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Everything posted by MrPete

  1. I just finished (and received permit approval of) my Deck Repair Plan and Layout. As an experienced tech and engineer, but 100% new to HDpro, here are a few lessons learned along the way: The Plan This software works with surfaces (walls, floors, joists, beams, roofing, foundations, etc) in wonderful detail, including composite buildups containing many internal layers (eg an outside wall has gypsum board, studs, maybe a vapor block, and a few layers for stucco). It has no concept at all of connections between those items. (Joist hangers, post mounting, ledger / LedgerLOKs, Normally, don't waste time worrying about that in the plan Just add text notes to the various elements of the plan, with arrows pointing where you're talking about. Do ensure the ledger board etc is in there HDpro understands a "deck" based on the Rail Walls that surround it Easiest thing: draw the rail-wall outline, including if needed along the side of the house. Then make the house-side rails invisible. Crucial: get the deck-walls in the right place before doing any further customization (eg of framing, posts, stairs and more) Why: the decking surface is defined by the deck-walls, is auto-created, and can only be adjusted by auto-building it while adjusting the walls! Once you have the deck boundary right, there's amazing flexibility for tweaking other aspects. I am reusing existing footings, posts, etc -- not a problem I ended up rebuilding the frame design myself While there's a lot of flexibility, there are also limits based on built-in assumptions Deck rails are made of one material (we have a composite "drink rail" -- I would have to manually create that as separate objects to get it to look exactly right) It knows nothing about fascia boards (Hint: use a "soffit" object, which can be made into any size, and turned in any way ) There is no option (for auto-deck framing) to have joists butt up to the rim beam. Only joist-on-beam. So I "built" that by hand in the software No options for how the decking is laid out. You can choose how many picture frame boards exist, but that's about it. (This is actually important in some cases. Our MoistureShield decking requires support for the ends of boards, so a carry-joist is needed when long boards meet in the middle of the deck. Rather than have double-joists everywhere, I use two for our looong deck. HDpro knows nothing about this, and lays out long decking in a staggered pattern rather than alternating boards. So the 3D view is not quite right in this regard. The manually-creating framing underneath is 100% correct however, and that's the important thing in my book. It wasn't worth the trouble to recreate the actual (complex) roofline of our home. (I did try.) Fortunately I'm not touching that . I simply called it out on the layout as not being accurate; it was not questioned. Other tidbits creating a white-background CAD rectangle to overlay an unwanted element can be the simplest workaround Added text that overlaps the design can be tweaked to have a translucent background (eg white but 25% visible). Looks nice, easy to read, doesn't fully hide the design. If something simply does NOT make sense, don't tear your hair out too long. Tech Support is incredibly helpful... and yes there are occasional bugs to be found. (For me at least, there was a workaround for each bug.) Don't be afraid to use the terrain feature to show and work with the lay of the land. Not that hard, and very helpful in many cases. For final presentation, I changed Edit->Default Settiongs->Dimensions->Format->Accuracy to be 1/1 inch. That eliminates all nigglies in presenting the dimensions The Layout Find out what layout is needed by your building department. Ours requires Arch D size in landscape orientation (wider than tall), and all primary text to be upright in that orientation. So I took the default template and changed all the text on layer 0 to fit, before adding anything else. Play with the various options for how elevations and plan layers are rendered. Some of them are custom to when you paste the view into the layout. I'd recommend playing with that several times before continuing, to ensure you know what you want. (Because it may not be easy to re-apply the same view into your layout, even though the layout and the plan files are linked.) (NOTE: my subscription runs out on 7/11, so any questions requiring me to open my plan files need to be pretty soon )
  2. A followup for future searchers: Bottom line: I was able to use Home Designer Pro to Directly create the primary (Arch D size) plan documents required by our Regional Building Department for my permit request, which was quickly approved on the first try. SUCCESS! Generate a starting Materials List, which (with much editing) formed the beginning basis of my purchase order. In addition to HDpro, other software was ultimately needed: RBD required some additional documents, which I integrated into a composite PDF using Adobe Acrobat. There ARE other ways to do that. Any spreadsheet software (eg Google Sheets, no charge online) could fix up the materials list I'll create a separate thread with hints for others who want to use this software for deck design. Design project complete! Thanks all, and particularly @solver
  3. Tech support confirms: this is a bug. (For some objects, terrain is treated as the floor) Workaround for my objects: Slab: set base to "absolute" instead of "floor" Soffit: uncheck "auto adjust height"
  4. This one is just... strange. If I add a terrain perimeter to my plan, some objects slide underneath the terrain! It's as if, just for those objects, the zero-level of the main floor is now the terrain's zero instead of the real floor zero. I have played with various settings and can't find anything that would cause this. Any ideas out there? A screen grab of with/without is below. What moves: - a 4'x4' concrete slab at the bottom of the stairs, set 21" below main floor level - all of the deck fascia boards. They are constructed using the "soffit" object, and are at main floor level (descending 12" down) (sorry for the tiny picture. I had to zoom out far enough to show the edge of the terrain perimeter!)
  5. Ah HA! I was getting quite confused, due to what appeared to be a software bug. Along the way, I discovered a real, yet minor, bug (a missing URL for a KB article. ) so I called tech support. A brief discussion w/ a very helpful tech support guy led to a crucial insight and understanding of how ALL of these applications function with respect to Decks. The following applies to both Home Designer and Chief Architect: The location/area of the surface (aka "floor") of a deck (ie the decking materials and surface) is 100% defined by the "walls" (railing etc) of the deck. There is NO WAY to manually regenerate the deck surface, nor any way to edit the edges manually. Only the "walls" can be adjusted. Therefore, if "Auto Regenerate Deck Framing" is unchecked ("Deck" tab of "Deck" room type), not only is the framing never regenerated, the deck surface will not regenerate either, even if the walls/rails are moved. Thus, all walls and the edge of the deck must be fully and accurately specified before tweaking any aspect of the framing, foundation, supports, etc.
  6. I'm getting that idea. At least it can be done manually in HD Pro, as long as I don't use the "Deck" style of framing At this point, my impression of HD Pro is: Very flexible software If the automated features fit your need, use them Otherwise, do it manually and you can probably get close to what's needed through some kind of workaround And most likely it will be less work than doing it on paper or with a raw CAD system
  7. Oh boy does that bring back memories... True Story: Back in 1981, I was standing on a ladder in a SiValley nonprofit organization, tossing network cable through the false ceiling, and grumbling "why am I wasting my time getting all hot doing grunt work like this? Anybody could do this!" ... A guy walked in the room with a (very coarse) map of Texas created on a TRS-80. He said "wouldn't it be great if we could show our research data on maps like this!" MrPete, with a bad snarky attitude, said "can't be all THAT hard." He stuck a finger in my face and said "you're the one to make it happen!" I decided to do that, but for years I honestly thought it was a pretty dumb idea. Why go to all the trouble of making maps on a computer when you could just photocopy a map outline and used colored pens to fill it in? Eight years later ... we finished creating the first small-computer GIS. And by then I understood why it was useful to do the analytics on a computer. (We could learn things from data in geographic context that you'd never learn any other way.)
  8. In HD Pro, it's simple in all normal framing to set a Beam default of Placement "with joists" (ie joist and beam tops aligned, connected using a joist hanger.) This is also a very popular construction technique for decks. However, I don't see that option for deck framing. I'm feeling pretty dumb on this one -- it MUST be there somewhere, correct? It's 100% a requirement for my project.
  9. That's an interesting idea... Best version of that I find is this: I can drag the text anywhere on the plan (and thus can drag it to somewhere nobody will ever see ). NOTE: If I drag it on top of the one next door, that makes things quite confusing: the actual next-door dimension is lost, and this number replaces it! Such fun. But I can't remove the dimension line that goes with the text. At least I've no found a way to do that. If I could modify the color/visibility attributes for each individual dimension item, that would do it... but I've not found that feature yet.
  10. Your answer suggests you don't know how to accomplish this either? I do try to learn before asking. I already watched all of the dimension videos, and tried editing all of the dimension defaults. No joy. Are there dimension string handles that control whether the string can be deleted? I've not seen info on that.
  11. Here's an example of auto-generated external dimensions, from the Dimensions tutorial: The "inner" dimension row at the bottom (4', 3', 3', 3', 2') is an example of dimensions I want to edit. What I want to do: delete one of those dimensions without deleting the entire row. Is that possible? I've not found this discussed anywhere. (AFAIK a workaround, not necessarily simple, is to manually create all of the dimensions in that row that I do want.) Thanks!
  12. So I wonder what the OP meant when he said "I created a bunch of custom materials ...I am unable to reuse them since they only exist in the Plan Materials list, not in the User Catalog..." Clearly they should have existed in the User Catalog.
  13. The OP did not have that feature. Perhaps this was an addition to HD Pro 2022?
  14. Thanks for those thoughts, Eric! They pretty much match what I've found so far: I *do* expect to do significant manual work. After all, what I create must match an existing terrain, supports, and house. Not only does the program not auto-include connecting hardware... ...Any imported objects in HD Pro are brought in as "independent interior fixtures, meaning they will be located on the "Fixtures, Interior" layer in Display Options." -- not exactly what I need for a materials list and permit drawings Since I can't create an accurate model without any connecting hardware, it's a bit tough to create an accurate materials list. Is there a way to bring in CAD details for inclusion in the design, or only as isolated drawing groups of some kind?
  15. (FWIW, signature display is so I see OTHER people's signatures ) I've already used the help system. And I listed what software I am using in my question. But happy to comply with community standards, so now it's also in my signature
  16. I'm a reasonably advanced DIY homeowner (and experienced engineer.) I'm replacing the rapidly-rotted frame under our deck. Current goal: create drawings and materials lists needed to obtain permits and do materials purchasing. Unusual element: I'm reusing the 6x6 posts under the deck, which are 100% fine. So I need to manually set post placement etc. I've rented Home Designer Pro, and am rapidly running into what appear to be frustrating limitations of the software.... or else my expectations are wrong. My assumptions: this software, used properly, can help me... Create plan drawings sufficient for our regional building department Create materials lists appropriate for estimating and ultimately purchasing I immediately ran into what to me seems a set of dead ends for deck frame design: None of the videos and tutorials show a design that includes the necessary connecting hardware on a deck frame (frankly, they look more flexible but no more detailed than any of the no-cost deck design systems) There IS a comprehensive Simpson Strong Tie hardware library, but it is only available to those who purchase Premier along with SSA. Did I just waste $59 on a month's rental for a product that can't actually accomplish either of the above goals? [See below. Nope! SUCCESS! ] What should be my expectations with this software, and/or what software do I need to actually accomplish my goals? THANKS MUCH!!!