout Wizard works by copying an anchor piece and adding more pieces just like it.  So if you were adding Fence Boards, you would add the first Fence Board using the Joint Wizard, and if you were adding Pergola roof pieces, you would add the first roof piece with the Joint Wizard.  Remember, the Layout Wizard will copy the first piece, so if you’d like to add mitres to the ends to make it look nicer, now is the perfect time to do it, on the first piece.

Adding The First Piece With The Joint Wizard

Adding The First Piece With The Joint Wizard

Next, start the Layout Wizard by pressing the Layout Wizard icon, and the Layout Wizard will be shown:

The Layout Wizard

The Layout Wizard

Once the Layout Wizard appears, select your anchor piece, and add it to the Layout Wizard by pressing the ‘Select Piece’ button.  Next, tell the Layout Wizard that you’re measuring ‘Outside to Outside’ since you’ve measured the span to fill.  Note, you may need to reduce your measurement by a sixteenth or so.

At this point, select the direction you’d like to add pieces in, and select option 2 under Layout Options.  Tell the Layout Wizard the measurement of the span you’d like to fill, and tell the Layout Wizard how many pieces to add (sometimes there’s not enough room) and press ‘Add’.  If you’re happy with the pieces you’ve just added, you can press the ‘Note Spacing’ button to record the spacing amount in the Project Step Notes section.  If you’re not happy with the outcome, simply press ‘Undo’, alter the number of pieces, and try again.

Fence Boards Added With The Layout Wizard

Fence Boards Added With The Layout Wizard

In this fashion, you can experiment with the Layout Wizard until you find the right number of pieces to suit your taste and then save the spacing amount with the ‘Note Spacing’ button to record the spacing in the Project Step Notes section.  This saves tons of time trying to figure out how much privacy is enough and what your spacing calculation would be for each option.

Happy Building

Adding slotted joints to your projects

Often there are times when you require a slotted joint in your designs.  Situations like connecting Fence Rails to Fence Posts or building custom Stairs, Rail Balusters, or any situation where you`re looking for a nice strong joint that won`t require a bracket, nail, or screw for support.

Slotted Joint

Slotted Joint

Above is the classic example.  In 3D Build Planner, there is currently no easy way to carve these sections out of your pieces.  However, that doesn’t mean there`s no way to get these into your projects.  Here`s a little trick that you can use in these situations.

Below is an example of two Fence Posts that we`d like to connect with slotted joints for the Fence Rails.

Fence Section - Before

Fence Section - Before

As you can see from the illustration, we`ve extended our Fence Rail an extra inch on each side to fit into the slot that we`ll be adding to each of our Fence Posts.  Problem is, 3D Build Planner won`t let us move the Fence Rail into the Fence Post to make the slotted joint.  This is because 3D Build Planner won’t let two pieces of lumber occupy the same spot, which makes sense, but doesn’t help us.

What we can do though is set 3D Build Planner to relax this restriction a bit, and allow us to move these pieces together into place.  To do this, we visit the Preferences Manager (which is the green check icon in the toolbar) and we’ll see the Preference Manager window  appear as shown below.

The Preferences Manager

The Preferences Manager

Near the bottom, find the ‘Check for Colliding Lumber’ check box, and un-select it, and press Save.  At this point, you’re free to move the Fence Rails into the Fence Post.  Make sure you set the Nudge Amount to inches or even sixteenths to make sure you get a nice flush fit.  You can use the number keys 1-4 to quickly change the Nudge Amount.  After you do this, this is what you should see:

Fence Section - After

Fence Section - After

As you can see, we now have a nice flush Fence Rail slotted into the Fence Posts.  Remember to turn the ‘Check for Colliding Lumber’ setting back on when you’re finished.

This simple technique can be used for Fence Rails, Custom Stairs, Sinking Fence Balusters and Railing Posts, and other items where inserting one or more pieces into others is needed.  This and many other tips and tricks is contained in the 3D Build Planner video section www.3dbuildplanner.com/videos.htm as well as in the Product Help Section and Quick Start Guide.

Happy Building

5 New Tricks

 

Hi Gang – 3D Build Planner is nearing its second week of launch and the downloads have been going strong.  To celebrate and offer something back,  here’s a quick list of 5 tips that should help everyone just getting started.  Here we go:

(1) Always make use of  ‘component select’ whenever you can.  What’s the component select you say?  Whenever you have a group of connected pieces, such as a fence segment or a picnic table top, just double click with the left mouse button on any of the pieces and the whole group will be selected.

(2) Sometimes its easier to add pieces manually than with the Layout Wizard.  Let’s say we’re laying out 4 deck posts 4 feet apart, horizontally.  We can do that easily enough with the Layout Wizard, but if we know we want pieces laid out “center to center”, just add the first piece, then select it, and then add another 4 feet in the Lumber Placement section, and press ‘Add’, keep going two more times.

(3) Add Fasteners at the end with lumber selection options.  By default, pieces come without Fasteners configured.  You can add default Fasteners under the Materials Manager or just add them at the end of the Project.  Use a right click to display the application menu to select pieces “by Type” or “by Type and Size” and then open the Fastener Manager to apply Fasteners to just those pieces. 

(4) Need to notch a few pieces together such as stairs or spindles drilled into a railing?  One easy way to do this is to turn off  ‘Check for Colliding Lumber’ under the Preferences Manager.  Once you do this, you can move pieces into one another.  Once you’re done moving notched pieces together, turn the collision detection back on and you’re done.

(5) Learn how to run the Joint Wizard.  If you’re connecting two pieces, this is invaluable and its not hard to figure out either.  Check out this video to see the Joitn Wizard in action http://www.3dbuildplanner.com/videos.htm - Video #2.

Happy Building,