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


What's New in Autodesk Inventor 2018 - Drawings
Drawing Open Enhancements The following changes occur in the lower section of the File Open dialog box:   The Find command is accessed via an icon  in the lower left section between the Help button and Quick Launch commands.  The Last Saved information is now below the thumbnail preview. A combo box for opening in Full or Defer mode is added between the Options…and Quick Launch buttons. Defer combines the previous Defer Updates and Fast Open commands into one action causing the drawing document to open without updating or loading reference documents (parts, assemblies, etc.).      In the File Open Options... dialog box the Full or Defer combo button replaces the Defer Updates and Fast Open checkboxes.    For more information, see To File Open Options - IDW Drawings Reference.  Drawing View Dialog Box  The Drawing View dialog box has been modestly rearranged to accommodate new options. These are the changes:  General The Preview in the lower left corner is ...

Autodesk Infrastructure Technical Specialist, Jeff Bartels and the guys over at the Civil Immersion blog have periodically be releasing short videos on the new features of Civil 3D 2018.  Rather than you having to find them among their other amazing blogs, I've added them here for you to view in a video library.  There are some really great features.  Enjoy! Clear Corridor Bowties: Relative Feature Lines (Part 1): Relative Feature Lines (Part 2): Section View Buffer: Plan/Profile & Profile/Profile Sheets: Offset Profiles & Connected Alignments (Part 1): Offset Profiles & Connected Alignments (Part 2): Extracted Feature Lines as Corridor Baselines:  Section View Buffer:

The New Features in FormIt v16.0 FormIt v16.0 offers many great new features related to the following categories: Materials Performance Group workflows Modeling Import DWG Revit interop Plugins Check it out here https://formit.autodesk.com/page/release-notes#release-notes-windows Also refer to the FormIt videos on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdZJr6Bo4pwBu3lQqcxlDsw/videos

What's New in Autodesk Inventor 2018 - Assemblies
Shrinkwrap and BIM Content Enhancements Shrinkwrap tools have been enhanced for more control, improved user interface, and an improved workflow. The following are highlights of those improvements:  Access: Shrinkwrap is immediately accessible on the Assembly tab in the Simplification panel.  On first use of Shrinkwrap, for those acquainted with the legacy behavior, you will notice the consolidation of the dialog boxes. There is a single dialog box with three tabs.  Components tab - contains the document level information such as representations and the choices you have for removing components.  Features tab - contains the choices for easily defining which features to remove from the shrinkwrap part. You can retain specific feature types, remove them, or remove them by a range value. Additionally there are tools to help detect and preserve features.  Create tab - contains the file related information, shrinkwrap style, and other settings.  Highlights of the improved workflow:  Remove components that are invisible and/or within a specified size range and (optionally) interactively select those you want to keep.  ...

AutoCAD Plant 3D 2018 - Cloud Collaboration is here!
  New Features in Plant 3D If you have been in the loop with AutoCAD Plant 3D over the past year, you have probably heard of Project Calgary which was the beta of Collaboration of Plant 3D Projects in the Cloud.  Why is this an important feature for AutoCAD Plant 3D?  It centralizes your project for multiple sites and still allows you to work locally as if you were on Vault.  Look at it like using Vault in the Cloud, because that is precisely what it is!  How does this work?  Today, I created a new project, local using SQLite.  I called it "Cloud Project Demo." I did not reference any other projects.  I just wanted to start from ground zero and go from there.  I created one P&ID drawing in the project called 1001.DWG.  Upon creating the first DWG, I was able to go to the new "Collaboration" tab in the ribbon and selected "SHARE PROJECT" after which I was shown the following dialog box: Pretty simple so far!  After selecting "GET STARTED!" you will be prompted to close any DWG you have ...

Modal-Based Definition Model-Based Definition (MBD), is a powerful new set of tools for adding annotations, GD&T, and other manufacturing information directly to a 3D part.  Tip: Be sure to check out the guided tutorial in the gallery to help you get started using the new commands.  3D Annotation To access the 3D annotation commands, use the new Annotate tab in a part file and add the manufacturing information directly to the 3D model.  Use the Tolerance Feature command to attach GD&T annotations, Feature Control Frames, and Datum Identifiers to part faces or features. Enable the Tolerance Advisor browser to check the health of your tolerance scheme and display information such as the following:    List of potentially problematic datums and Datum Reference Frames (DRF's).  Information about which features are not fully controlled.  Errors in a tolerance feature.        Tip: Right-click an entry and select More Information to open a help page specific to the message.    Use the General Annotation and Text commands to fully document your model.      Note: 3D annotations and view representations are displayed when you ...

Have you ever drawn a line from a point node and become frustrated because the Z value of the line absorbs the elevation value of the point?  Next thing you find that you have a drawing with a bunch of lines all drawn at different elevations.  Yes, there are times you want this, but there are also times you don't.   If you decide that you need to draw several lines from several point nodes and you want to guarantee the lines will be drawn at a 0.00 elevation then set your OSNAPZ system variable to 1.  The OSNAPZ controls whether object snaps are automatically projected onto a plane parallel to the XY plane of the current UCS at the current elevation.   0 - Osnap uses the Z-value of the specified point 1 - Osnap substitutes the Z-value for the specified point with an elevation set for the current      UCS If you choose to have your elevation something other than 0.00 then type in ELEV in at the commandline and set the desired value.  WARNING:  The OSNAPZ is a system variable and therefore, when ...

Autodesk recently introduced some new functionality to Manage Revit Models in the Cloud, including BIM 360 Team 'Compare Versions'. These new workflows apply to Collaboration for Revit (C4R) as well as BIM 360 Team.  Check it out here: http://help.autodesk.com/view/RVT/2017/ENU/?guid=GUID-AE6DBCDF-3DB1-41CB-9DC5-B0C336E6C851

Productivity and Performance Enhancements Productivity Improvements Easier access to Express mode Open for assemblies. In drawing views, a delay has been added to the view update when you are editing the scale. The delay allows you to enter the new scale without the view reacting to each number entered.  You can exclude surfaces from drawing views. In the Drawing View dialog box, on the Recovery Options tab, clear the checkbox on Include Surface Bodies.  In a deferred drawing, you can access Defer Updates from the context menu. The behavior is the same as if you were accessing the option from Document Settings.  You can change the view preview option from the Open dialog. Clear the check on the eyeglasses and the preview is a bounding box. Browser state icon for out of date components. Views with out of date components also get the state icon.    Parameters A Consumed by column is added to the parameters table to make it easy ...

Error installing Revit 2018 - A newer version of Dynamo Add-in for Revit or Dynamo Core is already installed   For those who have installed 2017 software latest updates, especially Dynamo Revit or Dynamo Studio, you may encounter the error listed above when trying to install Revit 2018. The solution is to keep clicking OK until it is done installing. Do not interrupt. It will eventually open up. After launching Revit 2018, check to see if you have the latest version of Dynamo Revit and Dynamo Studio.    

Lately we've been receiving quite a few phone calls regarding an issue where the installer fails installing SSA 2017 with an error 1721.   Just last week Autodesk released this solution: The Installer Fails Installing SSA with Error 1721  

Dodge Data & Analytics published a very interesting video on Managing Risk in the Construction Industry as it relates to Building Information Modeling.  Check it out:  

Just in case you've not yet heard. . .Civil 3D 2018 and Infraworks 2018 were both released last week.   Some of the highlighted new features in Civil 3D include. . . The ability resolve corridor bowties Enhancements to the plan production tools to include new templates The ability to connect two separate alignments to create a new dynamically linked alignment and profile.  Some of the highlighted new features in Infraworks include. . . The ability to manager inventor-based bridge components within the Style Palette The ability to export quantities to a CSV file for review, reporting, or estimating costs Simplified tries to improve performance A gizmo that to make it easier to edit roadside grading Read more in-depth description about all these additions and updates here:  InfraWorks and AutoCAD Civil 3D 2018:  They're Here!    

Use a connected BIM workflow to take designs from concept through construction documentation with integrated performance analysis and visualization features with the Autodesk Architecture, Engineering and Construction Collection of building design software.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akhsU51oPdA   Learn more at: http://www.autodesk.com/collections/architecture-engineering-construction/building-design

I am going to state right up front, this is my personal opinion.  Subjective in all its glory.  With that said, if you want to customize AutoCAD, which language should you learn?  In a past blog post, I showed how you could draw a line several ways using Scripts, AutoLISP, VBA and then C#.NET.  If all I wanted to do was draw a line ‘programmatically’ then I would go the easiest route with AutoLISP.  AutoLISP is easy.  ‘Easy’ though can also be a bit ‘clunky,' particularly using DCLs when a GUI is needed.  The more complex the programming requirement, the more you will find that you just can’t get there from AutoLISP.  Visual Lisp may be the answer which really opened up the ObjectARX COM model.  Visual Lisp can be said to be the VBA enabled version of AutoLISP.  Wait, now I have introduced VBA!  Some would say, VBA is the next logical step beyond AutoLISP/Visual Lisp.  And again, for developing a user interface, it is so much easier.  For the longest time, I used VBA for the GUI, and ...

If your Civil 3D software is experiencing major performance degradation where files take too long to open (depending on complexity), plotting is slow, purging is slow, and AUDIT does nothing to help alleviate the issue, then you may want to attempt the recommendations within this Autodesk document:   Civil 3D Performance Degradation Please note that the downloadable zip file mentioned in the solution is at the bottom of the page. And one last very important note:  The update needs to be implemented on every user’s machine. The performance problem will return if an unpatched version of Civil 3D is used to open a file. The performance problem is fixed at the time a file is saved in the updated version of Civil 3D. The first time a user opens a file the update will not be evident. Performance will greatly improve after the first save. External references will need to be resaved to see the benefit of the update.  Check this to verify if your software needs the new DBX file:

I've been working for Applied Software for about 2 years now. As I reflected on that milestone, I thought about all of the places I've gone, people I visited, and things I've done to help people in Construction. Things I'm most Proud of: There are a few things that I have done that have really made me proud. I'll share two of those stories: Problem 1: The first month I was on the job, I went to Orlando to visit a major theme park client. They had a big problem on their hands - they were building an insane new experience where everything in the park lit up, moved, and/or was (or at least appeared to be) floating in mid-air, and almost every piece was unique. They needed a way to track & quickly identify every piece and part in the park & confirm the exact spot where it needed to go. Our Solution With the help of their Theming Subcontractor, COST of Wisconsin, we barcoded everything in the park. We trained their factory team to track the shipment of each item and came up with ...

To apply a special characters or symbols into your text notes,  first access your Windows Accessories Tools/Apps by searching your Windows accessories for the Character Map tool. Once you open the tool, you can select the font style you use and search for the character needed. You can then click the Select button and Copy to copy the symbol to your clipboard. Back in Revit, you can use your Windows accelerator keys to paste the symbols. Use the key combination (ctrl+v = paste) (ctrl+c = copy). Take a look at this quick video of the basic concepts to utilize this tip. Windows Shortcut keys link: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12445/windows-keyboard-shortcuts  

You're attempting to download your Autodesk software but you keep getting errors or it keeps backing out of the download. The odds are you're probably downloading your software via the "Download Now" or "Install Now" method.   There are three methods to download your software and they can all be read about in depth in Autodesk’s Download Methods for Autodesk Account document. The three methods are Install Now Download Now Browser Download I recommend the browser download method since we’ve come to find it the most reliable. It’s the longest method, but it is the most reliable. For information on how to use the browser download method I recommend you read Autodesk’s Using the Browser Download Method for Autodesk Account document. There is also a fourth option that is rarely discussed . . . the Autodesk Virtual Agent . If you don’t have access your Autodesk Account, then you can use the Autodesk Virtual Agent to download your software. To ...

In Revit 2017.1 and later versions, Autodesk introduced "Code checking for Steel Connections," according to AISC standards.  Note: Unless the Steel Connections add-in is installed, only a symbolic generic connection is available. Connection elements are not pre-loaded in templates. Detailed information about connections can include the following: Connection type Detailed geometry Analytical forces and data Materials Fabricator identification    Steel beams, columns, braces and concrete isolated foundations, beams, columns, slabs and walls are valid input elements for structural connections. The connection types that allow one concrete input element are the base plate connections: Base plate, Corner base plate, Base plate cut and Tube base plate. The concrete elements are not mandatory for the connection to work and can only be secondary input elements. The concrete class of the element is automatically used inside the Code Checking engine for verification.   The Structural Connection has the standard Revit object parameters but you can add any type of parameters and use them to save information about ...

Panzura Cloud Storage: The Missing Piece to Vault for Manufacturing
Calling all IT Managers and Directors! Don’t miss this upcoming webinar on pairing Vault data management with Panzura Cloud Storage. Autodesk® Vault data management software helps organize, manage, and track data creation, simulation, and documentation processes for design, engineering, and construction teams. With Vault, you get more control over design data with revision management capabilities, so you can quickly find and reuse design data, for easier management of your design and engineering information. Now, you can maximize collaboration, version control and data management in less time using less storage by pairing Vault with Panzura Cloud Storage. Join us for a free webinar on Tuesday, April 11 at 12:30pm EDT to learn how using Vault with Panzura Global Cloud Storage takes data management to the next level. Make sure your IT Managers and Directors don’t miss this discussion and live demo. Win some brownie points by sending the registration link to them now! We'll show you how utilizing Panzura with Vault can: Increase client access speed with the latest in SSD technology  Increase file replication speed by ...

It has always frustrated me that in AutoCAD, when I wanted to select a group of entities, as soon as I Pan or Zoom to select more, the previous part of the selection window was lost.  Finally, Autodesk has fixed this most egregious situation.  A new System Variable: SelectionOffScreen = 1 will insure flowing selection windows during Pans and Zooms. This is by in large the best new feature introduced to AutoCAD since 2008 and Annotative Scaling, in my humble (or no so humble) opinion.

What's New in Revit 2017.1 & 2017.2?
Autodesk® released Revit® 2017.1 and 2017.2 to improve the overall performance of Revit. You may have noticed some of the updates, but other useful enhancements may not be quite as obvious. That’s why we’re offering an informative webinar on Tuesday, April 4 from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm EDT to highlight these updates and help you make the most of your experience. During the webinar, Senior Application Specialist Matt Dillon will show you the significant Revit updates related to the AEC industry. With more than 30 years of industry experience, Matt has extensive experience using Revit and understands your primary needs and frustrations. Many of the recent enhancements are security improvements and bug fixes, which provide enhanced performance and stability for you and your team. Additionally, your team will be able to collaborate more easily with the upgraded cloud project workflow upgrade. The Revit 2017.2 updates build on the 2017.1 version to further improve project performance. A majority of the updates were requested by Revit users, so if you notice something that could help you become more efficient, send your feedback ...

Autodesk Fabrication update 2017.2 is now live. For current subscription users, access each update through the Application Desktop App or subscription center.