Thursday, August 27, 2009

Is it CAD or Revit?

I received a sample drawing today. We were discussing detailing with Revit. While I was checking it out I thought of the cassette tape competition for our money back when Memorex was asking us "Is it Live or is it Memorex?" in their commercials.

Considering the focus of this blog you might logically conclude that the above image is a detail completed in Revit. If I didn't give it away would you assume it was Revit or CAD?

It is a Revit detail. All too often people dismiss Revit as not being as efficient as other software for this type of drafting or that the results don't look as good. On both counts they are mistaken.

By the way, the detail is from Scott with WTW Architects in Pittsburgh, PA. (RIP Scott, he passed away a couple years ago now)

Edit: per a comment here is another image of the same view with the Detail Components category turned off. The text, dimensions, callout and grids are obviously annotation.


Erik said...

But Steve, I'd heard you couldn't even DO detailing in Revit. You must be mistaken, or they are pullling your leg...

Aaron Vorwerk said...

The only thing that bugs me about that detail is that they spent the money on a nice font and then didn't use it in grid heads and callout tags...those just look like out-of-the-box Revit objects!

aireq said...

I'd like to see a version of that which is colored to show what is annotation, detail lines and components, and what is actually in the model.

Scott Womack said...

I just sent Steve another jpg of this detail, with just the Detail Components category temporarily hidden. This would show the before and after views of the detail, before our placement of Detail Components, and After.

Steve said...

Posted another image sans detail components.

Ben May said...

One of the things that gives Revit detailing away to me is the leaders, we dont have ability to snap with leaders so you almost always will see a leader that doesnt quite point exactly where it is meant to. Just a minor thing but it is one of the giveawawys, that and the scale in the titleblock saying 'as indicated'!

ixxx69 said...

Never understood the whole "Revit can't do detailing" thing.

I was an AutoCAD guru for ten years and after using Revit 6.1 for a few hours, I could detail circles around AutoCAD.

However my one huge gripe with the detailing tools is the spline tool - it's practically unusable.

Anonymous said...

Surely it's Revit and Computer Aided Design?

I mean, Notepad.exe is CAD if you're using it to edit design documents ;)

Steve said...

...and don't call me "Shirley"...

Sean Doughtie said...

One give away is how Revit make you place leaders on the right side of a note at the end of the first line. I have always required my CAD techs to place the leader at the beginning or end of the note.

Allan said...

I like how people are saying this detail looks just as good as AutoCAD. Well those people must not be drawing good AutoCAD details either because I wouldn't be caught dead releasing a detail like this on a drawing with my initials on it. Guess what - Revit CAN'T detail as well as a properly equipped AutoCAD package, at least not yet. Revit was never meant for Structural and MEP detailing. It was developed for architectural use and is only now beginning to get to a level where structural and mep engineers might be able to draw good details. First clue to this would be the inadequate weld symbol family. If Revit was good for detailing, it would not have left the most important structural detailing tool in the garbage bin. People who say that Revit can detail just as well as AutoCAD are missing the initial point of Revit, which is collaboration on complex geometries, scheduling, project-wide consistency and reducing repetitive tasks. Revit has a long way to go before it has the the amount of customizable options as AutoCAD (You can't snap text leaders to objects? Pick it up, Revit). Not saying Revit is the wave of the future, but it needs many improvements before it'll earn it's stripes in the AEC community.

-Structural Engineer

Steve said...

Criticism of the weld symbol is no different than taking issue with a poorly constructed block or cell. Not a very strong argument in my opinion.

A weld symbol varies from user to user...a machine shop fabricator will feel differently about a symbol that is satisfactory from an architect's viewpoint.

Regardless not really a "Revit problem". The symbol family needs to be made "better".

Allan said...

I would like to clarify: I am not Revit-basher nor am I against the use of Revit. I just find that including constructive criticism is more useful than writing solely on the virtues. Revit will definitely revolutionize the AEC industry, there's no question, but we should not be afraid to criticize it for fear of appearing non-progressive or behind-the-times. Why not work to improve it's detailing functionality? On the handful of projects where the architect used Revit, some limitations of Revit detailing were shown. The inability to snap text/weld leaders to detail components or elements resulted in numerous coordination phone calls and RFI's, for example.

As a last note, I would disagree slightly that the weld symbol varies from user to user. The weld elements are standardized by AISC and AWS. Yes the size of the overall symbol and text font would probably be variable, but the availability of options such as staggered welds should not be left for the user to create. That would be like selling a calculator that requires the user to write the programming for a few select functions. Powerful in that you have the ability to program code, but odd that you would need to.

In conclusion, at least from my opinion as a structural engineer, Revit is a great start, but we should only pit it against AutoCAD in a bid to improve it. Would you agree?

Steve said...

Constructive criticism is fine, this blog has a fair bit of it too. I wasn't suggesting you are a "basher". There is always room for improvement.

While there is a standard for weld symbols, as there is for many things...I've seen many variations in play. Not necessarily correct but it happens.

An architect may simply indicate that something needs to be welded while a fabricator and/or engineer will specify the size, frequency and type of weld required.

Btw, I've done a fair bit of welding in my past...

George said...

Although Revit provides a good attempt at creating a three dimensional "virtual" model of a building, it still doesn't appear to have the tools to either produce an accurate 3-d model which goes down to the level of detailing every bolted angle, gusset plate and stiffener or clear informative 2-D details which can be understood on a construction drawing.

Let's go thru a list of some basic items that have been a part of AutoCAD via Softdesk and Autodesk 20 years back that can't be done in Revit structure (at least thru version 2010)

* stacked fractions
* special symbols that are part of
a text stream or paragraph such as 'plate', 'centerline', or 'angle'
* AISC standard weld symbols which are easy to use an edit as they have been in AutoCAD for DECADES using a standard dialogue box.
* Ability to snap text leaders in a drafting view to a user selected end, mid, int, etc. point.
* Ability to delete a single leader NON-sequentially.
* Ability to line up details and sections so that common points align on a sheet such as the top of slab. Supposedly version 2011 addresses this somewhat, but this was doable in AutoCAD over twenty years ago. Progress?
* Having various built-in text leaders such as dot and tilde leader.

Why should a firm spend their valuable time reproducing tools which Autodesk has included in their products for years but has failed to do with Revit?

Steve said...


Thanks for commenting. Per your last question, that's for each firm to decide.

This blog isn't dedicated to convincing people to use Revit. There are other blogs that have taken up that front. Mine is focused on people who've already made the switch. For me, the argument is a bit tired anyway, been down that road for nearly a decade now.

Fwiw, none of the items in your list prevent reaching the end goal, a finished building that people can inhabit and use to meet their needs. I'd put them under the category of "fit and finish", not show-stoppers.

Neither are any of them beyond the capability of the Revit development team either. The simple answer is they haven't been a high enough priority over creating the broader scope of tools to support the building (AEC)disciplines involved.

Inertia and the market is pushing everyone toward a decision, Revit, ArchiCAD, Bentley, something other than just 2D drafting... from day one Revit (2000) made sense to me and was easier to master than any other.