Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Autodesk Revit 2015 R2 Update!!!

If you are on subscription you'll want this one guys!  Autodesk has included over 30 user-requested features that add powerful capabilities and enhance software performance and productivity.  These features will help out Architects, MEP and Structural Engineers.

In this release, Autodesk is delivering on a customer request for access to site planning tools within Revit.  The new Site Designer Extension for Revit 2015 will be available through the Autodesk Exchange store to subscription customers.  It is based on an acquisition of site planning software known as SiteWorks from Eagle Point.  This is a huge and welcome addition to Revit!!

Here's a few points about Site Designer:

  • Report and schedule areas, volumes, and cut and fill volumes to better understand the impact of site design changes on requirements to move or add fill.
  • Iterate conceptual designs and create more realistic visuals of the building site by incorporating grading features directly into the Revit model.
  • Better communicate conceptual design ideas about the building site to engineers  who can then complete the detailed site design using professional civil engineering tools like Autodesk® AutoCAD® Civil 3D® software.
  • Share the appearance of site plan designs for better communication with everyone involved in the project, including owners, architects, designers, planners and civil engineering firms.
  • Share a site model between Revit and Civil 3D through Land XML files, improving collaboration between architects and engineers working on a project.
  • More quickly add design elements to your site such as berms and drainage swales, minimizing the time required to mass grade a site and to try alternatives at the design development stage.
  • Special terrain families within Site Designer provide you with parameters that control widths, cut and fill slopes and other projection settings.
  • Locate hardscape components such as streets, intersections, sidewalks, curbs and walls that can follow the existing terrain and have controlled elevations and slopes - all while the toposurface is automatically maintained.

Here's some additional points of interest for the R2 Update!!!

  • Use existing geometry in a linked IFC model as a reference for dimensions, alignment, snapping and hosting of some families in a Revit model
  • The Reveal Constraints mode will allow you to trouble shoot models better making all dimensions constraints and alignment constraints in a view visible
  • You can try your hand and visual programming with the open-source Dynamo interface and installs automatically with Revit.
  • Better performance of the energy analytical model in Revit 2015 R2 which will use less memory.
  • Faster rendering times and updates to views that contain multiple instances of families
  • Faster displays of Revit links within views.
  • The type editor has a search function now.
  • PDFs exported from Revit have hyperlinked views.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

In Eastern Idaho? Can't make it to AU? No worries!!

ProSoft Power Launch is coming to Eastern Idaho!! In fact it's just around the corner! This year's version of PowerLaunch promises to be the best yet. ProSoft's PowerLaunch is your opportunity to attend informative workshops, receive invaluable instruction, ask questions of the Autodesk experts, network with fellow professionals, and much more — and there's NO fee to attend! So please join us. There really is no other Autodesk/Design-oriented event quite like ProSoft's PowerLaunch conference.

Registration is mandatory.

Register here:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Running a standard clash detection in Navisworks.

The Clash Detective in Navisworks is really one of the most robust features of the program.  It allows the user to explore a project much further than ever before possible.  In fact it really is a leap forward from the CAD days and is one of the primary benefits of Building Information Modeling (BIM).  Construction firms have really taken off with Navisworks, and by using the Clash Detective feature in the program they are saving time and money by finding errors and omissions in the project virtually before construction.  I am also seeing many architecture firms start to utilize this software.  Running a clash detection with the coordination teams and consultants is helping them identify where changes need to occur long before construction and respond in the proper manner.  

The Clash detective in Navisworks goes beyond the act of simply clashing objects together and visually seeing the results.  In addition to a traditional clash, the user can create reports, set up a predefined clash test, create rules, set viewpoints, and group clashes.  However, as cool at the Clash Detective is, it doesn’t come with all versions of Navisworks.  Below is the list different versions.

Three Navisworks Versions:
  • Navisworks manage
    • Comes with the Building Design Suite Ultimate.  The clash detective is included in this version.
  • Navisworks Simulate
    • Comes with the Building Design Suite Premium
    • No Clash Detection
  • Navisworks Freedom
    • Free Viewer
    • Must open a .NWD File
    • Nothing more than a viewer with this version.
This is definitely one of the features that sets Navisworks Manage apart from Navisworks Simulate.  This powerful tool allows us access to construction before construction begins, and is really the heart of BIM modeling.  This is really where Navisworks blows Revit away because it allows you to drill into specific clashes with similar objects or systems. Revit looks at the entire model, and with Navisworks you can fine tune the specifics of a clash detection.

Creating a Clash Test and setting rules.

In Order to run a clash you must have two selections to compare against.  For example you can’t compare the same architectural model against itself.  There would be zero clashes.  However, you can compare a mechanical model with a sprinkler model or an architectural with structural, etc...  The idea here to compare one system against another.  I’ve imported in 5 different models.  Architectural, Mechanical, Sprinkler, Electrical, and Structural.
The Clash Detective command is found under the home tab and on the tools panel.

Click on the Add Test and create a new test.  This will open up the detective dialog box.  

Click on the text “Test 1”  rename this to what you want.  In my example, I will call it “mechanical to sprinkler”.  Tabs are displayed below showing Rules tab, Select tab, Results tab, and Report tab.

Selecting Objects to clash and adding clearances:

Select the objects to clash under both “Selection A” and “Selection B”.  

This will set you up for success when you run your test.  Down below there is a series of buttons which tell the software what you want to clash.  Depending on the design software you are using, this could be different.  The three types are Surfaces, Lines, and Points.  Since my models came out of Revit, I’m going to select surfaces.

If you don’t select anything you will have zero clashes.  Lines are for CAD data, and Points are used when clashing point clouds.  

When you have both systems selected click on the Run Test button at the bottom of the detective dialog box.

After running the test, Navisworks will display the results both in a graphical format and a report format.  The graphical format is over on the right and Navisworks will automatically zoom you to the location of the first clash.   By default you will see red items clashing with green items.  In my example, the red items are the HVAC systems clashing with green sprinkler systems.  Everything else in the model is converted to a wireframe mode.  It’s actually pretty cool looking!  In the example below, the clash between the two systems is very evident.

Here is a screen capture of the clashes listed.  

In the next blog I will describe how to create reports and resolve clashes.

Preparing a Revit file to export to the Navisworks file format.

To get a model going in Navisworks, you'll need to start in your design software of choice.  Typically this is Revit or AutoCAD, although other software can be used.

This example will use Revit as the design software.  Open your model in Revit.  It is a good idea to go to the 3D view.  Remember that Revit will export to Navisworks specifically what you have shown in the a view.  The 3D view is the best place to do this.  In order to get a model out in a format Navisworks can read you need to utilize object enablers under the Add-Ins tab.  Click on the External Tools button.

Once you select External Tools, you can pick the Navisworks 2015 button.  This will open an export scene as dialogue box where you can save the 3D view in a Navisworks file format.

In this dialog box there is a button called “Navisworks Settings” which you can use to adjust settings to your liking.  One thing that makes Navisworks so powerful is the fact that it can work with a variety of different file types.   Below is a list of the file types available.  Navisworks is capable of working with typical linework from CAD programs, 3D models, and Point Clouds.

Starting a Navisworks Model.

To create a Navisworks model you will need a model created in another software such as Revit or AutoCAD.  This model, once exported will be either appended or merged into the Navisworks file.  The Append command can be found under the home tab.  To access the merge command click on the small arrow below append.

What is the difference between the Append and Merge model commands?  If you have errors in your models, merge will eliminate duplicates in your models by overriding the previous model.  In practice it is better to append because it forces you to keep clean models in your design software.  This is where you’ll import your various models of the building.  Below is a suggested method for breaking the models up. I typically append my models when I receive them from consultants.

  • Architectural Model
  • Electrical Model
  • Structural Model
  • Mechanical Model
  • Sprinkler Model

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Changes to Physical Media Shipment.

To make you aware, today Autodesk announced changes to their policy for shipping physical media.  Up until now physical media, if requested by the customer has been shipped at no additional charge.  Below is the statement from Autodesk:

"Starting September 29, 2014, customers in the U.S. and Canada will be required to pa $30 (US) for a physical shipment of their software-cost includes standard shipping rates.  Software Download has become the most effectie and environmentally-friendly way to access Autodesk software.  The increase in software download adoption confirms that many of our customers find this method most convenient."

Here are the most common questions posted on Autodesk's website regarding Autodesk Maintenance Subscription:

1.1 What changes are being made to Physical Shipment Requests (PSRs)? Today, Maintenance Subscription customers receive their software via download and if needed, can request a physical
shipment of media at no charge. Starting September 29, customers in U.S. and Canada will be required to pay $30 (US) for a physical shipment of their software – this cost includes standard shipping.

1.2 Why are these changes being made? Software download has become the most effective and environmentally-friendly way to access Autodesk software. The increase in software download adoption confirms that many of our customers find this method most convenient.

1.3 Which customers will be affected by this change? 
All Maintenance Subscribers will benefit from a newly enhanced ordering process, however new and existing Maintenance Subscription customers in US and Canada will be required to pay for physical shipments. Non-Subscription customers and Desktop Subscription customers already are charged this fee.

1.4 How does this affect Non-Subscription and Desktop Subscription customers?
All new and existing Non-Subscription and Desktop Subscription customers will continue to request paid PSRs through their Partners.

1.5 When will this take affect? 
On September 29, 2014, the new Physical Shipment Request form will launch and the charge will be applied to new shipment requests as of this date.

1.6 Where will Maintenance Subscription customers be able to request a physical shipment?
Just as they do today, U.S. and Canadian customers will login to Subscription Center to request their physical media and will be guided through an enhanced ordering process to the eStore for transaction completion.

1.7 Are there plans to extend Pay for PSR to additional countries?
Yes. After the initial roll out, we will 'flip the switch' to add additional countries to this Pay for PSR process. Until then, customers in 'Free PSR' countries will continue to receive their PSRs at no charge.