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#17819 by rlaggren
Fri Dec 22, 2006 9:36 pm
I've dl'd the demo and plan to work on it over the holiday season. I use a CAD program 3 or 4 times a year, primarily for architectual or boat building purposes, with a little diagramming, illustration and org charts thrown in. Although I only do occasional projects, I often spend upwards of 100 hours on the work and I appreciate ease of use and labor saving devices. My current app is pretty good for me, but it has a bad habit of freezing when I get to many windows open or put too many symbols in too many layers. It also have very limited 3D and no modeling. Thus I'm looking around.

One of the biggest conveniences I've found has been drag&drop parametric symbols which will automatically break and connect with the element you place them on; once in place they "slide" along the element if their location needs changing. They contain a list of controling dimensions allowing one generic symbol (eg window) to be used to properly represent any similar type of object. The ability to create and modify these symbols easily has been a great help because invariiably there are special circumstances where I need something slightly different. Also reporting based on the values of the parameters allows me to deterine, say, how many 36" doors I have or how man LF of 5" casing I've placed, etc.

It appears that Datacad provides symbols something like this. Is there any way to access a symbol's control parameters as a table of variables (for ease of viewing, changing and reporting)? I'm not clear yet on how one might define or modify additional symbols (eg swinging 1/2 height shutters as sometimes seen in barrooms). Please explain if this is possible. This is something I do quite frequently. For example, I found that having a mast (for sail boat) symbol with height and two cross sectional dimensions, track option, crane options, gooseneck location, deck or keel step, etc made life much easier. It's a work in progress, and as I recall it took about 10 hours to create and get mostly functional; but it probably saved me that much just in one project (I do a lot of messing around and changing stuff and trying different layouts).

In Datacad there appears to be an (unnecessary?) distinction between 2D and 3D symbols; a 2D symbol appears to be a subset of the same 3D symbol. I noticed this because the 3D window symbols seem to have more defining parameters (which I need) than the 2D version and I _think_ I saw a reference in the manaul to dropping the 3D symbol into a (2D) plan... What is the relation between 2D and 3D symbols?

Again, if I place a couple windows and a door on a plan wall, can I raise an elevation of that wall which already knows about the symbols (which presumeably I've already defined fully)? This would save me recreating the symbols in elevation and let me get straight to changing sill height, messing with crown molding, adjusting stair railing style or whatever stuff I needed the elevation for.

Speaking of which, does Datacad have any Stair symbols?

Thanks, Rufus

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