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Manually Created Structural Member Styles
As we have seen in the first three articles in this series, there are a number of opportunities for having AutoCAD® Architecture generate a Structural Member Style automatically. When you need a Structural Member Style that has a single Structural Member Shape for both the start and end shapes, with no offsets, then you will want to take advantage of the automatic features. Even when you have a more complicated need, starting out by generating the style automatically may help save a few steps along the way. When the automatically generated styles will not meet your needs, you will need to either create a new style or edit a generated style. This article will take a look at some of the things you can do with manually created Structural Member Styles.
Structural Member Geometric References
Understanding how ACA labels the axes of a Structural Member is key to avoiding confusion when specifying the parameters we are about to examine. The diagram below shows the polyline from the High Detail shape for the W24x76 shape, inserted "as created" relative to the World UCS. The blue UCS Icon in the lower left corner shows the axes of the World UCS. For this shape, the insertion point was defined at the geometic midpoint of the shape. The X-axis of a Structural Member runs along the length of the member; the positive direction is from the starting point to the ending point. The Y-axis and the Z-axis are perpendicular to the X-axis. For a shape with no rotation, the positive Y-axis is the same as the World UCS positive X-axis of the shape and the positive Z-axis is the same as the World UCS positive Y-axis.
Another thing to keep in mind when setting up your Structural Member Style is that the final position of the shape(s) you define will depend upon the Justify property (found in the Dimensions category on the Design tab of the Properties palette) of the Structural Member. Baseline will place the insertion point of a shape at the starting point of the Structural Member, if no offsets have been applied to the shape. Middle Center will put the geometric midpoint of the shape(s) (with offsets, rotations and mirror applied, as applicable) at the starting point of the Structural Member, for the Medium Detail and High Detail geometry. Applying different offsets to the start and end shapes will also affect the calcuation of the geometric midpoint. Most Structural Member Styles will not need to be that complex; should you need to create one with that level of complexity, you will want to start as simply as possible, checking the effects of each edit before making the next one.
Automatic Structural Member Style
First, we will look at the automatically generated W24x76 Structural Member Style that was created in Part 1, to get an understanding of the inner workings. With a drawing open in which the W24x76 Structural Member Style has already been created, on the Manage ribbon tab, on the Style & Display panel, select the Style Manager tool to open the Style Manager dialog. In the left pane, expand the Architectural Objects and Structural Member Styles nodes and select the W24x76 style. [Make certain you are under the Structural Member Styles node, and not the Structural Member Shape Definitions node.]
The General tab of a Structural Member Style has the usual features found when editing other styles and definitions. You can edit the Name, provide a more detailed Description, add a Keynote, attach Notes and attach Property Sets. In addition, you can specify whether or not objects of this style can act as boundaries for associative Spaces. As you can see below, an automatically generated style only has the Name you specified at the time of generation; you will have to add the Description, Keynote, Notes and/or style-based Property Sets that you want.
- Name The name parameter specifies the Structural Member Shape Definition assigned to this component, selected from a drop-down list of the shapes defined in the current file.
- Relative to The Start and End Shapes can be placed relative to either the very Start of the Structural Member or the very End of the Structural Member, by selecting either Start or End from a drop-down list. For an automatically generated, single-shape style, the style will be based on a single segment member, with the Start Shape set relative to the Start and the End Shape relative to the End.
- Node The Node parameter is an integer that indicates the Node number (relative to the Structural Member end specified in the Relative to parameter). A single-segment style has two Nodes, 0 and 1. Multiple-segment styles will always have one more Node than the number of segments. When Relative to is set to Start, the 0 Node is the first Node of the Structural Member, the 1 Node is the second Node, et cetera, with the highest number Node being the last Node. When Relative to is set to End, the numbering is reversed, with the last Node being the 0 Node, the second-to-last node being the 1 Node, et cetera, with the highest number Node being the first Node. That is why, in the W24x76 style, both the Start Shape and the End Shape are at Node 0. These are not the same Nodes, since the Relative to settings are Start and End, respectively.
- Scale You can apply a real-number scale factor to the shape, to uniformly increase or decrease the size of the shape from what is defined in the Structural Member Shape Defintion. This can allow a single definition to serve multiple sizes, when a single scale factor works for resizing the shape.
- Miror The Mirror parameter has a drop-down list with two choices, Yes or No. Yes will mirror the shape about the Z-axis of the Structural Member.
- Rotation The Rotation parameter takes a real-number angle value (in the drawing's current angle units), and rotates the shape about the shape's insertion point.
- X Offset The X Offset is a real number distance value (in the drawing's current linear units) and specifies an offset along the Structural Member's longitudinal axis from the Node at which the shape is placed. Positive values move the shape in the direction from the starting point toward the ending point.
- Y Offset The Y Offset is a real number distance value (in the drawing's current linear units) and specifies an offset along the Structural Member's Y-axis. (Refer to the first image above.)
- Z Offset The Z Offset is a real number distance value (in the drawing's current linear units) and specifies an offset along the Structural Member's Z-axis.
Manual Structural Member Style Examples
The Start and End Shapes can be the same, as in the W24x76 style examined above, but they need not be. If different shapes are specified, ACA will transition from the Start Shape to the End Shape over the length of the component. For example, if the Start Shape is a 24x24 square and the End Shape is a 12" diameter circle, both with insertion points at the center of the shape, and added without any translations or rotations...
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