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In this tutorial, we’ll see how to add components to an assembly.
As we’ve seen in previous tutorials, assemblies can be comprised only of profile members, or consist of only components, or have a combination of profile members, components, or spans.
For a simple example of an assembly of just components, this example starts with a curvy road along hilly terrain, and one street lamp component off to the side.
The goal is to create an assembly that will line a group of street lamps along the road.
In order that the street lamps will be oriented the correct way, it’s important that the component axes are set the right way. You can see a component’s axes when editing it, or you can keep component axes permanently displayed. Open the Model Info window to the Components tab, and check the box to show component axes.
Here are the axes of the street lamp:
With the axes set this way, the street lamps won’t be oriented correctly. A component’s positive red axis needs to point along the direction of the path. So with the current axes, each light fixture will point toward the direction of the path, rather than face toward the street. So these axes will need to be reset.
Right-click the lamp component and choose Change Axes. Move the origin to the front point of the base, set the red axis to the right which represents the path direction, and finally, set the green axis so that the blue axis remains vertical.
Now the component is ready to use.
Open the Assembly Dialog and enter the name “Street Lamps.” There won’t be a profile member in this assembly. Go to the Component tab and click the plus sign.
There will be only one component, which can be named Street Lamp.
To pick up the component, click Pick from Model.
Use the eyedropper to get the lamp component. Its height is listed at the top.
Keep the first placement option checked, which means components will be spaced all along the path.
Enter 15’ for the spacing, and keep Max unchecked so that all lamps will be exactly 15’ apart. If Horizontal is checked, then the 15’ spacing will be maintained horizontally, otherwise the spacing distance will follow the 3D distance between components.
With these settings, use Smart Path to define the path, and click Build Along Path. The 0 rotation angle means that each lamp is angled to face perpendicular to the path, and Stay Vertical keeps each lamp vertical. The spacing between each lamp is 15’ except between the last two.
Select this assembly so that you can see what happens when these settings are adjusted.
Change the spacing to Max. This disables the options for components at the start and end of the path, because these are placed at each end automatically. Also uncheck Stay Vertical, then Apply.
Now the spacing between all lamps is identical, and a bit less than 15’. The lamps are also now perpendicular to the terrain.
Go back to Vertical, uncheck Max, and remove the post at the end of the path.
Change the layout from From Start to From Middle, and remove the post at the start of the path.
There is now a lamp at the center, and spacing of 15’ in both directions.
You can change the rotation angle to 90 to turn each lamp, or even choose random rotation. Random doesn’t make much sense for street lamps but can be useful when placing trees or people or other organic components.
A negative Left / Right offset can be added if you want to move the lamps to the left while facing down toward the direction of the path. And a negative Up / Down offset can be used to sink the lamp base underground. Global keeps the vertical offset in the blue direction.
For an example of a more complex assembly, go the samples folder and bring in the 2x6 exterior wall. Click Build and click along a path that has one right turn relative to the path direction, and then a left turn.
There are four profile members that follow the path - one bottom plate, two top plates, and exterior sheathing. Use the Delete icon to remove the sheathing, which will make the components easier to see.
The red insulation comes from the spans that run between stud components - delete these as well. Update the wall after each change.
What’s left are five components. Delete the two insulation components. This leaves three stud components.
Stud components are placed along all path segments, at path start and end, and at left and right junctions, where the path takes a turn greater than the min junction angle of 60 degrees.
The Left corner stud is placed only where there is a left turn, and nowhere else. This is a single stud turned 90 degrees.
Remove the left corner stud, and only that single stud would disappear. Going back to the Studs profile, remove the left junction studs as well. What’s left are the studs at their usual spacing.
Now let’s see how to create something like this from scratch.
Start with the 2 x 4 profile which we’ll use to build both the profile members and components of a stud wall. Its dimensions are 3.5 x 1.5, which we’ll need to keep in mind later when creating offsets and setbacks.
Create the profile with a bottom right placement point. Assign a material and choose butt joints.
Click Build and draw out a wall segment.
In the Assembly Dialog, assign the name Stud Wall, and add a profile member called Bottom Plate. Pick the profile from the model, and keep offsets at zero since the bottom right corner of this member will be the assembly placement point as well.
Add another profile member, called Top Plate, and change its Up / Down offset to 8’-1.5”, to make space for 8’ studs.
Then comes one more profile member, called Double Top Plate, which is placed right on top of the previous top plate, and automatically has the correct Up / Down offset. The height of the entire assembly includes all three plates.
To prepare the stud component, make the profile member in the model into a component, which is automatically named 2x4. Rotate it to be vertical.
Because this component contains a profile member, the changes that need to be made to this component should be done in the Profile Dialog, so that its parametrics will be maintained. First, change its material and apply changes.
Next we want to set the stud height to 8’. So draw a temporary 8’ line and use the Extend or Split tool to pull the stud to the top of the line.
Now we’ll change the axes of this component. The origin will be at the center front, with the red axis pointing to the right, which will be the path direction. The green axis points behind so that blue points up. Display component axes to make sure all looks OK.
Back in the Assembly dialog, In the Component tab, add a new component named Stud and pick it from the model. Set the spacing to 16”, and uncheck Max. Keep studs at start, end, and junctions.
For offsets and setbacks and other settings, it’s often easier to draw out the assembly, and then make the needed adjustments. Click Build and draw out a path with a right turn then a left turn.
The first change to make to the studs is to add a positive Up / Down offset of 1.5”, to bring the studs on top of the bottom plate. A Start Setback of ¾” is also needed, to push the left edge of the stud to be flush with the plate. Since stud spacing is fixed, they all move ¾” to the right.
The End Setback must also be positive ¾”. A positive setbacks mean that the component will move toward the center of the assembly segment, whether at the start or end of the segment.
A negative setback on either side would move the component away from its segment.
Junction Setback controls what happens where the path takes a sharp turn - set this to positive ¾”.
At the right turn, the studs look correct.
But at the left turn, the studs don’t have the right configuration. So we’ll need to use the Advanced setback options.
Pre and Post Setback values control what happens before and after the path takes its turn. All of these values reset to zero. Since both Right Junction values were already correct before, these can go back to to ¾”. Nothing changes after applying this change.
For Pre-Left, measure the distance that the stud needs to move, which is 4 ¼”. Use the same value for Post-Left.
Now can add extra studs at both right and left junctions. Zoom in on the left turn, and bring in a 2x4 from the In Model collection of components.
Before placing this component where it needs to go, make it unique and name it 2x4 Left.
Use the Profile Dialog to change its material so that it will stand out from the others.
Now place the new stud where it needs to go, though it’s just a placeholder for reference. Change its axes so that the origin coincides with the path corner, and the red axis points in the path direction before the turn.
In the Assembly Dialog, add this as a new component called Stud Left, and pick it from the model. Set it to appear only at left junctions. I need to keep the Up / Down offset but not the left right, and junction setback is also zero. Start and end setback aren’t relevant for components that only appear at junctions.
Erase the placeholder component, select the assembly, and apply.
Now we’ll do the same for the right turn. Bring in another 2x4 Left component, make it unique and name it 2x4 Right, and move it unto place.
The axes for this right stud are a bit more complicated. The origin should meet the path corner, and the red axis should keep the direction before the path turns.
Add this as a component called Stud Right, pick the new component, and set it to appear at right junctions. Now we only need to remove the Left / Right offset.
Erase the placeholder, select the assembly, and apply the change.
Finally, the Min Junction Angle controls where junction configurations are used. With the current setting of 60 degrees, any change in path direction greater than 60 degrees will result in the creation of a junction point.
Edit the path by double-clicking the assembly and clicking Edit Path. Rotate this segment 45 degrees.
Then close the path. Because this angle is now less than 60, this corner is no longer considered as a junction. So the studs use their continuous 16” spacing through this corner.
Now that the stud wall assembly is set up the way we want it, you can erase everything, draw out a path for a new set of walls, and build. Each corner has the correct corner stud.