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Handrail Dimensioning Tool

Last updated November 10, 2016 by Tekla Structures Extensions USA solutions.us@tekla.com

Software version: 
Not version-specific
Environment: 
United States (Imperial)
United States (Metric)

Handrail Dimensioning Tool

1. Purpose and description

The Handrail Dimensioning tool automates the necessary dimensions on a sloping pipe handrail between the vertical posts, horizontal rails, and end returns. It includes the dimensions necessary to fabricate the handrail as well as the dimensions locating the handrail in relation to the work points of the stair. The tool generates the dimensions based off the centerline of the pipes.

2. System requirements

Environments: Default
Languages: English

3. Installation

To install the application:

  1. Make sure Tekla Structures is closed.
  2. Run the installation package. Download from the Tekla Warehouse.
  3. Reopen tekla Structures once installation is complete and you will see:
(Up to v21.1) A new toolbar icon which will launch the tool should now be visible when a drawing is opened. 

(v2016) A new thumbnail under Ungrouped items in the Applications and components side pane will appear when in a drawing.
 

4. Interface

The Handrail Dimensioning Tool uses the tool bar shown below to input the dimensions on an opened drawing. In this tool we introduce interactive tool tips. If you hover over icons numbered 1-12 and the ∞ symbol it will show an example snapshot of the dimensions that that icon will insert into the model.

4.1 Numbered Dimensions

Below is a detailed explanation of what each dimension is supposed to do and what it is referenced from.

  1. Overall top rail dimension and individual dimensions locating top rail and vertical post intersection prior to bends on the top rail along the skew.
  2. Overall bottom rail dimension and individual dimensions locating bottom rail and vertical post intersection prior to bends on the bottom rail along the skew.
  3. Bevel dimension placed along bottom rail of assembly.
  4. Vertical dimensions locating the intersection points of each horizontal rail in relation to the top and bottom vertical post.
  5. Sloping dimensions perpendicular to the horizontal rails identifying the spacing.
  6. Overall and horizontal dimensions locating the spacing between each vertical post.
  7. Overall and vertical dimensions locating the returns on the top and bottom (if applicable)
  8. Dimension from last post to return and from bend to return for the top and bottom return.
  9. Overall dimension located from return to return. Horizontal dimension locating returns in relation to the work points.
  10. Horizontal dimension locating each vertical post in relation to the work points.
  11. Vertical elevation dimensions locating the work points.
  12. Vertical dimension locating the top of the return in relation to the work points.
  • ∞ Automatically places dimensions 1-12

 

4.2 Icons

Below is a description of the icons not numbered

The ‘Colorize Model’ icon will colorize the assembly in the model to show what was identified by the tool as the top rail, bottom rail, mid-rails, vertical posts, and end returns. This is a diagnostic tool to help indicate is something was identified in the model that is not part of the assembly. If a handrail dimension fails or does not work the user should colorize the assembly in the model to investigate. See Section 6 Workflow below for a detailed explanation of how this works in practice.

If there is more than one view on the drawing the user will be prompted to click in the view that should be used.

The ‘Create work points’ button identifies the work points used in the placing of dimensions 9-12. The user can use this button to place the work prior to running those dimensions.

If the user tries to input those dimensions prior to identifying the work pointdimension point that is based on reference points or reference lines

A work point can be either a part reference point, or an intersection of reference lines.

In bracings, for example, the work point is where the brace reference line intersects the main beam or column reference line. For example, the location of bolts is then dimensioned from this work point.

the Tekla will prompt the user to identify the Left Most Work Point and the Right Most Work Point.

The ‘Options’ button is available to customize the Filter Settings, Dimension Settings, and the General Settingssettings that are used to control the general functions of the software

For example, autosave interval and mouse settings are general settings in Tekla Structures. General settings can be saved for each model or as a standard file.

In Tekla Structures, general settings are defined in the Options dialog box.

. See Section 5 The Options Menu below for a detailed explanation of each of these settings.

The ‘Delete all dimensions created by this tool’ removes the dimensions created by this tool.

This tool will not remove the work points or the work line and will continue to use the previously picked points until/unless the user defines new work points.

The ‘Help and Documentation’ has 4 actions defined as follows:

  1. Top Most – With this option checked it activated the “stay- on-top” featurepart of Tekla Structures functionality that is maintained and owned by Trimble Solutions and that is included in the Tekla Structures installation

    .
  2. About – This allows the user to quickly view which version of the tool that is being used.
  3. Documentation – This launches the help file for the tool. The help file can also be launched by hitting F1 while the tool is open and active.
  4. Log File – This tool stores a log file detailed what is working and what isn’t working. This can be used to help diagnose issues that may arise.

5. The Options Menu

The options menu is accessed by clicking the gear symbol icon and is divided into 3 parts:

  1. Filter Settings
  2. Dimension Settings
  3. General Settings

5.1 Filter Settings

  • Exclude Parts – The ‘Exclude Parts’ looks at the HandRailDimExclude model selection filterfilter used for defining which object types can be selected

    Selection filter chooses model objects according to object properties.

    Selection filters can be standard or user-defined.

    For example, selection filters can be used to select parts for drawings or analysis.

    stored in the system folderfolder that is used for storing files that define default settings

    (by default) as to what should not be considered during dimensioning. Based on the logic of this tool it is sometimes necessary to exclude parts from the model that may disrupt the desired dimensioned results. See Section 6.1 HandrailDimExclude Filter for a detailed explanation of how this works in practice.

  • Picket Parts – The ‘Picket Parts’ looks at the PicketDimExclude model selection filter stored in the system folder (by default) of the names of the pickets used in the assembly. This tool does not support pickets and should be excluded otherwise they will be considered by the tool as vertical posts which will give undesirable dimensioning results. See Section 6.2 PicketDimExclude Filter for a detailed explanation of how this works in practice.

5.2 Dimension Settings

  1. Horizontal – This uses the saved dimension attribute settings for any horizontal dimensions placed by this tool.
  2. Vertical – This uses the saved dimension attribute settings for any vertical dimensions placed by this tool.
  3. Sloped – This uses the saved dimension attribute settings for any sloping dimensions placed by this tool.
  4. Angle – This uses the saved dimension attribute settings for dimension #3 Create Sloped Angle Dimension placed by this tool.
  5. Elevation – This uses the saved dimension attribute settings for dimension #11 Create Workpoint Elevation Dimensions placed by this tool.
  6. Fixed – This tool uses predefined logic as to where to place the dimensions in relation to this handrail assembly. By unchecking this option the user chooses to use Tekla’s out-of-the-box dimension placing logic to place the dimensions. It is recommended that the user leaves this option checked.

5.3 General Settings

  1. Work Point – This uses the saved ‘Add Symbol’ attribute setting and inserts that symbol for the left and right work points defined by the user.
  2. Work Line – This uses the saved ‘Draw Line’ attribute setting and inserts that line between the two picked workpoints.
  3. Rail Max Gapany space between two objects

    The term ’gap’ is used in its general sense in Tekla Structures.

    - Set this value to the max distance that the tool will search for to determine if horizontal rails are contunious or not.  For example, if horizontal rails are cut around a vertical post, the gap between one horizontal rail and then other will be smaller then if you have square tubing for the vertical posts with the horizontal rails square cut at the face of the vertical post.

5.4 RoundHandRail.hdl

When the user makes any changes to any of the options a RoundHandRail.hdl file will be created and stored in the attributes folder of the model folderfolder that is used for storing files associated with a model

Tekla Structures stores all files associated with a model in a folder it creates with the same name as the model database (.db1).

In multi-user mode all users access the same model folder.

. This file will then cause the tool to load in the customized settings each time the tool is launched.

6. Workflow

As mentioned above this tool contains a diagnostic tool to help indicate if something was identified in the model that is not part of the assembly or if something was identified as part of the assembly that causes the tool to not work properly.

If a handrail dimension fails or does not work the user should colorize the assembly in the model to investigate. This section is meant to illustrate the workflow of how that would work.

As shown below, the tool has colorized the objects it has found group together by color. The vertical posts are identified as one color, the mid rails as another, the top rail as another, and the end returns as another. If these groups are correctly identified when the model is colorized, then the tool will be able to correctly dimension these on the drawing.

6.1 HandRailDimExclude Filter

Below is an example of a handrail that was not dimensioning or dimensioning properly so the model was colorized to help identify the problem. A piecebuilding object that is a basic element of a model and that can be modeled and detailed further

The main concrete parts are: beam, polybeam, column, pad footing, strip footing, panel, and slab.

The main steel parts are: beam, curved beam, orthogonal beam, polybeam, column, twin profile, and contour plate.

of deck and a channel were colorized in yellow indicating that they were found by the tool. These obviously should not be used.

When the HandrailDimExclude filter is opened you notice that ‘Deck’ and ‘Channel’ are not part of the filter.

If the user modifies and saves the filter to include ‘Deck’ and ‘Channel’ as shown below and then colorizes the model the tool will now correctly identify everything correctly. Now the drawing will be properly dimensioned.

6.2 PicketDimExclude Filter

As mentioned previously this tool does not support pickets and should be excluded otherwise they will be considered by the tool as vertical posts which will give undesirable dimensioning results.

Below is an example of a colorized handrail in the model that is included the pickets. The names of the pickets were not currently applied to this filter.

By modifying the PicketDimExclude filter with the name of the pickets the user can then re-colorize the model showing the proper results to get the correct dimensions placed on the drawing as shown below. In this example the name “Picket” was added to the filer to exclude them from consideration.

(Pickets now excluded)

If the user modifies any of the settings or the filters while the tool is open it will be necessary to restart the tool in order for the new settings to be used.

7. Additional information

  • This tool does not support picket rail, angle rail, or wallplate that represents a structure such as a wall or roof panel

    In Tekla Structures, a panel is created by picking two or more points.

    rail dimensioning schemes. Based off the feedback received from this tool the plan is to develop tools to support those types of rails as well.
  • The tool expects the bottom and top rails to be in the same plane until they transition for bends. For example, if the bottom rails are skewed the tool will still try and add dimensions but they may be incorrect due to Tekla trying to equally divide the spacing between the first and last sloping rails as shown below.

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