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In this movie I'd like to look at the Array feature. The Array feature is a powerful Copy command. What makes it special is it's actually a parametric array. Now what we mean by parametric, typically, is anything where the original parameters that were used to create the object remain available for us to manipulate in the future. And so if we have a parametric array, then what we're saying is all the parameters we establish in the array, the multiple copy basically, those parameters will remain available and we'll be able to adjust them afterwards, if the design dictates.
So in this case I'm going to use the array feature here in this file called Array, and I'm working on my stair detail, and I'm going to array this item right here. This is a detail component item that represents a single stair tread. And I actually have three treads here, so I want to create an array of those. So I've got it selected. I'll click the Array button. And let's kind of look at the options that we have here on the Options bar. Now the first thing you'll notice is a little dashed box goes around the item that I had selected.
That looks a lot like the group item that we saw in a previous movie. Well, in fact, it is a group item, because right here you can see that the default behavior of the Array command is to group it and associate it. So the grouping part we'll look at in a few moments, but the associate part, that's the parametric part. So the two kind of work together. Now next to that we have Linear and Radial. So it actually is possible to array along a curve, but in this case we're going to array along a straight line, so I'm going to leave that set to Linear. For the number, I'm going to click in here and put in 3, and then over here, I want to make sure that I'm using the second option.
Now there's two options here: move to 2nd and move to Last. 2nd is what you choose if you know how far apart you want each of your arrayed items to be, and Last is what you use if you know the overall total distance that you want your array to fit into. So in this case, because I'm working with stair treads, I know how big each tread is, so I want the second option. The last setting here is Constrain. I want to make sure that I don't check that in this case because that would limit me either to a horizontal or a vertical direction, but we actually want to array along a diagonal.
Now I want to be careful here when I'm clicking my points onscreen because you want to make sure the focus is in the drawing window and if you click, it's going to activate the first point. So what I'm going to do here is roll my wheel. That's a good way to tell whether the view window is active before you start to click. If it's not, it might still be active in this text field right here. What you can do is just click this little radio button right here. That will kind of shift the focus away from the number field and allow you to roll over here and verify that you're in fact in the drawing window.
What I'm going to do is use the underlying model to pick my reference points. So I'm going to snap right here at the end point of my first tread and then move diagonally down to the corresponding point on the next one and click again. And when I zoom back out a little bit, what you'll see is this gray temporary dimension here with the number 3. That's the quantity of the arrayed items. Now that's interactive. That's the associate part. So if I put in number 2 here and press Enter, notice that I get only two arrayed items.
If I click it again and I try 6, now I've got six items, but of course they go off the screen because they are underneath that crop region. So I'm going to click on 6 and I'm going to set that back to 3. But that's the associate part of the array. So later we can come back and change the quantity of items if we like. Now I'm going to deselect everything, zoom in a little. Here is the other part of associate. If I select one of these items and start to move it, you're going to see all three items move accordingly. In other words, when we talk about associate, it's not just the quantity; it's also the distances between them.
So that second or last you can actually modify after the fact by using the Move command. Now I just did it by eye here, and I'm going to undo that, but I wanted you to see what we mean by associate. So let's go ahead and undo. That's the parametric quality of this array. Now, you may notice here a small gap right there. The depth of this item is pretty good, but the height isn't quite right, and that's because the family that we're using for the stair tread came in at a default size of a 7-inch tread. But if you come over here and click your stair in the background, remember, this is still a live model view, so I can actually select that stair there in the background. It's a live object here.
And if we scroll down, the actual riser height is 6 and 171/256ths of an inch. Now remember that number because it's going to be important in the next step, so that's the actual riser height. Now here's what I want to do. I'm going to select one of my arrayed items. It doesn't matter which one, because they're grouped. So as we saw in the groups movie, we can edit any one of the group members and it will apply to all of them. I'm going to choose Edit Group over here on the ribbon.
In Edit Group I can now select the individual family. I'm going to choose Edit Type on this Stair Steel Pan family, and here you'll see the height, or the rise, is 7 inches. Now, did you remember that number that we looked at a moment ago? It was 6 and 171/256ths inches. Make sure you use inches so that you don't end up with feet here. And when I click OK, that will shorten the size of the riser here so that it matches our underlying stair, and when I click Finish it will apply that change to all instances of the group.
So we're actually benefiting in two ways from the array. We benefit in the associated part where we can change the quantity and the spacing, and we benefit also in the group part, like we've just seen. So let's look at one more example of that. If I select this item instead--now it's important this time that I select this item, because when I Edit Group here, what I actually want to do is take this angle here in the background that we placed in the previous movie and I want to add that to the group. So here I've got an Add button.
I'm going to click that. I'm going to touch this detail item right here and then click Finish, and notice that that gets added to the other two instances of the group. So, very useful to have this grouped and associated array here, because it gives me a lot of really nice benefits. Now you may be noticing that it looks a little odd over here. Detail components have stacking order, so this guy was created last, so it sits on top. And we created this break line much earlier. All I have to do is select the break line element, and over here on the Ribbon I can choose to Bring to Front, and now it will cover up that other item there.
So the array feature is a powerful multiple- copy tool that has built-in parametric and grouping properties. This allows us to take advantage of both the features of groups and the parametric features of the association feature and interact with that series of copies in a live way as the design changes. So, later, if the design changes, I can manipulate the array and I don't have to start all over again.
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