LDCad - making the building steps

the standard menu options

How to make the building steps… the basics buttons are in the menu bar:

If you do a mouse-over on a button you can see in the bottom bar what it does:

  • Go to the first building step [ctrl+pgup]
  • Go to the previous building step [pgup]
  • Go to the next building step [pgdn]
  • Go to the last building step [ctrl+pgdn]
  • Append a new building step after the last one [ctrl+ins] 

In the main window you can see at which step you are at and how many steps in total there are in the model.

Click in the step-number to open the step menu.

The first section of this menu is for navigating the steps. 

  • The first four menu options are identical to the buttons in the menu bar.
  • Selected – click on any part in the model; click selected to go to the step where the part is first used

The second section is for editing the steps. The most important ones:

  • Delete the current step
  • Insert a new step in front of the current step
  • Move to step – if you want to move the selected piece(s) to another step – click on it and select the step

Add some HOTKEYS!

To make your life a little bit easier when making building steps… make new hotkeys! These two hotkeys will help you with dividing the parts in your model into logical steps.

1. Right-click on the menu bar

2. In the pop-up menu choose “Hotkey config ..”

The hotkey management window opens.

1. Choose “Edit session” for the group.

2. Click on “Select – Invert the current selection”.

3. Choose “F01” as the hotkey.

4. Click on Accept.

Open the hotkey management window again.

1. Choose “Macros” for the group.

2. Click on “This will move the selection to a new step achter the current one”.

3. Choose “F02” as the hotkey.

4. Click on Accept.

How to make the building steps - three approaches

In my opinion there are three ways to do that:

  1. Have the actual model on your desk. Break it down step by step. Every step needs to be build digitally! This is the best way to make instructions. You can see what works and what’s logical.
  2. Make a complete digital model. Add the steps when you are finished. You are making it hard on yourself, since you have to think back what the best order of steps was while breaking it down. Or if you don’t have a real model, just a digital model, you have to guess the best way to break is down with real bricks. This approach can lead to many corrections when you build it for real when the instructions are finished.
  3. Make a digital model with steps from photo instructions. Each photo becomes a step. This can lead to many small steps, because you of the limitations of what you can show in one photo. Best way is to build the model from the photo instructions first. Then break it down again and make digital building steps while doing it.
My conclusion: If possible – always have the real model at your disposal. It takes a lot of practice to make good instructions without a model.

The part about the camera position...

So you’re building a digital model with LDCad. What do you want to do with it when you are finished? My guess is that your goal was to make instructions! If so, then an important part of making the instructions is how to present the model to the user. The building step must be seen clearly. And since your making a digital model, you can rotate the model in infinite ways. You have to decide how you present the model to the “camera” with each step.

Tip!!! It can save a lot of time to set-up the camera, or the “rotation step”, while digitally building it.

There are to important hotkeys for setting up the camera with each step:

  • [B] – enable / disable step rotation usage – usually I double tap [b] to see what the camera position is in the instructions
  • [CTRL] + [B] – open the “step properties” window
Press [ctrl]+[b] to open the step properties window (note: this does not work in the last step of the model).

There are a number of step types. I only use two!

  • The “Absolute rotation step” – this locks the camera in the desired position for the instructions.
  • The “Normal step” – this uses the same camera position as the previous step.
There are three variables that determine the camera position: X-angle, Y-angle and Z-angle.
 

EIGHT BASIC CAMERA POSITIONS

I usually work with eight basis camera positions. For this to work you have you start building your model in de basic position: front-right view. And the front side of your model and the right side of your model should be facing the camera just like in the example picture below.

The front – right view (the basic position!):
Axis30
X-150
Y45
Z-180
The front – left view:
Axis30
X-150
Y45
Z-180
The back – right view:
AxisAngle
X-150
Y45
Z-180
The back – left view:
AxisAngle
X-150
Y45
Z-180
The back – left view:
AxisAngle
X-150
Y45
Z-180
The bottom – front – left view:
AxisANGLE
X-150
Y45
Z-180
The bottom – front – right view:
AxisAngle
X-150
Y45
Z-180
The bottom – back – left view:
AxisAngle
X-150
Y45
Z0
The bottom – back – right view:
AxisAngle
X-150
Y-45
Z0

It’s best to setup your file in the correct basic position before you start building:

  1. Start a new file.
  2. Add an empty step – [ctrl+ins]
  3. Go to the first building step – [pgup]
  4. Open the step properties window – [ctrl+b]
  5. Set the step to “absolute rotation step” – front right view (30 – 45 – 0) and click “Accept”
  6. Double tap [b]
To prevent from doing this every time, you can also save this new file as “basic_empty_ file” and use it every time you start a new model.

Back to the LDCad-page.

Close Menu