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af99 afx to fsds - success of a kind

Posted by Richard Osborne on Monday, 6 November 2000, at 10:33 a.m.


Greetings all,

I've been reading the thread re. progress initiated by Rob Bennis & could add my tuppence worth of cat skinning.

Rob! Keep with fsds - I've found that as a few pennies drop it's very much easier than af99.

I've found a way, not the most elegant but it works, of overcoming the limitations of the AFX plug-in. As we've found the plug-in won't convert components or structures - only parts. Fair enough - convert components to parts before re-writing the afx file.

I wanted to transfer the parts of the af99 Brabazon to fsds - I'd already sorted the sizes & drawing & didn't want to redraw 24 prop blades yet again.

I started by creating a ghost subdirectory in af99 - in my case ...\afx\brabazon\brit_1 - I copied brabazon.afx, brabazon.afa & brabazon.lst to this subdirectory & expanded the afx. This just saves work & retains the originals safely where they were. Create a working directory in fsds\projects -e.g. ...\fsds\projects\brabazon.

Even on my, now creaking, computer I can have af99 running with fsds open TWICE.

If you open fsds & run the AFX plug-in you'll have all of the parts on the .afa visible, also the structure templates. I haven't found another way but to laboriously copy every part into the project directory. Each part will have the same name in 'Part Properties' as it had in af99.

Save this copy of fsds with your project name. Minimise this copy of fsds.

Go back to af99 & delete everything on the View List - be brave; this is the ghost not the original. Go to 'Add to Assembly' - 'Parts' & add the parts from the master list which the components list would use. On the Brabazon for instance the 'innac' component is made from parts inac10 - inac39. Add those parts to the View List. You can do this up to the 200 parts limit. Remake the .AFX file. Only those parts you've just added will be on this .afx file.

Now the sneaky bit - open the other fsds. Run the AFX plug-in & import the parts from af99. You'll now have those parts from the af99 components. Run 'Select from Parts' & gather your af99 parts together. In fsds you'll save this group of af99 parts as a single part. To use the innac example again - select inac10 - inac39 then 'Select'. The parts will be highlighted on the screen. Go to 'Part' - 'Join Selected'. The af99 can now be saved as "innac" IN THE WORKING DIRECTORY - ...\fsds\projects\brabazon - on the minimised copy. The af99 component has become an fsds part. It sounds long-winded but takes but two shakes of a cat's tail.

If the plug-in hasn't picked up structure templates remake them them in your ghost af99 directory & save them as 'Standard Application'; add them to the 'View List' as before. I don't think you can import structures but at least the templates can be used for direct reference - you've already sized them & done 95% of the work needed. Just make a tube around them.

Open the first copy of fsds & load the parts you've made in the other copy - save it as a project file.

Repeat this sequence, using a new page on the second fsds - don't save 'untitled' - until all the parts are transferred.

A couple of tips about the backdrop - another thing which makes fsds better than af99. I share Rob's frustration with the 'Set Center' command. The way around it is to indicate ON THE BMP where the datum should be - then you just click over the cross on the .bmp. If you've cut the plan & elevation from the same plan you can quickly measure from one view to the other.

Make your .bmp image a factor of the length (or span). For the Brabazon the fuselage side image is 531 pixels - 177FT * 3. For some reason it image wouldn't scale by specifying the length then clicking on the nose, then tail. I also use this trick for texturing - I've covered it more fully in my texturing tutorial.

BTW People on this side of the pond must force themselves to misspell centre & use the American spelling - otherwise the program won't read the Gear.Center which must be an internal command.

Hope this is general use.


Richard Osborne