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News on the latest in design, manufacturing, fabrication, construction, and engineering technology.


We’ve been getting a few phone calls where Revit users have been receiving this error when opening a file: This issue usually occurs when upgrading models. What I have done to help resolve this error is clean up the model in the version it was created in. Remove all non-essential links and imported CAD files. Update any  linked models and especially any custom families to the newest version. If this does not work then you’ll need to submit a case directly with Autodesk to see if they can help:  directly with Autodesk to see if they can help:  Submitting &Viewing Support Requests  

Sometimes you discover something and your first reaction is a bit of embarrassment because you didn't already know it, followed by amazement that nobody else has ever mentioned it to you before, because it's potentially a REALLY big deal. In today's previously unknown-to-me potentially REALLY big deal department: Did you know that you can accidentally delete multiple family types simply by opening and saving your Revit family? It's true. Here's how it happens: 1) In a Revit project, a conscientious BIM or Model manager performs a Purge Unused, purging unused Family Types, in an effort to keep file size down. This is good practice. 2) At some point in the future, from the same project, a user selects an instance of a family on which the above-mentioned purge was done, and selects "Edit Family" from the Ribbon (or double-clicks on the family instance to go to the Family Editor - who's boneheaded idea was THAT feature, anyway?).  3) The user makes a minor change to the family, then saves the file. *Poof* - all of those family types that were purged in the project are ...

Under the category of Part Creation, a new Feature Relationship tool is available by right-clicking on the part in the Model Tree and then selecting Relationships. A bit of orientation on the model shown. Focus should be primarily on the Fillet1, Emboss1 and the Gold Revel. Also note, the Hole1 and Violet Revel for reference. Right-clicking on Fillet1 gives me the menu option to select Relationships... The Relationships Manager dialog shows that the Fillet1 has as parents (at the top of the dialog) the Trunk and the Cap.  Children are listed at the bottom of the dialog, and the two of importance for our feature highlight are Emboss1 and Gold Revel.  Notice too, that neither the Violet Revel nor the Hole1 are listed.  What we learn is that there is a parental relationship held by the Fillet1 (the actual lower edge) and the placement of the children Emboss1 and Gold Revel. The relationship, as designed, drives the placement of the Gold Revel and Emboss1.  If the Fillet1 radius changes, the two child features will reposition accordingly. In the following example, by changing ...

With the new Copy Design within Vault Pro 2017 iLogic rules are NOT COPIED by default. This can be resolved by setting up a new Action Rule. Below I have listed the steps on how to make sure your iLogic rules get copied with your parts and assemblies. Step 1: Within the Copy Design dialogue click on the Master Menu and select Action Rules.     Step 2: Within the Action Rules dialogue you will notice that we have a Default Rule Set. Select the Default Rule Set and then select Copy. You can either keep the Rule Name given or you can give the rule a more meaningful name. Click OK.     Step 3: You will now notice that within the Action Rules Dialogue we have a Copy of Default Rule Set. Select this new rule and select edit.   Step 4: Within the Define Rule Set dialogue select iLogicRuleStatus underneath Property Behavior and then click on Remove. Click OK.   Step 5:  Click Apply and OK within the Action Rules dialogue.   Step 6: Within the Copy Design Dialogue click on Selected Rule Set and choose the newly created rule. This will allow your iLogic ...

Maintaining Fabrication Toolbar Locations When Restarting

This week’s blog takes us back to AutoCAD basics. I’m prompted to write this by the fact that in the past couple of months I’ve worked with a couple of people who were completely surprised by this command while working with them. Let’s say that you’re working on a drawing and that you’ve erased an object. You’ve proceeded forward in your drawing by using other commands. At one point you realize you needed that object you erased a few commands ago. Don’t UNDO all your work until that object reappears. All you need to do is use the OOPS command. The OOPS command will restore the object(s) erased by the last ERASE command. Remember, you can only use the OOPS command to restore object erased by the last ERASE command. You cannot use the command to restore any and all objects you’ve erased through the history of the drawing, and you cannot restore any erased objects if you’ve closed your drawing and reopened it. Here’s the explanation of the command from the AutoCAD help file:

In addition to Revit family parameters, project parameters and shared parameters, Autodesk added Global Parameters as part of 2016 R2. Global Parameters are specific to a single project file, but are not assigned to categories. Global parameters can be simple values, values derived from equations, or values taken from the model using other global parameters. Use global parameters to drive and report values. A global parameter can assign the same value to multiple non-adjacent dimensions. You can also set the position of one element by the size of another element. If you missed it, join us for this special parametric design session on Global Parameters to learn more.              

Released exclusively to Subscription customers, Autodesk Revit 2016 R2 builds on the speed and project performance improvements. Revit 2016 R2 has over 25 new features, many which were requested by users. This update makes Revit faster with even better performance that translates to faster navigation, speedier work processes. If you missed this webinar, we will show you the significant updates that relate to the Architectural Industry.  

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I'm rehashing this one because a user asked me if it was possible to create a profile from a feature line.   I must give credit where credit is due. My good friend, Phillip Lynch, showed me this cool feature. Scenario: so you’ve been given a set of points in line and have been asked to generate a profile from those points only. You don’t have an existing surface, nor do you need one. All you need is the profile of just the points. Problem: you cannot create a profile without first sampling an existing ground surface. Problem solved. . . First, generate a feature line from those points. This can be done with a 3DPOLY that you connect from node to node and then converting the 3DPOLY to a feature line or by manually drawing a feature line from node to node. The node object snap must be used to absorb the point elevation: Then select the feature line to active the context sensitive ribbon. In the ribbon you’ll find the quick profile tool: In the “Create Quick Profiles” dialog box set your styles as ...

A new enhancement within Autodesk Inventor 2017 is being able to export a 3D PDF, which is another great way for collaborating with others in the day-to-day design process. Check out the video and link below to start utilizing this new feature.   Inventor 3D PDF's Video Additional Information on exporting 3D PDF's                    

If you are an Advanced Support or Enterprise Support customer you will now have the option to have Autodesk contact you directly at a time of your choosing.  Yes, you can schedule a time for them to call you back.  Just follow the steps in this link: Schedule a Call:  New Way to Access Tech Support

Have you ever had something selected in Revit and the temporary dimensions did not display?  Revit will typically always display the temporary dimensions when an item is selected inside of Revit.  The temporary dimension can be modified to move the item that is selected.  This works fairly well to quickly modify the dimensions just by clicking on what you want to move and then clicking on the dimension number to modify the value.     The default settings are to dimension to the center of the walls.  This can be changed to Face of Wall or Face of Core in the settings on the Manage tab.      You can also grab the blue grip and drag it to the desired location if it is not dimensioning to what you are wanting it to dimension to.  If you just click on the blue grip it will cycle through dimensioning to the center, face of wall, or opposite face of wall.                                       If you select on multiple items in ...

In order to justify changing to a new system or way of doing things there has to be something that could be drastically improved in the current process.  That is certainly true when it comes to estimating within the construction industry.  The industry is currently using one program for 2D takeoff, a different program for 3D takeoff, and yet another program to manage the estimate.    That leads to unnecessary steps in the initial estimate, like transferring the quantities gathered from our two different takeoff programs to the program managing the estimate.  Then when updated drawings are received the user has to update their takeoff then go and find the affected line items and update them in the estimate.  If a model is involved the current 3d takeoff tools only allow us to see what has changed in terms of the model components, not how those changes have affected the current estimate.  If items have been added those quantities have to be copied over to the line items in the estimating program.   Surely there is a better way to do ...

One of the most common questions we get from our Fabrication clients & our Construction clients is "BIM & modeling is great. But how can I take that knowledge & information and apply it to construction?" This blog will attempt to tackle that question. View the video above to see a demo of this workflow. Step 1: Model & FabricationLet's start in Fab CAD MEP. You'll want to design & model your system like usual, leveraging your materials database along the way.  Once you have modeled everything and in most cases completed coordination of a floor, segment, or building, you'll likely start creating spools and creating shop drawings for your pipe spools, duct systems, mechanical equipment (VAVs, AHUs, Pumps, etc.). So far your workflow hasn't changed at all - this is how you're already doing things most likely. Once you have setup your pipe spools, duct systems, etc., that's where our Fab2BIM360 add-in comes in. It's quick and easy to use. Just click on the button in your Add-Ins ribbon and hit "Prep for Spooling." The tool automatically ...

How are you presenting your conceptual estimates to your clients?  Through Excel? MC2 reports? Timberline reports? Are you happy with the results that you are getting from you current methodology?   The way that the industry is currently presenting our cost information to our clients has room for improvement.  You take the vast amount of knowledge about the project you are proposing on and dump it into a spreadsheet.    Putting your budgets into a spreadsheet and leaving them there is doing a huge disservice to your clients.  To create the estimate you have performed takeoff, gathered historical information from similar projects, and taken into consideration current market conditions.  In addition to compiling cost data you have: created a schedule for the project, comprised a site logistic plan, evaluated the cut and fill required to level the site, and listed out available value engineering ideas in case the project is over budget.    This research and planning has made your estimate more accurate and provided additional value.  Why is this information thrown away or put it on a power point slide when it comes ...

Autodesk Fabrication CADmep has a very good tool build in for checking our models for things like duplicate items, connector mismatches, size mismatches, open ends and collisions.  Check out this video on service validation to learn more.  Download:  Service Validation Palette

Autodesk A360 Collaboration for Revit was released in January of 2015, and since then has seen a steadily increasing rate of adoption among users who need to host a Revit Central File in the cloud in order to collaborate with other firms and organizations, or even to collaborate within the same firm between geographically disperse offices. As would be expected, as the adoption rate increases, we have also seen an increase in support cases related to A360 - mostly involving the initial setup and confusion as to the relationship between A360 Collaboration for Revit and A360 Team.  We have recently completed a white paper to explain how these two services work together, how to set them up and the basics of working in A360 Collaboration for Revit. Download your copy here!

Autodesk Stingray is a relatively new addition to the Autodesk visualization toolset. Essentially it is a game engine, and what makes it especially compelling for building visualization is that it includes a plugin for 3ds Max that allows for a direct link between your 3ds Max scene and a Stingray environment, providing an entirely new and more interactive way to view and experience your design. For more information on the Revit-3dsMax-Stingray workflow there are a series of videos on YouTube - a very short overview is provided here. Recently I decided it was time for me to start becoming familiar with Stingray, so I installed it and started working through a few tutorials. I realized very quickly that the raw tutorials that come with Stingray were not geared for building visualization using Revit and 3ds Max, so I started looking around for more. I found some very good ones on... you guessed it... YouTube again, but right away I noticed something missing. The videos all referenced a "Stingray" pull down menu in 3ds Max - a menu that I did't ...

Recently, I had a customer contact our support team in regards to a behavior after installing release 2017. He was having issues with his mouse lagging while panning and zooming and using Inventor generally.  He had been using 2016 without any issues. A quick search yielded a result on the Autodesk Inventor Troubleshooting site. I figured I would write about this, since it has the potential to be a common problem for users who also have Vault installed. In short, the fix (until Autodesk is able to produce a patch) is to disable the My Home tab in inventor. From the Tools tab, select Application Options.   In the General tab, the My Home option has been moved to the bottom right of the dialog.  Un-check the box as displayed below.  Click OK to dismiss the dialog box. The My Home tab is the cause, as it periodically checks the vault server to ensure that the vault status for each thumbnail preview is correct.  According to the article, this is the designed behavior but it is supposed to take place on ...

For some time now I've noticed a disturbing message that appears any time I turn on the Sun Path in a 3D view in Revit. It references a mysterious 3rd Party Updater for the "Sun and Shadow Settings Updater" and indicates that it had to be cancelled. You have two options when this appears - cancel showing the Sun Path (not an option) or disable the Updater.  I've always just clicked "Disable Updater", but I've also wondered if I was causing some sort of problem down the road, even though it appeared as though nothing was wrong afterwards. Good news - this morning I was getting caught up on some forum posts and came across this thread, in which several users are complaining about the same message. Turns out, it's benign. It's apparently caused by the Dynamo add-in. You can just disable the updater with no ill effects. It's easy to confirm for yourself - Launch Revit and turn on the Sun Path. If you get the error message, shut Revit down, then launch again. Before turning on the Sun Path, ...

According to Warwick Ashford, Security Editor for ComputerWeekly.com, Ransomware makes up a quarter of UK cyber attacks. Just what is Ransomware?   It is malware used for the purpose of data kidnapping that the attacker encrypts and then holds hostage, demanding payment for the encryption key, often in the form of bitcoins. In short, your data is the hostage and you are forced to make the decision as to whether or not it’s worth the cost to retrieve it. Sounds like something out of a movie right? Well, it’s real and it is quickly becoming one of the biggest cyber crimes to date.   Fortunately, there are those who are fighting back, for example, TeslaDecoder takes advantage of a weakness in the encryption implementation of TeslaCrypt and creates a workaround that allows its victims to decode their files appended with different extensions. It is user-friendly and free to download.   For computers themselves, the first line of defense is to be careful not to open email messages or download attachments from strangers. Most instances of crypto-malware can be traced to spammed inboxes. Such ...

Your company just upgraded their server and needs to move the Autodesk License Manger and the license file to it.  It’s a simple process. . . Your old license file will be useless on the new server.  This is because the older license file is “married” to the Mac address and ID of the old server. So you’ll need to obtain a new license file for your new server.  To do so, Autodesk put together this real simple step by step process on how to request a license file: Requesting a New Network License File.  You'll just need the server Mac address and ID and the serial numbers of the software you’ll be activating.   You’ll need to install the Autodesk License Manger (LM Tools) on the new server and configure it to read the new license file.   You could install the license manger from your install media or you can download it from here: Autodesk Network License Manager for Windows.    ...

We're beginning to receive quite a bit of calls and e-mails from users who are receiving pop-ups similar to this: This is because the Autodesk Application Manager is being replaced with the Autodesk desktop app.  The application manager was installed when you installed your Autodesk software and can be used to automatically check for updates for your installed Autodesk software.  If you've been using it then you will need to update to the desktop app if you still would like to receive updates.  If you've not been using it then you can simply ignore the update and, I assume, it will no longer receive update notifications from Autodesk.   The desktop app will do all that the application manager did along with some really useful new features such as: Watch videos catered to specific software (AutoCAD, Revit, Civil 3D, etc.) Read articles trending about specific software Access alternative methods of finding help and resources To learn more about the Autodesk desktop app read this:  About Autodesk desktop app