Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Revit MEP - Pipe Fittings and Angles

Piping often must be contorted a bit to deal with field conditions. Sometimes this means that a lateral run must rise to another elevation and shift aside to clear an obstacle. I'm not sure what is going on here but I thought it was an "interesting" field condition (in a parking garage during a recent hotel stay).

Doing so may mean that a fitting needs to rotate about the axis of the pipe run. Fittings rotate pretty easily in 90 degree increments just by clicking on the little circular rotate icon when the fitting is selected. Keep in mind that once you've connected pipes to the fitting that you'll likely lose the ability to rotate it with the little icon.When this doesn't cut it another tool might make the process a bit "easier". "Routing Solutions" exists to offer a variety of duct/pipe connection options by simply choosing two pipes or ducts. Revit will think about them for a moment and if possible offer you some choices. Like this image:

When you really need to rotate a fitting at a specific angle it gets a little "harder". You could rotate the fitting in a 3D view but making sure the origin of rotation is exactly aligned with the centerline of the pipe might be harder. The surest way is to cut a section next to the fitting temporarily so you can rotate it precisely. A bit more work but doable.

Once your fitting(s) is/are rotated then you can sketch a pipe between them in the same section view as long as you are careful to snap to the fitting connector at each fitting. The trim tool often does the job too, just get the pipes in the correct locations then trim/extend and let Revit put the fittings in.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Build Checker - Free Application

Richard Binning of Beside the Cursor blog has created and is sharing an application that will check the builds that are installed on a computer without requiring you to open Revit. It finds all the installation of Revit software on a given pc. It also works on a 64 bit operating system too. Here is an example screen shot.

Visit his BLOG POST to download the application!

Last, if you find his work makes your life just a little bit easier he provides an easy way to donate to his "charity" on the resulting report. Thanks Richard!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Site Toposurface - Graded Region - Net Cut Fill

While attending a Revit Structure user group in San Diego (last week), my first chance to visit finally, Behzad was demonstrating some of the new extensions, the Bridge Extensions content available via your Subscription account at Autodesk.

He showed something that, on the surface (pun intended), doesn't dawn on most users. The graded region tool isn't the only way to get your Net Cut/Fill results. This is true because Revit really only cares that one surface is existing and another is in a future phase. In other words you can model one surface in an earlier phase and model another one in a later phase and the properties of the newer surface will show the net/cut/fill values compared with the earlier surface.

One condition: New surface must not be created outside the boundary of the earlier surface. If it is...it won't compare them, no cut/fill result.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Insulation Tool - RME 2009

Quick one - This tool exists in RME 2009 though it does not appear on the Drafting Design Bar tab. It can be found under the Drafting Menu. The answer is YES, you can drafting the traditional insulation when doing details using RME 2009. Yes, it is missing from RST 2009.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Math - Data Entry

Various parameters types will accept mathematical equations as valid data. This means you can do some "math" within a parameter instead of figuring what the value you need is elsewhere and then enter it into Revit. To do so you must enter the equal sign (=) first followed by the formula.

As an example: I have three items that need to fit within an available space that is 12 feet wide. I'd like the middle item to be centered between the other two. Yes, I could add a dimension between just the three elements and use the EQ control. But less obvious perhaps and the reason for this post is that I can enter a calculation into the dimension field instead.

Formula is this: =((12'-5')-2.5')/2
In plain english:

Overall Space minus two Desk Widths minus one Desk Width divided by two

The result:

Yes it is easier in this case to do this instead...just discussing possibilities.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Units of Measure - Data Entry

When you enter a length value Revit will accept the value regardless of the project units your project is using as long as you provide a unit of measurement symbol.

For example, if you are working in a metric project and the base linear unit of measure is millimeters you can type 2500 and Revit will assume that you intended it to mean 2500 millimeters. If you type 2.5m however Revit will forget the millimeter assumption and use Meter as your unit.

If you are in an imperial unit project you can still enter a metric value by including mm, cm, m etc. Same is true in the reverse...in a metric project enter 12' 6" and you'll get the soft metric (mathematical) equivalent of 12 feet and six inches.

This "thinking" can usually be applied to other units of measure as well, in different parameters.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Using Acad Details - An Oldy but Goody

I posted this in June 2004 at AUGI just after Zoogdesign merged with AUGI. Still true today with a couple of changes to Revit since, I wrote:

I was preparing a short discussion for our local Revit user group meeting, South Coast Revit User Group (SCRUG) to cover detailing with Revit. While not an expert at detailing as an architectural person by any means I have spent a fair amount of time working with acad details and microstation too...the following applies to AutoCAD detail files specifically but most will apply to Microstation as well.

This list was also assembled assuming that "you" are not abandoning the acad files in favor of Revit only based details. These tips will help you keep the details portable and useable in either application.

First, stay focused on your goals and choose common ground that helps you achieve them. Avoid statements that start with; "I can't..." We can't..." "I won't...."

Font and Dimension Tips:
DON'T use a width factor other than (1) in AutoCAD text styles (Revit now supports width factors in text and dimension styles but may not import them initially)
DON'T use custom symbols that aren't also present in the TTF font
DON'T use a custom leader routine and/or custom arrows/terminators

DO use a TTF font in AutoCAD OR
DO use Revit's shxfontmap.txt to map shx fonts to a TTF font in Revit)
DO use the dimension leader object in AutoCAD
DO use a standard arrow or dimension terminator
DO make sure that blocks with attributes follow these rules too

Project Mgmt and General:
DO put details in a project specific location and don't move them
DO Import and link details and check the "current view" option
DO consider a separate detail project if you are dealing with a large multi-building project
DO manage them in "one" place, for consistency (AutoCAD since that's what were talking about here)
DO use a detail specific layer structure to manage lineweights more easily if required
DO make sure your details are located near 0,0 (origin)
DO use custom programming routines to automate changes these tips require
DO make sure drafting views use the same scale as the imported detail
Do use hatches that are not too dense or too large (defining "too" varies unfortunately)
Do use hatches that are properly bounded and don't use line segments that are too short for Revit (<1/32")

DON'T move the details once linked
DON'T explode details (change them in Acad, if you want to keep them useable for both)

If you must explode (don't), do so in a separate project to isolate all the extra objects styles, line patterns and styles and fill patterns that will proliferate in the project after doing so. If you have many "line has inaccurate direction..." or "line is too short..." errors. Embed the geometry of the detail in a detail component family first. Then use that in your project, the errors will be trapped in the family and not burden your Review Warnings process, and finish detailing with Revit text, dimensions etc.

If you follow these "rules" you will find that you can, nearly always, import a detail "as is" and minimize rework on libraries that will likely remain available for both applications. (stay dwg that is)

Remember the goal probably ought to be pure Revit details eventually so I prefer to think of this as a bridging activity instead of a long term solution.

If you compare this post with the AUGI post I've added a little bit here...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

2008-2009 Visitor Statistics

I write this blog because I enjoy doing so. I admit it is a selfish pleasure. I didn't start out with that knowledge, I found that out as I went along. I don't remember when but I hooked up Google Analytics to the blog. I just decided to check the past year's statistics. This is the map of the 111,372 visitors who hail from 171 countries that stopped by my little corner in the blogoshere.

The countries that lack a shade of green are apparently countries that have not yet been touched by "Revit fever"? Well, regardless, according to Google Analytics people from those countries have not visited this site yet!

This is a capture of the sawtooth pattern of visiting going on...the spikes are roughly mid-week and the dips are the weekends. The greatest number of visits on a single day was 650.

I'd like say thanks to the readers that enjoy what I do here! It is gratifying to know that people like it. I also appreciate the comments and the chance to interact!


Friday, February 06, 2009

Dept. of Subtle - Triple P's

A user observed this the other day during a class and I recently read a comment by another user that saw it too which reminded me that I had this in my drafts!

You've got to look close... The spot elevation tool has some instance parameters for suffix and there are different ones for the upper or bottom portion of an element. In this case the word Upper...as an extra "p" as in Uppper. I assume it is there for emphasis!?! Yep it's pretty subtle, a perfect item for this department!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Autodesk Virtual Press Conference - 2010 Design Portfolio

Autodesk is getting the word out, I'm helping in my own little way so please pardon the "sales" intrusion. Revit users would love to get a peek at 2010...so maybe you can find time to see what they say?


- Introduction and Strategic Trends

Overview and 2010 product demos for each:
- Building Industry
- Infrastructure and Transportation
- Telco & Utilities
- Open Q&A
- Conclusion

Please note that the Webcast will run from 12:00 - 2:00 pm EST.

To join, please use this LINK. Note that the site will NOT be active until tomorrow.

Let me know if you learn anything that I should know, I can't attend 8-(.

Dept. of Unfair - Rooms/Spaces Boundaries vs. Ceiling Boundaries

The ceiling tool cannot detect the room bounding capability of linked files or columns. When using Auto Ceiling the tool is oblivious to the boundaries that are defined by these elements.

Room tool seems fine:

Ceiling isn't fine:
I can't say that I was surprised since this issue has been with us all along but I had hoped with the release of 2009 that we'd see this fixed. Further I hoped that the linked file could also provide the same function. On the surface, to me, it seems like the "same" calculation for either tool.

The "fix" for the column condition is to let the walls trim "inside" the colums so they touch each other. The ceiling sketch will ignore the columns and be a bit bigger than need but the column will mask the ceiling. Not perfect but easier than sketching around the perimeter for each ceiling. If necessary you can still do that. For linked files you'll need to sketch the ceilings.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Dept. of Unfair - Revit MEP - Interference/Insulation

Justin wrote to me via a comment earlier today in another post so the inspiration for this post goes to him, thanks!

He wrote:

I've run into a little quirk and would like to pose the question. I'm trying to do multiple discipline coordination and ran into this problem. When we have a duct (Revit MEP) and use the insulation parameter to add onto it, "interference check" doesn't recognize a clash with only the insulation. Is this normal? Is there a workaround? As soon as the wall/beam collides with the duct itself, the "interference check" recognizes the clash. Any insight into this is appreciated. Thanks!

I replied. "Yes, that has been my observation as well, sorry!"

This one is insulation "being interfered with":

This one is the insulation and now the duct too:

I recommended that they contact Revit support to file a support request so that they either get another or get one if by chance they haven't already encountered the issue.

Yes, methinks it is "unfair"! Insulation deserves the same credibility that ducts get in Interference Check. Even better Interference Check ought to be "smart" enough to distinguish between a "hard" conflict and a "soft" conflict. My two tarnished pennies!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Off Topic - AUGI Beer Bust Mugs - AU 2008

Don't freeze your AUGI Beer Bust mug, it may "bust" when you add your beverage to it!!

For those of you who attend Autodesk University each year or have at least once you are probably aware that AUGI has given away a beer mug at the end of the AUGI general meeting (Sponsors pay for these mugs so that AUGI and you don't have to, they are listed on the mug too). Attendees then go to the AUGI Beer Bust in the exhibition hall to wander around and see what vendors are offering and to, yep you guessed it, drink beer.

This past AU was no different. Well there were mugs again but they were not glass as they were in previous years. This year the the hotel/convention services people told Autodesk/AUGI that they would not be allowed to bring glass into the exhibit hall. The only option to provide a mug and access to the beer was something other than glass. Thus this year's offering was a clear acrylic mug with a liquid that claimed to be "freezable" so that a beverage could stay colder longer.

We've had a few reports so far that mugs have "shattered" and "cracked" when they were frozen and then used. If this has happened to you please respond to this thread at AUGI and "vote" on the appropriate response in the poll. We don't know what can or will be done about mugs that have "failed" to perform. When we do we'll let "you" know too.

For those of you with a sense of humor about this, one member opined that maybe the vendor took the "Beer Bust" labeling on the mug literally?

(Note: You must be a member to view the thread and vote in the poll however.)