Friday, November 20, 2009

Now Anyone can draw handrails

Finally. The baby has arrived. hrail.lsp that is. A difficult birth, accompanied by much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Just as well that I was forced to take some days off work, otherwise it might never have been done. Last weekend it was "finished", that is until I tried it out on a real drawing: it crashed and burned when the pline had an elevation greater than 0.
I'm quite surprised that I managed to debug it today and get it ready to roll. It was a neat feeling to see it doing it's thing in the end.
Which makes me wonder why I should spend my limited time left on planet earth doing stuff that I end up giving away for free? Probably just mad. Seriously, I have wanted one of these for years now-and if nobody else wants it, big deal: I'm going to get a lot of fun out of using it.
It's a bit like someone doing crosswords-just a bit of a challenge and exercise for the brain, and if someone else gets some use, good.
It makes use of a dialog box, offering use of 6 different types (see the previous blog). The idea is to draw a pline CLOCKWISE around the floor edge of your steel platform, issue the hrail command, make your choices, and pick the pline to get the results shown above.
I'm making the files available only by email request to gauge if anyone is interested.
See for instructions on use.
I can be emailed on

Friday, November 13, 2009

Handrails: The final solutions?

This handrail business is turning into an obsession for me. I'm hoping to move on by putting it to bed once and for all. At present work where I'm at is tailing off, so I'm busy going to the movies and generally taking things far too easy. I''m hoping to finally nail the handrail lisp routine which I have almost finished, and will post it as soon as it is finished. Before Xmas?
To this end I can present 5 different versions, the dwg files of which can be found at:
The jpgs which follow are of these different types. Each has it's advantages and disadvantages.
For instance Type A has the advantage of the stanchion doing two purposes: one as support and the second as a capping.
If I had to pick one, it would be Type C as it looks the best and has minimal welding. For stainless steel, a Type F would be the cheapest to install, and does not look that bad.
Please note that these handrails may or may not conform to the standards applicable in your country. I'm sure that some will say they know of another 10 variations on the handrail theme,
if you are interested in these being in the listing, contact me at

Monday, November 9, 2009

Finding the mass of a solid using Autocad

You may know of the Autocad command "MASSPROP". A very useful command when you have drawn an item in a 3D solid and wish to calculate the volume or mass of it. If your model is made up of many solids you might have to take a copy of them and run the union command on them, to make them all one piece.

Unfortunately, all it gives is the volume, and in my case in cubic millimetres, so you have to usually convert it to cubic metres and then multiply that by 7850 which is the density of steel in kg/cubic metre.

To shortcut all this I have written a lisp that does all this for you.

Before running the routine, which can be found at my website, ,please make a directory called "bilro" off your c: drive, ie c:\bilro, othewise it won't work. If you want to put it somewhere else, fine, but be sure to alter the two places in the routine where it reads and writes to a file-have a look, they are easy to spot!

How it works:
1. It issues the Autocad command MASSPROP and when asked if it wants to write to a file, it does so, putting it at c:\bilro
2. It then opens up this file and using a counter skips down the first five lines to locate the volume.
3. The final part just multiplies the volume x 7850 to give an aswer in kg on the command line.

You will see that in the process of doing it's thing it sets filedia to 0, which suppresses file dialog boxes. If this routine ever crashes, to set things back to normal, type filedia at the command prompt and set it to 1, otherwise you have to use the command line to open drawings.

Happy massing!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Vaguely Autocad Related....

This set of renders I did about 4 years ago. At the time I was helping a friend with his architectural stuff. I must have had a bit of time on my hands because I had a little go at finding out doing architecture is not as easy as you might think!

These I have to admit are not wonderful renders-I've posted them as a series, starting at the top, showing how a design can metamorphose. My friend had a preference for Corten Steel, so this had a slight influence, as did things going wrong with materials-see the gold crinkly one.

In the end we did not get the job, but I had fun finding out I'm not an architect.

I can look back now and see that the design was a bit "office building"