Thursday, October 23, 2008

Autodesk updates Seek BIM content site

As highlighted on Harlan Brumm's blog, Autodesk have updated the Seek website. The interface is now far clearer to understand and navigation is a lot easier. If you need BIM content for Revit this should be your starting place. Don't forget that you can access the Seek website from directly within all Revit 2009 products.

Finally, idrop works for Revit as well! You will need to download and install the idrop plugin for Internet Explorer, but this will allow you to drag and idrop content from Seek directly into Revit.


Friday, October 17, 2008


I visited a well known architectural practice this week who specialize in freeform organic architecture. They  had asked me come in to present Revit Architecture 2009 to see how they may be able to incorporate into their workflow. However, in our discussions about software that they currently use they advised me to take a look at an application called TopMod. I wrote down the details and Googled it when I got home.

This is an amazing application! As the website says "TopMod3d is a free, open source, portable, platform independent topological mesh modeling system that allows users to create high genus 2-manifold (watertight) meshes". I knocked this up in about 2 minutes!


Agreed its not Revit, but I would certainly recommend you take a look if you like creating organic forms within a computer environment. TopMod has limited export capabilities, but I was able to save the file in .obj format and was then able to import this into 3dsmax.


I then exported the form from Max as a DWG and was able it import it into a Revit mass family. This is only a mesh, so you won't be able to cut floor plates from the mesh.


Quick draft render in Revit......


Challenges with cw panels

A reader asked me this question the other day......

"Was trying to do a special deck after converting the flat roof to a sloped glazing and my loaded curtain panel got the following message....."


This is Revit's polite way of saying "go take a long walk off a short pier; I ain't trying to fit that cw panel into that curtain grid!" If the cells of the curtain wall are not rectangular because maybe you've changed the grid pattern angle and you then try to include a custom cw panel which won't actually form to the cell, you will get the above message.

I generally try to keep my curtain wall grid angles always at 0 degrees, agreed this is not always possible. But where I need to create a panel which is a custom shape, I create a generic family  and the load this into a cw panel, being mindful that the panel needs to repeat. What we need is the ability to create complex panel systems without having to resort to rectangular grids.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Revit Hauer cw download


A number of readers have asked if I could upload and share the Hauer panel from the last post. I've zipped up the file, click here for download. This is a stripped down version of the project which includes the curtain wall system as well as the families. Enjoy. :-)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Revit Hauer flexible cw panels

I thought I'd share my latest "out there" Revit experiment with you :-). This comes after Dave Baldacchino sent me a link to a site which looked at some of the other sculptural forms that Erin Hauer has created. Thanks Dave, because this inspired me to look at something a little different.



Whether this is architecture, art or just plain silliness I'm not sure, but I love the pattern creating ability in Revit. To be able to create a form which is parametric and push the changes through to multiply copies to achieve a different design, I personally find very interesting.



Generic family nested into cw panel family

Again, this follows my normal process of a generic family nested into a cw panel family and then loaded into cw system. This allows the curtain wall system to control the number of panels as well as the overall size of each panel.


What is interesting about particularly form is that it contains various solids and voids to build up the family, but I've included parametric constraints to control the initial cube form in the centre. This in turn controls various other extrusions and sweeps which make up the family, you will even notice that the cube is hollow in the centre.


Controlling parameters

It certainly took a far amount of time to build this particular family up, because you would try something, break it, then take a different route to solve the problem. What I did do was include a check parameter to stop the family from breaking. This is reasonably straight forward to achieve.


I had a parameter called "length_outer", this controlled the overall size of the cube within the family.

I then created another parameter as a check. This was called "length_outer_ check". I used an "if" statement to control the family.

if(length_outer > 5000 mm, 5000 mm, length_outer)

So if the length_outer was greater than 5000mm, (greater than this figure and the family would break!) then it was 5000mm, else it would remain at any length than you created which was obviously less than 5000mm. This is probably reasonably straight forward for advanced Revit users but its useful for those that are new to family creation and is a good use of the "if" statement.

Parametric design

This is what the family looked like with an outer length of 5000mm (the max it could be before breaking)....


This is what the curtain system looks like when the panel set to its max size of 5000mm.


This is what the same family looked like with the outer length set to 1050mm.....


This is the resulting curtain system using the size defined above.


Good Luck Tim!

Now I know I have a number of UK readers, but a fellow colleague of mine, Tim Bates announced that he was leaving Excitech around about a month ago.  He is set to join Newforma as Director of EMEA Operations from the beginning of next week. Tim joined Excitech 9 years ago after running his own reseller business before that.

If anybody has been lucky enough to meet, work with him or listen to him present, you will understand that he has a passion for BIM and collaborative working. Tim was instrumental in the use of ADT in the UK and pushed ADT to the limits in the early days when the industry wasn't ready for Revit and Autodesk's BIM app of choice was ADT. He regularly feedback UK requirements for the product to the Autodesk Development teams, was involved in Heathrow T5 as well as scores of other collaborative projects where ADT was the platform of choice.

I've had the pleasure of working with Tim for the last 5 years and I'd like to wish him all the very best in his new venture!