PADT 0.048 – SketchUp "BIMmy" Dynamic Components – Part 8
Adding the Final Attributes for Reporting
Finalizing the BIMmy Beam
There are a bunch of things we could add to our Beam using different Attributes and Options within SketchUp. To simply wrap this Component up and move onto other things, let’s add a Length Attribute and see about finally outputting this information into a Report.
Adding Length Parameter
One of the best things about using a Parent Component is that a Parameter can be set in the Parent and have it control all the SubComponents at the same time. What we’ll be doing in this example is adding the Parameter “BL” (for Beam Length) and then adding LenZ Parameters to the SubComponents.
So let’s add a Custom Parameter “BL” and in the its Details enter the following:
This will create a Textbox with which values can be entered to specify the Beam Length. I like to put “(Input)” in the Display Label so users know this is a value to be entered and not chosen.
Then for each of the SubComponents, we’ll add a LenZ Attribute with the variable “Beam!BL” assigned to it:
This will allow you to enter the Beam Length value into the Component Options menu and all the SubComponents of the Beam will be set to that length:
Optional Dimensional Feature
This is something I play with when doing Design Development, is to add a dimension to the Inside of the Component so I can instantly see the Length of a specific Component I’ve changed the Length of using a Parameter. You will entering into the Component to add the Dimension, not on the Outside of the Component. Now even if I Rotate the Beam, I can see what Length it is even without checking the Component Options menu and having to use the Length command.
But again, this is just an idea which may help with your designing and is not required. Naturally, more Dimensions like this could be added and to other types of Dynamic Components.
Setting Up for Reporting
As I mentioned in a previous post, SketchUp will create a new name for a Component if the Values of the Attributes have been changed. This can cause big problems when you’re trying to generate a Report and you wish to have all of the same Component Versions grouped together, but still show their individual Lengths. The way I’ve found to do this is to create a secondary Attribute for the Component Version Name. This way when a Report is Generated, even if other Attribute values have caused a new Component Name, they can still be Grouped together using this new Attribute.
For this Attribute, we’ll want to add a Custom Attribute called “BN” (for Beam Name) and its Details will be:
Using the “Users cannot see this attribute.” for the Display Rule, essentially creates a Hidden Attribute. Like many of the other Attributes before, we’ll use the Choose Function and set each of the Values to their specific Beam Name:
This lets us use the Attribute “BN” to Group the Beams with the same names together.
Creating a Test Project for Reporting
To test some of the BIMmy capabilities of this kind of Dynamic Component, I’ve created a very simple Structural Project which uses two (2) different Beam Variations and three (3) different Lengths. Nothing all that complicated and no, I’m not a Structural Engineering, so this is most definitely not how this should be done.
I’ve first created a Column Grid using Guides which at 20'x15':
Then is it a simple matter just build a Structure using one Variation for the Vertical Beams and another Variation for the Horizontal Beams.
After this was created, if you investigated one of the Beams, you would see that the Beam Name and all of the other Parameters have been assigned by the single selection in the Component Options.
Next Stop: Generate Report…
We’ll close this out for now here, because it’s getting way too long. Once things are set up correctly and you’re aware of the little “Gotchas” (like creating a separate Name Attribute), Reports are pretty simple. It’s what you than can do with them, get complex but interesting.
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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 2 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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