Wednesday, April 30, 2008

AU 2008 Sessions

The selection of the next Revit classes to attend at Autodesk University 2008 is well under way. A recent post by David Baldacchino (Do U Revit?) pointed this out already and you can visit the BLAUG blog too. If you haven't voted already you can take a look at the list and see. Once you've voted you can't get back in to look over the list, or at least I couldn't.

I received an email asking why my name was not among the submissions. Simple, I didn't submit anything this year.

Last year I felt that I was unable to participate as much as I would have liked to, in my role as a board member with Autodesk User Group International (AUGI). This year I'm not going to have that conflict. Plus I hope to actually attend more classes this year!

Besides, there are so many more very capable users now, compared with a few years ago, that I doubt my absence will be noticeable. There are a great many classes to choose from and I wish the AU planning team all the best trying to pick from them. Hopefully the polling will help too!!

See you at AU 2008!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Off Topic - Amputee Has Advantage

Not the slightest bit about Revit...

This evening I read an article in USA Today about Oscar Pistorius, a 21 year old track athlete from South Africa who wants to compete at the Olympics in Beijing. He just happens to be lacking his lower legs and uses either prosthetic legs or blades to get around.

Briefly, a ruling was made that says that he has an unfair advantage over able-bodied runners when using his "blades" and therefore cannot compete. His lawyers are about to challenge that ruling in an upcoming court case.

This struck me as odd...first he's missing his bloody lower legs!!! Is that really an advantage if he uses the prosthetic blades? The scientist who determined that he has an advantage has tried this out for himself?? I suggest that the folks making the decision try it out for awhile and see what kind of real advantage he has. No matter how good they fit I can't imagine it is better than a real knee and lower leg for smooth and proper "operation". Second, if he wins his case and gets to compete and does so to a victory...I can't help but wonder if this means that other able-bodied runners will now have their legs cut off just so they have a similar advantage???

I suspect his real advantage will be a strong spirit and uncommon determination to be a successful track athlete despite his difference. I say bravo...and good luck!

Sorry to wander off the Revit focus I have usually...but I know some Revit users who live in South Africa AND I've mentioned Revit a couple times in the post too!!

Insert from File

This feature is intended to allow us to acquire information from another project file and add it to our current project. There are two methods, Views and 2D Elements. Both methods involve selecting a project file first. To get started you choose the File menu and then Insert from File.

The first option, Views, grants us access to views and sheets. The catch is the views are 2D views like drafting, detail and schedule views as well as sheets. The sheets must either be empty or contain only 2D views. In the past I posted an article describing using this to deal with dummy sheets to fill out a complete drawing list. This feature presents us with a dialog listing the eligible views.

It is a great way to transfer office standard detail sheets and schedules into a new project. When you select a sheet that includes just 2D views Revit will bring the sheet and all the views on it into your project as well as placing them on the sheet.

For campus projects that share details it allows you to place copies of the details in each building file so you can create intelligent view references to the details. If you only change them in the "master" file (a primary building model project) you only need to keep the sheet and detail numbers coordinated if you do all printing from the "master" project file.

The second option, 2D Elements is intended let us "steal" drafting annotation, detail lines and detail components from model views. Imagine a wall section that is the same or very similar to the one you are working on now. Using this tool you can grab the 2D embellishment in the other project and added it to your current model's view. This tool presents a dialog of eligible views too, all views that have any 2D information added to them.

Annotation that requires a reference like dimensions or tags will likely fail to insert for fairly obvious reasons, namely the reference isn't necessarily in the same location or even present.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Revit 2009 Versions Released

As of 3pm today Autodesk officially released and announced that the new versions were available for download. Some were able to download it a bit earlier than intended by "reverse engineering" the web address for 2008 versions. While it technically worked I refrained because I wanted to hear it from the "horse's mouth" that it was released, on the off chance that a final build hadn't been posted yet.

So the good news is that for those with adequate broadband access you can download the version you use anytime you want now.

Here are the links to each version:

Revit Architecture 2009

Revit Structure 2009

Revit MEP 2009

Note: Only the English version is available for download at this time as they are preparing the other language version now.

Also take care to download the correct version if you own the "suite" that includes AutoCAD or AutoCAD MEP. As Greg noted in his blog this morning you won't be able to authorize AutoCAD properly because the "suite" version is not posted at the Autodesk site for download.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Revit MEP Air Terminal - Troubleshooting

I received an email from client asking for a little assistance with an air terminal family. Apparently the diagonal line they wanted to indicate that the terminal is a "return" wouldn't play along when the family changed size.

Recently I was in Houston and David Baldacchino (Do U Revit? blog) and I had a chance to hang out. He told me about a new (new to me) video capture tool called Jing Project by Techsmith (makers of my favorite screen capture tool SnagIT) that allows you to do screen capture to video or images as well as audio. Then you can easily post the video on Screencast. This post is as much a test as an example of troubleshooting a family.

The issue came down to this. Revit constrains elements orthogonally. The diagonal symbolic line is constrained to the reference planes, not the edges of the neck opening that they wanted it to "follow". The video describes the process of using the Automatic Sketch Dimensions (ASD's) that Revit applies when we do not explicitly add our own dimensions or lock padlocks, for example. The ASD's will do the job nicely as long as well "tell" them what is important to us.

Here's a link to the video: (embedded it is too big to view on the blogger screen)

Download it HERE. (3.75mb)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

CAD Surveys and your Revit Project

This text was posted at AUGI by David Conant (Autodesk Revit Product Designer) in February this year. It is very important information.

This method should ALWAYS be followed. It is critical to follow when the survey coordinates of your building site have large values (> 2 miles/3km from site 0,0):

ALWAYS locate sites underneath buildings. Revit buildings like to stay near home and be oriented to project north. Sites can wander about and talk to the buildings later. DON'T try to pan your view 40 km northeast of 0,0 and try to build your building model there because your site coordinates have a remote origin. This will work in AutoCAD but in Revit you will be very unhappy.

NEVER import or link a site with large coordinate values Origin to Origin! This may seem correct based on AutoCAD experience, but here too you will be very unhappy in Revit. You will get the correct origin later in the process.
  • Build your revit model at or near the position of the elevation marks in the default template with the building oriented orthagonal to your desired printing frame. i.e. use a Project North not True North for your working environment.

For one building on a site:

  • Link in a site model or site dwg.
  • Move and Rotate the SITE so that it is located correctly relative to the building.
  • Acquire the site's coordinates. Now, the site's origin will be the origin of your shared coordinates. The site's Y axis will be True North. The site coordinate values can be arbitrarily large without disturbing Revit's internal calculations.
  • You can later open the site model and link in the building using shared location and it will land in the exact position.

For multiple buildings on a site:

  • Create a Site project, link in a site dwg, placing the center of the building site near the center of the default view.
  • Acquire coordinates from the site.
  • Build any site elements, topos, etc.
  • Link in building rvts. Move and rotate them so that they are correctly located on the site.
  • Publish coordinates to the rvts. Now all models will have the same Shared origin and True North orientations.
  • You can now link the site into any of the buildings (the other buildings can be linked in as well) using shared location and it will be in the exact location.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Hostile Takeover - Google takes on Autodesk AND Bentley

Latherdon - 2008

In a surprise move, some say shocking, this morning Google announced its intent to take over Autodesk AND Bentley. Analysts say this is a strategic acquisition to take control of the "Information" in Building Information Modeling (BIM). No details were provided regarding how the combination of two major rivals for the computer aided design marketplace would be managed. Nor did the announcement discuss the likely lawsuit, from other cad vendors like Solid Works, ArchiCAD to name just two, claiming anti-trust violations. Google management stated that they intend to offer $12.50 per share for Autodesk shares and $6.50 per share for Bentley though Bentley remains a privately held company. Based on current market value this places the entire deal in the $2 gazillion range.

Attempts to reach competing software vendors for comment were not possible before releasing this news.

About the Author: Freddy Latherdon
Freddy has been on hiatus since undergoing knee surgery after a unexplained billards accident. He returned to work just in time to capture the essence of what will turn out the be the biggest BIM story yet, assuming the deal goes through.

Yes...this is nonsense...please don't panic...!!!

In separate announcement Google introduced its latest feature for Gmail, Custom Time. Now you can never be late with your response, you could even be early, earlier than the request in the first place!

Tale of a Round Trip - Revit MEP Family and RAC

Attended a local user group recently and an attendee asked if it was possible, and/or useful, to use a Revit MEP (RME) family in a Revit Architecture (RAC) model, for example a toilet. The answer given was yes, but we would lose plumbing engineering functionality of the toilet while working with it in RAC.

First the greatest advantage to using a RME toilet in a RAC project is if the RME team is going to actually work on the same project file. While this is certainly possible it might not be very likely for at least two reasons, separate firms doing the work and model/Revit performance (based on project size).

A second possible advantage is that RME users can Copy/Paste elements in a linked RAC file into their project. If it is already a RME toilet, using the same example, then it is now ready for pipe. The RAC user can decide if they want to keep their toilet or let the RME version stand in now, much like Revit Structure (RST) columns ultimately replace the ones the RAC user placed originally.

It was suggested that Revit might change the family if it was used in RAC and then returned to RME. I didn't think that would be the case so tonight, just for grins, I did two different tests:

1 - RME Toilet round trip between RME and RAC in the project environment to see if Revit did anything unkind to the family. Answer - no!

2 - RME Toilet round trip between RME and RAC in the family editor environment to see if Revit did anything unkind to the family. Answer - no!

The primary difference in both cases was that most of the RME specific features were visible but inaccessible to the RAC user. Here's the dialog box captures for each sequence, starting with the project environment.

RAC Project - Properties

RME Project - Properties

RAC Family Editor - Connector Properties

RAC Family Editor - Family Types

RME Family Editor - Connector Properties

RME Family Editor - Family Types

You can see that the family survived being opened and saved in both RAC and RME without harming the usability of the family in either version. In fact in RAC a few of the parameters, like Flow Pressure is still editable, while other engineering criteria are simply inaccessible.

So the question remains, what benefit is there to use RME families in RAC if you are not working within the same project file? Well apart from the Copy/Paste tool letting your RME consultant use your fixtures, I suppose not much!

Well that was fun!