Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Anchors Away!

Here’s a tool that probably is over looked by most people new to ABS. That tool is anchors. Anchors are pretty much self descriptive. They are used to anchor one object or entity to another. When an object is anchored a host object, movements of the host trigger identical movements in the object. This might come in real handy to keep switches anchored to doors that change their swing or hinge, or keeping light fixtures and diffusers within a referenced ceiling grid, or keeping receptacles on a wall. Hmmm, let’s take a closer look at anchors.

There are two categories of anchors; automatic like a structural column is automatically anchored to a structural grid, and a manual anchor that can be set by the user. The Manual Anchor category has 6 types.

Object Anchor – to anchor an AEC object to another AEC object.
Curve Anchor – to anchor objects to the base curve of other objects.
Leader Anchor – to anchor nodes on a layout curve with a leader.
Node Anchor - to anchor nodes on a layout curve or grids
Cell Anchor – to attach objects to positions on a 2D layout grid or 3D volume grid.
Volume Anchor – to anchor objects to volumes on 3D grids.

All those anchors can make things seem awful confusing. Let’s simplify things by assuming that your architect is using ADT. In this case we’ll use the Object anchor because we need ABS objects to anchor to ADT objects. The first problem you’ll have is finding the Object anchor. Open the Content Browser and drill down to Sample Tools catalog. All of the manual anchors are inside Parametric Layout and Anchoring Tools. The object anchor, when invoked, asks for the object to anchor then the object to anchor it to… that’s it. But wait, there’s a little more, it works through X-references. Now I’m real happy. The architect can now move the ceiling grids and walls at will, and my anchored lights, diffusers, switches and thermostats cheerfully follow along. Now, that’s why I use ABS.
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