PADT 0.047 - SketchUp "BIMmy" Dynamic Components - Part 7
Adding the Position Parameters (and more) to Our BIMmy Beam
Current BIMmy Beam Status
“When we last looked in on our hero…” we had added the Size Parameters to our BIMmy Beam.
This currently gives our Beam the ability for the SubComponents to change Size based on the Variation selected.
Mapping Out the Position Parameters
The next step is to add the Position Parameters. It’s really a good idea to work these out before trying to type them into Formulas. It shouldn’t be TOO hard once you see where the Origin is and which Dimension Parameters you need to use.
For each SubComponent, we’ll be adding a Position for the X and Y locations. By Default the Origin of the Parent Component is in the Center — it’s pointed out in the Center of Component “Web” — all of our Formulas for the Locations will be derived from the Point. The Origins of each of the SubComponents are in the Lower-Left — as shown by the blue arrows in the graphic above. We could have changed their Origin locations in SketchUp and that might make things easier on other projects, but for now let’s just use the Lower-Left for consistency.
For “FL1” → the X Position is half the width of the Flange moved in the negative direction or FW/2 times -1 or FW/-2 (which is the same maths). The Y Position is half the Depth moved in the negative direction or DP/2 times -1 or DP/-2.
For “FL2” → the X Position is half the width of the Flange moved in the negative direction or FW/2 times -1 or FW/-2. The Y Position is half the Depth height minus the thickness of the Flange or (DP/2) - FT. In the Formula I used the Parenthesis, but they’re not required since multiplication and division are done first.
For “Web” → the X Position is half the thickness of the Web moved in the negative direction or WT/2 times -1 or WT/-2. The Y Position is half the Depth plus the thickness of the Flange or (DP/-2) + FT.
Not too bad was it? SketchUp does have a bunch of trig functions as well, so much more complex maths is possible.
Adding the Position Parameters
Now that we’ve derived the formulas for the Position Parameters, we can add them to the SubComponents. We won’t be adding these to the Parent Component and you’ll need to make sure you use the Parent Component Name as a Prefix to each of the Parameters in the SubComponents. To add these to each, you’ll be Selecting the X and Y Parameters under Position in the Component Attributes Menu:
Here is what you should have once you’ve added all of the Position Parameters and their Formulas:
If these have been entered correctly, you should see the Beam change it shape to this:
It should still be only one (1) Unit in Height. Now try the other variations to see how both the sizes of the Flange and Web change plus the Length of the Depth.
You can now Select the Beam Component, Scale it and Rotate it using standard SketchUp Commands:
But notice something interesting when you try to Scale it. Because the Width of the Flange and the Depth of the Beam are Controlled by Parameters, Scaling it in the Depth or Width direction doesn’t change the size.
This is Where SketchUp Fails BIG TIME!!!
Even if you Move or Scale a Component, the Component’s Name stays the same. However, if you Copy this Beam Component (or those constructed using these types of Parameters) and Select another Variation, SketchUp makes the New Component Unique adding a Number Sign and Number to the Name:
In this case, I’ve Copied our Beam and Selected the Beam Size “W27x146” and SketchUp has named the Beam “Beam#1”. If I Copy this new Beam and Change it’s Size back to the Original Size, SketchUp will Name it “Beam#2”. This is an “oversight” in SketchUp’s Component Parameter system which doesn’t allow for the modification of Scale, Position or Rotations of Components within a Component without requiring the creation of a new Component Definition.
This means when using these Types of Components in SketchUp, even though they allow for easy customization, standardization, and flexibility in Design, this can cause a huge mess. We’ll look at some of the options of handle this issue a little later.
Looking at Other Applications
These types of Component creations should be available in other Barely BIM applications. This is why seeing these types of Constructions are important. Not only to show what is possible, but to show where things could be made better. Naturally, system which have more Parametric Design built into them would offer much more power to this process.
Next Time: We’ll add a Length Parameter to the BIMmy Beam and do some exporting to Reports.
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Dave Edwards has been in the CAD/BIM industry as a manager, developer, consultant, speaker, and author for almost 40 years. He has had 80 magazine articles published, written 3 international newsletters, reviewed over 300 CAD/BIM applications and 3D modeled over 1 Billion dollars worth of architectural projects. He is available for professional alpha/beta testing, application feature consulting, technical documentation, seminar presentations, and voice overs.
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