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Manually Created Structural Member Shapes
For those times when you want to create a Structural Member Style that does not have a standard cross-sectional shape, you will need to manually create the Structural Member Shape Definition and then add it to a Structural Member Style.
If you enjoy working from prompts on the Command: line, then you can use the
-AecsMemberShapeDefine command to do so. I find it easier to use the Style Manager, so that is the method that will be shown here. Before we dive into creating a custom Structural Member Shape Defintion, lets take a look at one, so we understand how it works. Structural Member Shapes support three levels of detail: Low Detail, Medium Detail and High Detail. Low Detail graphics can consist of lines, arcs, cirles or polylines. The image below shows the W24x76 Member Shape Definition (created from the Structural Member Catalog in Part 1 of this series) on the Design Rules tab in the Style Manager. This tab features a viewer pane that shows the cross-sectional geometry associated with this shape. Selecting Low Detail in the upper right corner highlights the Low Detail geometry in green; the Medium and High Detail geometry remains visible in the viewer, in white. A small "x" indicates the insertion point for the shape. As always, click on any image to see a full size version. If your browser replaces the current page with the image, use the Back button to return here.
The Medium and High Detail graphics have to be closed polylines, splines, elipses or cirlces. You can have more than one of these objects, but they cannot intersect each other, nor can they self-intersect. The Medium Detail graphics for the W24x76 Member Shape Definition consists of a single closed polyline showing the overall size and thickness of the web and flanges, and is appropriate for medium scale representations.
In the following example, a Structural Member Shape Definition will be created for eventual use in a Structural Member Style that will represent an architectural column cover. A simple circle will be used to represent the cover for Low Detail. In Medium Detail, two circles will be used to show the outside and inside faces of the cover. For High Detail, a closed polyline will represent the detailed profile of the cover. You will need to create the necessary geometry for your shape first, then assign it to a definition.
In the left pane, select the name of the new definition. Select the General tab in the right pane, and add a more detailed description and, if you want, notes for this definition.Next article in the series (Manually Created Structural Member Shapes - Fun Facts