AECBytes Architecture Engineering Construction Newsletters  

AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue #4 (March 8, 2006)

Making a Custom ArchiCAD Door Panel

Jim Mahoney
Director of Technology, Integrated CADD Services

While ArchiCAD already has a large collection of typical door panels, there are times when you need a custom one. It is extremely easy to make your own, they often take only 2 to 3 minutes from start to finish. A similar process can also be used to make custom window sashes. Follow these simple steps below and soon you will think nothing of making your own custom door panels and window sashes.

1. Model the door in your floor plan as if it was laying down flat on the ground. The bottom of the door should face the bottom of the sheet, the top should face the top. Use the 3D tools such as the Slab and Wall tools to create the panel and details on the panel. Cut openings and insert thinner slabs to make glass or recessed panels. (Please note in the picture below: The Text & Dimensions are to help explain what you are seeing. They are not needed to create your door panel.)

2. Make the door panel the exact size it needs to be using the correct colored materials. If you need several door sizes or several material variations for this panel, make one for each variation. Panels made this way cannot be resized without distorting their shape and the Material parameters don't apply to custom panels.

3. Select just the door panel items via selection or a single story Marquee. View the door panel elements only in 3D to make sure it looks correct.

4. When you are ready to save the panel, go to 3D Projection Settings in the Image menu.

5. Make sure you are in the Axonometric type views. Position the camera at the bottom of the preview with the Azimuth setting of 270 degrees. Set the View Type pop up to Top View. Hit OK.

6. In the 3D Window that opens, the panel should appear as if you are looking straight at it from the side, in other words, an Elevation view.

7. From the File menu select GDL Objects, and from the sub-menu, choose Save 3D Model as…

8. A Save dialogue comes up. The format should be preset to ArchiCAD Object File. Give this object a unique name and save it to your Job Library Folder. We usually add our job number to the name of Job Library objects, for example: "0502-Door Panel 1." Write down the name, or better yet, copy it from the file name portion of the Save dialogue box.

9. A Save as Library Part dialogue box comes up. Select an Object for the Save as option. Make sure Remove redundant lines from symbol is checked, as well as Non-editable binary 3D data.

10. Go to your Door tool and select the door you want to use. Go to the Door Panel portion of the parameter list. Select the Custom Panel option from the pop up list. This will create a new field called Custom Panel Name immediately below.

11. Type the door panel name EXACTLY as you saved it (or paste it in the field). Do not use the ".GSM" file extension from the name, just the file name.

12. You should see your custom panel in the 3D previews for the object. You can apply door hardware to these panels. Remember that you'll need to make multiple panels to suit different sizes or material needs.

If this panel is for one job, store it in your Project Library. If you will use it on multiple jobs, put it in your Office Library.

About the Author

Jim Mahoney has been using ArchiCAD since 1993. He currently runs all ArchiCAD training courses for Integrated CADD Services and has an active role with the Graphisoft Reseller team, which consults to Graphisoft's tech support division. He is a seasoned Architect with experience in restaurant design, multi-family housing, office building design and medical facility design. In addition to ArchiCAD training and support, Jim is a Senior Architect for Integrated CADD Services' sister firm, Conyngham Associates Architects, where he uses ArchiCAD daily to produce virtual building models of the projects which he is controlling.


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