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#32712 - 12/27/14 02:09 PM Log Building Utilities
D L Bahler Offline

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Registered: 05/17/10
Posts: 946
Loc: Indiana
I am curious if there are any convenient utilities or existing shortcuts within sketchup for creating log joints. If not, how might one create such tools (that is, how do you make utilities for this program, I know some about computer programming and such so could figure it out if I knew where to start)

specifically, I am looking for a convenient way to make corner joints. My joints are lapped and passed corners, which by themselves would be simple, except these include a number of compound faces in order to lock the joint against twisting and better seal it to the weather.
What would be convenient would be if I could create a utility that checked the intersections at the corners between two timbers and automatically cut them to mate to each other. I have an idea of how the algorithm might work but the question is whether this is possible within this particular program.

In most applications I do not bother to create the joints, but just run the timbers through each other. This is because most models for log building are just illustrative. It's not practical to rely on sketchup to map the joints for this, since each one must be unique to its situation in the real world. But for making models illustrating methods it is important to have the joints actually there.
Even in timber framing applications, I do not use square rule and thus find the tedious mapping of real joints and the creation of shop drawings for my timbers to be of little benefit.
I have tried to create a standard joint component that I can impose onto the ends of my timbers and adjust to the proper size for that situation, but for some reason the program distorts my model a good part of the time. I am not sure whether this is the fault of the program itself or if it lies in the 'TF Create Joint' feature. I am aware this feature is designed for making tenons, so it is possible it has some difficulty working with this complex joint shape.
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#32713 - 12/28/14 09:19 AM Re: Log Building Utilities [Re: D L Bahler]
Jim Rogers Offline

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Registered: 03/14/02
Posts: 1598
Loc: Georgetown, MA, USA
In my 3d drawing program, not sketch up we can make a "cutting block" and put it where we want the cuts to be made and make it the male part and tell the program to remove the female part.
We use these cutting blocks all around where we need them and them delete them afterwards, but save the original in our library.
As I don't draw with sketch up I'm not sure if this process of male and female cutting is even available.

Good luck with your research.
Jim Rogers
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#32714 - 12/28/14 03:15 PM Re: Log Building Utilities [Re: D L Bahler]
bmike Offline
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Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 918
Loc: Burlington, VT
You'd likely need the Pro version so you could take advantage of the solid tools, and you could probably find a Ruby coder to build this for you... if you didn't want to create it yourself.

I've had some custom scripts written for me from some users on the SketchUcation forums.

Also, the TF Rubies are great for creating mortise and tenons, and any relatively simple TF joint - but due to the limitations of the modeling in SketchUp (its a surface modeler, not a solids modeler) - the program can only 'cut' into 1 face at a time... thats why splines and rafter feet and other joints are hard to build in SU using the TFRubies.

I rarely use the rubies for work - as most timber framers can follow coding / instructions for joint callouts. I simply illustrate the typical joints, and then draw / model the complicated bits as needed. I rarely do 'stick' drawings for my clients.

If you are just illustrating these, don't use the TF Rubies... just draw them. You might even be able to draw 3-4-5-12 different 'end conditions' in different log sizes as components) and then just stretch them out, mirror for the opposite end (if the same), or paste in a different end as needed.
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#32715 - 12/28/14 04:37 PM Re: Log Building Utilities [Re: D L Bahler]
D L Bahler Offline

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Registered: 05/17/10
Posts: 946
Loc: Indiana
Thanks Jim, Mike, for your responses

What you describe Mike is essentially the process I settled for. I create a static end joint model, then copy it onto the end of a timer -or rather, I copy that model, make it unique, and build a timber on its end. Then I can adjust the joint to its specifics, like width of the timber and the specifics of the two timbers adjoining it (these are stacked lap joints with a unique lap above and below each timber)

Your description of the powers of sketchup effectively answer my question, telling me I won't be able to do exactly what I'm looking for, and will have to settle for the tedious manual approach I've come to.

To be clear, Mike, when making a model to illustrate a frame or something, I do create every joint that is visible. That is, if there is a through tenon for example I do actually create that joint. I just leave timbers butted when a blind tenon is used, if I don't intend to explode the model.

A big reason for this is, the compound shapes of many timbers in the sort of work I do means that the joints are complexly shaped, this being tedious to accurately model.
the TF rubies is a wonderful tool for what it was designed for, unfortunately I find a great deal of my work to be outside of its intended use. This is not a complaint of the program, you can't expect something to perform a task it was not made to do!
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#32716 - 12/29/14 07:43 AM Re: Log Building Utilities [Re: D L Bahler]
bmike Offline
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Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 918
Loc: Burlington, VT
The solid tools, which come in the pro version, can collide complex shapes.

The TFRubies, which do not use the solid tools and have to do very specific, sort of arcane tasks the way they function, can only cut 1 face at a time due to the limitations of cutting planes related to SketchUp components (similar to the issue of windows and doors cutting thru both faces of a wall).

I can and have collided complex log shapes with each other to good result.

But, as SketchUp is a surface modeler all things round are approximated via faces - so logs are actually lots of planes. This could pose a problem depending on how detailed your model needs to be, and how accurate the output for a shop drawing you need.
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#32717 - 12/29/14 10:12 AM Re: Log Building Utilities [Re: D L Bahler]
D L Bahler Offline

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Registered: 05/17/10
Posts: 946
Loc: Indiana
I'm not usually working with complex log shapes as in round logs, I'm doing square log which simplifies matters greatly, however the shape of the joint itself is complex.
I have had a problem with the shop drawing utility coming up with strange and convoluted renderings of a corner joint.

The other issue is, I don't want a collision to remove all of the material in one timber. I want half of the material to be removed from one and half from another to yield a locking lap joint. (In real life applications, completely lapping one piece in a square log lap would be faster, but it would also make a weak joint prone to twisting and other failures)
And then there is the fact -and this I think is where the utility is getting confused- is that in this instance I don't have a TF joint intersecting a timber, but have a TF joint interacting with another TF joint.

I usually don't worry about producing shop drawings. If I had others working for me maybe I would.

From the looks of things, I may have to get pro at some point.
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#32718 - 12/29/14 10:13 AM Re: Log Building Utilities [Re: D L Bahler]
D L Bahler Offline

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Registered: 05/17/10
Posts: 946
Loc: Indiana
Jim, may I ask, what program is it you are using?
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#32719 - 12/29/14 03:02 PM Re: Log Building Utilities [Re: D L Bahler]
bmike Offline
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Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 918
Loc: Burlington, VT
I believe Jim is using Dietrichs
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#32720 - 12/29/14 03:04 PM Re: Log Building Utilities [Re: D L Bahler]
bmike Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 918
Loc: Burlington, VT
You don't need to have it remove all of 1. You can model half of what you want, and have it remove that from the other log... so if you modeled up half of a bunch of your typical joints, it you take it out of the other piece.

I use this feature all the time on complex roofs, scarf joints, etc.
For roofs, I create cutting blocks and then subtract that out of the roof slab (usually on a valley or hip line). For scarf joints or other difficult geometry I create half of what I need, or even a series of blocks to make the cutting parts, then subtract it out.
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