MikeBaldus

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About 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. MikeBaldus

    Home Designer users in my town?

    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
  2. 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
  3. MikeBaldus

    Can't connect exterior stairs to landing

    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
  4. MikeBaldus

    Can't connect exterior stairs to landing

    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
  5. MikeBaldus

    Can't connect exterior stairs to landing

    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...
  6. MikeBaldus

    Can't connect exterior stairs to landing

    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?
  7. MikeBaldus

    Can't connect exterior stairs to landing

    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
  8. MikeBaldus

    Why can't I see posts?

    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!
  9. MikeBaldus

    Why can't I see posts?

    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.
  10. MikeBaldus

    Why can't I see posts?

    I have added posts under an exterior stair landing but I can't figure out how to get them to appear in the elevation view. Help? See the posts and round slabs off the south side of building. BTW I have the display of stairs turned off while I work on the supporting posts. And I'm working in this order because the location of the AC units is non-negotiable but the stair landing can be adjusted so the posts will miss the AC units. After I get the posts located to miss the AC units I will move the stair landing (and adjust posts) as needed. How do I make the posts appear in camera view? Gratefully, Mike 300 Franklin-Proposed.plan
  11. MikeBaldus

    Break Line not working on sidewalk

    Great workaround! Thank you Eric!
  12. MikeBaldus

    Break Line not working on sidewalk

    Hoping for help: As you will see in the attached plan file, I have drawn two sections of 24" private sidewalk near the house on the West side (which is top of plan as viewed). The section to the right is existing sidewalk and goes out to meet the public sidewalk. The section to the left is proposed as new. I have changed the fill material to make it stand out because I need to show the permit people. As soon as I drag to extend the new sidewalk to the left to connect it to a small pad at base of stairs (off the SW corner of house), the program connects it to the existing sidewalk. It loses its independent identity. Once this happens, I have tried to simply add a joint via the Break Line tool as the Reference Manual instructs. However I can't seem to make it work. I have tried the Break Line double-click method also, to no avail. I would like to know how to make it work as the manual says. Also if it's possible to defeat the programmed behavior of "auto-connecting" the two sidewalks I would love to know that! As you should see by playing with my drawing, you can draw the independent sidewalk as I have, but at the point where you extend it to the left enough for the program to think you plan to connect all 3 sections, it blends the new walk with the existing section on the right, making it all one object. Gratefully, Mike 300 Franklin-Proposed.plan
  13. MikeBaldus

    Dishwasher changes location in 3D view

    Thank you Eric, that was the trick! Even though it didn't make sense to place a DW on a cabinet, I tried it before writing to the forum - but I tried to slide the DW onto the cabinet, which the program wouldn't allow. Just clicking the "in place" cabinet did it. I've never tried creating a materials list for anything yet, let alone a set of kitchen cabinets, but I can only assume that if such a thing is possible within the program they must compensate by deducting the cabinet. Or you end up with an extra B24 you didn't need... Many thanks Eric! Mike
  14. MikeBaldus

    Dishwasher changes location in 3D view

    That's what I assumed, which is why the dialog message had me confused. So that's what I did - placed the DW in the empty space between cabinets. Any idea why it appears as a DW door on the face of the wall in 3D view? I can locate it properly in plan view but 3D is wrong.
  15. MikeBaldus

    Dishwasher changes location in 3D view

    Hope someone can help: As you will see in my plan file, the dishwasher I moved into the cabinet space in plan view changes in 3D view to appear as a dishwasher door on the face of the wall. I've tried more than one dishwasher with the same effect. Likely related is that the first couple of times I tried to place a dishwasher in plan view, the program popped a dialog saying something about the object being intended to install onto a cabinet face and do I want to make it freestanding? I'm sure that isn't quite the correct text but I can't reproduce the message now. It confused me since I clearly had an entire DW ready to position so I said "yes" to make it freestanding. I'm not sure it would have let me place the DW onto a cabinet anyway - it doesn't now. Thank you, Mike Apt 2 Kitchen.plan