MikeBaldus

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
  • Interests
    Historic preservation, residential building science, renewable energy, sustainable transportation, urban and small scale agriculture, in no particular order.

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  1. @DavidJPotter: Thank you David! @Rookie65 (Keith) had suggested soffit, but I needed your video tutorial to begin to make sense of how to use the tool. And you're right, you really do have to play with it awhile to get things to go your way. This is especially true when you want the thing to start and stop at precise points in 3D space. Some of the behaviors are counterintuitive, but you can definitely get there with it! In the screenshot attached, I got most of the way there, but stopped short of the finished product since I'm going to use a post instead. Thanks for the answer. Now the video will always be there to help people solve this problem. @Jo_Ann: That is food for thought! If you figure that the small window is a bathroom window, you'd be right. Your idea would make it harder for a "visitor" to look in the window. I won't go with it because it would cost more, and I've never been crazy about steps immediately outside a door - this is a rental property, so it's always possible I could find myself in court after a guest stepped out and tumbled against the railing opposite. P.S. I would love to know how in the world you took my screenshot and recreated all those elements so faithfully and quickly! I can even see interior elements that match my plan. Did I leave a copy of my plan in another forum post?
  2. @Rookie65 (Keith): Thanks for the suggestion. I tried playing with a soffit but every time I tried to tilt it I got weird results. @solver (Eric): Thanks for those suggestions also. The custom backsplash gave me similar weird results (but different LOL) as the soffit (whenever I tried to introduce angles). And even after extensively reading the Reference Manual, I couldn't get the software to draw a ceiling plane. I thought perhaps I could get one drawn in the wrong place and then edit & move it, but I couldn't figure out how to draw it in the first place. Never done one before (like so many things here), so I need more time to play with tutorials and test models, but don't have it. And I didn't try drawing it inside the house first, which might have helped. Any of those 3 ideas might have worked under a more experienced hand. @Jo_Ann: An architect and myself hatched the cable suspension idea because there is a cellar entry directly below, which would interfere with a post. He already drew the stair details, including the support (which would be well backed in the house attic), so it was well engineered. However, with the trouble I had drawing and your comment, together made me rethink the plan. I extended the deck platform beyond the house wall enough to squeeze a post and footing next to the existing cellar entry foundation. It's going to be easier and cheaper, and the esthetic compromise will be worth it. Thanks for nudging me into doing a basic re-think! Sincerely,
  3. Hello, I am trying to draw a cable from the extended rim joist in the screenshot up to the wall above the small window nearby. I haven't been able to figure out what kind of building component to use for this. I suspect it will be Slab, but I haven't figured out how to manipulate it to look like a cable going up at an angle. I should clarify: I did create a vertical cylinder by placing a CAD circle, then converting to a Slab, so I have a "pole", but I can't find the way to lean it at an angle. IF using a Slab is even the right approach... I can't find anything in Shapes that might help either, but then I only have the core Library that came with HD Pro 2015. Any help will be appreciated!
  4. Thanks Eric, that's good to know! I see that by using a shape, you can choose to include a label. Thank you, Mike
  5. @solver: Ha! Well apparently no, I have never tried to place a circle before! And I'm ashamed to say that click-dragging didn't occur to me! I would hover the mouse over the intersection of the CAD lines and the red X would appear, and my tired brain thought that meant I could just click to drop a circle that I would then adjust for size. I had been placing so many things on the plan, then opening the properties to adjust size and location that my mind just jumped to "drop the circle, then open it to adjust." But of course no other CAD objects let you place them without a click-drag to start the process, so why would circles? Sheesh! I didn't get enough sleep last night. @Rookie65: I don't think HD Pro 2015 has a Shapes tool. At least I haven't found one. However, once Eric gave me the answer, I was able to select the object for editing, then use the magic wand tool in the lower left corner to "Convert selected object to an architectural or terrain object." In the dialog that appears, you can choose Slab to get a round slab, and then give it height. Thank you gentlemen! Mike
  6. I can't place a CAD circle on my drawing (or oval or ellipse, etc). I can place any other CAD object on the plan (polylines, arcs, etc). However, for some reason circles won't place. I have tried both placing a circle on the intersection of CAD lines and just randomly in the open. Neither works. When I try to place the circle on the intersection of two CAD lines, it just selects one of the CAD lines. The program shows that I have the proper tool selected - both at the top toolbar and in the left pane that appears. I am stumped... I've added a screenshot of the area where I'm trying to place the circle. I put two intersecting CAD lines where I want the circle to center. BTW: In real life it's a utility pole. I was going to use a round slab and extrude it, but the program says it will only place pier footings directly under walls. I'm satisfied with having the pole only appear in plan view as a 2D CAD object, unless someone has a better idea.
  7. Does anyone know if local groups of users have ever formed anywhere, or if there are any users in Des Moines, Iowa that would like to get together to share what they have learned? I've spent a lot of time studying alone and I think there would be great value in a group of us being able to ask, share and learn together. Thank you, Mike
  8. Alexa, As a fairly new user of Home Designer (Pro) software, I would warn you that everything David J. Potter says about the commitment of time and practice is true. I would go much further to say that without a major commitment of time and practice you will get no results worth the cost of the software, let alone your many hours of toil. I learned drafting on paper at 19, spent 18 years as a contractor, but all that left me nearly at ground zero when attempting to learn the software. Home Designer software, in spite of being as David says: "for amateurs" is still so rich with features that the learning curve is FAR too steep to be worthwhile for one project. The Reference Manual for my version is 1008 pages and it does NOT read like a good novel. For one project this software would be, as my attorney once said to me: "using an atom bomb to swat a fly". Mike
  9. Aargh! Yes, I see now that I didn't look closely enough at your instructions. I saw the "Copy the 2 outside walls that define the deck" part and didn't notice you said to "Cut/Paste Hold Position". And in addition to not knowing the "Hold Position" business even existed, I'm pretty sure I've never done a "Cut/Paste" either! Thanks, these are valuable tips. Ouch, it hurts to hear you could do that with so little effort! As soon as I get the permit process off the ground and have a little spare time I'm going to play with a copy of the plan to try to duplicate what you described. Even though I was able to do the stair math and manually build the sections (and the program was good enough to let me do it), I was frustrated that it "sort of" recognized that I was building stairs to a landing but it never really "got it". Both stair dialogues show number of landings as "0". I seem to do a lot of things the hard way, so I'm looking forward to trying your easier way - and then type myself some good notes! It looks like you picked the arbitrary number of 10' for the "Ceiling Above" height. So I was on the right track there? Any number that's higher than the height of the railings will work? Mike
  10. Thanks for helping me understand a potential use for the Copy/Paste in Place tool. It took me quite awhile to find the Cut/Paste Hold Position tool! It wasn't available in the Edit toolbar or the right-click menu, I finally found it in the main Edit menu. So I did that, but with very unexpected results - see the screenshot. To clarify, the Cut/Paste Hold Position worked beautifully, the trouble wasn't until I tried to move the deck up. I admit that as soon as I attempted to set the 1st floor deck Absolute Floor Height to match the 2nd floor deck, something happened with Ceiling Height and Floor Above Height, I doctored and re-doctored. I started from scratch after that and those heights still don't want to cooperate. I tried leaving the default check-marks, removing them, and combinations (remove the Floor Height default check-mark first, edit the number, tab out to watch what happens). But as soon as I set the Floor Height to 128 3/4" I have a negative ceiling height, and manually raising the height gave me the odd results in the screenshot. Any approach I took left me no option but to manually set artificial heights for those other two. So I set arbitrary heights for those, figuring they shouldn't be important anyway, but I kept getting weird results like the screenshots. Notice BTW that it pulled the Bilco cellar doors up with it . I also tried deleting all stairs first, but per 2nd Shot it did the same thing (plus dropped my landing to the ground). Since I already had a good 2nd floor deck, landing and upper stair section (I think), is this exercise an attempt to trick the program into understanding that all 4 elements (2 stair sections, a landing and the deck) are simply one staircase? I finally took some earlier advice of yours and just manually built the stairs. That was good learning exercise too, because of the many options the program offers within the Stairs dialog. I made mistakes that moved my carefully placed landing at times, due to not having noticed which option was selected - Lock Top vs. Lock Bottom. I'm still trying to figure out why the programmers decided to make Top Height be the top of the highest step instead of the landing or floor platform. No carpenter does stair math that way - you go from platform to platform. But I finally realized they took that odd approach and adjusted my math, and have attached the result. It won't meet your standards BTW: Yes I did know that my 2nd floor doesn't line up with 1st. That's because after carefully measuring and re-measuring, I decide that the 2nd floor is not the same North-South dimension as the 1st floor! Well it's a 130 year old building, and had a major fire on the 2nd floor around 1900 (bad enough that the entire roof structure was replaced). So I decided to just draw it as I found it and call it close enough. For all this exterior drawing I only need good enough to show the permit and local historic district people, so things like the slight gap between the first flight and the landing is passable for my purpose. Later I certainly hope to have more time to play and learn, but right now the property is costing me $900/month to sit there. Wow, this reply got long! Sorry. Eric, thank you again for being there to help out! Mike 300 Franklin-Proposed-Alt.plan
  11. How do I copy decks or landings from one floor to another? And they behave differently - when I select the landing I get the whole thing, when I select the deck I get either a section of railing or the Room. If I get the Room the Edit bar has no Copy/Paste tool. I noticed when attempting to copy the landing "to the 2nd floor" as you first suggested, that there is a 2nd tool: "Copy and Paste in Place". Is that somehow related to the process of copying a landing to another floor? Let me go back to: How do I copy the deck to the 1st floor? And do you mean I should place it at the same XY location as the existing 2nd floor deck? Actually I guess it would be the same Z location also since you said to set Absolute Floor to match the 2nd floor deck...
  12. Thanks again Eric. Well I studied your helpful post, but I can't see what I need to do to make it apply to my case. It definitely pushed me into new territory though! I did draw a closed polyline and positioned it directly over my landing (not being sure how that might help, since the stairs won't snap to my landing and the program ought to recognize a landing to snap to better than a polyline). So I think I'm barking up the wrong tree there. Your tutorial's approach is that of knowing what you want for stair sections, creating them to suit, then joining things together. To do it you use a number of tools and methods I'm new to. Which element of the tutorial should I be focusing on? BTW: Am I wrong in assuming that my upper deck, upper stair section and my landing are OK and not causing a problem?
  13. Hello, I know this should be simple but I can't make it work and I haven't found any help in the reference manual. In the attached plan file I have spent much time placing and sizing the landing and I don't want to move it (changing height would be fine) because everything is a really tight fit. The upper set of stairs must pass down beside a 1st story roof overhang with gutter (so I can't move closer to house), and at a normal code width they almost peek out from beside the 2nd story wall (so I can't move farther away from house). The lower stairs must miss the fence that hides the AC units. The upper stairs seem to be connected to the 2nd story deck platform and the mid-level landing OK (they may not be though and I don't know how to tell for certain). I can't get the lower stairs to connect to the landing, nor do I know how to convince the program that both sets of stairs are part of one run of stairs. Any help will be appreciated! Gratefully, Mike 300 Franklin-Proposed.plan
  14. Ooh! Major learning moment! I didn't know that! I missed that along the way. I just tried creating a camera view, going to Layer Display Options, and sure enough found Framing, Posts turned off. I played with things, and am happy to see that my display options are saved across all camera views. Many thanks Eric!
  15. Apologies, I should have mentioned that I have "Framing, Posts" turned on in Layer Display Options. Yes, I used Build>Framing>Post to make them so they are framing members. Thanks for the tip, I can see them in Framing Overview. I wonder what the program writers had in mind to allow a user to draw exterior stairways and be able to show the complete picture in elevation views? Any permit official will want to see a drawing of the stairway complete with however I mean to support it.