Creating Custom Balusters and Railing Panels


Reference Number: KB-02893
Last Modified: May 10, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


QUESTION

I have a custom railing I need to create for a client. How can I create custom balusters and panels?

Custom railing panels, newels and blusters can be created using shapes and solids then converted into a symbol and specified as Millwork. 


ANSWER

Custom railing panels, newels and blusters can be created using shapes and solids then converted into a symbol and specified as Millwork, allowing it to be set in the Railing Specification dialog. This article discusses how to create different space intervals for balusters and creating a custom panel. Newels, balusters and panels can be created with any 3D item that has been added to the library as Millwork. For this example, Polyline Solids are used.


To create a custom baluster or newel

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


  2. Select Build> Primitive> Polyline Solid . Click and drag to draw two polyline solids 2" by 2" square, spaced 3" apart vertically.



    When creating a custom newel or baluster it is imperative that it is drawn vertically in the drawing space. Otherwise you will need to rotate the symbol before you apply the symbol to a railing.



  3. Group-select the two solids and then click the Open Object tool to open the Polyline Solid Specification dialog and specify the Thickness as 36" then click OK.

    Materials can be specified on the Materials panel at this time if desired. If materials are not changed now it is possible to change them later when the balusters are applied to the railing.



  4. Next, select 3D> Create Perspective View> Full Camera . Then click and drag a camera pointing at the two balusters.


  5. Select Tools> Symbol> Convert to Symbol from the menu.


  6. In the Convert to Symbol dialog select Millwork from the Symbol Category drop down menu, put a checkmark in Add to Library and click OK.




  7. In the User Catalog of the Library Browser, a new Untitled item will be created. Right-click this item and choose the option to Rename and type in a descriptive name.

    In this example the name Double Baluster is used.


To create a custom panel

Panels can be created with a single polyline Solid with hole cut into it or by using several pieces put together.


  1. In a blank plan select 3D> Create Orthographic View> Cross Section/Elevation and click and drag from the bottom of the screen up.

    When creating a custom railing panel it is imperative that it is drawn horizontally in the drawing space. Otherwise you will need to rotate the symbol before you apply the symbol to a railing.



  2. In the elevation view select Build> Primitive> Polyline Solid from the menu. Click and drag to create a polyline solid the desired size for the panel.



    Materials can be specified on the Materials panel of the Polyline Solid Specification dialog now or you can wait and change the material when you apply the symbol to your railing.



  3. Next, select CAD> Circles> Circle and click and drag a circle within the Polyline Solid.


  4. Continue drawing circles or other shapes that will be cut out of the polyline solid.




  5. Group select the CAD circles then click the Convert Polyline tool on the Edit Toolbar.


  6. In the Convert Polyline dialog select Polyline Solid and click OK.


  7. In the Polyline Solid Specification that opens next put a check in the box for Hole in Polyline Solid and click OK.




  8. The polyline Solid will now have holes cut into it.




  9. Select Tools> Symbol> Convert to Symbol from the menu.


  10. In the Convert to Symbol dialog select Millwork from the Symbol Category drop down menu, put a checkmark in Add to Library and click OK.


  11. In the User Catalog of the Library Browser, a new Untitled item will be created. Right-click this item and choose the option to Rename and type in a descriptive name.


To apply the custom baluster or panel to a railing

  1. Highlight an existing deck railing or select Build> Railing and Deck> Straight Deck Railing or Straight Railing , then click and drag to create a railing.


  2. With the railing selected click Open Object to display the Deck Railing Specification dialog.


  3. On the Rail Style panel in the Specify Railing section select either Balusters or Panels.




  4. On the Newels/Balusters panel there are different sections for Newels/Posts, Balusters, and Panels. Depending on the option chosen in step 3, either the Balusters or Panels section will be grayed out.

    • To specify a custom Newel click the Library button next to the Type option in the Newels section.

    • To specify a custom Baluster click the Library button next to the Type option in the Balusters section.

    • To specify a custom Panel click the Library button next to the Type option in the Panels section.




  5. In the Select Library Object dialog which opens next browse to the User catalog and select the custom baluster, newel or panel created earlier. Click OK.


  6. Back in the Deck Railing Specification dialog it may be necessary to adjust spacing.

    For example if you chose the Double Baluster created in the first section of this article you might want to set the width to 5" and the spacing to 12".