Hi Terry – just getting back from a conference and saw these posts – there are several of them and it will not let me reply individually, so I will try to bullet them below.
1) convert plates length to each – I use LAYERS tab in Estimator. Use attribute for LENGTH. Use MULTIPLIER of /? (divide by length – so in your example total lM divided by 6LM, plus waste factor, to convert to number of units. Use this concept for all framing members (studs, headers, plates, etc.) The STUDS are actually made into components BUT I found it easiest to account for cripples and jacks and studs to use total length of each divided by unit length ordered.
2) As I stated above, I use LAYERS tab for all framing except for components like joist hangers, etc.
3) answered in number 2 above (layers and components) – but STUDS are named differently from the rest for a specific purpose. Plates, headers, sills, sheathing, etc. are all named wall_(type, like plate)_(size) – this way, in Estimator, you can use the attributes to convert. HOWEVER, studs are normally in different lengths depending. For example, I use 8′ and 9′ walls routinely. SO, to differentiate between the various heights, so as to know how to order, we added the HEIGHT to the end of the layer name.
4) Yes, you can change the cost type in the spreadsheet. Once you run the macro, you will notice a drop-down in the type field and can simply pick which one to assign where.
5) Saving updated costs – remember to save the spreadsheet once you have changed prices. Then, back in SketchUp, click on the SYNC DATABASE button to update the pricing.
6) Great question! Once you have entered information for Framer Layers (plates, studs, sheathing, etc.) you DO NOT have to do it each time. You have two options. When you first enter the cost data for a layer, be in your SketchUp Template. Then each time you start a new model, it already has your framing layers included, with pricing data. OR you can use the new ASSEMBLIES tool. Let’s say you modeled a typical wall and assigned all of your desired cost data. You can then go to Extensions > Estimator > Export Assemblies and choose the layers you wish to export. Then, when you are in a model and ready to frame some walls, Extensions > Estimator > Import Assemblies and choose the layers to import. All of your data should be there – model and wall and view instant results.