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In this tutorial, we’ll learn about the Hole tool in Profile Builder. This tool cuts holes through any object that’s a group or component. When the object is also a profile member, holes can also be easily removed.
Start with a wall profile, with a brick material and bottom left placement. Click Build and draw a two-section wall like this.
Click the Hole Tool icon.
The Hole Tool window appears, with three types of hole shapes. Start with a rectangle, which is the most common choice for windows and doors. Make this rectangle 3’ tall and 2’ wide, with placement point at the bottom left corner, and set to cut at full depth. To add this hole to the wall, click the Add icon.
Now you can click everywhere you want to cut this hole. The hole will align to any face, and cuts all the way through.
To remove a hole, click the Remove icon.
Hover over the hole I want, and when you see the hole preview, click to remove it.
Now let’s get into more details about how this tool works.
As stated above, you can cut holes from any object, as long as that object is a group or component. Create a similar wall and group it, and use the Hole tool to cut the same rectangles.
The only difference is that, because this group isn’t a profile member, you can’t remove the holes.
When multiple profile members are in a model, it’s good practice to select in advance the object or objects to cut. Start with a structural steel profile member beam, and make a few copies.
This time we’ll cut a circular hole, say for pipes that need to run through some of these beams. Click the Circular Hole tool, set a 6” diameter, and 24 segments. Higher segmentation produces smoother looking circles. Placement will be at the center.
If you click one beam, the hole will be created only there. Instead, select three beams in advance, then click Add. Now you can click any of the selected beams to drive the same hole through all three at once.
Immediately after placing one hole, you can create additional identical holes. Move your cursor toward the end of the beam, typing an exact distance if you want, then press Enter again to create partial holes.
You can also inference from existing points when creating holes. For a set of holes along the flanges of one beam, change the diameter to 1” and click Add. To line the hole up with the flange midpoint, hover over that point and tap the Ctrl key (Option on the Mac), not keeping it pressed.
Then move your mouse in the direction you want, and enter the distance for the hole: 2” in this case. The hole preview snaps to that point. Press Enter again to cut the hole. Because the hole is full depth, it cuts through both flanges.
To place additional holes, move in the same direction, type the distance of 4” and press Enter twice, then repeat as needed.
Because the beam profile member is parametric, the holes will be maintained if you make changes. Edit the beam profile to be wider and shorter. Then select and edit the beam, changing just the profile. The holes stay in place relative to the beam center, and still push through both flanges.
Trimming or extending the profile member won’t affect the holes. Click the Extend or Split tool, select this beam and highlight the end with the holes, and move the end back.
If you then extend the beam, the holes are back in their original spots.
Hole cutting also works with assemblies. Open the Assembly Dialog, and click Search to bring in the cavity wall. This particular assembly is comprised of five nested profile members - there are no regular components.
Click Build and drag out 4 walls.
Set a rectangular hole, click Add, and create the holes. By default, each hole goes straight through all nested groups and components. And because each layer of this wall is a single profile member, and the hole is full depth, the holes go through the entire set of walls.
Undo these holes. If you want the holes to cut only one wall at a time, you can set the depth. Uncheck Full Depth and enter 2’. This is higher than the depth of the wall, but low enough not to reach the other side.
Now you can go around and place holes that will each only affect a single wall.
Holes don’t have to go all the way through a profile member. If you set the hole depth to 3”, you can create a textured pattern along the exterior brick.
Or try a depth of 4” which will cut through only the exterior brick profile member.
You can also create a hole with shapes other than a circle or rectangle. This example consists of a profile member with four walls, and an oval-shaped pipe profile member.
Select both and run Intersect Faces / With model, to get the intersection curves.
Click Custom Hole, which provides two choices for the hole profile. Click the profile name, listed as Arch in this example.
Clicking any profile member in the model will enter its profile shape as the hole. Click the pipe, whose profile named Oval is now listed. Use full depth holes.
Place holes in the wall, which go all the way through. But note that in this example, this profile has a vertical offset and center placement.
Now say you want to place the holes exactly where the pipe runs through, which requires some changes to the oval profile. Click the Profile icon.
This loads the oval properties into another instance of the Profile Dialog.
Now you can remove the vertical offset and change the placement point to a point along the circumference, then click OK.
Then click Add, hide the pipe itself, and you can easily place the hole in the right spot.
You can also use a profile shape that’s not already a profile in the model. Draw an arch shape right on the wall, and select this face.
In the Hole Tool window click Custom Hole, then the profile icon. This opens the second Profile Dialog, where you can click the plus sign to add this shape as a new profile. Name this profile “Arch.” Set the placement point to bottom left, and click OK to close.
Erase the arch face, then in the Hole Tool window, set a depth and click Add.
Let’s say we want the corner of this window to be 3’ from the edge of the wall, and 4’ from the bottom. Press Ctrl and click the lower corner of the wall, then move the cursor to the right and enter 36”.
Then move the cursor straight up and enter 48”. When you press Enter again, the hole is created in the correct spot.
You can now create additional windows by moving to the right, typing the distance of, say, 72”, and pressing Enter again. Repeat as needed to complete the row of holes.
Removing holes from assemblies can be a bit more complicated than removing from profile members. If you try to remove one of these arch holes, you’ll get a message that holes can only be removed from profile members.
So you need to drill down into the assembly to access each of the profile members that it comprises.
Open the wall group, and you’ll be able to access each profile member. The remove tool will work, though you’ll have to use it for each of the three profile members that the hole cuts through.
Note that assemblies are not always comprised of only profile members. For example, this Exterior Wall assembly contains profile members, regular components, and one span profile. Use the same arch shape, with a bottom middle placement point, to cut a pass-through in this wall. The cut goes all the way through.
But if you open this fence group to remove the hole, it gets a little complicated since there are so many parts to fix.
So the rule of thumb is - when dealing with assemblies, be sure of the size, shape, and location of any holes before you actually cut them.
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