Thursday, November 29, 2007

The REVIT Tipping point

The Tipping Point' by Malcolm Gladwell is a great book. I recommend it. I read it about a year ago. I can relate Mr Gladwells book to REVIT as it starts to tip.
I will not attempt to paraphrase the book but the underlying information I extrapolated was this: At some point for a combination of reasons an epidemic starts to take place. It could be with regards to a fashion piece or a crime wave or a product sale or a trend of some sort.
It starts from way down and can take a long time to reach the tipping point but then it tips over. It tips over and catches on like grassfire. Google most definately had a tipping point. (did you buy shares?)

McDonalds and Coca Cola are living proof that you can spend millions of $$ and try to artificially create an epidemic but fail. In fact, things generally 'Tip' because of word of mouth. That's how Google did it. Once you get certain 'key' people to get on board it starts to manifest and grow. But it does not start with a super bowl commercial.

I correspond with lots of people around the world every day and I joyfully scour the internet for press releases and inside CAD information. I am starting to see more and more commitments like "We plan to be 90% REVIT by 2009".
I've said it before. The next 24 months are going to see some change.
Could we be witnesing the REVIT Tipping point ?
"You bet your bottom dollar we are". . . . T I M B E R !

You heard it here first !

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Revit Structure 2008 Imperial Tutorials and Datasets

As most us us know, ALL of the REVIT 2008 tutorial help files and data sets do NOT come with the normal installation. This is a MAJOR pain in the behind. When you open the help tutorials they tell you how to go and download the files. It takes a few minutes and some skilled know how but even I got caught in a loop hole that I could not get out of.

The data sets download and install ok. Then I got the imperial help file TutorialsStructureImpENU.chm all working but could not for the life of me get the metric tutorials help file to install (or unzip). I kept getting the error shown below.

I tried again the next day. Same error. Finally weeks later it worked. I had no idea why it worked this time.

Then fianlly the reason dawned on me, becasue things like that eat away at me until I find out WHY ! It was because I was actually in the installed help file (dialog box) that tells you how to go get the real help file and when you try to install the real help file it won't let you unzip it because you are in the file it is trying to over write. DAM !

MAJOR inconvenience to say the least.

So if you found the above information confusing just remember if you get the error shown below while trying to unzip the downloaded tutorial help file it means 'go close the REVIT tutorial help dialog box' then try again.

Now, there's something really cool after it's all said and done. I noticed that if your project units 'length' parameter is 'inches' or imperial units the imperial tutorial help file gets opened when you click on Help > Tutorials. If your project units 'length' parameter is 'millimeters' or metric units the metric tutorials help file is opened from the same Help > Tutorials click. If only the installation was so slick !

Here is the contents of the original installed tutorial help file:
I have added one very crutial line in RED.


Revit Structure 2008 Imperial Tutorials and Datasets

The imperial tutorials and datasets are now available on the Autodesk website.

Follow the instructions below to download the tutorial exercises and datasets to your computer.

Tutorial Download Instructions:

Navigate to: C:\Program Files\Revit Structure 2008\Program
Right-click each tutorial CHM file, click Properties, clear the Read-only attribute, and then click OK.
Click the following link to access the Revit Structure 2008 Documentation download page.

Under Select a language, select your language.

On the Autodesk Revit Structure 2008 page, under Tutorials, double-click the Revit Structure Imperial Tutorial EXE file.

In the File Download dialog, click Save to save the file to your Desktop.

Make sure you close the Help dialog box in REVIT before continuing.

On your Desktop, double-click the EXE file that you downloaded to automatically extract the file to the correct folder on your local computer.

Note: After the download is complete, the imperial tutorials will be available by clicking Help menu -> Tutorials.

Dataset Download instructions:

On the Autodesk Revit Structure 2008 page, under Imperial Datasets, double-click the first

Revit Structure Dataset EXE file.

In the File Download dialog, click Save to save the file to your Desktop.

On your Desktop, double-click the EXE file that you downloaded to automatically extract the datasets to the correct folders on your local computer.

Using the same method, extract the remaining dataset EXE files on the page.Note: Once the downloads are complete, all datasets will be available in the Training folder within Revit Structure 2008.

REVIT MEP Video Tutorial - Energy Data Setup

Above is a 6 minute video tutorial demonstrating how to setup the Energy Data properties for the REVIT MEP project. Once this is done you can use the awesome Heating and Cooling Load calculations API provided by IES to create the report.

From there we apply those loads to our mechanical system and start to layout the physical model.
We specify the 'Building type' and the 'Building Construction (assembly) types' to further enhance the accuracy of the energy analysis. See images below.
Building Type

Building Construction (assembly) Types

Thanks to for posting this tutorial on their site.

Monday, November 26, 2007

REVIT Video Tutorial - Hide Flat Roof Superfluous Linework

Above is a great 3 minute video tutorial demonstrating how to get rid of extraneous or superfluous linework that REVIT adds in to triangular flat sloped roofs and floors.
You use 'invisible' linework to cover up the unwanted lines. To reverse the process do the same thing but change the linework back to (by catagory) by selecting (by catagory. . . . or any other linetype) from he linework type selector.
Note the before and after pictures below.



Thanks to for posting this tutorial on their site.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

REVIT BIM and Cost Estimating White Paper

I stumbled upon this very informative white paper and thought I would share.
Click the image above to access the white paper in PDF format.

Click the image below to navigate to a 3rd party Estimating software QuickBill3D that interprets an exported REVIT schedule and then tabulates and reformats that data to industry standards.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

REVIT Horizontal and Vertical Orthographic Snap Angle Tips

Above is a 6 minute video tutorial demonstrating a couple quick tips on drawing linear objects in and around the orthographic axis.
Thanks to for posting this tutorial on their site.

Friday, November 16, 2007

USG Design Studio for REVIT Content

I have taken the liberty of creaing a 3 minute video (above) on a little discovery I found on Steve Staffords - REVIT OpEd blog.

This discovery is the USG Design Studio for REVIT content web site. It's free, it's cool, it's real and it's ready to be used.

You can search for wall assemblies by fire and sound rating or you can simply browse the wall types. We have all been waiting / hoping to see these REVIT content sites show up and guess what....they're HERE !

You can even build a wall type right on the web site for download. I have not tried that yet but I will.

Below are the wall types I downloaded in the form of a REVIT *.RTE template file. Then I opened that file and 'cut and pasted' the USG wall types into my project using the 'project browser'. And as we already know......with the walls come all the 'materials', right !

I have to say it .... USG Rocks !

REVIT MEP (RME) Content Extensions Download

I have noticed something very significant as I am learning to use REVIT MEP (RME).

This as compared to learning REVIT Architecture (RAC) and REVIT Structure (RST).

RAC and RST are mostly about molding the 'materials' into place.

RME is all about placing fixtures, fittings, and equipment within a logical system.
I look at it as 'Materials' vs 'Parts'.

Bottom line....RME needs parts (families). Lots and lots and lots of parts (families) with all the correct specifications.

So then, just as I turn around Autodesk has just released new RME content which you can get from the link below.

FYI - I had a problem unzipping the downloaded file from the link below (could not overwrite an rfa file) so I extracted it to a different folder from the default folder and then manually copied the files to the Library folder.
Here's the download link (metric and imperial content)

More REVIT Content Downloads at these locations below.
Broutek Mechanical and Piping components.
USC Interiors, Lighting, Ceilings

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Autodesk Freewheel and DWF fun !

Thanks to for posting this tutorial on their site.
Below I've embedded 4 DWF exports from REVIT 2008 using the cool 'FREE'

Autodesk Freewheel technology.

The first Freewheel viewer displays a linked 2d DWF exported from REVIT MEP and the second viewer shows a 3D DWF linked from a REVIT Architecture export.

It's weird.....once you hover your mouse over the viewer(s) below you can (and will) :
- use the wheel button on your mouse to zoom in and out.
- dynamicly pan by pressing the wheel button

You can also combine this with the zoom and pan tools provided on the menu bar. Then you can further use your regular left mouse button in combination with the menu bar tools.

I would just like to change the zoom increment.

Lastly on the upper right you may see additional dwf pages.

How fun is this !

Below is a 3D DWF file. You can use the 'Orbit' tool !

This one seems to go a little 'wonkie' at times.
Orbit TIP: When using the 'orbit' tool, start by resticting your mouse movement to only horizontal and vertical, starting the movement from the center of the circle. . . . .got the hang of it . . . . . ok now click your mouse outside the circle (cursor changes) move around the outside of the circle. Now you are rotating about the viewing axis. That's it, rock and roll.

This is simple to do and could very easily be applied in so many ways my head is spinning (no pun intended).

Below is a sample 3D DWF of sanitary waste piping.

Below is a sample 3D DWF of an HVAC Pimary and Secondary Supply Air System.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Broutek Provides REVIT MEP Families

Best Practice Tips for Worksets

I swiped these notes from a burried Autodesk web site and it is a little dated but still applies. Best Practice Tips for Worksets: 1. It is important to remember that once Worksets are activated, there is no way to turn them off. The only options available are to continue using Worksets, or to revert to a previously saved file (before Worksets were activated). 2. The Workset username is determined by the Windows log-on name, not by the Revit installation process. 3. If mapped drives are used, all users of the same central file must map the central's network path to the same letter. Worksets will not work with different users trying to access the central file using different network paths because currently Revit stores the absolute path with the Central File. The Central File (CF) understands an absolute path which must be identical on all computers that are working on the project while using worksets. For example, if User 1 has mapped his J:\ drive to the CF location, User 2 must also map his J:\ drive when working on the same project. If this practice is not followed, error messages that the CF cannot be found will occur." 4. To change the number of backup files for a project after the initial Save As..., choose the Save As... option again, and select the Options... button. Here you can change the maximum number of backup files as desired.
Thanks to for posting this tutorial on their site. 5. There is no prompt to alert the user that he is working in the Central file (While it is not good practice for many reasons, a user may work directly in the central file at any given time). A good way to quickly determine if you are in the central file or the local file is by looking at the 'Save to Central' icon located next to the standard Save icon in the standard tool bar. If the icon is grayed out, then the user is currently in the Central File. If the user is in a local file, the icon will be active. 6. While working in a local file and perfoming a 'Save to Central...', is a backup created?Yes. In this case, the existing Central File becomes the backup and a new Central File is created (typically on the server). A user may also just choose File ; Save, which does not save their changes to the Central File. In this second scenario, the user is saving his or her "local" file, and a backup of the local file is created in the same directory where their local file resides (typically on their hard drive). In both cases, the backups are contained in the directory with the same name as the file. 7. After checking out a workset, if changes are made to the model or the Settings/Views, the user should 'Save to Central' before checking the workset back in. If the worksets are not checked back in, any changes will be lost because Revit only saves changes that are in Worksets that are marked Editable at the time of Save to Central. 8. Editable at risk status: Use caution when checking out worksets from a local copy without being connected to the network and the Central Location. This user must be extremely careful about checking in his/her changes prior to anyone else; otherwise there is a risk of losing changes to all worksets that the user checked out. The benefit of this status is that if a copy of the central location is taken home and the user forgets to check out a certain workset, he/she can still do so from home without reconnecting to the Central Location.

Greenbuild ... IES launch Revit Architecture

'Integrated Environmental Solutions Ltd.' provides plug-in for Autodesk REVIT products.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

REVIT MEP HVAC VIdeo Demonstration

Above is a 10 minute demonstration on using
REVIT MEP (RME) to create an HVAC, Secondary Supply Air System.

Here's how we do it.

1. We Link in the Architectural Model.

2. Copy/Monitor the Levels and Rooms after synchronizing the phases between the two files.

3. Run the 'IES' Heating and Cooling load calculations to get the Air Flow requirements.

4. Choose a room and insert 2 Air Terminals (190 CFM diffusers) at 8'-0" and 1 VAV Unit (380 CFM ) at 9'-0".

5. Create the 'logical system' to include the 2 terminals and one piece of equipment.

6. Convert the 'system' to 1 of 5 Ductwork routing options using the Ductwork conversion rules.

Are here's what it looks like when it's' done.
I can feel that air moving already !

Friday, November 02, 2007

REVIT MEP exceeds REVIT Architecture sales

Ok ok, I gotcha. I'm a little premature.

But this is my prediction. REVIT MEP (RME) will beat REVIT Architecture (RAC) sales at some point in the foreseable future. I guess the question is 'how many mechanical consulting firms are there in the world"?

If you are in the MEP design business you should be looking into how REVIT MEP can improve your deliverable quality and speed up your turn over time. Get someone to give you a demo.

Here's the bad news people. Listen up. If you are strictly a CAD draftsperson in the MEP business you should get some 'design' training. With these new 3D design tools and 3rd party plug-ins the engineer or designer doesn't need the basic draftsperson anymore. This fact combined with the fact that you could never get your engineers motivated to learn AutoCAD ( thanks) but they are gonna jump at this opportunity and eliminate someones job in the mean time. The engineer can design (in 3D) and produce the documennts all on their own with a single application.

RME does have some current issues with worksharing and multiple users on large scale projects but it is still in it's infant stage. I am very positive about it's future.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

REVIT MEP Supply Air System, Parallel Fan Powered VAV, Ducts, Duct Fixtures and Air Terminals

Well I am getting pretty excited with what I see so far in REVIT MEP (RME).

My expertise lies more with the architectural and structural disciplines but I spent some valued time in the oil and gas industry. That 4 years in the EPCM (Engineering Procurement Construction Management) business exposed me to the principal of a 'system' and at a very large scale. With that I also learned the difference between the 'logical system' and the 'physical system' and documenting the output. I hope to pass on that relative experience and tie it in to RME,....... because I can !

I am now educating myself on the work processes and mechanical terminology of this application. I can see how someone with REVIT experience and the basic understanding of Mechanical concepts could go a long way with this tool.

Repeat after me "System Browser....bim....bim....bim". RME has this amazing bi-directional tool called the System Browser. It works like the project browser but in relation to the various mechanical systems. Wait, let me grab my Ray-Ban's, I'm starting to see this BIM concept shining through the haze.

Then there is the bi-directional scheduling / modelling features true to REVIT. Use the schedule(s) as a design tool. It's designed to do so ! Tile your revit view windows, make a change in either the schedule or the model and watch the real time changes take place.

You can create an air terminal schedule (for example) and apply a calculated range of + / - CFM's based on actual air supply vs calculated air supply. Color code the schedule cell for the terminals that do / do not meet the range so you can easily identify a problem area.

I am just dusting the surface of RME and this is only RME in it's infant stages so WOW ! I think I'm going to switch disciplines.

Anyone who knows REVIT will agree with me that REVIT was made to do this stuff (maybe better than architecture?). Because mechanical systems are 'logical' and 'system' driven I believe REVIT MEP will be the catalyst to bridge us to the BIM place they keep telling us about.

CADclips REVIT Videos Here

Monday, October 29, 2007

REVIT MEP Heating and Cooling Calculations

When I clicked the 'calculate' button in my REVIT MEP Heating and Cooling Calculations the calculation process kind of just hung there.

So after a little investigation I learned that there was a 3rd party (IES) that was not working properly.

After running the installation from the link below and restarting my REVIT MEP it all worked beautifully.

Below is the IES installation link:

Here's a snapshot of the cool report that it generates.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

RAC 2008 Render Curtain System Video

Thanks to for posting this tutorial on their site.

Above is a 13 minute video on creating curtain systems by using blended massing 'faces', then adding in a toposurface, a few more site objects and finally rendering a couple perspectiive views.

Tip: One of the key factors with rendering is to make sure you are in a perspective (camera) view. If you use the regular '3D' view to render in you will not get the same rendered effect for the sky, clouds, entourage and the materials.

In the video above we add in clouds and show you how to change the sky. You can also load a background image from within the rendering environment settings dialog box.

You can change the resolution and pixel size of a raytrace rendering.

There are four very important factors to consider for rendering:

1. Lighting

2. Materials - Accurender Texture

3. Render from a Perspective View

4. Pay very close attention to the the physical size of the view crop region (ie: 4"x 3") vs the rendered DPI resolution (ie: 75, 150 300).

After selecting the 'Raytrace' button notice the Draft, Medium and Presentation options as shown below.

Also try clicking on the crop region of a perspctive view before rendering. Notice the Size button on the Options Bar as shown below.
These two options shown below work together to get the best quality of a rendering.
Render Settings Dialog Box.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

REVIT Architecture 2008 Curtain Systems Video

Watch the video above and learn how to draw this Solarium in about 8 minutes.

REVIT Curtain Systems and Curtain Walls are really easy to model.

You can draw Curtain Walls just like any other wall and you can model Curtain Systems by using existing model edges, faces or linework.

In the video demonstration above I use a few model lines placed at two different levels to quickly construct the solarium you see above.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

RST 2008 Coping Steel Intersections

Thanks to for posting this tutorial on their site.

REVIT Structure 2008 'Coping' Video Tutorial.

(in the video above I say REVIT 'Architecture' which is incorrect. It is 'Structure'.)
There are a couple new buttons that showed up in REVIT Structure 2008 for 'Coping'.

That is 'coping' not 'copying'........right.

Coping is fun. Coping is easy. Coping simply rocks!

View the video above to see how the REVIT developers have made another cool 3D modeling feature one step easier to use.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

REVIT MEP 2008 - Lets get it on !

Thanks to for posting this REVIT MEP 2008 Overview on their site.

REVIT MEP 2008 in action
Well I am starting to ease my way into REVIT MEP. Yeah !

What's not to like about a full 3d solution for Architecture, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing. All with discipline specific models talking to each other, sharing data and interfacing in the same way. Yes, yes, I think I like this BIM approach.

I have to say, it's a different point of view from the MEP side of the 'monitor' (no pun intended).

There's a little more regard for the files you are receiving and the format in which they arrive on your door step. Hopefully you can get a REVIT Architecture model with all the walls and 'Rooms' positioned accordingly.
REVIT 'rooms' are initially created by the architect and then utilized by the MEP people. Then the MEP people start their own new project file and link in the architectural model. Using the Copy / Monitor tools the MEP people can create a local copy of the 'rooms' and design away in full 3D , all while monitoring the changes from the original architectural model.

You choose to view the architectural model as you please and where you please. You can even host local MEP components (fixtures) on linked model objects such as walls, ceilings and floors. But there is an issue that autodesk has to on....

One current issue with REVIT MEP seems to be with regards to 'surface hosted' vs 'object hosted' families. REVIT MEP components such as electrical and lighting fixtures are created (out of the box) as 'wall hosted','ceiling hosted', 'floor hosted' etc.
This works great until the linked architectural wall, ceiling or floor goes missing or is non orthagonally altered. Then all your fixtures go missing as well.
If / when the MEP components or fixtures are 'surface hosted' they do not dissappear when the linked wall or room goes missing.
The problem is most REVIT MEP components 'out of the box' are NOT surface hosted families they are object hosted.

Do you want all your fixtures to dissappear if the architects wall or ceiling dissappears? Maybe or maybe not. I'd say leave it up to me as to what I want to do with orphaned fixtures.

Now, do we start to convert all the 'object hosted' components to 'surface hosted' components or do we wait for autodesk to solve this fundamental problem? I would say just convert the components we use the most and wait to see.

Below are some Autodesk produced videos giving an overview of a few REVIT MEP topics.

(My apologies for the dead autodesk links below. I will get them resolved)

Electrical Overview Videos

Electrical Lighting and Power Circuitry

Electrical Lighting Calculations

Electrical Power Load Balancing, Wire Sizing and Panel Schedules

Electrical Wire Tags and Lighting Switch Topology

Fire Protection Overview Videos

Fire Protection Sprinkler Placement

Heating and Cooling Overview Videos

Heating and Cooling Load Analysis

Mechanical Overview Videos

Mechanical Design Criteria

Mechanical Duct Sizing and Inspection

Mechanical System and Duct Layout

Plumbing Overview Video

Plumbing System Layout

REVIT Structure 2008 Videos by Autodesk

Below are some general tutorial videos for REVIT Structure 2008
provided by Autodesk.
(sorry the videos below are temporarily out of order, please chech back later)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

REVIT Keyboard Shortcut Commands

Thanks to for posting this CADclip on their site.

Above is a great silent video explaining how to create keyboard shortcut commands in all REVIT based products.

Because REVIT does not have a 'command line' or at least one that we can see, Keyboard Shortcuts are a quick way to access the existing Pull Down menu commands.

Have you ever noticed that to the right of some pull down menu commands are two (shortcut) keys that you can type instead of going through the pull down menus.

You do not have to hit enter with REVIT just the 2 characters.

It is user customizable by editing
the KeyboardShortcuts . txt file.

Friday, August 24, 2007

REVIT Structure 2008 Rebar Area Reinforcing

Thanks to for posting this CADclip on their site.

Rebar Rocks !

The new Area Reinforcing system family makes laying out nominal steel a sinch.

Because REVIT tools all work the same it really takes no practice at all.

Select the slab or wall, click the area reinforcing tool and sketch the area outline including openings.

Perhaps use the pick tool and perhaps lock the sketch lines to the slab edges. We've done this before with floors and roofs.

Then simply use the properties to specify the top and bottom rebar size, spacing, bla bla bla and you're done.
This rebar does not show up in 3D but it does show up in all sections.

In true REVIT fashion it parametrically updates everywhere as you make changes in any view.

Below is a link to a great video CADclip showing how Area Reinforcing works.

(click the link above to play the CADclip or right click and "save target as..." to download)