How to use Equip Item objects on floor plans

You can use the Equip Item objects on floor plans as well as rack layouts – because not all equipment is rack-mounting right? Here’s a quick tour of this functionality.

Let’s look at simple schematic first


Here’s a quick schematic of my home sounds system. Very simple and purist.

Now let’s use Put Devices on Rack Layout to create the Equip Items for these devices.

How Equip Items draw on Rack Elevation Layers


What I want you to notice here is that although the Rack Elevation layer is in Top/Plan view, the EquipItem objects draw themselves in front view. They only do this on the layer named ‘Rack Elevation’. The purpose of this is to allow you to design racks layouts using simple 2D drag and drop.

Now let’s take a look at the floor plan of my living room. I’ve done this on a separate layer using normal Vectorworks tools.

Floor Plan layer in Top-Plan view


It’s pretty spartan – just a bookshelf, fireplace and a dining table. Let’s put the sound system on the bookshelf.

Here’s the steps:

– go back to the Rack Elevation layer
– select the Equip Items
– change their layer to Floor Plan using the Object Info Palette
– position the Equip Items on the shelves using normal Vectorworks 3D techniques.

(note: this is not a tutorial on how to do 3D design in Vectorworks – there are other resources to help with this on the Vectorworks site )

Floor Plan layer – 3D view


Here they are: 2 speakers, an amp and a computer. Looking pretty dull so far but nevertheless the basic box dimensions are already correct. We set those up when we created the devices.

Now let’s see how we can add more detail to these objects.

Device Symbols in the Resource Browser


In the Resource Browser you can see that connectCAD has created some symbols as we created our devices. The blue symbols at the Top Level are stored schematic devices that you can simply drag and drop onto your schematic. This is the way connectCAD builds your personal library of devices in the background while you work. But I digress…

I want to draw your attention to the 3D_device_models symbol folder. Let’s open it and see what’s inside.

3D Device Symbols


Not only only has connectCAD saved our schematic devices but it has also created basic 3D models using the Height, Width and Depth dimensions we provided. Now we can edit these symbols to add extra detail and make the models as realistic as we wish. It’s all a question of how much time you’re prepared to invest. If you already have a 3D model of your device you could paste these graphics into the symbol definition.

To show you how this works, I’ll edit the LS35A loudspeaker symbol to add some details.

Loudspeaker with detail added


so I’ve added a woofer and a dome tweeter, and textured the speaker box with a cherry wood finish. All the extra details are true 3D objects. (This is an important point. Vectorworks doesn’t seem to render 2D planar objects perfectly from within a parametric object like Equip Item.)

Now when I render the result it looks like this.

Rendered view with extra detail


The speakers are starting to look like something now. And because they’re Equip Item objects, connectCAD knows about them and knows where they are…

Over to you…

Well that’s the basic get-you-started introduction. I’ve assumed you know your way around 3D, textures, rendering and all that. There’s a fair amount to learn there but you can take it one step at a time. Points to remember:

– connectCAD creates a basic default rectangular block model for each device

– these live in the 3D_device_models symbol folder

– you can edit them to make them as detailled as you want


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