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New Tutorial: ARCHICAD Spiral Stair with Custom Treads, Balusters, Newel Posts and 2D Symbol

I couldn’t resist Colorado architect Steve Nickel’s challenge: build his custom-designed spiral stair with the new ARCHICAD 21 tools.

It seemed straightforward, but as with so many things, led me down uncharted pathways to figure out how to make everything work.

In this new 65 minute ARCHICAD tutorial video, I distilled dozens of hours of exploration, testing and optimization into a tightly scripted, step by step training that goes over methods applicable to a wide variety of stairs.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, GAME ON!

The challenges started with the fact that while ARCHICAD can easily make a spiral stair, it refuses to go past 360 degrees. This stair has 13 treads at 30 degrees, a total of 390. I settled pretty quickly on creating two separate elements that aligned to look like one continuous spiral.

Then came the question of attaching the railing: could it be one railing that spanned both stair elements? After some experimentation, I found this could be done surprisingly easily, as long as you set up the stairs in the correct way. (Hint: Set both stairs to start with a riser, and end with a riser, to make the railing continue in a smooth curve.)

Creating custom treads, balusters and newel posts each had a learning curve, as I tested different options until I mastered the key controls. Making the 2D symbols read cleanly was an interesting process, as I found literally dozens of different settings that allowed finessing the graphic appearance.

Now almost everything seems straightforward to me, as the tools that Graphisoft programmed usually work elegantly and give fine control of the model and symbol. However this 65 minute video moves along briskly, with few wasted motions or superfluous explanations, which may be evidence that these tools require extensive study to learn and master.

ARCHICAD MEANS AND METHODS

Topics and methods covered in this tutorial include:

  • Defining the precise geometry of the stair
  • Choosing a basic structure and finish for the schematic model
  • Aligning two spiral stairs to go beyond 360 degrees
  • Adding an associated railing to both stairs in one step
  • Calculating the pattern dimension and baluster spacing
  • Reworking the floor plan symbol; tread numbering, break line, description
  • Creating a custom tread; understanding coordinate references
  • Defining a custom baluster using an outline in the profile editor
  • Changing base and top heights of balusters and posts
  • Creating a custom newel post using a set of modeled elements
  • Defining a similar, more versatile newel using the profile editor
  • Swapping the new stair and railing into place using the Renovation filter

Please add your comments or questions below or send an email to support (at) bobrow.com.

As always, I wish you the best on your journey towards ARCHICAD mastery, and am always happy to help!

HOW TO SHORTEN YOUR ARCHICAD LEARNING CURVE

TIP: If you’d like to shorten your learning curve, and be able to design, model and document stairs and railings with fluidity and efficiency, I invite you to check out my new ARCHICAD Stairs & Railings Course.

For more info and to sign up, please visit bobrow.com/stairs.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
Ken Brooks - October 23, 2017

Stunning. Very well communicated, Eric. Thanks.

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RAJAGOPALA HATHWAR - October 24, 2017

Very helpful, lot of exersizes, thank you.

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A.J. Soltani - October 27, 2017

Hi Eric
always your tutorial is best in archicad
Very helpful thanks

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