Arch Panel

Info about new implemented features, classes, modules or APIs. Might get technical!
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yorik
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Arch Panel

Postby yorik » Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:41 pm

I just added a new tool to the Arch WB: Panels.

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A panel is an object of large length and width, and small thickness. It can be used for a lot of things, but the primery use for this object is panel constructions like this: http://www.wikihouse.cc/

Currently Panel objects can be built from scratch, specifying their length, width and thickness, or be based on a 2D profile, in which case only the thickness property is used. There is also a "Sheets" property that allows to make a panel from several layers.

In the future I also intend to add the possibility to have sheets of different thicknesses and materials, so as to be able to make things like this: http://www.popup-house.com/
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quick61
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Re: Arch Panel

Postby quick61 » Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:21 pm

Admittedly I have not done anything with the Arch workbench but that WikiHouse project looks really cool. Now I'm going to have to start teaching myself Arch. :)

It's a real shame they got themselves married up to Sketchup the way they have. One thing I never really got about "open source" projects like this. They start out with all their "CAD" files, (with Sketchup, we use the term CAD loosely), in a closed format, made with closed source software. :?
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Re: Arch Panel

Postby saso » Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:23 pm

I generally like the possibilities with this, but have doubts if it makes sense to do it this way. It somehow feels to move away from the "standard" path (or at least from what is known to me). What other BIM software has a "panel". Is there something like it in IFC? Would it not maybe make more sense to have it as an subcategory or a function of Walls (ex. wall from sketch) and Floors (Slabs)? :|

Personally I feel it would be good to follow closely the IFC standard when building up the elements and their properties in the Arch WB.
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Re: Arch Panel

Postby yorik » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:14 pm

quick61 wrote:They start out with all their "CAD" files, (with Sketchup, we use the term CAD loosely), in a closed format, made with closed source software. :?

Yeah I agree totally. But architects are often pretty old-minded when it comes to opensource... Now, if we can show them that we have a special tool for this, they might want to rethink!

saso wrote:What other BIM software has a "panel". Is there something like it in IFC?

For me this panel tool is useful... In IFC there is an IfcPlate object that we can use. But IFC has its flaws and limitations too, and I don't think we need to have these limitations in FreeCAD too :) After all, nothing prevents you from using walls and not using the panel tool...
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Re: Arch Panel

Postby quick61 » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:39 pm

yorik wrote:
quick61 wrote:They start out with all their "CAD" files, (with Sketchup, we use the term CAD loosely), in a closed format, made with closed source software. :?

Yeah I agree totally. But architects are often pretty old-minded when it comes to opensource... Now, if we can show them that we have a special tool for this, they might want to rethink!


After reading your post and looking over the Wikihouse project, I was hoping that was your intention.
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Re: Arch Panel

Postby yorik » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:46 pm

What we should do one day is take one of their projects and remodel it in FreeCAD, with parametric powers... That might be what they need to get convinced ;)

But there is still some stuff I would like to address with the Panel tool, ie. how to automatically create CNC-ready sheets from them, and also add engraving tags.
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Re: Arch Panel

Postby NormandC » Sun Jul 20, 2014 10:39 pm

quick61 wrote:It's a real shame they got themselves married up to Sketchup the way they have. One thing I never really got about "open source" projects like this. They start out with all their "CAD" files, (with Sketchup, we use the term CAD loosely), in a closed format, made with closed source software. :?

That reminds me of the Lasersaur project. Maybe 2 years ago I heard of this "open source" laser cutter on the Libre Graphics World blog. One of the guys had posted Sketchup files on GitHub. When I inquired why he didn't use an open source software like FreeCAD he replied FreeCAD couldn't do it. So I started modeling the frame in FreeCAD to prove him wrong but shortly after that he shut down the GitHub repo. Then anyone wanting to access the source files had to pay for beta access. I left it at that. To think he could have had it all modeled in FreeCAD and all for free... :?
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Re: Arch Panel

Postby bernd » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:52 pm

yorik wrote:...architects are often pretty old-minded when it comes to opensource...
There are not many things in which architects and structural engineers share the same opinion. Hey we've found one, unfortunately. ;)

yorik wrote:
saso wrote:What other BIM software has a "panel". Is there something like it in IFC?

For me this panel tool is useful... In IFC there is an IfcPlate object that we can use. But IFC has its flaws and limitations too, and I don't think we need to have these limitations in FreeCAD too :) After all, nothing prevents you from using walls and not using the panel tool...
Totally agree withe Yorik. We should not care what others do. The panel tool makes it easy to create a panel in FreeCAD so it is useful. What it is exported from FeeCAD to ifc is your desicion. Choose what ever entitytype you want it to be in your ifc. Thats the strength of FreeCAD and python ... BTW Thats the strengths of OpenSource. Someone finds something useful and just does it ...

EDIT
Ahh forgot to say the tool is cool. Since I'm one of the concrete guys I don't really see a use for myself but you never know ...
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Re: Arch Panel

Postby yorik » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:24 pm

For concrete forms it might be useful too, but who would model the concrete forms...
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Re: Arch Panel

Postby saso » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:37 pm

I have no doubts about the usefulness of it, in fact it is exactly this that makes me a bit worried, it being to useful / simple, specially if it will be possible to have more layers and materials in it, people could quickly start to use it for everything. It could quickly be the "solid box" in general 3d cad, that can be basically used to build "everything".

At first this might not even seem bad, and I totally support and like the idea of open source giving people possibilities to do what ever they like, if they really want it, but I do believe it would be good to go in Arch WB with this general BIM idea that is building up in the industry at the moment. And true IFC is not perfect, but it is also not bad and it is very much the only common thing in the industry. And while other older arch programs are struggling to adopt to it their tools and workflows from an top down approach, we could take the opportunity and build the freecad BIM around it from bottom up and have a very tight and seamless integration with it. But I am not saying with this that it should be totally strict to IFC, so generally I am not really against the "Panel". Defining it as IfcPlate is however a bit so so, generally that seems to be used for a bit more primitive plates, but yes it could be...

To maybe show this concerns from a bit different perspective. An important thing in BIM is not just interoperability between different drawing programs but also with different analysis and simulation systems and it is in this workflows that I could see potential problems if most of the building is build from some generic elements, because mostly they expect the model to be build in an specific "standard" way...

Again, I am not against the Panel, I like its possibilities, just thinking about more general design decisions on building up the Arch WB :|