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Scenario: "My structural dept has designed the building and platforms for the plant design in Revit Structure. How do I get them into AutoCAD Plant 3D?"This is common, especially since the Plant Design Suite Premium and Ultimate comes with Revit Structure. The workflow is simple. My structural model is shown below in Revit Structure 2012. I simply export that file out as a DWG.Then go to AutoCAD Plant 3D. If you have a drawing started already, in the ribbon, go to the INSERT tab. If you do not have a drawing started, create one. In the REFERENCE section, you will click on ATTACH in order to XRef the drawing into the Plant 3D Drawing. If the coordinates and scale in the Revit Structure model are the same coordinates and scale as in your plant model, then just accept the default insertion and scale.Your model should now include your Revit Structure design. You can use the geometry on that model for placing equipment and routing pipe just as you would if you had modeled it all with AutoCAD Plant 3D ...

In a continuation from a previous blog post on the Cloud... There is also something in the Autodesk Cloud called “Documents”.This, as the name might simply imply, is a place in the cloud to store files, documents, images, etc. and be able to manage and share them with team members, colleagues and clients. Folders and categories can be created; files can be edited via AutoCAD WS, along with mobile app. to view on iPad or iPhone devices. Within Documents the files can be shared to other users with rights assigned to the files controlling the access. Also recent activity can be tracked along with comments that can be left by users about the files. There are even Versions of the file that can be tracked. See image below for document details.One other comment to add is that Autodesk was offering potential, non-subscription, users to signup and get 1 gig for free!

Is your head in the clouds trying to understand the “cloud” and Autodesk Cloud in particular?Lets see if we can give some explanation. Autodesk Cloud is a technology that is gaining interest with users with the ability to perform tasks without installing applications to local resources. We can use the cloud for several purposes... We can upload, share and edit drawings in the cloud using AutoCAD WS. We can view files with Design Review mobile app for iPhone and iPad devices. Rendering files in the cloud, along with the ability to upload and share documents.Let's take a closer look at cloud services for rendering and documents.Autodesk Cloud RenderingCurrently Revit can render models to the cloud via the Subscription download. An Autodesk login account needs to be created.  The concept behind Cloud rendering is simple… render your model in the cloud (the internet) without tying up your computer for an extended amount of time. Also, if you are running a marginal computer that barely meets the minimum requirements, this option of rendering in the cloud could save you a ...

Revit Server.  Let's review quickly what it was meant to do and the problems that it solves.  Then we'll take it to the next level. Revit Server was designed to help a SINGLE company with distributed, satellite offices work on a single model.  In that scenario, everyone is on the same wide area network with no worries about security or other IT issues to get the server up and running.  In the traditional model to the left, we are using some sort of VPN for synchronization, or an FTP site to share a model that has been sliced into pieces so that each office can work on their piece of the project.  This can work, but only if the pieces of the puzzle are cleanly delineated, which is very rare on a project of the size and magnitude that would requiremultiple offices' involvement. The offices are also having to re-link updated models or having to wait for a s-l-o-w synchronization via VPN to a central file housed at Office A. Now, Revit Server, in the image to the right, uses two central ...

Autodesk Labs announced today a labs product tool for sending AutoCAD files to 3dS Max Design with a quick transfer. This is a Plug-in that shortens the process of sending AutoCAD data traditionally to 3ds Max Design. This preview in Labs will be available up to March 1, 2012. In several cases these Labs technologies end up in the new release.You need to download the "AutoCAD Quick Send to 3ds Max Design" from the Autodesk Labs Preview site. But first you must have the latest Service Packs install in AutoCAD and 3ds Max Design or it will not work. The image example at the top is the "Workflow" panel for sending the data to 3dS Max. Within the panel are options to "run" or "edit" the settings on how data is transferred. The actual "Quick Send..." button is a dropdown for additional workflows you can create. These workflows can be shared to other users.A nice feature is that the workflow can run in the background and you can continue being productive working in AutoCAD. A helpful notification will pop-up ...

Have you ever wanted to setup a view showing duct and pipe, but didn't want to be able to select the duct or pipe? Here is a way: 1) Add some insulation to the duct/pipe, including the fittings.2) In VG, turn off the duct/pipe and fittings, leave on the insulation.3) Done. Now you can see the insulation, but cannot select.

I thought about this a few years ago teaching Revit Architecture to a group of young high school students. Yes, high school students are learning Revit. Most new users of Revit forget to select the object they want to modify. While it's not required, selecting the element(s) first displays a contextual tab that shows tools available to the designer. In addition, they forget they can double-click on the blue datum target to quickly jump to associated floor plan views.To help students, I tell them their new favorite color when using Revit is blue. Whenever you want to modify an element, click on it and make it blue. If you need to change a dimension, select the object you want to modify so the dimension text turns blue and now you can change the dimension text value.Blue is also the typical color of hyperlinks on webpages so clicking on a blue call out tag will take you to the matching view. If you want to jump to view, you can double-click on a visible datum, call out tag, building section, ...

You can also move text at different scales too! Move the text at one scale and it won't move it at other scales.

When using Revit Levels, we can create levels with floor plan views, or we can create levels that do not have floor plans associated with them. These are usually used when you want to constrain or lock elements to the “dead” level, but do not need the floor plan. This could be a T.O. Steel level, or some other level for coordination. Live levels are shown with blue datum, while dead levels are shown as black datums.Don't delete those dead levels! Here are two reasons. First, if the dead level has objects constrained to them, there is a good chance that item will be deleted along with the level. Secondly, dead levels can be converted to a live level with a floor plan associated with them. "How," you ask?... That will have to wait until I see you in class.

I had a meeting with a client a while back about Revit setup and configuration. One of the topics that came up was Worksets. What are the best practices for Worksets? Worksets are interesting to understand when you first start learning about them (that's a separate blog at a later date), but instead of the traditional "Checking Out" feature, I have had a lot of success with just borrowing. This entails not checking out a Workset, but allowing team members to borrow items when needed. This system doesn’t work for every office or studio, and all team members need to be on board with the idea. It's much more flexible to select an item and click on the "little boxes" icon and make them editable, than to go thru the process of checking out a set, which restricts team members form accessing items in the project. Once you sync to Central you relinquish the element and move on. Again, this doesn’t work for everyone, but it can be very effective and help to run a project faster. Give borrowing ...

The Batch Utility can be used to automate importing and conversion processes that are common tasks within Navisworks. There are four areas that the batch utility can assist: getting a list of design files used in a current NWF/NWD, build a new NWF/NWD with selected design files, export out NWDs for each design file listed, and accessing the Windows Scheduler to run the batches. As an example, I will select various NWCs to build a new NWF.The Batch Utility is accessed from the Home Tab: First, in the Input section of the dialog, I will select a specific NWC file that contains all the architectural models using the Add Files button:And as well, I can specify an entire folder of any supported file type using the Add File Spec button. Just above the Add File Spec button is where you can pick from the file type wildcard list. In my example, I will select all the NWCs within my FIRE folder:Next, on the Output section of the dialog, I will use the As Single File tab and enter in ...

No it's not a Mitsubishi car symbol. Its an icon of the cross section of a an architectural scale. The actual tool is for Annotative scaling of annotation objects like text, dimensions and graphical symbols. This feature was added a few releases ago, but I realized from teaching, that there are a lot of folks who are still working in Model Space, doing things the old way, and aren't aware of Annotative scaling.By using the annotative scaling, it takes care of all the busy work of text sizes when changing scale. The quick, down and dirty of making it work, is to have all of these buttons turned on. They will light up and will show the light bulb and lightening bolt in yellow once on. Also you need to be using Annotative text or dimensions. Set your scale and start drawing. The text and dims will display at the correct height per your settings and when you change the scale they will update. The last cool thing is that the text will scale according to the Viewport scale. ...

Top of Steel (T.O.S.) or Finished Floor Elevations (F.F.E.) Why do you ask? A recent debate has been going on with architects and engineers on what is the typical datum level to reference from.There are pros and cons potentially to setting up levels at FFE vs TOS. The first would be coordination and the chance for human errors. Also depending if you are an in the architectural discipline as an Architect vs. the structural industry as a Structural Engineer.What is the industry standard?An architect would say FFE. This however does not include carpeting, tile, etc. This is the floor to floor heights.An engineer would say TOS. This is what is usually built first and erected in the field. Even if the steel is sloping, the TOS reference datum plane is still established.So how can we, from a technology, computer BIM application benefit, or should I say coordinate this industry dividing quandary? Constraints are a wonderful option when looking at Revit (Architecture, Structure, and MEP) for a solution.Using Existing dataWhat if we are using the other discipline's file and ...

This happens ALL the time with new students. At some point during my class, a student will comment about the Home tab and most of the tools on the Home tab as being unavailable or greyed out. This literally happens with every new class.Revit does this on purpose. The reason this happens is because you are in the middle of another command which places you in edit mode or what we use to call sketch mode. I tell students to look at the upper right corner of their ribbon and if they see a colored tab, they need to select that tab and make it active. Once a student realizes this, they have to either finish edit mode by selecting the green check or cancel edit mode by selecting the red X.Mark Petrucci

Guide Grid: a little know tool in Revit to help you align views so that they appear in the same location from sheet to sheet. For example, if you place each multistory floor plan view on their own sheet, Guide Grids can help you locate each floor plan view so they appear in the same location sheet to sheet.Here's how to use Guide Grids:Open a sheet view Go to the View tab 4 Sheet composition Panel 4 Guide Grid tool Name the Guide Grid something logical. "E1 Sheet Size" for example.You can use the same Guide Grid on other sheets by simply looking at the sheet properties. Listed at the very bottom of the property panel is a parameter named Guide Grid. Change this from NONE to the name of your new Guide Grid.Now for the two VERY IMPORTANT tricky parts.When you apply the same Guide Grid to multiple sheets, ANY changes to the Guide Grid are applied to ALL sheets. If you move the Guide Grid on one sheet or change the extents, it will move or ...

Not too many users are aware that in Revit MEP schedules can be embedded into other schedules.  This feature is only available in Revit MEP and not in Revit Architecture.  And, it is only available in certain types of Revit MEP schedules.  Embedded schedules can be inside of Room and Space schedules and System schedules (Pipe Systems, Duct Systems and Electrical Circuits).This feature will allow you to create a schedule inside of another schedule.  This could be used if you want to list what fixtures are in a space, or what pipes are in a system, or what devices are on a circuit. To create an Embedded Schedule, you begin by creating a Room or Space or System schedule as you typically would.  You can add the fields desired, configure the sorting method, modify the formatting.  In the Schedule Properties dialog, there is a new tab at the end for Embedded Schedule. Here you can select what type of schedule you would like to be embedded and then you can select Embedded Schedule Properties, to modify the properties of ...

First, I remember my English teacher telling me not to use the word "thing". Oh well (or is that oh good?)I tell my students this all the time. "The best thing about AutoCAD is you can create as many layers as you want. Can you guess the worst thing about AutoCAD? The worst thing about AutoCAD is that you can create as many layers as you want."Layers are a great way to organize your drawing. However, there are some well known best practices when it comes to layers. First, use only as many layers as you need. Do not create a bunch of layer just because you can. Too many layers just means more layers to turn on and off, freeze or thaw. Do you need a separate layer for desks and chairs or can you put them on one layer called furniture? Maybe you do and maybe you don't. If you haven't thought about it before, maybe this will get you thinking. I know one firm that puts stairs and elevators on the same layer; it works for ...

This is a quick How-To that was published a while back on my You-Tube channel, but may still be of some use to everyone.  It goes over creating profiles and then using them to create new slab edge types.For HD, you can still get the original here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIAd7jTaAFY

No its not gang symbols. Its the greater than / less than symbols - hand gesture. I show my students this when teaching AutoCAD to get them into the thinking of using and thinking of these symbols because in AutoCAD in the command line they represent the default value or last value used. Which means you can save time by not having to do additional typing versus just hitting the enter key to accept whats in the "" value. So we can save additional time by using the default or previous used value by reading the command line with the greater than and less than symbols "". Remember the graphic and save your self some time!

I found the fold up insert that came in the AutoCAD Release 14 box for tablet overlay. This is a real blast from the past. The overlay sat over top of the Digitizer tablet. The buttons could be programmed to make drawing faster. Too bad AutoCAD and the computers at the time were so slow.Life is easier using Autodesk 2012 products. First of all, there are no Tablets. Now if I can find my old 24+ button puck around here somewhere?

I've been using AutoCAD since Release 11, when it was DOS based. A lot has changed since then, and for the better! I enjoy finding new tips, tricks and little things to help make life easier.Here is something simple but worth it. Osnap - Parallel. This Osnap allows you to draw a new line or object parallel to a reference object. You start the line command, and then using the Parallel Osnap hover over the reference line. You will see a symbol looking like this "//" over the line. It will disapear as you move off, but once you are lined up parallel with the reference line and your new line, the symbol will reappear and you can draw your line parallel. Simple but effective! Enjoy!

Backburner is a batch network rendering utility that comes with 3ds Max and Maya. This is used when you want to render multiple images to several computers/nodes.It has 3 main pieces. Manager, Monitor and Server. The Manager and Monitor are usually installed on the same computer. This is typically your computer that is running 3ds Max, but does not have to be. Some companies have a dedicated Graphics computer that would work well to have this installed on. Also the Server piece needs to be installed on all the computer nodes. The name Server is a bit misleading, because it in fact gets installed on the workstation. A true network server doesn't really have a part in all of this. Also, 3ds Max needs to be installed on the computers with the Server piece. 3ds Max is needed to process the information. It does not need to be registered or licensed. You can install up to 9,999 installations of 3ds Max for the Rendering farm.So the concept is that you have a 3ds Max model and want to render ...

Do you use QTO with Revit Models? You should be aware of a bug with QTO and Revit Views that use another Revit View as an Underlay. QTO will quantify any object in the current view including objects in the underlay. A very easy test is to create four walls on Level 1 that form a rectangle, 20'x30'. Create 4 walls on Level 2 that form a rectangle, 20'x15'. Place the Level 2 walls directly above the Level 1 walls and keep Level 1 as in underlay to Level 2. Export your Revit model to DWF and import into QTO. Do a model takeoff and look at the linear takeoff for each level.You will see QTO has counted for Level 1: 4 Walls . Total linear takeoff - 100'.You will see QTO has counted forLevel 2: 8 walls (4 on Level 1 and 4 on Level 2). Total linear takeoff of 170' instead of the correct 70.The good news is the Total Linear Takeoff for the PROJECT is correct. It is NOT Level 1: 100' + Level 2: 170'. ...

When starting a new project in Revit, I typically create 3D views for each level in the project.  To do this I use the View Cube to assist me in creating the views.  I typically do not care for the View Cube for orbiting or adjusting my views.  I usually use my wheel on my mouse with the shift key to orbit, but I have found the View Cube to be very helpful for this particular task. To set up a 3D view for each level, you could manually achieve this by turning on the Section Box in the Properties of the view and use the grips to drag the Section Box to display just the desired level.  This is very cumbersome and sometimes hard to get the grips to be where you want them to be. An easier, quicker way to create a 3D view for each level is to use the Orient to View option in the View Cube right click menu.  This can be done by opening a 3D view and hovering over the House icon ...

In AutoCAD Plant 3D 2012, you can change the size of a valve just by going to its properties and making a simple change.Select the valve, RMC on the valve and select Properties to see the size value.In Properties, change the size by selecting the drop-down list and choose the new size.Once the size is changed, close Properties and see the result. There is no need to add reducers to your pipeline. Reducers are automatically added to both sides of the 4" weldneck flanges.Happy Routing!

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