ArchiCAD User : Using Shapr3D to model timber frame structures

Hello :
1 I write and save parametric sub-routines written in GDL for structural components (posts and beams) and doors using ArchiCAD. The GDL dialog allows for the modification of structural details and dimensions.

2 When a design is finished, a detailed bill of materials can be exported in Excel format which contains all the relevant information needed to manufacture each component.

3 Recently I’ve been exploring the idea of exporting data for CNC machine production.

Can items 1 and 2 be done in Shapr3D (on an iPad Pro)?

What about item 3?


1-2 is not possible, but 3 is. You can export in STL (and STEP, IGES, XT, OBJ)

Dear Mr Rosner :
Thank you for your eMail.

1-2 is not possible, but 3 is. You can export in STL (and STEP, IGES, XT, OBJ)

I don’t entirely understand your remarks.

Question 1 : I requested clarification of, "The free version of Shapr3D allows three designs”.
Does this mean the free version will only support three data files at any one time? i.e. To create a fourth design one must dispose of an earlier one? In other words, what does the work ‘design’ mean in the context of Shapr3D?

Question 2 : In one of the Shapr3D videos, a predefined object, a door, is opened and copied into the current drawing. Does your answer imply that object is a static object, i.e. not parametric?

Question 3 : Export of a bill of materials. Normally this would be a tab-delimited file which can be opened in Excel, for example.
Here is a typical line item :
LayerName Type Height Width Length Material… and so on.
This data is used to order materials. There can be so many components in a building, the extraction of a BOM needes to be automated.

Are you saying extracting information about the components in a drawing is not possible?
Surely that would render the application useless for any serious work, other than creating a picture.

I am interested in Shapr3D. Unfortunately, I cannot explore the software without buying an iPad Pro, which would be useless without Shapr3D, hence the need for greater clarity of the software’s capabilities.

A fourth question might be this : Is the software capable of being used to design post and beam buildings but needs to be used in a different way to the one I describer. In other words it works but not in the legacy fashion I describe? Do I need to learn a new way to design?

Yours Sincerely : Hubert D Wagner
1 les Brousses, DARNAC
87320 Val-d’Oire-et-Gartempe
Tel : +44 73 65 52 53 49

1-2 is not possible or not possible yet?

Given a building with, say 100 components of various sorts, posts, beams as well as small components each with various mortice and tenon joints and other types of cut connections.

Ignoring for the moment items which will not be manufactured by CNC, if all these items can be saved as an STL file then the STL file is de facto a bill of materials.

However, I understand from one CNC supplier, each individual item must be saved as a separate STL file. The need to select and save each one of hundreds of components is significant work and increases the chance of errors.

How would this STL export to CNC be managed in Shapr3D?

When exporting to STL, you have an option to export each group as a separate file. It would be down to you to name/manage all the groups within the design beforehand.

Hope this helps.


Thank you for that clarification.
Given the building I referred to, what if some items, such as roof rafters, floor joints, etc do not require CNC but need merely to be supplied? Could that information be extracted from the model by quering the database or must it be done manually?

Is Shapr3D scriptable for example?

Unfortunately I don’t think Shapr is at that level yet. The export option is just the groups compressed into a .zip file, no database. Unless you somehow got creative with the group naming, not sure this will be for you.

Surely there must be a database otherwise how does the application manage the data which represents the objects created by the user? Even if the ‘database’ is merely a text tile, surely there must be some way to access and manipulate the data?

I was being intentionally provocative when I made my remark about Shapr3D making ‘pictures’ if the data in the design cannot be accessed or manipulated. I’d hoped to elicit a stronger response. Now I wonder if my observation was a bit too close to the truth.

I note Shapr3D is intended to be a cross-disciplinary application. I presume this includes timber design. Are there any plans to make the application scriptable with Appletalk or Ruby so it can be customized for a particular purpose, such as timber design?

Looking at this answer again it occurs to me Shapr3D produces beautiful pictures with impressive speed and if one is an industrial designer, remarkably complex mechanical models such as automobile engines. But how does one turn that picture into a real object? I confess I don’t visit this this forum regularly. I have asked about exporting data from a model a number of times without getting a serious answer. Am I now seriously out of date?

Hi @HDMW , you can export STEP, IGES, Parasolid (x_t) files, and we’ve recently released manufacturing drawings. The majority of our customers are designing with Shapr3D for manufacturing. What you create with Shapr3D are not pretty pictures, but industrial grade solid models. We are running on the same engine as Solidworks (Parasolid) thus the geometry you create with SW and Shapr3D are basically identical in both in terms of quality and representation.

This struck me as interesting, if not surprising.

What is included in “manufacturing”?

I’d be interested to know people are using Shapr3D for.

I design and build theatrical scenery, some furniture, and am currently building in S3D our house that is about to built. Are of these things manufacturing? Does the creation of an object need to be from a professional shop to be “manufacturing”?

I guess this could answer my (unasked) questions about S3D not fully understanding the needs of those who aren’t machinist or 3D printing or CNC users or the like. Woodworkers, metalworkers, and the like are who I’m thinking of.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan and daily user of this program. I’m always excited to see the updates and look forward to being a part of its growth. Hopefully that will include more for the, can I call them Legacy Disciplines, and not be so exclusively focused on the technologically incredible and technology dependent newer disciplines.

For woodworking, Alex is a great example:

This is a nice vid to help people at home visualise a home project.

But most serious pros would do this in their head or with a 30 second sketch :wink:. So it’s not really a serious example for woodworkers. As a woodworker specialising in curved and double curvature work, I use 3d drawings extensively and first saw shapr as a way to simplify the complex drawings needed to manufacture wreathed solid timber hand railing as well as other complex geometry.

Shapr is not too far off allowing me to do that, but there are a couple of things I use in SketchUp that’s are indispensable to the process. One is the ability to flatten out a curve, and another is the ability to measure the length of a curved line. Both are needed in the process of making a helical or even pseudo-helical wreath from a flat plank of wood.

The images below are of a wreathed handrail built on an elliptical plan; an example that wouldn’t be possible to achieve using the revolve tool, and a case for asymmetrical scaling.

It occurred to me that @realdrogo has a similar set of needs, but in reverse.

By the way @Istvan_CEO_Shapr3D , I hope you don’t feel discouraged by all these demands. In fact they are a complement to your exceptional idea, and an indication of the need there is in ALL industries for an easy to use way of using tech in the workplace. Also, you should be thanked for doubling your prices, because it justifies and will finance the fully appointed application on the iPad that we now expect and keenly anticipate.

1 Like

Here is another one:

I believe the value is not just in the sketching part but being able to create a dimensioned drawing of your design.

What do you mean by flattening out a curve? Measuring a curve is already possible. We show the measurements of the selected objects in the bottom of the screen.

Istvan, thanks a bunch for your attention and commitment . Actually it’s quite hard to explain without going into the full detail of how to make accurate helical or pseudo-helical shapes from solid planks of wood. But I will try to answer the specific question here and give background with the aid of a couple of drawings.

Firstly - sorry, I missed the feature giving line length. Thank you!

Secondly - I’ll rephrase my statement from “flattening out a curved line” to “flattening to a single plane, a line having double curvature”, which I hope is more specific.

It seems to me that what @realdrogo @Ned @DougS @Robert and I are after is the ability to take an undulating face from a Shapr 3D drawing and flatten it out onto a 2D drawing (without losing surface area as would happen with the projection tool). This would be essential in many fields such as my own, as well as that of soft furnishing, upholstery, pattern cutting, tailoring and dressmaking, sheet metalwork including panel beating and English wheel work, veneering etc etc. Even origami. Anything that takes a flat product and makes it 3d, plus as in my case the use of templates on curved solid surfaces. Here’s an effort to explain my need:

This is an overview of a stair drawn in SketchUp. (If you want to know why I hope to use Shapr3D instead, please ask and I’ll demonstrate).

The problem in this instance is that of creating the inner face of a solid timber handrail. (There are several cases in handrail design where this kind of functionality is needed).
The plan is easy to draw being in this case half of a circle. However simple side and end elevation drawings are not enough to work with in showing the upper and lower edges of the rail where they meet the face of an imaginary cylinder rising up from the plan.

What is need is a way to flatten out the cylinder so that a paper template can be printed and then applied to the edge of a plank carved to the cylindrical form.

This hopefully shows the idea:

This is how we do it now. The central line here is taken from a 3D drawing and flattened out as previously described. The circles allow relatively accurate offset lines for handrail to and bottom to be made.

In this case, because SketchUp curves are actually a series of straight lines, this allows us to flatten out the cylinder at each endpoint. However this is very time consuming and accuracy is limited because in sketchup the cylinder is actually a polyhedron. I’m hoping Shapr will make this kind of flattened projection possible.

Thanks again for your tireless work in bringing this excellent tool to maturity.