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Qrystal
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Canada
Joined: Oct 10, 2017
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old home modelling tips

Most of the tips and instructions out there seem to assume a house either has perfect 90-degree corners everywhere, or that such an approximation is accurate enough for the intended purpose. However, when I attempted to model my home using all right angles, it simply wasn't close enough for me.

You see, I knew I didn't know the thickness of all my walls -- only the ones where I could measure through a doorway. I suspected that most of the exterior walls would be much thicker than the interior walls, especially since it appeared the brick on the front part of the house was a veneer added after the original build. There was also an extension built several decades later than the rest of the house ('70s vs '40s), which also contributed to my uncertainty about wall thicknesses. I was hoping my wall measurements would be able to help me figure out the wall thicknesses more precisely, but the out-of-square corners were throwing everything off. I had thought about getting an angle measuring tool, but knew I should be able to apply my love of geometry to figure it all out. I just needed to figure out a good process to do this, so I could get my model to be what I considered "good enough" to feel confident in designing shelving and choosing furniture.

I tried searching for tips on how to resolve these difficulties, and I must say that I learned a lot from what I read -- I'm smiling at you, helpful forum contributers! :) However, I did not quite find anything that clearly outlined a process that would alleviate the difficulties I was having, so I came up with my own process, which I decided to share here in case it is useful to others. (I also welcome any suggested refinements to my method.)

My Process for Modelling an Older Out-of-Square Home with Unknown Wall Thicknesses

  • I started by drawing out the walls in their approximate shape, using right angles wherever that seemed to be the builder's intent. For the different parts of the house that I thought would have different wall thicknesses, I used a different pattern on the top edge of the walls in the 2D plan, in preparation for changing them later if/when I found evidence that I should refine my original estimates. I also added doors, windows, light fixtures, built-in shelves and cabinets, and anything else that should be treated as "fixed in place", all in their approximate positions.

  • Then, I carefully put dimension lines for absolutely everything, without worrying about lining up the actual walls or elements quite yet, just the dimension lines (and I zoomed in very close to make sure those lined up with each other). Here's what I mean by absolutely everything:
    • lengths for all four (or more) walls, or if I couldn't reach the walls easily I would measure the floor dimensions, in two places as far apart from each other as possible per dimension;
    • distances to doors/windows/light fixtures from room corners, as well as the widths of such elements;
    • ...basically, I measured distances between everything that was fixed in place in the house, in all four 2D directions, never assuming that things opposite to each other were symmetric.


  • Next, I shifted the walls and other elements into better placement, using the dimension lines as guidance. When I noticed things weren't quite fitting, I adjusted either the wall thicknesses or wall angles or both, until everything fit the dimension lines. I also had to shift the dimension lines when I shifted some walls, of course, but I was careful not to change the length of the dimension lines in any of the moves. I was also very careful to keep dimension lines aligned even at the closest zoom level; the more careful I was with this, the easier it was to make the entire room fit the dimensions I had measured. (I did have to re-measure occasionally, but discovering these mistakes made me happy, because it meant by process was working!)

  • I continued through the house, repeating these steps room by room, and lining each room up with the previously modelled ones, delighting when everything was finally working out. I tried not to be too perfectionistic about it, but there's something so inherently satisfying about having measurements line up, so I indulged that desire in what I hope was a reasonable amount. I made assumptions as necessary, and remembered to refine those assumptions when actual measurements gave me reason to do so.


TL;DR: The key to my process was the realization that dimension lines can be used as tools, rather than for merely providing information to include in a printout. We can simply treat dimension lines as being the fixed elements, and adjust the walls until they agree with the measurements indicated.

I hope that is helpful to someone! Heck, it has already been helpful to my just to make this outline for myself, so I can be even more clear in my process as I continue onward. Cheers~!
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@}-,-'- Qrystal -'-,-{@
[Nov 14, 2017 3:48:06 PM] Show Printable Version of Post    View Member Profile    Send Private Message    http://qrystal.name [Link] Report threatening or abusive post: please login first  Go to top 
okh
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Re: old home modelling tips

..but there's something so inherently satisfying about having measurements line up...
Indeed. And equally annoying when measurements do not add up.

Thanks for sharing useful tips. Getting an old house right can be a pain. Image below illustrates the point. It took a long time to find the reason for missing centimetres in one side of a downstairs room: the wall was not aligned with the foundation. The discrepancy was 0.78° on that section of the wall. Invisible from the inside, but enough to steal 6 centimetres from one side of the room.
..approximation is accurate enough for the intended purpose...
What sort of accuracy did you get in the end? My goal, after a lot of trying and failing, is < 1cm in a normal room. And even better for detailed decoration like fitting a kitchen. Even if it takes a lot of time and adjustments to get very high accuracy. Thankfully, we had some brilliant carpenters who amazingly managed to cut the counter-tops to millimetre precision so the kitchen looks perfectly aligned even if the room is not.

As an addition to what you say: A laser measure is priceless for this exercise (not ultrasound with laser pointer, too many errors). And, sometimes, for high accuracy: it can be useful to draw a room based on inside measurements first and auto-create walls around the room later. To get it right, it may help to use ENTER while drawing to insert exact values + Advanced plan editing plug-in.

ok

From thread 6255

[Nov 16, 2017 9:03:04 AM] Show Printable Version of Post    View Member Profile    Send Private Message    Hidden to Guest [Link] Report threatening or abusive post: please login first  Go to top 
Qrystal
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Canada
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Re: old home modelling tips

Thanks for the reply. I have most certainly made use of ENTER to input exact values -- especially for dimension lines, since I have found no other way to input those values exactly! If I have to change a dimension line to refine a mistaken measurement, I always just delete it so I can type it in, even if it is a dragging-accessible exact or half centimetre amount.

I did try drawing the rooms first and auto-creating walls, but without the rooms being square, and without having a tool available to measure the angles precisely, I was still having problems. OH BUT WAIT! You're right, I could use this tool AFTER I've drawn my dimension lines, and use the room creation tool to ensure the floor lines up with the dimensions I've drawn! Thanks for the advice! :)

I would love to get a laser measure, but I recently contented myself with upgrading my tape measure to one that is more sturdy than the one I was fighting with. Baby steps. ;) Plus I am finding it handy to use a nice basic measuring tool to teach my five-year-old about this sort of thing.

As for the accuracy I've gotten, I'm not really sure how to estimate it when I am only "mostly done" my main floor, and I'm still tweaking to get it all to work out. I just found it helpful to write out my process as I've figured out so far -- and I shared it before being finished applying it.

It is good to hear that ~ 1 cm accuracy might be good enough for most rooms, and that I should save my ultra-perfectionism for when we work out our kitchen renovation. So thanks for that!
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hansmex
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Re: old home modelling tips

Being a bit of an old hand using SH3D, I generally take a double approach:
- For general purpose use, I tend to make a design where everything is approximately correct; this one I use for interior decorating, to get a feel for furniture sizes and placement, etc. If I want to know whether a specific couch, paint colour or library looks good in my room, or to help me decide whether to buy 2 or 3 library cabinets, it doesn't really matter whether my room is 6.30x5.80 meters or 6.20x5.85 meters.
- For production purposes, I prefer to make a detailed design, e.g. just one wall and part of its side walls, which I try to make as exact as possible, so that indeed it can be used to install a kitchen or bath room. That way I can decide whether the last cabinet of 60 cms still fits, or should I buy 50 cms and use a 9 cm panel to fill the gap.

H
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