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  1. #1
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    Default Problem understanding a 3-D concept: linking objects.

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    I have a 3-D model of a shipping container - the kind they ship goods all over the World on - made of steel, 40 - 50 ' long, etc... It is comprised of several 3-D components. If I select any one of the components, I can remove it, or modify it, and do anything I want to it.

    My goal is to use these shipping containers as blocks to assemble to build a house. My present method is I select all the container, and copy/paste (BTW, why is the insertion point so far away from the cursor? there must be some setting I have wrong - it ends up WAYYY over outside the drawing extents - pain in the butt).

    The problem is when I place these next to each other so they are touching, and then later I want to move one, it becomes quite a task to select the entire container while not selecting the one it's touching. These containers are comprised of over 200 different pieces, and I'd like to merge them into one single object that I can select with one click, and not spend an eternity making sure I selected each piece.

    Stuff I tried:

    I tried Union: it asks me to select the objects: I selected all 203 of them, hit Enter, and this is the message: "At least 2 solids or coplanar regions must be selected"

    I tried converting the shape into a solid - that did nothing that I could perceive: I still needed to select every component.

    I just want to link the shapes together into one shape so I can select them and move them around easier. This can be quite a tedious task when the two objects occupy the same space, and you nee to pull them apart: how do you select components of one over the other? The only easy way I figured out how to do this is by using the undo function, and hopefully I caught my mistake in time.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Luminous Being Dadgad's Avatar
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    I would suggest modeling it (the basic unit) as the constituent 3D Solids, then SAVE it.
    You could then use the UNION command, but perhaps a better way to go would be to INSERT the original drawing (made up of the 3D Solid parts)
    into your new drawing. In that way they would come in as a single connected entity, a BLOCK REFERENCE, and they could subsequently be manipulated as a single entity.
    Another option would be to XREF the drawing in, but if you are not yet familiar with doing that, perhaps using the INSERT command would be an easier way to get started working in 3D modeling.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dadgad View Post
    I would suggest modeling it (the basic unit) as the constituent 3D Solids, then SAVE it.
    You could then use the UNION command, but perhaps a better way to go would be to INSERT the original drawing (made up of the 3D Solid parts)
    into your new drawing. In that way they would come in as a single connected entity, a BLOCK REFERENCE, and they could subsequently be manipulated as a single entity.
    Another option would be to XREF the drawing in, but if you are not yet familiar with doing that, perhaps using the INSERT command would be an easier way to get started working in 3D modeling.
    Insert: block worked! woo-hoo!

    any idea why when I copy/paste, it inserts it way away from my insertion point? And by way away, I would say a thousand feet away - the 40 foot container looks like a small speck on the monitor when I do "extents".

  4. #4
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    200 parts for a shipping container sounds like a lot. I've seen these done in 3D with no more than the four sides, top, bottom, and the double doors at each end. That's way less than the number of parts you have. I would pare it down to the basics because by the time you get done you are going to have one very big 3D drawing. Is your system up to the task?
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    I don't know, but I can say that it has no issues when I'm moving them around. I'd love to simplify it - I don't care to see every little bump in the container - in fact I would love to have it as simple as you described. Once you make it into a block, though, can you animate it (make doors open and close)? Still haven't tried that yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limoges_Designer View Post
    I don't know, but I can say that it has no issues when I'm moving them around. I'd love to simplify it - I don't care to see every little bump in the container - in fact I would love to have it as simple as you described. Once you make it into a block, though, can you animate it (make doors open and close)? Still haven't tried that yet.
    well, it turns out 5 containers is too much for my system to handle in 1 drawing - I need to find a simplified version of the shipping container...

  7. #7
    Luminous Being Dadgad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Limoges_Designer View Post
    Insert: block worked! woo-hoo!

    any idea why when I copy/paste, it inserts it way away from my insertion point? And by way away, I would say a thousand feet away - the 40 foot container looks like a small speck on the monitor when I do "extents".
    Glad that worked for you.
    Another way to go would have been for you to WBLOCK it, and choose the CONVERT option. In that way it would allow you to select all the parts in your earlier drawing,
    from which you wanted to create the block, then it would save that externally and convert the instance in your drawing directly to a block, then it would stay right where it was.
    If you go into your original container drawing, you could move it closer to the origin 0,0,0 and then when you insert it into another drawing it wouldn't be so far afield.
    ReMark makes a very good point, if you don't need that level of realism, you could certainly simplify it, and still have the doors too.
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    What are the full specs on your system?

    Why do you need five containers?
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Limoges_Designer View Post
    Once you make it into a block, though, can you animate it (make doors open and close)? Still haven't tried that yet.
    How would you animate the doors on just one container - even if it isn't a block?
    Sounds like you should be using Autodesk Inventor.
    Students can get Inventor for free from http://www.autodesk.com/edcommunity
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReMark View Post
    What are the full specs on your system?

    Why do you need five containers?
    Actually, I decided that 4 would suffice: If you ca imagine a 40 foot wide octagon: that's the footprint of the building. That Octagon has sides that are 16 feet wide. Take any two connecting side, and have a pair of 8'f wide containers sticking out from them, and you have the basis for my new home I plan to build. The space between the two pairs of containers (triangle wedge) will be a deck, with possibly part of it being covered to make yet another room. The entire structure would give about 2,550 square feet of living space, with about 1,000 square feet of decking. The whole structure will be elevated by at least 8 feet, if not more.
    I just made a box 8 x 9.5 x 40 for now, and then "shelled" it to 6 inches thick - probably be a lot less in reality - 3- 4" maybe.
    The idea is to have all the materials to make the hexagonal structure fit into 2 containers, all my personal stuff into one, and outfit 1 container to have a kitchen, bathroom, bed and living area so I have a place to live in once I ship the entire lot to Belize! The shipping containers will have all the interiors done (wiring, wall-cladding, lighting, etc...) that can be done before shipping to make the final construction phase as short and simple as possible.

    Computer is an old Xp machine, I'll have to check what I have, but I did buy a nice video card to go with it. Once I got rid of those complicated objects (203 piece containers), it was so easy to manipulate the drawing - zooming in and out is a lot faster now. I just love learning 3-D drafting - got lots more to learn. Are we allowed to post our pictures to get ideas and answers?
    Last edited by Limoges_Designer; 16th Sep 2012 at 06:49 pm. Reason: because I can. :)

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