Stair caculator software and AutoCAD
StairDesigner can calculate and build and draw stairs very fast and efficiently but as with all parametric software whether it is stair software or not, it doesn’t cope with all the intricacy and complexity of real world situations.
I find that once StairDesigner has drawn up the general stair plans it’s often necessary to add details or modify the design to adapt to my construction techniques and the specific on site situations.
In the majority of projects that I have its rare that I only have the staircase to build. In general the staircase needs at least a balustrade around the stair well, where as more than often I need to design many elements that parametric stair software is not built to cope with, like balustrades around complicated stair wells, cupboards under stairs, specific handrails and balusters, curved steps, etc, etc……
After having looked around at other design software I’ve finally come to the conclusion that although parametric software is great for stair calculations and design, only general drafting software like Autocad can really cope with all the different situations that I come across in my real life stair design situations.
Leaving out the design details, specific moldings, cupboards, here are some of the main limitations that I have found with the StairDesigner parametric stair calculator:
– Doesn’t draw bull nose and curtail steps and curved risers.
– Doesn’t draw starting volutes
– Can’t give different thicknesses for strings on each flight
– Doesn’t design the string and handrail transitions to level landing
Luckily StairDesigner drawings can be exported in DXF and opened in a general drafting software to update and modify the design details.
In this video I show how to take a stair built in StairDesigner and open it in Autocad to add a bullnose step.
Of course I use AutoCad but the same process can be used with any CADD software that can read DXF files.
If you are only interested in building manufacturing drawings then a 2D drafting program like Solid Edge is easy enough. For 3D presentation a dedicated rendering tool is probably easier than AutoCad.
The interesting thing about combining CAD and StairDesigner is that it gives unlimited design possiblities for adding and modifying the stairs.
Here are some other articles for AutoCad users:
Spiral Stair case problems – AutoCAD Forums
Spiral Stair case problems AutoCAD 3D Modelling & Rendering.
3d Curved stair – AutoCAD Forums
Making stair in 2d and 3d with AutoCAD
Creating a New Drawing by Using Parts from Another Drawing
Create a separate staircase drawing by using the staircase you’ve already drawn.