Revit – 3D Grids

One thing I often notice when training new users on Revit is the question ‘Can I see the grids in 3D?’ to which the answer has traditionally been ‘no’!

Revit 3D Grids

Based on this I will now run through a quick tutorial to show you how to both use and create a 3D grid utilising Dynamo.  The basic idea is to select all the grids within a project, get the curves of the grid and then place 3D custom families on these points to replicate the grid. I have created the families with the correct sub categories so the grids can be switched on and off as you probably will not want to see the grids in plans and elevations.

3D Grids - Sub Categories

The Grid Head family uses 3D model text with a parameter attached to receive the actual grid reference. The grid line is modelled with an adaptive two point family with a control for the diameter.

Revit 3D Grids

If you are interested to see how everything works then take a quick look at the attached YouTube video where I run through the Dynamo Script in detail and show the various families.

Hope this helps,


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Autodesk Revit 2018.1 Precast Concrete Solutions

In the early stages of a design the decision to use precast or In Situ concrete on structural components may not have been fully considered. There are many factors that could influence the design and ultimately the construction processes that are implemented. Some typical benefits of precast is Quality control and speed of construction since we are not working with ‘wet’ materials and not having to wait for the concrete elements to fully cure before other structures can be assembled. However, designing with precast elements is a little like a Lego set, you can only create certain forms with economy!

Revit 2018.1 Precast

Autodesk Revit 2018.1 now incorporates a precast module that was acquired from IDAT a few years back. This solution allows for the conversion of planar walls and floors to precast elements which is perfectly suited to the design workflow as outlined in the above paragraph. We can take the initial design and then at a later stage decide to convert these into precast elements.

Shown below are the new precast tools found on the Revit 2018.1 Ribbon.

Revit 2018.1 Precast Ribbon

As you can see from the image above the tools are focused around the division of singular elements such as walls and floor slabs. The splitting of the walls and floors are governed by Configuration settings. For example, you can set a maximum weight and maximum set of dimensions for lifting and transportation. These tools automate the creation of Revit Assemblies which enable the detailing of each individual precast element and the output of CNC code for UniCAM (Unitechnik) and PXML (ProgressXML). There are many settings that the user can tweak and change and below you can see the configuration for the walls maximum dimensions, weight and jointing.

Cast Wall Settings

Another task that the precast module automates is the placement of anchors, bushings and connectors. These are standard Revit families that can be replaced with specific manufactured parts for full coordination and costing.

Precast Anchors and Loop Connectors - Revit Precast

The reinforcement bar is also added via intelligent macros that allow the end user to configure typical arrangements of reinforcement bar. There is not currently an automated way of placing reinforcement bar around openings such as doors and windows but this bar can be added to the part with the standard reinforcement tools. In the below image you can see that the Area and Edge reinforcement can be customised and also have a library of types configured.

Revit Precast Reinforcement configuration

One of the most powerful features of this software is the ability to generate automatic drawings to detail the precast elements as well as the cast in connections and other placed objects such as electrical voids and similar.

Precast Wall Details - Drawings Sheet

The above image shows a typical drawing that is fully automated. Note that the centre of Gravity is also located to allow for the planning of lifting. The panels also support the tilt method of construction which is also useful.

Check out the 10min Tutorial video below.


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Revit 2018.1 – New Freeform Reinforcement Tool


Autodesk are enhancing the reinforcement tools further by implementing a new feature termed as freeform rebar. This new tool currently enables users to add straight bars (Shape Code 00) that follows complex surfaces. The bars will form a complex shape but remain straight for fabrication instructions.

Revit 2018.1 Rebar

The new Freeform Reinforcement tool can be used in a 3D view by first selecting the host face. Note that this tool uses the Select Multiple option so the Space Bar is used to confirm the selection. You next pick the starting surface and then the ending surface and finally press enter to place the bar.

Place Free Form Rebar - Revit 2018.1

This tool is very useful when modelling complex Architecture and Civil structures such as bridges and tunnels. Each bar can be scheduled for a precise length as shown in the image below.

Revit 2018.1 Bending Schedule

Take a look at the YouTube Video to see this tool in action.

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Autodesk Revit 2018.1 – Dynamo Player

Continuing the theme from last year, Autodesk have now launched their mid-year release 2018.1 which brings some exciting new functionality and enhancements to Revit 2018.

I am going to start this review with a major update to Dynamo Player. Dynamo Player was introduced in Revit 2017.1 and brought the ability to launch a Dynamo script without the need to have Dynamo running. Whilst this was a major step forward, the end user could not interact with the script and add inputs, make selections or see results. This has now been addressed within the updated Dynamo Player. In the image below you can now see a Dynamo Script that will create an Excel workbook of a Revit RC Schedule. This needs the Directory and also a file name. The information shown in grey is report information shown after running the script.

Dynamo Player User Inputs

This enables all users to be able to run and interact with Dynamo via a very simple dialog box that is run from the Revit Manage ribbon or the Quick Access Toolbar.

Dynamo Player Icons

To designate an input on the Dynamo Player you simply right click over a node and make sure the ‘Is Input’ option is checked as shown in the image below.Creating a Dynamo Input

Any interactive selection or drop-down user interface input node in Dynamo works in Dynamo Player. Here is an image showing the Dynamo Inputs and the resulting Dynamo Player controls. Very neat.Dynamo Inputs vs Dynamo Player Inputs

Outputs are simply declared with a named Watch Window. For example, you could count a list and then create a watch window. In the image below the outputs are in grey and shown with the green flag.

Dynamo Player outputs as watch window

Overall I think this will be the catalyst needed to get every Revit user to interact and run Dynamo programs. The old Dynamo player was quite restrictive but this is going to truly change the way users interact with projects and scripts.


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Revit 2018 – Geo Location Grid Coordinates from AutoCAD

In this short post I wanted to present a new key feature for the coordination of AutoCAD based data such as AutoCAD Civil 3D to Revit. AutoCAD has been able to utilise Bing mapping services to capture mapping and allow the coordination with many different coordinate systems since AutoCAD 2013.

Revit 2018 now supports this workflow by allowing consistent setting out between civil, structural and architectural disciplines using differing platforms.


If you have not used this feature within AutoCAD the process is shown below. The Set Location tool is found on the Insert Ribbon or you can type GEOGRAPHICLOCATION on the command line.  This can be set before any geometry is created or you could set this at a later date and then move your geometry to the correct ‘map’ position.

AutoCAD 2018 - Set Location

Once the Geographic Location command is started you can set the desired location marker and then click next.

AutoCAD 2018 - Set Marker

In the next dialog you can set the coordinate system that you want to use. In this case I have used British National Grid (OS) and set the units to millimetres.

AutoCAD 2018 - Coordinate System

Click Next and you then select a point for the location and point up the screen to set true north. Your model is now geolocated and you will see a map in the AutoCAD viewport.

You can now trace site boundaries, roads and any other features that you may require. IN the example below a few existing buildings and the new site are traced.

AutoCAD 2018 - New Site marked out

The AutoCAD DWG is then linked into a Revit project. If you are starting a completely new project then you can use acquire coordinates from the manage ribbon which will set the same British National Grid coordinates. If the project is already set up using the same coordinate system then you can simply link the DWG using Auto – By Shared Coordinates and the AutoCAD drawing will ‘land’ in the correct position.

In the image below another AutoCAD drawing is linked in by Auto – By Shared Coordinates.

Link CAD by Shared Coordinates


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Revit 2018 – New Reinforced Concrete features

In each release of Revit we are now seeing a continuous trickle of new features and improvements to the Reinforced Concrete modelling and detailing capabilities. Most of the ‘standard’ features are already firmly established and now Autodesk move on to the reinforcement of complex concrete forms and cross platform workflows. As discussed in my previous post on the Revit 2018 steel detailing features, Autodesk have some stiff competition in this area and are quickly closing the gaps. Also an expected delivery of a BIM project is a complete 3D model and it may no longer be appropriate to issue flat 2D drawings and a bending schedules. Some of the new tools will be very useful in Civil projects such as Tunnels, Bridges and roadside structures where the geometry is likely to be curved and sloped.

I have tested all the new features and will start with the main function of the reinforcement of complex concrete features. In the image below I was able to add 4 L bars in plan and then create a varying range to the inverted truncated pyramid shape.

Revit 2018 New Rebar Features

I also tested the varying distribution on other native Revit in-place families and did struggle with twisted and double curved objects but in general, this new function is very useful and saves a lot of time. In fairness I would image that you would need extra control over double curves and twists and likely have to use something like Dynamo to place ‘real’ reinforcement in a logical way.

Revit 2018 Curved and Multi Planar Rebar

Another refurbished tool is the Rebar graphical constraints. This tool enables reinforcement bar to be constrained in 3D views as well as the traditional 2D views. The user can selected the rebar plane or the end points of the bar and then constrain this to a relevant plane on the host element. In the image shown below you can see the bar plane constraint being set and then the end of the L bar to the front face.

Revit 2018 Graphical 3D Rebar Constraints a

The reinforcement bar also has Bar Handles that allows the physical leg lengths to be dynamically edited which is quite handy when you need to drag the bar around in the 3D view. The graphical constraints will still show the check box to snap the bar to cover.

You can now directly import a 3D solid from another CAD application (AutoCAD, Rhino, Trimble SketchUP & Bentley Microstation) and host reinforcement directly into the elements. This is a neat workflow when coupled to tools such as Infraworks. You can create a bridge and then export this directly to Revit and then add reinforcement.

3D Ramp from AutoCAD to Revit Rebar

In the example above a 3D ramp has been modelled in AutoCAD and then directly imported and reinforced within Revit. In practice this is only useful for single elements and not an entire bridge as you will need to import each solid separately and then set the correct Sub Categories and parameters.

In conclusion Autodesk continue to strengthen the Revit application and make the legacy 2D detailing a think of the past.


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Revit 2018 – New Steel Detailing Features


This year I have decided to review the new structural features of Revit 2018 in two separate posts, Steel Detailing and Concrete. The structural features have been quite interesting in the last few releases and have taken a prominent position over architecture and MEP. Autodesk have a very strong position in the Architecture and MEP markets but have competition in structures market with Tekla Structural Designer. Tekla has transitioned from a steel detailing tool, clearly aimed at fabricators to a multi material BIM modeller with integrated structural analysis (Trimble acquired CSC) that is useful for structural consultants, steel and concrete detailers and engineers. Autodesk are well aware of this and hence are bolstering the steel and concrete features and workflows within Revit. With the above points in mind it is difficult to guess where Revit may go in the future. We could see the integration of cloud based analysis that will completely replace Robot Structural Analysis and perhaps also a full steel detailing capability that would absorb AutoCAD Structural Detailing. I think we have a very exciting few years ahead and will be interesting to see what path Autodesk take. One great strength Autodesk have is a huge portfolio of products and technologies from a wide range of industries and I am sure we will see further integration and consolidation.

Revit 2018 Structural Connections
Revit 2017 introduced steel connections with just over 20 connections that you could apply to ‘approved’ steel members. Revit 2018 now adds over 120 connections that can be used on any steel section, a huge improvement. A Structural consultant can now show indicative connections and convey design intent to a fabricator with the inbuilt connections. Most of these connections can be designed to EC3 with forces and moments taken from a Robot Structural Analysis model.

The main advantages are to enable structural consultants to be able to produce models to a higher Level Of Detail (LOD 350) or LOD 4 in the UK. In my opinion the structure and drawings do look more complete with the connections added and can be marked for design intent/information only.

Another advantage is that the connections can be seamlessly transferred from Revit to Autodesk Advance Steel for full fabrication detailing and production data.


As mentioned above you can now add steel connections to any steel section provided that you add the required data. To place a connection, Revit needs to understand bolt spacing’s, section depths, fillets, shapes etc. This information is added to the family by clicking Family Category and Parameters. In the below image you can see a connection added to a custom purlin C section.

Revit 2018 Custom Sections

The section shape and parameters are added when you select the Section Shape from Family Categories and parameters. In the below example you can see an L profile with Lips selected. Revit will then add all the required parameters automatically allowing a connection to be hosted onto the section.

C section Custom Section

Certain structural connections can be placed in multiple rotations which will affect which members are cut. In the example below you can see that Revit 2018 now shows the order of the connection selection.

Revit 2018 Structural Connection Order

Hopefully you will get some time to play around with the new features and start to use them in your next project.

I have created a video that you may want to watch showing the new steel connections and drawings.


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