Railings With a Volute

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Todd Wacome
Todd Wacome's picture
Railings With a Volute
SoftPlan Version:
2014 Plus

I love SoftPlan 2014 Plus.  As usual SoftPlan has made a big advance with the new version, and as usual it has new features I hadn’t thought of but are fascinating.


There’s also some items I expected bigger advances on and am disappointed.  While I admit I generally think SoftPlan has their priorities in order and is focusing on what is important, I was hoping for a step forward in the 3D realisim.  Realism isn’t the best word, because 3D is technically accurate.  The better word might be on the idea of “Pleasing”, not super accurate, but nice lighting and some feeling of depth – Like Sketchup was 10 years ago on my slow computes with stock video cards.  Could that really be so difficult?


But to my point, 3D isn’t really what matters to me, it’s the technical accuracy that counts and SoftPlan is strong there.


However, the other area I was expecting more development on is the ability to draw accurate stair railings when using Over-the-Post Stairway parts, and at least a basic Volute.  We use this system 99% of the time and I can’t draw it in 2D or 3D.


Referring to this nice diagram at http://ljsmith.com/default.aspx?category=9&page=74 it seems that SoftPlan could draw the Post-to-Post Stairway Anatomy but not the Over-the-Post Stairway Anatomy.


The most important part of the drawing to me is how the handrail ends over the top of the starting utility newel with either the straight starting easing or the Volute.


The Volute is such an important part of the house and makes the 2D drawing look nice.


See nice article on this at http://www.thisiscarpentry.com/2009/07/15/drawing-a-volute/


Though this article has images of beautiful Volutes I’m just looking for a way to draw something simple, like a Red Oak Left Volute

(Model # RO7030 Store SKU # 467498) from Home Depot website or similar.


Up until now I’ve used a basic 2D symbol for a Volute which is adequate, and avoiding showing any stairs in 3D.  At this point with 2014 I expected something better so that I could show views of stairs in 3D instead of avoiding those views.  Think about it, interior views incorporating the stairs are very important, as these views should cover some of the most appealing vies of the house, yet I am avoiding them because I can only draw stairs in 3D that look terrible.


This becomes super important now because of the -Ultra Cool Ipad App- that lets the user feel fully immersed in the view.  It is so cool but I can no longer hide the stair rail deficit.


Anybody have a solution to this?


A more direct question, or a challenge; Can anyone draw Over-the-Post Stairway Anatomy  stairs shown on the  http://ljsmith.com/default.aspx?category=9&page=74 website, or any part of them?



Todd Wacome

ChrisStewart's picture
Here is a volute on 3D

Here is a volute on 3D warehouse, there may be others around




I think you would have to draw it manually.


No I do not even try. I just explain to my clients that Softplan will not do that.


Softplan+ was supposed to have some millwork but so far I have not found it.

Todd Wacome
Todd Wacome's picture



SoftPlan contacted me today and asked for some details.  I am hoping something will happen as a result of it.