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stair maker

Anonymous
Not applicable
Hello
Everybody happy with stair maker?
We are not...most of our corrupted files have something to do with it, we tried almost all possibilities, never got any acceptable printable technical (1/50) drawing with the tool (ok the simplest one maybe if you like the text it creates...) nor an acceptable "not so detailed" 3d with a concrete slab (nice smooth bottom surface...). We always have to put the 3d in a template layer and finish with an exploded 2d drawing (tons of segmented lines)
I am not even talking about the sections you get, especially with curved railing (even the simplest one)
10 years ago, I discovered a nice tool, assuming the level of the architectural CAD, now, it is a lame duck. Did I miss some future improvement?
My wish? Less automatism and much more flexibility especially for the connection with railing and the shape of the treads (at least the first tread) ...and an acceptable geometry of curved slab bottom and railing
93 REPLIES 93

__archiben
Newcomer
Philippe wrote:
Everybody happy with stair maker?
We are not...
i don't think that you are the only one! stairmaker has never really cut it for me.

essentially, it's a graphical user interface for making a GDL script of a certain type. and although there are other graphical 'scripters' out there, nothing really beats coding something like that yourself. (i can't - i'm still a GDL beginner!)

i am currently attempting to script my own stair (with little success) for the very reasons that you state: graphically, i want my stair to manifest itself far better than those included at present in order that i don't have to explode it into many many different elements.

~/archiben
b e n f r o s t
b f [a t ] p l a n b a r c h i t e c t u r e [d o t] n z
archicad | sketchup! | coffeecup

Stephen Dolbee
Booster
This tool needs much improvement IMHO. Only the simplest of stairs works well (and most of our stairs aren't very simple). We can only hope for more flexibility in the future.

Steve
AC19(9001), 27" iMac i7, 12 gb ram, ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb, OS 10.12.6

Aladar Kish
Participant
It used to be better. Lost a lot of time trying to make a decent u-shaped simple stairs with v.8.1.
U-seless?... E-ssential!
---
AC22 FRA + INT l MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012)
2.7 GHz Intel Core i7
16 GB, 750 Apple SSD,
OS 10.12.6

Rob
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
I fully agree guys, it is a quite “ancient” tool and it should get seriously updated otherwise it will be just a fancy icon on the tool bar which I am scared to click on now to face desperation and cursing over it...
::rk

Anonymous
Not applicable
It does seem that a function that is elevated to the lofty status of a toolbar icon should be more fully developed. StairMaker still acts like a quirky add-on. A simple solution would be to create a stair sub-type in gdl with special functions for handrails etc. A program called speedikon (I know some of you have seen me write of this before) had such a feature and it was remarkably easy to create stairs (relatively speaking that is, the environment for creating the parts was not very advanced - it required a text editor and DOS based compiler).

I am imagining something that would be able to make its own holes in the floors, create proper symbols on each story, and incorporate built-in functions for treads, risers, nosings, handrails & balustrades.

While I am on the subject, it seems to me that Graphisoft needs to take a close look at the library part subtype hierarchy. Looking at it just now makes me concerned that it is being created on an ad-hoc basis. It is vitally important for the future that a clear, consistent, and comprehensive system be established for ordering and specifying the functions of the libraries. Perhaps this is happening already behind the scenes (and presumably in connection with the IFC standards) but the types I see presently don't seem to reflect a comprehensive system.

Stephen Dolbee
Booster
Philippe wrote:
Hello
Everybody happy with stair maker?
We are not...
Has anyone purchased Stairbuilder by Theometric? If so, are you happy with it-does it produce the kind of stairs you require? It seems a little pricey, but we have their D&W Builder 3.5 and love it!

Thanks,
Steve
AC19(9001), 27" iMac i7, 12 gb ram, ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb, OS 10.12.6

Rob
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
Oh yes, we've got stair/window/door builder. I must admit it is a quite complex library part but (I can't help it) the user interface is "ugly" and messy as it gets. Anyway back to the stairbuilder... basically you can build really wide range of stairs, which is the most important and I think it is only complex solution (to the degree) for making a stair at the market right now. So, I suppose it is worth of buying. However it is just a GDL script which has just "limited" capabilities. We would really need something that is based on (at least) add-on resources with the certain logic features as Matt has mentioned above.
::rk

Anonymous
Not applicable
IMHO the only thing that has improved in stairmaker since it's creation is that you no longer have to purchase it as a separate add-on, the reason for this is painfully obvious. Even if all the bugs were fixed it still couldn't create a stair worth placing in the model, especially if you need to cut a section or create an elevation with it, at least not a stair acceptable by US standards anyway. I have done lot of stair work, everything from the mundane to monumental and there is nothing that stair maker can create that even comes close to the standard methods of stair construction in the real world. This tool needs to be scrapped and created from the ground up if it's ever going to be usable for creating stairs. One of the other drawbacks to it is that you can no longer remove it from the toolbox by tossing it in the trash, where it belongs.

On a positive note: I must say that it dose make one hell of a quick bermuda roof though, it even gives you a nice plum cut at the eaves.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Hello
I checked stairbuilder, maybe nice but object oriented with all the rigidity of them. In my point of view stairs should be in the same level that walls, roofs, slabs, with possibilities to adjust dimension and modify by drawing (the way GDL toolbox works in 3d, maybe) not by checking hundred of option little boxes. I know stair is the tough 3d guy of the building process, I do not expect detailed work for a first shoot, at least simple but realistic stairs we can print in a 1: 50 scale (1" = 4' for whoyouknow)
Anyway, nobody around seems happy with that for a long time. Quite amazing! Are stairs not important for you, much more than some gadget goodies? Maybe GS has difficulties or good reasons to not develop a stair tool; can we hear something from AC gurus or developers?

Anonymous
Not applicable
Jeffrey,

Very disturbing to me.. I am just learning AC and custom stairs I cannot live without.. How are you building stairs then??

Rob
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
Rashid,

I have to disappoint you. Stairmaker is really useless product at the moment. It allows you to make VERY basic stair shapes with very limited 3D quality and some "great features" that will drive you nuts...
You can't definitely use it in CC stage (construction certificate stage which is equivalent to US CD stage ) or in further stages...

the serious options for making a stair at the moment are:
Stairbuilder
making your own library part (by GDL programming or off the plan)
and that's pretty much it (to my knowledge)... a bit scary must admit...
::rk

Laci Neda
Graphisoft Alumni
Graphisoft Alumni
Following the discussion I must admit you are right Stairmaker needs improvements. At its current state it serves more German, European (Continental) needs rather than the standards of Anglo-Saxon traditions.
Some of your quotes are really useful for us, but would be better if you could exactly highlight what you are missing. We have a good idea but there can never be enough examples. If you could enclose drawings, pictures of stairs that you are unable to do by stairmaker would be ideal!
Thanks a lot!
László Néda
Architect
Business Development Manager
GRAPHISOFT SE

Anonymous
Not applicable
Hello
By the way, thanks for the Europeans, personally, if I would give the kind of drawings I got from STMK, contractors will just through them away. Let the Germans answer, I did not hear yet anything positive from them.
Anyway I started the debate, must try, not very easy:
· Generally speaking, STMK is bugged; no doubt about that, watch the laments!
· The 3d model is poorly define when curves occur, the user guide show just straight stairs in 3d
· Should not be an object maker but a drawer tool like walls, slab, etc, so we can stretch, adjust, modify, quote, interactively with the other elements around it
· A geometry panel to start with the possibility of a free form and a line of travel is fine to start
· THEN, the possibility to modify treads, especially the first one, in plan like a slab and profile

· Possibility also to retouch carriages, stringers or bottom slab, which should be smoothly generated like a tube GDL when the stair turn (you know how poor is the result actually)
· Possibility to graphically generate or adjust the balusters along the stingers
· Connection on stage! An horizontal railing tool (not an object for the same reason) should probably exist so we could make various connections with stairs railings
· Free form ending of handrail! No idea how to do but monumental stairs have very often a special first tread and hand rail

Aladar Kish
Participant
After not using StairMaker for a while, when I go to make a stair I get very frustrated. It takes me a while to get it's logic.
I find particularly frustrating and confusing, in 8.1, the differences between the possibilities to parameter the (excellent but limited) models in the object library compared to the limited possibilities to parameter the (more extensive) models in StairMaker.
(At the risk of showing my ignorance) In StairMaker I can not:
- number the risers
- modify the arrow
- modify the graphics of the section
- show dashed treads above the cut line
- make an oval or rectangular spiral stair

Philippe, with regards to:
- the first tread, try a slab
- horizontal handrails, I just found a great link from one of Djordie's posts, look here
http://www.graphisoft.com/support/archicad/archiguide/wallrailings.html
---
AC22 FRA + INT l MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012)
2.7 GHz Intel Core i7
16 GB, 750 Apple SSD,
OS 10.12.6

Stephen Dolbee
Booster
Laci,
Thanks for asking. Some simple things would help for starters.
1. The ability to have different widths for different flights (with U-shape and L-shape).
2. Sometimes I just want to add a single winder at a landing. Stairmaker presently doesn't allow this, but forces the other steps to change.
3. It would be nice to see the rail in plan view (option of course).
4. A MUCH greater variety of railings/balisters.
5. As others have stated, the option to have a "special" first tread.

That would be a good start for me.

Thanks,
Steve
AC19(9001), 27" iMac i7, 12 gb ram, ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb, OS 10.12.6

Rob
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
What I would like to see (besides all the mentioned improvements above which pretty much covered all my wishes) possibility of using external GDL scripts (not a "dodgy" script as it is now for making a customised railing, without proper documentation) for local standards, for example, railings/balustrades etc. by making special class of library parts called staimaker-railing/stairmaker-part...or something similar to allow variations. I mean, it should be a sort of "engine" that could be easily customised for particular market and I think stairs are quite important part of architectural design, so the StairMaker tool really deserves "special" attention.
And honestly Laci (having experience in European (Continental) and British/Australian practice) StairMaker has not been (as I can remember it) in the state of real usability (meaning, we are not able to use it all the way through the project) either in Anglo/Saxon or European practice.
::rk

Dave Jochum
Booster
Laci wrote:
Some of your quotes are really useful for us, but would be better if you could exactly highlight what you are missing.
I'm very pleased to see GS asking for specific feedback on this. For me (and I'm sure most others), the ability to properly model a stair is as critical as any other architectural element. Some basic needs:
-- Ability to form a stair of any shape (geometric or freeform in plan, section, or 3D). This includes stairs with varying width along the run.
-- Ability to graphically create and alter the shape of any element in 2D and 3D. This includes treads (all--not just the first), risers, stringers, and trim elements.
-- Ability to custom design newel posts, balusters, and handrails--and to position them at will and interact and connect properly.
-- Ability to customize the 2D symbol (that direction arrow is unbelievably awful)
-- Minimal reliance on multiple windows full of checkboxes--Priority on GRAPHIC creation and modification.
Dave Jochum

J o c h u m A R C H I T E C T S http://www.jochumarchitects.com

MBP 15" (2017)+27" 4K•16GB•OS 11.6•AC 24,25 (latest build)

Anonymous
Not applicable
László,

I will try to come up with some pictures for you. In the meantime here are some thoughts:

The requirements for stairs are perhaps the most difficult of any in the program. Some elements are defined primarily by graphic means (slabs, roofs, etc.) while others are defined almost entirely by specification (furniture, fixtures, etc.). The more an element requires definition both graphically and by specification the more difficult it becomes to create a simple interface for its manipulation. Add sophisticated modeling requirements and the complexity of the assembly (and sub-assemblies) and you have the real challenge of making a stair.

The new stair tool as I see it should include:

- Graphic adjustability should include: the length and width of each run of steps, the size and shape (polygonal) of landings, the radius and angle of curved stairs, and the floor to floor height for each stair assembly (in 3D & section).

- Specification of library parts for balustrades and treads at least, perhaps for structure as well. These would be assigned as multiple parts associated to the same assembly. New subtypes would be needed for these stair parts and new global variables for values such as rise & run of the current set of steps, nosing overhang, tread thickness, structural thickness, etc.

- A basic set of library parts for railings, newels, balusters, treads, etc. should be included along with the ability to modify them or create new parts.

- The ability to define/cut the floor penetration automatically including a material setting for the surfaces of the hole.

- Flexibility in the definition of the 2D symbol with line types, text font & content, plan cut height, etc. all user definable. A ceiling plan view would be nice if such a function (e.g. for creating proper ceiling plans) were to also be added (yes, this is a hint ). Inclusion of custom 2D GDL symbols would also be good if possible.

The form/function of the tool I see as follows:

- The stair would be defined by a 3D poly-line representing the center or walking line of the stair or the outside or inside edge (much like the reference line of the wall tool). This would be drawn in the same fashion as a 2D poly-line with the addition to the pet palette of defining whether an edge represents steps or a landing. It may be that each run of steps will necessarily be followed by a landing, but a landing could consist of several edges; so perhaps one would need only click the pet palette to start each new run of steps with landings following automatically.

- Once defined the width and shape of each run of steps and landing should be adjustable. This will undoubtedly be the truly difficult part. Graphically this calls for an element that behaves as a multi segment wall (if there were such a thing) that is also adjustable like a slab. It might be that the tool should be limited to simple straight runs of constant width at first with the more complex options left for future revisions.

- The vertical dimension should be defined initially as the overall (floor to floor) height for the complete assembly. This should default to the current story height with the option to adjust it later or set it in the info palette before drawing. Landing heights could then be individually adjusted afterward.

- Dimensional constraints and defaults should be defined in the settings dialog. Optional constraints for rise and run should be available but not required. The number of steps would be determined by the constraints or overridden by a fixed value from the user. The number of steps in each run would be distributed according to their relative lengths. If a fixed tread depth (run) is specified then each run of steps would be drawn in incremental lengths. Defining and managing these constraints is potentially the most complex part of the stair function and the biggest challenge for the design of the interface. This has the greatest potential for frustrating the user if the relations and effects of the constraints are not clear.

- Different base types of stairs should be predefined to make their creation easier. These would include, at least, straight run, L-shaped, U-shaped, curved and helical (aka spiral) stairs. These types would all be based on the same internal definition of a stair based on the 3D poly-line and constraints as described above in order to maintain the greatest flexibility and consistency for the future.

- It is essential that a clear environment with the necessary global variables and functions be created to permit the creation of custom stair components. It is not possible nor appropriate for Graphisoft to create all the various handrails, balusters, treads, nosings that may be used or imagined by all the Architects in the world.

In Conclusion

The initial release of a new stair tool should at least permit the quick and easy creation of basic stair types such as straight runs, L-shaped, and rectilinear U-shaped stairs. It should also allow flexibility in the choice of handrails and balustrades, including a basic (but realistic) set of standard parts included by Graphisoft, and allowing the creation of custom parts by both third parties and end users. It must also provide serviceable symbols in plan so that it is not necessary to model the stair on one layer and draw it on another as we do now.

While the new tool may be (and perhaps should be) fairly simple to start with, it should be developed with the full range of possible future developments in mind. In addition to the more advanced options for stairs I have described above, I believe it also should ultimately be able to include all manner of vertical conveyance including escalators, ramps, elevators, etc. As long as the tool is being redesigned it should be planned to be as complete and versatile for future development as possible.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Well well did we not have to have a STMK debate?
Lot of interesting things
For me, a big basic issue is do we want a "smart tool " like slab, wall and roof tools or an object maker?
Do we want to built (like.. let say a building) or to get a stair from the largest possible collection (like furniture)
When asking users about what they appreciate in AC, the big star is that you do not just draw, you built. But you built graphically. With walls and slabs etc and you adjust and you check 3d and..and...the tools are smart enough you can pick any point, any edge you want and adjust the way it has to.
Not with objects. You appreciate objects like furniture because you are not really interested in building them, you just pick them, check a couple of boxes and get a 2/d 3d "static" representation with a couple of hotspots. You might appreciate some GDL programming but this is quiet an abstract way of design. As an architect, you like to form, not to write...No?
For many reasons I think stairs have more to do with building process. I would just focus on solid (concrete) stair. It is basically an inclined slab. If you expect to really use it, it has to have the same level of flexibility. Just think about a U-shaped with stages. Did you ever try? You MUST have the freedom to adjust the edges, in the real world you have to. Did you ever have to align the breaking ceiling line between the two stairs and the intermediate stage of a U-shaped stair? This is basic concrete design. We need to design the stairs.

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