OTB Designworks

VBE™ for a Wine Room Remodel

Working closely with Old West Woods, a company OTB has had the pleasure of collaborating with for years, we designed, OTB created the VBE™, and OWW fabricated a beautiful remodel for a wine room.  With tiled barrel vaults, custom made doors, and an intricate box beam setup, this room was transformed from a standard basement space into a small shangri la.  And to add to the intricacy, the onsite contractor installed everything, using shop drawing specs generated from the VBE™

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Intro to SketchUp Class

Today is the second time that Flathead Valley Community College is offering our Intro to SketchUp class and we have filled all 12 seats.  We are also offering a 4 session Intermediate SketchUp class starting Oct 24 that already has 8 seats filled.  We are very excited that there is such an interest in 3D modeling in the Flathead valley and we are pleased that we can assist in their education.

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Introducing the V.B.E.™

OTB Designworks is proud to announce a new concept in design and fabrication!  Using the latest in 3D modeling technology, combined with our 23 years of construction experience, we have the ability to encapsulate projects into a Virtual Build Environment, or VBE.  Much more than a design and visualization tool, the VBE™ is an actual virtual build, with every nuance of the design thought about, and fabricated, in the computer, exactly as it will go together in the field.  The benefits to this process are myriad, but every person involved with the project will have their process streamlined and the entire project will be much more efficient by having had it constructed already once, in the computer.

OTB continues to develop new and exciting ways to leverage the VBE™ for more utility; whether it be for design, marketing, presentations, fabrication, instructional aids, etc., we are diligent in our drive to constantly analyze and expand our uses of the VBE™.

Part of the paradigm shift, in our opinion, is to train builders to be able to fabricate directly from the computer VBE, with no 2D prints necessary.  Of course, the construction process will always need some 2D blueprints, but we really are finding ways to reduce, or in some cases, almost eliminate, the use of 2D documents in our design and fabrication process.  Yes, you heard it here first, computers can reduce the amount of paper used!  We regularly fabricate complicated timber configurations with, at most, 2 or 3 detail pages; the vast majority of the measurements are taken directly from a laptop in the field.

When was the last time you saw a builder accessing and utilizing a VBE™, in the field?  Perhaps never?  We are striving to change that.

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Talent is everywhere

So Steve Hollander has unknown baking skills!  Check out the cake he made his wife; look familiar?  His observation that getting the roof lines correct was  difficult, to say the least, made me laugh.  Yep, bastard valleys are brutal even if you are just talking cake and icing.

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New Slogan

The hardest question we have to answer regularly is what do we do, exactly.  As our range of services and products is so varied and extensive, and their uses are so widespread, it becomes difficult to answer this in a quick, one sentence description.

So, we are beginning to describe ourselves as design and fabrication facilitators.

OTB Designworks, facilitating excellence since 2005.

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Exciting Times

OTB Designworks has been working with two incredible exciting companies recently, Innovative Timber Systems out of Whitefish MT and Old West Woods in Ohio.  With both companies, we are developing a new style of construction planning and design that takes the client into a virtual project long before any fabrication begins.  Through the use of 3D modeling, custom animations, full color, 3D blueprints, as well as standard 2D blueprints, we are beginning what we hope is a paradigm shift in the way projects are designed, planned, and executed.  It has been our pleasure to be a part of this exciting progression and we are definitely looking forward to the future.

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Flying Valleys

Now that we have completed the valley set-up inside, and and have installed all necessary bearing points outside, we could now start putting the two systems together.  The process starts by flying in the three common valleys and placing them in space so that we could scribe and cut them into their final positions.  The precision and meticulousness required to ensure that, once the valleys were installed, that all of our roof planes transitioned correctly from the  common rafters to the jack rafters was off the chart difficult.  We are talking about setting 3 9x12x22′ valley rafters with a precision of 1/16″ of an inch, in 3 different planes and they all have to relate with each other and the existing frame correctly.  It is hard to even describe what needs to happen, not to mention actually accomplishing it.

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Teaching at the Community College

I am teaching an Introduction to SketchUp modeling at the Community College tomorrow.  This 4 hour seminar prepares students for taking the 4 session, more advanced class I will be teaching this Fall.  This is the first time the course has been offered, and, at last count, 9 of the 12 seats had been filled.

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Bedroom and Kitchen Wings Complete

How long I have waited to be able to say that the two wings are complete!  All of the common rafters have been cut into their final positions and we will now be shifting our concentration to the common valley setup, which will be a highly complex and intricate bit of timber framing.

I rode the man-basket up as high as we could get it to shoot this clip of the completed wings of the house.  Also noticeable in the background is the evidence of the outrageous  flooding we have been experiencing here.  What is usually an 8′ wide creek has swollen into a 400-500 yard wide river and we are very appreciative of the fact that the shop and yard are up on a bluff.  I guess this is what happens when you have a record breaking winter snowpack and then rain for the next 2 months.

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Common Valley System complete

After a month of set-up, scribing, and cutting, we have completed the Common Valley System, in the shop.  The 3 common valleys, 2 ridges, and myriad common jack rafters are now ready to be taken down and then joined with the rest of the house frame, which is outside, ready for the valley scribes.  This entire system doesn’t have one single square cut in it; every cut is a complex compound angle with degrees like 26.6°, 104°, 83.6°, etc.  The 3D model of the system was indispensable while we were setting up all the component parts, as we could determine correct pitch and location information for every piece, at any position in the frame.  I definitely would not have wanted to fabricate this without the 3D model as reference; the level of confidence it provides is awesome.  Of course, this only works if the model, itself, is meticulously modeled and is perfect in the computer.  Garbage in, garbage out is absolutely how this process works.

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