Exploring Octagonal Roof Framing with SketchUp
Watch this virtual tour of a typical stick-built octagonal roof.
Roof Tour deJour:
This video is a virtual tour of a typical stick-built octagonal roof. Using the orbit feature of SketchUp it is simple to explore how all the rafters and other components are assembled:
The model has an octagonal center block to receive the full length common rafters which then requires the 22.5 degree hip rafters to have sharp top angles which are difficult to cut with a typical circular saw. A sixteen-agonal center block would be more of a challenge to make but would simplify rafter cutting. The hips would require only a simple plumb cut. In the roof modeling tutorial below I’ll show the steps I use to create a center block making a 16-sided one in the example.
An octagonal roof framed with trusses is a different animal even though the geometry is the same. Truss roofs are generated almost entirely with engineering software and assembled by following a truss erection plan. Although the math is the same, much less in-depth understanding of the process is required so I didn’t get into it in this tutorial.
Beyond the Math:
From a recent viewer comment on my You Tube Channel I learned that blocklayer.com is a great resource for carpenters. The site has an impressive selection of excellent calculators for figuring rafter lengths and angles for any standard roof configuration. There is a special section within the site for figuring math required for gazebo roofs of any shape and pitch imaginable; need to build a pentagonal gazebo? It can be done! A SketchUp model can’t match the speed of these calculators for crunching so many numbers but it should help visualize “beyond the math” how the complex measurements and angles are integrated into various framing members and how the members interconnect to form unique roof shapes.
Polyagonal Roof Modeling Tutorial:
While working up the models for this blog post I ended up with a number of techniques that simplify the process. The tutorial example shows how I model an octagonal roof. With a little adaptation you can use the same steps to model any-agonal framing. You’ll see the difference between roof framing in “the real world” and framing at The Digital Job Site where all the intuitive SketchUp tools make quick work of what is challenging carpentry. Well, at least it should be quick work. If you watch the video you’ll see me bungle through the sequence of steps to model the hip rafter which I can hardly call quick. At least you’ll be able to model more quickly after watching my mistake.
Octagonal Model and Measure:
To get the rafter lengths and angles for an octagon roof from this tutorial just review the “Model and Measure” series at the Digital Job Site where I walk through the steps of using model components to generate rafter cutting information.
As always, thanks for visiting The Digital Job Site blog.
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Octagonal roof framing revealed
A pentagonal roof? Yup. Framing for any number of sides is surprisingly similar.