Friday, July 25, 2014

Lego Models

This post is not my normal thing where I talk about Revit or BIM, today I'm going to talk about Lego's.

Ever since my son was 3 or 4 we have been diving him Lego sets. I've always been so impressed with how focused he gets when he gets a new set to build. I found this cool web site called Brickset that allows you to create a database of Lego sets you own. The personalized database gives you a lot of stats about the Legos you own. In some ways I really like this data that it gives me, must be the BIM manager in me, but when it tells me that from all the sets my family equals over 23k pieces I almost don't want to know the estimate value of those pieces.  
Another thing that is nice is that from this website you can look up the Lego instruction manuals (or Maps as we call them). This is really good especially when the maps get misplaced, ripped, or just thrown away. But there is a functionality that allows you to look of maps of sets that you don't own and it tells you if you have the pieces to make the other set.

Earlier I was talking about how the database lets me see how many pieces my family has. You will notice that I didn't say how many pieces my son has. The reason for this is that we have gotten my daughter some sets, (which her brother puts together) but my Wife and In-Laws have gotten me some Architectural sets. With these Architectural sets I'm like Mr Business from the Lego movie and I don't let my kids play with them. 

The other day I was looking at the Lego Architecture site to see what I new sets they have to add to my collection, and i saw a Lego set that really made me laugh. It wasn't a set of any particular building, but rather it was a set of a bunch of random sized blocks that were all white. They called this set the Architectural Studio. This set is a study model set. When I was in architectural school I never would have considered using Lego's to build a study model, but now I think it would be a cool idea. I almost want to get this set to create some physical study models of some of the projects I'm working on.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Line Based Families

When talking about line based families here I am talking about detail components that are used instead of a detail line. Back in April of 2009 I wrote a blog Detail object vs Detail line starting to talk about this issue a little. Basically why would you use a detail object verses a detail line, comes down to keynoting. If you do not use the keynote system built into Revit and just use text notes to document your project you can probably skip this blog, but if you do use the Keynote system built into Revit keep on reading.

My firm has used a keynote system similar to the one that is within Revit well before we adopted Revit as our primary project documentation tool. So when we adopted Revit it was a simple transition for us. When our objects began to retain their keynote information it began to make the keynoting process quicker to on the proceeding projects. When we began to create standard 2d details in Revit we began to draw simple lines like we had when we were working in AutoCAD but we were having to use a lot of User Keynotes which would lose the intelligence of the object. Once we started to use Detail object that represented the detail we were trying to keynote we began to save some time in noting the project.

Since we began using Revit there has developed two schools of thought when developing these 2d details.
1st-Create a detail object for each keynote
2nd -Create a detail object that represents the line weight that you want to see and create multiple types to house the different keynotes.

Each of these different methods works, it all depends on your work flow.

If you decided you want to peruse the first option there is a company called ARCXL that has created over 120,000 families that could help you, check them out.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Schedule improvement to Revit 2015

In Revit 2015 they have continued the improvements to the schedules they started in the 2014 version of Revit. There are more parameters we have access to view in a schedule. But the biggest change to schedules is the ability to add images to the body of the schedule.

With giving us more parameters that we can access with our schedules it means we can get to more of the data of a project model. By giving us access to more of the project data we can manage the project data better and make better decision about the project.

Another big improvements is the ability to add a graphic representation of the object being scheduled.  I might like the graphic representation be generated from the model but at this time it is only an image file that can be used. People in my office have been asking for this for years. Specifically they were asking for this in a Planting schedule.There are a few other schedules that we might look at to use this new function, like a Furniture schedule for one but I'm sure I'll think of other things to use this new function for as well.

Some issues to be aware of though, when editing the schedule the image is not visible, only the name of the file is, and to see the file it can only be seen when it is on a sheet. There are some functions of this I am going to have to figure out though. Do the images reside in each project folder or do I start to create a central folder to store all of the images for use in more then one project?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Inserting Autocad files within Revit

Rule number 1 never, and I repeat never insert Autocad files into Revit. Always, always link the Autocad file into a Revit file. Linking allows the Autocad file to be updated if the Autocad file changes. If it is not linked you will have to insert another version of the Autocad file into the Revit model and then you have two or more versions of the Autocad file in your model which causes two things first the model size is bigger then it should be which causes the model to react slowly to commands and second it creates a coordination nightmare at times, which file acad file should you be looking at. I know just delete the first version right, well not everyone deletes the first one when they insert the updated version, you know they are in a rush and just don't think about it.

When you insert an Autocad file into Revit it is a single entity and if you need to make changes to the Autocad file you have a couple of options.

  • The first option is to find the original and make the changes, then reinsert the file, again this causes coordination and file size issues. 
  • The second is to trace the Autocad file with Revit line work, then you can make the changes you need within Revit, but then the Revit file is out of sync with the Autocad file. 
  • Then there is the option of inserting the Autocad file and exploding the Autocad file, which creates Revit line work. Just by exploding the Autocad file the Revit file usually doubles inside, unless you go to the trouble of purging all unused data out of the Autocad files, but most of the people that use this method are doing this because they are trying to take a short cut because they are in a hurry, and if they are in a hurry they are not going to take the time to clean up the Autocad file.


As I've just show inserting Autocad files rather then linking the files work, but there are performance issues when you do this so it is always better to link the Autocad file rather then inserting it. When linking the Autocad file into Revit rather then inserting you avoid the performance issues, since the Autocad data resides outside of the Revit model.

Back in one of my first art classes before getting into Architecture school I was told that you need to know the rules before you can break them.Now that you know rule here is when you break it. The only time you want to break this rule is when you are creating family components.

  • First off you can not link in Autocad file into a Family file. If Autodesk allowed this there is a great and possible breakage of the family with lost data when the Autocad file is forgotten to be copied to the next project folder.
  • Second if you are creating Family components (90 % of the time) you are not trying to take short cuts and the Autocad file will be cleaned up to get rid of as much unused data as possible. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Walking Work stations

I was watching the CBS Sunday Morning news (May18/2014) and they had this report about workstations that was also a treadmill. I had to share. You know of course there are no Revit components developed from Steel case who created the Treadmill desk.
One thing I found interesting in the report was the executives that was interviewed said that they thing better when they are walking. I have found that sometimes I need to take a lap around the office to work out some ideas in my head.
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/is-sitting-the-new-smoking



Monday, May 5, 2014

Revit Family Creation Basics

When I was at the Minnesota University put on by the Cad Technology Center I saw a session by Shawn Zirbes called What is this Garbage? In this session Shawn said the same thing I've said this countless time to people in my office, the first thing you do when you are going to create a Revit family is not to just start modeling, the first thing is to step out of the computer and to plan out the Family. Shawn said this and I 100% agree, take out a piece of paper and pencil, and start figuring out what the family component to do.

Decide:
What the component looks like
If the component is parametric
If it is parametric decide what parameters are needed

Now that the planing is done you can start to create the family component. But wait don't just start modeling the component. Much like a building you need to build the support structure of the component before you build the geometry of the component. Shawn had some great metaphors for creating Revit Families that I liked.

Reference planes/lines are like the skeleton of a body
Dimensions are like the muscles of the body
Parameters are like the brain of the body
Graphics/geometry are like the skin of the body

And this is the order in which these are created. You build the skeleton of the model first. You do this first so that the muscles (dimensions) have some thing to attach to. 99% of the time always connect dimensions to reference planes/lines not geometry. Next you add the brains of the model that controls the muscles that ten controls the skeleton, Once all this is working correctly you then build the Skin/geometry.

In general when you model in Revit you don't want to over constrain your models. This is where a Family component is different then a project model. With a Family component you actually want to over constrain the component model as much as possible.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Building Suite 2015

On a couple of blog sites I've seen that there is some frustration and disappointment with the 2015 version of Revit. There was some improvements to Revit but many feel that it wan't enough. I've also heard that Autocad has made some major improvements this year, but that's Autocad and I'm not dealing with Acad as much as I use to. Approximately 95% to 99% of my work is done in Revit, so Autocad isn't really all that important to me at this time.

Me I'm not that disappointed with the new Revit, yes they could have improved on the text editor, yes they could have overhauled the Project Browser, they could have made scope boxes adjustable like crop regions (but I guess if they did that they couldn't call them Boxes) and they could have made it so that Schedules could be organized in the Project browser (which I think should be a simple code fix since Kiwi Codes Project Browser does it). But the changes they have made look promising and could help with the overall work flow within Revit.

Ok so there is my 2 cents on Revit and a little on Autocad. Now for the overall Building Design Suite. One of the benefits of the design suite is that you get all of these programs for a smaller fee then if you bought the programs separately, which is a good thing, I think. When Autodesk introduced the Building Design suite a couple of years ago it was stated that at their discretion that they could add or subtract products to the suite. I waiting for Vasari to become a product and for it to be added to the Building Design Suite, just hope it won't go into the Ultimate Suite, but rather the Premium suite. We have seen Autodesk add Infraworks to the Ultimate Building Design Suite as well as Recap and Raster design to the Standard Suite. Those were all additions made to the last set of Suites, in the 2015 set of suites we see some subtractions going on. First in the Ultimate Suite I see that QTO is no longer included (that may have been taken out last time but didn't notice)  and in the Standard Suite Sketchbook Pro was taken out. 

I like Sketchbook Pro, well let me rephrase that I like Sketchbook Pro on my iPad, I just wished it linked to the Desktop version. I can see why it was taken out of the suite it is very much like Photoshop, but was for a different work for that works well on the iPad, just not well for the desktop. 

It will be interesting to see how the workflow between the software that Autodesk has left in the suite will work well together. Still have not worked with either Showcase or Recap, but both have strong workflow possibilities.