How The Manufacturer Connection Works
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How The Manufacturer Connection Works

Apr 07, 2017
Video Length:  53:02
Presented By:  Damien Knight & Jake Lott

The Manufacturer Connection is the relationship between the designer and manufacturer that Land F/X has used to separate ourselves from other design software programs. Join us for a webinar on how we've nurtured this important relationship and turned it into one of our strongest features. Presenters Jake Lott and Damien Knight will provide insights into how the Manufacturer Connection actually works, from the beginning of the setup process to the moment that all our users are able to place and specify products in their landscape and irrigation designs.

Webinar Contents:

Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)

  • Intro/TOC
  • The User Perspective
    • How to Choose a Manufacturer/Product
  • The Work We Do
    • Product Research
    • Data Entry
    • Content Creation
      • CAD Blocks
      • Details
      • SketchUp Components (3D Models)
    • Upload, Testing & Review
    • Announcements
    • Comparison Summary
  • Summary

0:00 – 4:04: Intro/TOC

4:05 – 14:49: The User Perspective

How to Choose a Manufacturer/Product (4:05)


Adding a new Amenity Reference Note (RefNote) (4:05)


Selecting a manufacturer for an amenity (4:20)


Requesting that we add a specific manufacturer to our system (4:40)


Filtering the list of manufacturers by amenity type (5:10)


Selecting a series and model from a manufacturer (5:40)


Obtaining more information about the manufacturer using the More Info button, which takes you directly to the manufacturer’s website (6:15)


Adding a manufacturer’s amenity to a Land F/X project (6:30)

The Note field is filled out automatically with information about the product straight from the manufacturer. You can edit this information, as well as select a division for the amenity and edit other information, including the callout type.


Placing an amenity block in a drawing (8:52)

Note that you can simply place our blocks without needing to set the block parameters.


Using our Copy tools to place amenity blocks in a lone or arc, or along an existing polyline, with a set spacing pattern (9:40)


Calling out an amenity using our instant callout tools (10:10)


Editing an amenity block and assigning it to a detail (10:40)

Many of the manufacturer-provided amenities in our system also have a corresponding detail in our system that’s also from the manufacturer, making it easy to assign the correct detail to an amenity in your drawing.


Running a Reference Notes Schedule to list the manufacturer amenities and details used in the drawing (11:40)


Sending amenities to a SketchUp model using our SketchUp Connection tool (12:30)


Importing amenities into a SketchUp model (13:10)

The amenity symbols will be placed in the exact locations in the SketchUp model – including draw order – where they were placed in the CAD drawing (provided the SketchUp model is set up correctly).


For more information on how the SketchUp Connection works, please see our series of SketchUp webinars:


Importing the design back into CAD from SketchUp (14:25)

Note that changes you make to your SketchUp model will be respected back in your CAD drawing.

14:50 – 48:34: The Work We Do

Product Research (15:34)

  • Manufacturer websites
  • Online catalogs
  • Product pages
  • Cut-specification sheets


Data Entry (17:05)

  • Compilation of all relevant product data
  • Data is linked to the CAD Database


A look behind the scenes at our Site Amenities Administration page (17:27)


How we enter data for each manufacturer’s products (18:40)



Content Creation (20:00)


CAD Blocks (21:00)

Not all manufacturers have single blocks for their products. Many tend to place much more focus on details. In these cases, we create the blocks from scratch based on the existing details.


What’s involved in adding blocks or editing existing manufacturer blocks:

  • Color by layer
  • Line by layer
  • Audit layer name
  • Overkill command
  • Purge & Audit commands
  • Trim external lines/line cleanup
  • Insertion point
  • Confirm units

We try to eliminate excessive linework in our blocks, which keeps file sizes down and leads to clearer plotting.


Details (24:00)

We update existing manufacturer details to help make them easier to understand when placed in a drawing. Like our blocks, we add our details to our system, making it easy for you to just select and place them. We also attempt to simplify them to keep file sizes down.


SketchUp Components (3D Models) (26:00)

We also simplify SketchUp components, keeping the numbers of faces and edges as low as possible, which keeps file sizes down and helps speed up performance.


Upload, Testing & Review (28:05)

  • Uploading content
  • Testing blocks
  • Demonstrations with manufacturers
  • Reviewing each product


Comparison between a SketchUp component we receive and our finished product after we edit it to optimize it (29:10)


When optimizing SketchUp components, we:

  • Make sure the insertion point is set properly at 0,0
  • Separate each amenity component into individual parts that you can remove for adjustments
  • Reuse individual parts of amenities when possible, effectively reducing the file size while also allowing you to edit multiple parts simultaneously.


For more information on how Reference Notes work, see our Intro to Site Tools webinar and our Reference Notes: Getting Started documentation article.


Question: Is it possible to use Land F/X tools to color components in 2D as well? (33:30)

Answer: Yes. You can use our Site Color tool to add color to blocks. In fact, our default blocks come pre-colored. You can choose to use the existing colors or change them to meet your preferences.


Question: Is there a way to link these manufacturer components to a cost estimate? Are the prices of these items linked directly to the manufacturers’ retail prices? (35:20)

Answer: We leave the prices off of manufacturer amenities. Manufacturers have told us that they prefer to not include prices because each amenity can be incredibly dynamic in cost, depending on options such as finishes. However, you can go into any of these items and add a cost manually, which will roll into a rough cost estimate when you create an amenity schedule.


Another example of one of our SketchUp models, which we’ve split into two identical portions to make the editing process quicker and easier (36:50)


Example of a 2D table block we’ve created, paying attention to the following (38:30):

  • Giving the block the correct insertion point
  • Setting the units properly
  • Placing all linework on the correct layers
  • Ensuring the block is drawn to spec


Example of the 3D SketchUp version of the same block (39:20)


How we name our blocks and SketchUp components (39:50)

For example, we give the corresponding block and SketchUp model the same name, allowing them to be tied together.


How we save and upload our blocks and SketchUp components (40:12)


How we test whether we’ve entered amenities into our system correctly (42:00)


Adding an amenity to a project (42:00)


Placing the amenity into a drawing (42:30)


Sending the amenity to SketchUp (42:50)


Announcements (43:58)

  • Manufacturer e-newsletter release
  • Online news article

When possible, we link these articles to a pertinent educational video on our website that helps teach users how to use the amenities featured in the article.


Comparison Summary (29:10)


Before Land F/X:

  • Messy/full
  • Non-optimized lineweights
  • Individual model components
  • Standalone files
  • Larger file size


After Land F/X:

  • Clean
  • Optimized lineweights
  • Linked model components
  • Linked to real product data
  • Smaller file size

48:35 – end: Summary

  • The Manufacturer Connection provides an integrated, simple method for designers to specify and place manufacturers’ amenities.
  • All-in-one database
  • Up-to-date products
  • Accurate product data
  • Clean blocks, details & components


We don’t just provide a fast and efficient workflow; we ensure that products are up to date and specified accurately.


Question: How does Land F/X select manufacturers to add to the system? How can designers request that we add specific manufacturers – for example, a local manufacturer that a designer might already be working with? (50:10)

Answer: In a nutshell, our manufacturers are all recommended by users. We’re also often contacted by manufacturers who tell us that their clients are asking that they be added to our system. Note that whether we add a manufacturer will depend on that manufacturer’s initiative to be added to our system. It’s a partnership and a paid service due to the amount of work our team needs to put into adding each manufacturer. We encourage users to contact us and request that we contact a specific manufacturer. It also helps if you can provide a specific contact at that manufacturer to whom we can talk.

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