Creating a Bollard Path Light Using Solids

Reference Number: KB-00808 Last Updated: 01-07-2015 04:49 PM

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors or Chief Architect Lite


I would like to learn how to create a ­post with a light fixture integrated into it. How can I do this?


You can use the solid Primitive tools to create a wide variety of custom objects, including custom light fixtures such as bollard path lights.  In this article, we will use the solid Cylinder, Cone and Sphere in combination to create a bollard path light with interior reflectors to allow the light to shine in a realistic manner when Ray Traced.

We will first create the different components of this object, and then assemble them together to form the bollards shown in the above image.

To create the cylindrical base

  1.  Select File> New Plan  from the menu to open a new blank plan.

  2. Select Build> Primitive> Cylinder  from the menu, then click and drag to draw a cylinder.

  3. Once created, click the Select Objects  button, then click on the cylinder to select it and click the Open Object  edit button. 

  4. On the Cylinder panel of the Cylinder Specification dialog, specify the desired Radius, Height and Z value of the cylinder.

    In this example of Radius of 3", a Height of 30" and a Z value of 0" are used.

  5. On the Materials panel of the Cylinder Specification dialog, select a material for the base of your light post.  

  6. You should now have something that looks similar to this:



To create the clear glass enclosure

  1. Using the Cylinder  tool as described above, draw a cylinder with a 3" Radius, 3" Height and a Z value of 30".

    • In this example, the Z value is 30" because this will place it on top of the cylinder base with a Height of 30".

    • Using the Move  edit handle, position the new cylinder so that it is positioned directly over the base.

  2. Select the newly created cylinder, open it up to specification, and change the material to glass.

  3. Draw a second Cylinder  inside the glass cylinder, this time with a Radius of 2 15/16", a Height of 4" and a Z value of 29.5".

  4. Select 3D> Create Perspective View> Full Camera  from the menu and click and drag a camera arrow towards your symbol.

    In Chief Architect X1, use 3D> Create Render View> Render Full Camera.

    You should now have something like this:

  5. Select the shorter glass cylinder and click the Subtract  edit button, then click the taller inside cylinder to create an open tube shape.

  6. While still in the camera view, select 3D> Materials> Adjust Material Definition , and click on the glass cylinder to open the Define Material dialog for the selected glass material.

  7. Select the Properties panel, change the Transparency setting to between 80 and 90 to allow more light to escape from the lamp when we add a light source. Hit OK. 

    In Chief Architect X2 and prior, the Transparency setting is located on the Render tab.

To create a reflective cone

  1. Select File> Close View  from the menu to close the camera view and return to floor plan view.

  2. Select Build> Primitive> Cone  from the menu, then click and drag to draw a cone inside the glass cylinder with a Radius of 2.5", a Height of 3", and a Z value of 30".

  3. Change the Material to a reflective material, such as Materials> Glass & Glazing> Mirror.

  4. Your bollard light should now look similar to this:

To create the top cover

The top cover of the bollard light will be an inverted cup shape. This will be accomplished using steps very similar to creating the glass tube, but we will position the inside cylinder just short of going all the way through the top of the outside cylinder.

It may be easier to create the top cover in a location away from the objects created above, and then slide it into place once the subtraction has been done. 

  1. Using the Cylinder  solid primitive tool, create a cylinder with a Radius of 3", Height of 3" and a Z value of 33".

  2. Create a second cylinder inside the first with a Radius of 2 15/16", Height of 4" and Z value of 31 15/16".

  3. Select the larger cylinder, click the Subtraction  edit button, and click on the inside cylinder. This is easier in a 3D view than in plan view.

    You should now see something similar to this:  

  4. Select File> Close View  from the menu to close the camera view. In floor plan view, use the Move  edit handle to position the top cover over the rest of the light symbol.

To create a top reflector

The final step in creating this bollard light is to place a reflector in the top cap, which will give us more realistic lighting effects in Ray Traces. We will create a hemisphere mirror to reflect the light down toward the reflective cone which will then reflect the light out of the fixture. You may want to experiment with different shapes for the top reflector to see how they affect the lighting.

The method of creation is similar to the steps below and again it may be easier to create the object to one side and move it into place.

  1. Using the Cylinder  solid primitive tool, create a cylinder with a Radius of 2.5", Height of 2.5" and a Z value of 33". 

  2. Specify the material of the cylinder as Materials> Glass & Glazing> Mirror.

  3. Select Build> Primitive> Sphere , then click and drag to draw a sphere inside the cylinder.  In this example a Radius of 2.5", and a Z center value of 33" are used.

  4. Select the cylinder, click the Subtraction  edit button, and click on the sphere to form a concave spherical reflector. Move  it into place and you now have the bollard path light.


You can now use the Tools> Symbol> Convert to Symbol  option to add your new light fixture to the Library Browser.

In Chief Architect X1, you will need to export your new light fixture as a 3D model and import it back as an electrical symbol using the Create Symbol Wizard.