Save Time & Money With The Master/Variant Tool
(The Master/Variant feature will be available in the September 2009 release)
      Business in today’s economy is all about efficiency. The Master/Variant tool, available in MiTek ® 20/20 Suite version 7.2, offers a new way for truss designers to develop truss designs quickly as well as correctly. The Master/Variant tool works for all types of trusses, and allows designers to simplify their truss designs by aligning webs and aligning splices. Work that used to take precious minutes and many mouse clicks can now be done in as few as three mouse clicks.

      Not only will the Master/Variant tool save time for designers, it will also increase production efficiency. Since designers can easily align webs and splices, they have the ability to create many matching webs and chords in a batch of trusses. These matching pieces will result in fewer saw setups and less time required to sort the lumber for production. Less movement of jigging will be required at the production tables, and with many identical pieces, there will be less confusion during the construction process.

      It is obvious that the Master/Variant tool can save a lot of time in several stages of truss production. Read on to learn how the Master/Variant tool works. 

Assigning Master and Variant Trusses
      Before using the Master/Variant tool, the function must be activated in the MiTek Engineering program. Turning on the Master/Variant tool is easy. Simply click the Master/Variant button at the top of the truss list. The button is marked “MV,” and can be seen in the following graphic.

Master Variant Button

Notice that when the function is turned on, the entire truss list is highlighted in light blue.

      After activating the Master/Variant tool, select the variant trusses by clicking the truss or group of trusses (SHIFT+click or CONTROL+click to select multiple trusses). Right-click the selected truss(es) and select Make Variant(s) of…. In the pop-up dialog, enter the name of the master truss. In the example shown, trusses T06 and T07 will be made variants of master truss T08.

                Creating Variants of a Master Truss

      After the user clicks OK, trusses T06 and T07 will be moved into a group below the master truss, T08. A toggle (+, -) will appear next to T08, allowing the user to collapse or expand the list of variants.

                Truss T08 as a Master Truss with Toggle

After master trusses and variant trusses are determined, designers can begin to line up points, webs and splices.


Matching Points

      By default, MiTek Engineering lines up multiple truss displays from the left heel of each truss. When using the Master/Variant tool, users will need to align trusses at the peak by matching points. First, open the master and variants by right-clicking any truss in the group and selecting Open Group. Next, select a variant truss that needs to be realigned. The truss will be shown in yellow when it is selected. Select Tools>Match Points and click at the top of the peak of the variant
      Now select the tab for the master truss. Click at the top of the peak of the master truss. The variant truss will move so that the points align.

                Aligning Points – Master Truss Active

Once all trusses are properly aligned, webs and splices can be aligned.  


Aligning Webs and Splices
      Aligning webs and splices is easy using the Master/Variant tool. Right-click any truss in the group and select Master Variant Settings. In the Master Variant Settings pop-up dialog, select whether webs, splices, or both should be aligned with the master truss. Click OK after making the selections.
Master Variant Settings Dialog

Since a master truss and variant trusses have already been determined, simply save the master truss to apply these settings to all variant trusses. In the pop-up dialog, click YES to update the variant trusses. The changes are immediate and dramatic.
 Master Truss and Variant Trusses BEFORE Aligning Webs and Splices

Master Truss and Variant Trusses AFTER Aligning Webs and Splices


The advantages of using the Master/Variant tool are obvious. Webs and splices can be aligned with only a few clicks, saving time for designers, sawyers, sorters, and assembly personnel. If time is money, the Master/Variant tool is easily one of the most valuable innovations made to truss design software, and it’s available only in MiTek 20/20 Suite.

 This page last modified on 8/11/2009