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Working with Larger Models Tutorial

Project Description:
The purpose of this tutorial is to demonstrate the use of Smart Planes, Renaming Members, and Naming Views and how they can simplify and organize larger models. To better demonstrate these features, you will draw the structure below and then generated copies to make a larger model.

FEATURES:
Generate Copies 3D Modeling Smart Planes Cut Planes Renaming Members Named Views Name Filter

Single Space Frame

Modeling the Structure:


Begin by creating a new blank Space Frame. Title the project Smart Planes. Draw the Single Space Frame shown above, but do not worry about specifying the pinned connections at this time. This will be taken care of later in this tutorial. Turn off the Edit Grid, so that no members will be accidentally drawn. Your model should look similar to the figure below:

Now, you will rename the columns and beams. Specify a prefix of C for the columns. This can be done by selecting all of the columns and then using the Model | Rename command. (Hint: Holding down the Ctrl key allows for you to add to the selection)

Select OK. You will see that the columns are now renamed. Repeat this process for the Beams, using a prefix of B. Select all of the columns and beams. Use the Model | Generate Copies command to copy the Single base Space Frame. Use a rectangular pattern and specify 2 copies in each direction spaced at 12, 10, and 12 feet in the X, Y, and Z direction, respectively.

Select Finish. Your model should look similar to the figure below:

Now, you will use the Smart Plane feature to rename the beams on each floor. Use the Grid Tab in the Project Manager and enable the Smart Plane. Select the type as Plan View with a location of Plan at Y = 10. Your model should look similar to the figure below:

Highlight all the beams by holding Shift and selecting one beam. Use the Model | Rename command to rename all of the beams with a prefix of BEAM1-. This is done to designate the beams as first floor beams. Change your Smart Plane location to Plan at Y = 20, rename all of these beams with a prefix of BEAM2-. Rename the beams in the Smart Plane of Plan at Y = 30 with a prefix of BEAM3-, in a similar manner. To rename the columns, you will use the Cut Plane feature rather than the Smart Plane feature. Before this is done, a few things should be said about the Smart Planes and the Cut Planes. Smart Planes are generated by the computer by locating planes that contain the most nodes and members. The Smart Plane feature can be a powerful tool, but if you want to take a look at a plane not described with the Smart Plane, the Cut Plane feature must be used. For more information about Smart Planes and Cut Planes, consult the VA user guide.

In the Grid tab of the Project Manager, choose a ZX Slice Cut Plane with a center point of 5 ft and a view depth of 10 ft. This will show the first story columns and beams. Your model should look similar to the figure below:

Highlight all of the columns by holding down the Shift + Ctrl keys and selecting one of the columns. Use the Model | Rename command and give the columns a prefix of COL1-. Now, use the View | Name Current View command to name this view and make it easily accessible later. Name the view 1st Story (Beams & Columns), click OK. The new name should be shown in the View drop down menu in the Status Bar.

You could also use the Name Filter feature along with the Named View feature to create a view that would show only the columns of the first floor. In the Filter Tab of the Project Manager under members, enter C in the Name Filter input. You will now only see the Columns. Use the View | Name Current View command and name this view 1st Story (Columns Only). The named view will remember Cut Plane settings as well as Filter settings. Use the View drop down menu in the Status Bar to select different views to see how the Named View feature works.

Select the 1st Story (Columns Only) view and change the Cut Plane Center Point to 15 ft. This will show the second floor columns. Select all of the columns and rename them with a prefix of COL2-. Create a new view named 2nd Story (Columns Only). In the Filter Tab of the Project Manager under members, enter C, BEAM2 in the Name Filter input. This will show the columns and beams of the second story. Create a new view named 2nd Story (Beams & Columns). Now, change the Cut Plane Center Point to 25 ft. You will see the 3rd story columns as well as the 2nd story beams. This is because the Name Filter still has C, BEAM2 as its input. Change the Name Filter input to C, to only display the Columns. Rename all of the Columns with the prefix COL3-. Create a named view for 3rd Story (Columns Only). In the Filter Tab of the Project Manager under members, enter C, BEAM3 in the Name Filter input. Create a new view name 3rd Story (Beams & Columns).

To specify the supports as pinned, use the Grid Tab in the Project Manager to select a Plan View Smart Plane at Y = 0ft. This will show only the bottom nodes. Select all of the nodes, and under the Modify Tab in the Project Manager, specify the support type as Fixed for X, Y, Z Displacements, and Y Rotation. The Rotation in the Y direction is fixed to avoid problems with instability in 3D models.

Summary:
Larger models can be managed with these tools to simplify the views, and to keep member names organized. The combination of the Cut Planes and the Name Filter can be very powerful in managing your larger model.