Monday, March 23, 2009

Convert to Lines #35

Serving the Seattle VectorWorks Users Group and Northwest VectorWorks users.

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To contact me, please write to or call (206) 524-2808

In this issue:
• No User Group meeting in March
• New NNA video tutorial (it’s a good’un)
• ANOTHER (!!!) video tutorial available from VectorWorks for Left Handers
• Cheap printing
• Misc. tips


There will be no meeting for the month of March. The good news is that the Wood Construction Center will remain at its current location and, I assume, continue to be available for us for future user group meetings. I made mention of interest in having someone step into the role of user group leader. So far, no takers. Let me know if you have an inkling of interest.

[The Urban Dictionary defines “inkling”, in its second definition, as “A small angry man or dwarf that runs through public areas kicking people in the shin.”]


Here is a link to NNA’s latest video tutorial, made especially for the User Groups, on “Using Spotlight in Exhibit Design.”
This is a splendid tutorial that should be seen by anyone using or about to use VectorWorks because it shows a relatively simple project that delivers a lot of bang for the effort. The renderings created in a very short time look great. This is the kind of enabling from NNA I like to see.
Spotlight using Lighting designers may also be interested in this URL of a review of Spotlight:

Lastly, the latest Dispatch has a great little tutorial on how to take a jpg or other image file and turn it into wall art, including the picture frame. This video builds on the core of the Exhibit Design tutorial:


Not to be outdone, I’ve created my second beginners video, called Preferences Tutorial, which can be downloaded same as earlier ones by following the directions below. This tutorial is intended to give the new user a base for starting out and is not an exhaustive definition of all pref’s and their actions and consequences.

Not yet created will be a second basic tutorial covering use of the 2D tools. It is my hope that, together, these two, along with the 3D tutorial, will be a helpful introductory trio for any new user and/or the more experienced upgrader.

To lock these preferences in, be sure to make a template of your file for future projects. To make a template, go to File > Save As Template.

Download the Preferences from here (107 MB, about 28 minutes):
You will be presented with a dialog box into which you should type the following:
Account: public
Password: vector

Click on the little down-pointing arrow at the end of the file row to begin the transfer.

Also within the Public folder is an advanced tutorial called Hidden Line Editing plus a Read Me, another tutorial on Workspace Editing along with a Vwks 2009 version of keyboard shortcuts (VWKeyboardShortcuts.pdf), a shorthand version of frequently used commands (Tom’s Keyboard Shortcuts.pdf) and a copy of an edited workspace (Tom’s Architect

The latest Quicktime player can be had at


There has been some discussion lately on the NNA Listserv concerning best laser type printers. Several posters suggested that you could save money both in the cost of the printer and in the cost of consumables by printing using a large format photocopier set to 50% the size of your sheet scale. This assumes you would eventually send full sized PDF’s out for final printing somewhere.

The best bang for the buck seemed to recommend a used HP Laserjet 5000 N and 12 x 18 paper. The N designates the addition of a JetDirect print server which allows printing in a workgroup setting but also connects single machines, Macs in particular, through their ethernet ports or ports on a router. Here are two resellers:
These are about $500 refurbished and will print 11 x 17 and 12 x 18 when hand-fed. If you draw typically in Arch D size on 24 x 36 paper at 1/4” per foot, you can switch to A1 (23.4”x33.1”) as your preferred sheet size and then print to the HP 5000 using a 50% reduction which should print an accurate sheet at 1/8” per foot onto 12 x 18 paper. Use this process to proof your drawings, then send out your PDF’s for final printing. Make sure the printer has A1 paper in stock.
HP 5000 N manuals here:
Dan Belfiori, posting to my questions about the HP 5000 on the NNA Listserv, said that he’d originally started scaling half sized sheets per the above process but found that staying with 11 x17 sheets meant that paper fed more easily and was more readily accessible even though the reduction process meant that to fit the image from 24 x 36 onto 11 x 17 sheets, the percentage dropped to about 46% and thus was no longer reliably scalable to 1/8” per foot. He said he finds that scaling in his work has not been much of a factor and when it has been important, he adds a scale bar. He also suggests looking at other 11 x17 printers such as the 5100, 8000 and 8500.


Miscellaneous bits:
• For those looking for a schematic showing how one might set up a filing structure for a multi-user environment:
From the Community Board. Scroll down until you see the post from highpass showing an attachment (PDF) labeled as Drawing Tools.

• Speaking of multi-users, the NNA Community Board has added a folder to serve the same and it has only been in service since November of ‘08. There is an interesting thread there on how to set up to serve several:

• Xfrog is a group that has provided 2D and 3D plants for Vwks Architect and Landmark. Take a look at this lushly rendered landscape from their Gallery:
Click on Top Images to see more.

Here’s a link to their For Sale libraries:

• Are you finding that Section Viewports need more editing than the tool allows? If drawing over your section in Annotations is less than fulfilling, and you don’t need an updatable template as described in my Hidden Line Editing video tutorial, take a look at this nice description of a simple process that will break your Section Viewport into editable parts. By Pat Stanford.


That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. 

Tom  Greggs
Greggs Building Design


Helgi Hallgrímsson said...

Thanks for the "lefthander" videos. In my opinion they are better than the official VW training videos. Thumbs up for that.
It would be great if you could do a video where you do a very simple project from scratch. Show us how you set up layers and classes and how you use the wall, window and stair tools and finally how you generate the 2D drawings from the model.



CAD Services said...

Thanks for sharing..
CAD vectorization