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Friday, 30 October 2015

Project Shapeshifter to Revit Conceptual Design

Project Shapeshifter is a free Autodesk technology preview providing an easy way to create complex 3D printable models in your web browser - Project Shapeshifter Facebook Page

After playing around with Project Shapeshifter, I have to say I am quite impressed. Extremely complex geometrical forms can be created, which would take a considerable amount of time to replicate in Revit's massing environment, as well as through visual programming in Dynamo. I wondered how one could utilize these Project Shapeshifter forms in Revit and started defining a workflow.

The first images below will demonstrate the various forms one can create in Project Shapeshifter, based on the pre-existing templates. 

The Cube template will be active by default. There is a filmstrip to the bottom of the web browser which allows you to choose from 38 patterns, and apply those patterns to the object.

Below are the different patterns which can be applied, and their effects:

The various forms one can choose from, takes place from the templates tab to the top of the web browser. There are 12 forms to choose from.

A snake form was chosen. One can now start to modify basic settings applicable to this form, or even move to more advanced settings. One can even decide what the form geometry will look like: Based on a circle, half circle, triangle, etc.

The best feature for me would be the Randomize function. You will get a random form with a random pattern and random template applied. This shapeshifter model can then be downloaded in either a *.obj file format, or *.stl file format. With a quick file format conversion in 3ds Max to ACIS Sat, the concept is useable in Revit.  

Walls and Curtain Systems were applied to the form faces, to generate quite an interesting structure:

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

View Anomaly

A client recently contacted me with a very interesting observation, a view anomaly if you will. Whilst setting up his template, he created a company standard callout. When window selecting the callout, Revit showed he had 1 callout selected. However, when selecting all callouts in the view, he suddenly had 2 callouts. He could not find the "ghost" callout, nor could I. 

Below is an example of the view amounts when window-selecting the callout, detail section, and building section:

This is where things get interesting: When selecting all callouts, detail sections and building sections in the view, we now have twice as many views

A view list schedule confirms that we only have one of each type

After a bit of investigation, we saw that the Crop Boundary for each view is also seen by Revit as a View, which kind of makes sense. So there you have it: A section, for example, is actually two views - the section itself, as well as the crop region.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Revit 2016 R2 Available for Download

Revit 2016 Release 2 has been made available for download.

Steve's blog: Revit OpEd, lists the enhancements for which Autodesk created videos (The link is also provided in his blog entry). Additional information about the new release can also be found at In The Fold, Autodesk's Public Relations site

As far as I can see there is nothing to jump up and down for about the Mechanical and Electrical enhancements, but I will verify this over the weekend and give some feedback in a future post.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Revit Catacomb

"Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or the incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable" - William Pollard
This entry is based on a mobile android game called SoulCraft, developed by MobileBits. As I was playing the game, I entered the Egyptian tomb level and I thought: It might be a fun exercise to recreate this Egyptian tomb in Revit. 

Below are two screenshots of the level's environment, using my cellphone's screenshot function:

Based on the latter images, a mock catacomb was created with the following rendered result:

The burial niches were created as Generic Model  families, with the Family Category changed to Window when it was complete. Due to the category change, it was possible to add an opening cut to the niches. A recessed light source was also placed above the niches for illuminating the opening, and respective sarcophagi. I was able to etch the Egyptian symbols into the tapered column by sketching it out using voids.

Splitting the floor face enabled me to apply two materials to each segment to indicate the different floor finishes. The trim around the wall niches were created using an in-place sweep.

Enabling the Light Sources in a realistic view, provided a good indication of how the light distribution would look in the rendering.

See? It's not necessary to only Revit during working hours. Have fun!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Mosaic Floor Desi... Hey look, a chicken!

Originally, this entry was intended to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of designing a feature mosaic floor using an image, as opposed to modelling each and every single tile complete with grouting. However, it seems I have developed a mild case of ADD so this entry morphed into something else.

You might already ask: Why on earth do you want to model each and every tile? If I really, really need to know the amount of tile variations and volume of grouting, I would rather obtain it from the flooring specialist. I complete agree with the latter statement.

The first example sourced from the internet will focus on applying an image to a floor's material. 

The advantage of using this method is that it will take 5 minutes to set up. The disadvantage is that one will not see the tiling layout unless we are in a Realistic visual style (There is however a very simple a quick fix to this). All that needs to be done is to create a new material name, material asset, and apply the mosaic floor image to the material. Some image offset values might need to be adjusted, as the image might not be perfectly centered.

The end result may look like the image below: 

Now, at this point my ADD kicked in: I thought about the scheduling of these mosaic tiles and how much grouting would be required (Just in case I do not trust the flooring specialist). I created a copy of the mosaic floor, and traced each tile. Where possible, arrays were created either as an array to second, or array to last. Displaced element sets were created with 50mm height increments.

A material takeoff schedule was created to verify the amount, area, and volume of tiles and grouting required

But then I thought, how great would it look to make this mosaic floor a true feature showcase floor. Incremental offset values were added to each "ring" of tiles, with 10mm rods added to each tile set.

Was it worth all of the time and work? Yes, it looks pretty. But do you really have 6 hours to spare on a live project to play around with a "nice to have"? 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

An Alternative Browser Organization

A well set up browser organization will save you many hours of work. Rather than searching through hundreds of views, we are able to categorize those views according to either our own, or the project's standards.

There is however an alternative to using Revit's default browser organization: View Types. As can be seen from the image below, the default browser organization lists all Views according to their View Types: Floor Plans, Ceiling Plans and Elevations.

When we edit a view's type properties, we can Duplicate the type of view. We can create any view type we require, as the type property is a text field.

Below is a quick example of a browser organisation that has been edited to include floor plans for both Working Drawings, as well as Council Submission drawings. 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Curtain Wall Mullion Types

This blog entry will focus on the different Curtain Wall Mullion Types we have access to in the default Revit program. Additional to the Rectangular and Circular curtain wall mullions, we also have access to different types of Corner mullions, namely:

- L Corner Mullion
- Quad Corner Mullion
- Trapezoid Corner Mullion
- V Corner Mullion

I have created a very simple greenhouse using sloped glazing for the roof. Tip: Using L Corner mullions on the ridge, will make it look like V Corner Mullions were applied.

As always, one tends to get diverted when playing around with Revit. I aimed to create a very short introduction to the different types of mullions, and ended up adding parametric openable curtain panel windows, pots and planting. Such is life.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Duct Insulation and Lining - How it affects Duct Sizing

I am often asked whether the automatic duct sizing function in Revit still works when one adds insulation and lining. Will my ducting and/or piping recognize the insulation and lining? The short and long of it all, is yes. 

As can be seen from the image below, we have an un-insulated and unlined duct run to the left. When adding insulation and lining (25mm), the duct section pressure drop adjusts automatically. Happy? I am. 

When one starts the automatic duct sizing command, the un-insulated and unlined ducting sizes according to 9 m/s flow and 0.8 Pa pressure drop. With insulation and lining added, one can clearly see Revit taking the 25mm insulation and lining into account, adjusting not only the duct sizes, but also the duct section pressure drop values. 

Even when changing the insulation and lining thicknesses to 50mm, Revit still processes the changes. Happy? I still am.