Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Revit Utilities - PKH Lineworks

Phil DeBrandt announced at AUGI that he has made several utilities for Revit available at his web site. The utilities are branded as ReVVed.

The utilities are comprised of the following functions:
  • Merge Text - merge multiple text notes into a single note.
  • Change Case - changes the case of selected text notes to a user specified case.(Upper, lower, mixed)
  • Upper Case - changes the case of notes to all upper case with a single click or hotkey.
  • Web Link - opens a web browser to the URL stored in Revit components.
  • Polyline - adjust the total length of end-to-end lines. (Like travel distances)
You can download the utilities from his site.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mastering Revit - In the Wild

The authors of Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011 recently invited people who have the book to participate in a humorous exchange of placing the book in a setting to capture it in-the-wild. I visited the South Coast Revit User Group last evening and posed the book next to a scale model and the beverage it chose for me.

The group's venue is the Irvine office of LPA. They provide the venue for three user groups, one for each version of Revit. Very generous of them and every group needs a benefactor like them.

Vanessa with DPR talked about how the firm is using BIM and Jason Dodds presented Autodesk's Quantity Takeoff product. An interesting evening, everything a user group should be!

Dept. of Echo - Export to DWG Survey

In the interest of getting the word out to any reader of this blog that isn't a reader of Inside the Factory yet.

Here is the text from today's post:

The factory is conducting some research to better understand how Revit users use the Export to DWG functionality, and fully understand major pain points in that work-flow. We would greatly appreciate if you could take a few minutes to fill out this short survey that focuses on Revit’s export to DWG feature.

Click here to take the survey

By the way, if you haven't subscribed to their site yet, it's easy! Click to Subscribe Now!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Point Known - Build Your Model as you Measure

PKNail is software that is being developed by PointKnown Building Solutions. The purpose of the software is to improve the process of measuring existing buildings and then building a model using Revit.

It's based upon using the Leica Disto D8 surveying tool.

The software is not yet commercially available but I just received an email that shares a video (posted at YouTube) that demonstrates how it works. It is a little over 8 minutes long. If you've ever measured an existing building you might want to spend 8 minutes and watch. Jim Foster is the person doing the demo and he has a blog called BIM, the Built Environment and Stuff. I've embedded the YouTube video here if you want to listen to it now. I recommend watching it full screen though.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Revit and 64 bit Operating System

We waited very patiently for Revit to support 64 bit. I stalled buying a new laptop PC in order to make sure I had something that would support using a 64 operating system as well as having enough RAM to justify the switch. I settled on the Dell Precision M6300 a little over two years ago. Much to my annoyance Dell offered the same thing with 16GB of RAM just after I bought mine with a maximum of 8GB...a month later.

I find a wide range of conditions these days. People using 32 bit with 1 or 2 GB of RAM all the way up to people using PC's with 64 bit OS 24 GB of RAM, even a couple using servers for their workstation and even more impressive numbers.

Today The Revit Clinic shared a bit more (pun intended) insider information. I really enjoy this kind of post since it is both confirmation and confession. They provided this graph representing the evidence they obtained from the customer error reports and the customer involvement programs they have. You know those dialogs that appear after a crash that you don't always submit. You might consider a "cheeky" response like me.

Bottom line - 64 bit Operating Systems enjoy improved performance/stability over their 32 bit counterparts. If you haven't put some money and energy behind this move there is no time like the present.

While you are considering it...don't forget to replace the rear differential when you soup up the engine. I mean don't forget to put enough RAM in when you do make the switch to 64 bit. What's enough? In my opinion a 64 bit OS should have at least 8 GB of RAM. My next laptop will have as much as can be stuffed into it and I'll be hoping they don't double it again a month later.

Here's a link to a AUGI thread that might be worth your while too. Gordon has taken the time to put down (in a series of replies) what he's learned about how the operating system, RAM, virtual memory and paging files all play together.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Book - Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011

Today I received a review copy courtesy of Eddy Krygiel. No I didn't read the entire book already. That would require taking a speed reading course first. It is a really FAT book, as a few other blog posts have demonstrated already. In addition to the foundation of twenty chapters (833 pages) it includes seven chapters (243 pages) above and beyond Revit feature focused subjects. Without these extra chapters the book would have been substantial, these additional chapters up the ante considerably.

This book is the update to the previous editions written by Eddy, Tatjana Dzambazova and Greg Demchak. For this edition Eddy teamed up with Phil Read and James Vandezande for a complete overhaul.

The additional featured chapters are:

Chapter 21: Revit in Construction
by Laura Handler from Tocci Building Corp.
Josh Lowe and Mike Whaley, Findorff & Sons.

Chapter 22: Revit in the Classroom
by Adam Thomas and Jereme Smith

Chapter 23: Revit and Virtualization
by Peter Streibig, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Chapter 24: Under the Hood of Revit
by Don Rudder, HOK

Chapter 25: Direct to Fabrication
by Jeffrey McGrew, Because We Can, LLC

Chapter 26: Revit for Film and Stage
by Bryan Sutton, Camel Design

Chapter 27: Revit in the Cloud
by Chris France, Little

The authors have been blogging about the book for several months now, building expectations, and it certainly has delivered a pretty formidable source of information. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Avatech Utilities for Revit - Update for 2011

Avatech Solutions was the first company (that I can remember) to offer several utilities for Revit that provided missing functionality - for free too. They are busy getting the word out about their latest update for Revit 2011 products and this post is meant to help.

The Revit Kid (Jeff Pinheiro) started a contest to win a free version of their utilities. Avatech's marketing team wrote to me last week and offered to make one license of the full version of the utilities available for free to one of this blog's readers. Jeff's post went live on Saturday and when it did I thought that I'd make the license I can award available to the second place finisher in his contest. It seems a bit redundant to me to run another contest of my own.

The essence of his challenge: Explain, in a comment for the blog post, how the Avatech utilities have been a benefit to you or your firm, or perhaps how your firm will benefit from them if it doesn't use them yet. The best response/comment wins. The best is determined by readers voting for the comment they liked the most. The deadline for comments is the 30th, voting begins afterward. I'll award the license that Avatech has offered to me to the second place finisher in the contest.

If you aren't familiar with the utilities yet then you should take some time to review them. If you use Revit Architecture then the room and door numbering tools will probably be very useful. The element renumber allows you to renumber grids, levels, windows, doors and spaces.

If you use Revit MEP the new MEP Parameter tool might prove interesting. It helps you pass along parameter values for an entire duct or pipe system, like setting the insulation value. Easy to set the insulation for a pipe or a pipe fitting but you can't actually do them both at the same time when they are selected. This tool is meant to alleviate that pain.

They are still offering a free version (Lite includes: Room Renumber, Change Case, Space Update, and GridSelect.) and the utilities can be stand-alone or a named user version (shared license with a pool of named users). The full version will sell for $395 after July 31, 2010. If you'd like to get it for less you haven't got much time, you can get it for $99 until the 31st. Click HERE to download the product brochure.

[Disclosure: Avatech Solutions made one copy of the Utilities for Revit 2011 available to me for my personal use, for free, in return for posting this information.]

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dept. of Bugs - Sloping Pad Defect gets Ornery

I wrote about THIS back in August of 2009. The sliver left behind in the image below could be eliminated by taking the advice in that post. Unfortunately 2011 eliminates that technique from the ranks of viable alternatives, per Jean-Frederic Monod's comment on the earlier post.

Possible workaround? Use a pad to drop the site toposurface to the lowest elevation and then use a floor to create the sloped and flat "pads" instead??

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Proper Properties Palette

I have to admit that I'm quite happy with the Properties Palette. During a period of time that I can't claim to have been part of or witness thereof I was a bit less happy with it. I no longer find myself closing it accidentally and like the ready access to information. I have settled on putting it over at the right side of the UI, like this.

What about you? Anyone like it stacked above the Project Browser? I just didn't like them both getting squashed. For Revit MEP it does compete with the default location of the System Browser, which I prefer at the bottom of the UI. Since most of my work involves people using the stock deployment I don't spend much time customizing my UI or setup because that puts me in a different environment than the students. I do prefer the "light" style over the "dark". I also prefer the QAT below the ribbon so I can see more of the title bar.

Speaking of students and different environments, one item that proves a bit confusing at times is the way the UI squashes panels and tools on the ribbon when the resolution is coarser than fine. This means that my projected screen often has a slightly different presentation than the student computers...leading to confusion when telling them to click here or there...etc. Fun fun!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Element Count - Revit versus Navisworks

I find the little number listed in the bottom right corner of Revit invaluable.

So much so that I find it hard to believe that we didn't have it for many years. When you select items using Navisworks I sure miss a similar display. I realize that the selection set can be quite varied but a count that is easy to check/read would be cool.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Revit Structure - Composite Floor Design Extension

BIM and BEAM announced yesterday that an update for the Composite Floor Design Extension is now available to subscription customers.

This newly updated Extension, which is now available on the Subscription Center, allows for the design of composite and non-composite floor layouts to current US codes. The integration of this code checking capability inside a native Revit Structure model removes the need to create a separate analysis model and allows the option of performing the analysis in Revit Structure or externally in 3rd party Revit Structure analysis partner solutions. The Composite Floor Design Extension also enables structural designers the ability to perform analysis and make code check centric decisions earlier in the design process.

Check it out!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

DPR Model Slicer - Free Revit Add-on

Laura Handler, her blog is (bim)x,mentioned this in her post a little while ago. Jason Pratt, part of the author team at the blog "Connected" also mentions it. In fact Laura mentions his post in her post...bloggety bloggety blog blog. Expecting to see some tweets soon too.

What is it?
DPR Model Slicer is a free Revit plug-in which facilitates the creation of 3D Building sections from a Revit model. Inherently within Revit, the only way to separate a model by floor is to filter it by reference levels. Unfortunately, this often results in a product (shown below), where items modeled as multi-floor elements, such as walls or columns, become associated with only one floor despite occupying space on many floors.

How it works
DPR Model Slicer was designed, not only to make the creation of these sections easier, but also to allow you to quickly repeat the process on other projects or versions of the model.

There are two main parts of any 3D building section in DPR Model Slicer:
  • 3D Section Box: Defines the top and bottom bounds of the section. Typically corresponds to a building level.
  • Visibility Settings: Defines the visibility settings for the section (what objects are shown in that view)
By combining any combination of these two settings, all of the requested 3D sections can be created.

Who is DPR?
DPR Construction is a unique technical builder with a passion for results.
Ranked in the top 50 general contractors in the country over the last 10 years, we are a national commercial contractor and construction manager that has grown with our customers by delivering measurably more value. Whether it is a multi-million-dollar technical facility or a conference room renovation, we execute every project with relentless accountability. We listen to your goals. We develop strategies based on your business. We track our performance. We do everything we can to earn your trust and build great lasting relationships.

Amendment: 07/09/10
Since this post has generated several comments I've added my response to those that wonder why we wouldn't just use the Orient to View option ourselves to get the "same" result.

My comment reply:
Sure you can use the Orient to View option. Where this application proves interesting is that you don't have to create all of the views manually. It deals with repetition nicely.

You set up criteria once in a dialog and save the settings. You also can harness filters and associate them with your saved scope box settings. Then as a batch you can create 3D views based on your prepared settings.

It also provides a way to export these views to DWG or DWF formats. Remember this tool was created with the notion that a contractor wants to break up a model into discreet chunks. Exporting carefully from Revit can make the Clash Detection process in Navisworks much easier than forcing the NW user to do all the filtering in NW. Though very capable it can be tedious, especially when a Revit project is already made up of categories and levels.

Try it...and remember you don't have to use it.

RTC USA 2011 - Revit Technology Conference coming to USA

Rodd Perey with Architectus recently had his review of RTC 2010 published at AECBytes, the site founded and edited by Lachmi Khemlani.

I've had every intention of writing something about it here but he's done a really nice job of summarizing what happened over the course of the three day event. Well he did leave out what happened in the evenings after the sessions wrapped but then maybe most of that ought to remain a mystery?

You can read his article at AECBytes HERE.

RTC has been an Australian event...but planning is underway to bring it to the USA! The tentative dates are June 23-25 at a venue (nearly determined) in Orange County (Southern California). There is a LinkedIn Group you can join and you can visit the RTC site to check in on progress.