Introduction: SelfCAD Tools: Simple House Modeling

About: Student at the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Silesian University of Technology

Welcome to the next SelfCAD instructable.

With this tutorial, you will learn what are the possibilities of some SelfCAD tools. I decided to show you them by modeling a simple house. It means that in fact in this course the model isn't important. Much more interesting is how we can use the tools to speed up modeling time.

See also my first instructable, where I showed you how to model more complicated house: 3D Building Model in SelfCAD

Step 1: Create New SelfCAD Project

Launch the SelfCAD editor and create a new project.

You should see a window like the one shown in the picture. In this window you can set three things:
1. Name of your project, it's default name is Untitled
2. Workspace Size - workspace in SelfCAD is a cube in which all objects are placed. Nothing can be outside the workspace so set its size so that everything fits inside.
3. Segment Size - the workspace is divided into smaller square segments separated by a grid. This grid exists to let you control the size of your model and snap your drawings to it.

You can change all these parameters later.
Notice that 1 SelfCAD's unit is equal to 1 millimeter (or 1 inch, you can change it in Preferences).

Set the workspace size to 1500 and segment size to 100. Use the units like they were equal to centimeters, it's just for our convenience.

Step 2: Use Free Hand (Brush) to Draw Walls

Use Free Hans, Brush (F+B). Brush is the best tool to draw objects like walls, especially if match your walls centerlines to the grid (see 3D Building Model in S elfCAD). All Free Hand tools have four main settings lists:
1. Plane Settings - where you can set where the plane on which you draw should be
2. Fill Settings - where you can set how the object created after applying your drawing should be filled
3. Height Settings - where you can set the height of the object created after applying your drawing
4. Precision Settings - where you can set snapping options

In Height Settings set the height to 100 because it's the maximum value here. Change the brush width to 10 (in fact it's radius, so the wall will be 20 units thick). In Precision Settings turn on snapping to the grid. Now, draw your walls. Remember about a hole for the door. Apply the drawing.

Step 3: Move the Top Polygon Higher

Look at the cube on the right side. You can turn on edit modes here. The regions you can select are vertices, edges, faces, and polygons. You can also see how many regions you have in your project. Notice the difference between face and polygon. Polygon is usually composed of many faces.

Choose polygon selection mode and select the top polygon of your object. Use Move (M) and enter the value 210 next to the Y dimension. Now the polygon is at the height of 210 units above the bottom plane.

If you are used to the Z vertical axis, you can swap Y and Z dimensions in Workspace Settings.

Step 4: Use Extrusion to Make the Building Higher

In Modify you can find Extrusion tool (M+E). Use it with the top polygon still selected. Extrude the polygon 50 units higher.

Step 5: Use Loft to Bridge Two Faces

Choose face selection mode. Select two faces above the door, like in the images. Use Loft (in Tools or C+L). The faces should be bridged now. Set the smoothness to 1, we don't need more faces here.

Loft created a new object and if you look closer, you can see there are still faces inside the wall (the faces you selected before using Loft and new, created by Loft). If you don't want these faces, this step should look slightly different:

Choose face selection mode. Select two faces above the door, like in the images, and delete them. Now, choose edge selection mode and select all eight edges around the faces you've just removed. Use Loft. Set its smoothness to 1. Open fill settings and deselect Fill First and Fill Last options.

Step 6: Use Merge Objects

In Utilities there is a tool named Merge Objects. Select walls and the object generated by loft and merge them. They are now one object.

Step 7: Use 3D Sketch to Draw a Window

Choose 3D Sketch from Drawing. This tool looks similar to Free Hand but works completely different. Here you draw profiles, that are not converted into a 3D mesh.

Use it to draw a window. I used drew here a rectangle and an arch. Then, with edge selection mode, I removed the unnecessary edge.

Step 8: Copy the Profile

Copy the profile to create more windows. Use Rotate (R) and Move (M) to place them in the right places.

Step 9: Use Resolution to Simplify the Object

You can find Resolution in Modify list (M+L). This tool can be used in many cases. If your object is too simple and you need more vertices, use Resolution. If you have too many regions and you don't need them, also use Resolution. Now we have this second case. Use resolution and set the detail level to 0. It causes we don't have that horizontal edges that left after extrusion.

Be careful with using Resolution, especially if you have rectangular faces like in this project. Sometimes these rectangles are much more useful than chaotic triangles created by Resolution.

Step 10: Cut With Profile

Under the Resolution there is a Cut with profile tool. Select one profile and the mesh. Use Cut with profile.

If the profile is drawn on a face, using this tool should create new edges and select new faces between them.

Step 11: Use Extrusion to Cut a Hole

Use Extrusion again, but this time for another purpose. Taking advantage of the fact that we still have faces selected, extrude them 20 units inside the building (because the wall is 20 units thick). Apply the extrusion. You should have a nice hole now. Repeat the last two steps with the rest of the windows.

Step 12: Draw a Rectangle

Use Free Hand again. This time choose Rectangle. Change Height to 10. In Precision Settings turn off snapping to grid vertices and turn on the minimum step size (value 10). In Plane Settings set offset to 260.

Make walls visible and draw a rectangle like in the 3rd image.

Step 13: Use Resolution

We need to have more edges to make a ridge. Use Resolution and change the detail level to 2.

Step 14: Use Loop Selection

Choose edge selection mode and open selection settings. Turn on loop selection. Click on two neighboring edges to select the whole edge loop. Move the selection higher (400 looks good).

Step 15: Draw a Triangle

Use Free Hand, Line (F+L). In Plane Settings change the plane from Top/Bottom to Front/Left. If you know the coordinates you can also change the offset (or move it manually). Change the height to 20. Leave precision settings still the same - minimum step size 10 should be turned on.

Draw a triangle under the roof. Remember to close the shape, otherwise the mesh will not be created.

Step 16: Use Align to Change the Triangle Position

Align is a tool that moves an object to a specified position, for example to the center of another object. You can find it in Utilities.

Select the triangle and use Align. Choose walls from the list titled Reference. We need to align the triangle to the top, front side of the walls and then set the offset to -20. The result should be like in 2nd picture. Copy the triangle and align it to top, back side of walls with offset 20.

For more information about Align tool see How to Align Objects - the Easy Way | SelfCAD instructable written by igoresko.

Step 17: Scale the Roof

Use Scale (S) to scale the roof in the Z dimension.

Step 18: Add a Cylinder to the Scene

Let's draw a small metal chimney. Add a cylinder to the scene. Set its radius to 5, height to 20, and horizontal segments 15.

Step 19: Use Bend

Use Bend tool to... bend the cylinder. You can find this tool in the Deform menu. Enter the value 90 in X dimension.

Notice that bending an object 360 degrees doesn't make a circle from this object. Bending is more spiral.

Step 20: Extrude the Polygon

Use polygon selection mode to select the polygon and extrude it like in the picture.

Step 21: Use Inset

The next tool we have to use is Inset. You can find it in Modify list (M+I). With the polygon still selected use inset to create new edge loop.

Extrude the smaller circle inside the chimney.

Step 22: Use Move Advanced Settings

Select the whole chimney and choose Move. Open its advanced settings and turn on the magnet. Drag the chimney on the wall. It should rotate automatically.

This is the end of this instructable. You can add windows and door to your house. If you don't know how to model a rounded window, see this tutorial. I hope you learned a lot about using SelfCAD tools.