Here is an updated version of our popular Autodesk Revit Quick Reference Card for download!
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Here is an updated version of our popular Autodesk Revit Quick Reference Card for download!
Download from this Link:
When Dynamo was first released for Autodesk Revit I assumed that this would just be used for computational geometry and complex architectural forms. However, I recently took a deeper look into Dynamo and started to realise that this has many uses for the everyday management of models, manipulation of data and the automation of typical time consuming tasks.
I have created a small Dynamo program to create drawing sheets by reading data from an Excel Sheet and also generate parameters for each view to aid the view categorisation. I was surprised at how quickly this visual ‘code’ came together! Let’s take a look at the process from the start.
First you need to make sure that you have Dynamo installed, this is installed automatically with Revit 2015 R2 and Revit 2016 but can be installed separately for older releases. The versions are changing very rapidly so in this tutorial I am using Dynamo V0.8.
In the future I can see Dynamo appearing in many other Autodesk applications as it has a very flexible and intuitive interface for the average Revit user that is not a coding expert.
Let’s now look at the steps required to create this visual application. This of course can be scaled up to meet more demanding procedures as required!
4. Switch to Dynamo and start a new Dynamo File.
5. You will now see the main Dynamo interface. The Dynamo application is split between the node library on the left and the Workspace on the right. You will also notice that Dynamo has a search function at the top of the node library for locating specific nodes. Note that older versions of Dynamo may not display icons.
Start by searching for the File Path node as shown below.
Click the File Path node once and it will be added to your workspace. The workspace can be zoomed and panned in the same way as Revit and you can drag the node to any location within the workspace.
Click the Browse button and locate your Microsoft Excel file. This node will allow you to select any type of file on your PC.
6. Next you add File from Path node. This should appear in the node library as it contains the File Path search string. Click this node to add it to the workspace.
Next you ‘wire’ the nodes together as shown below. This is the primary method of building a visual program within Dynamo. At any time you can select the small grey square below the file node to display a watch window to show the current output.
7. Using a similar process you can search for the Excel nodes and add Excel.ReadFromFile and a String Node. These should look like the following as shown below. The String entry is used to select the correct sheet in Microsoft Excel, in our case we named it ‘DRAWING NUMBERS’. Note the Watch window now shows the data from the Excel File. If any boxes show in Yellow then there is an error in your inputs.
8. Next we need to split the data into separate columns from the list. Note that the watch window shows ,  and . These are the column headers in Excel.
9. Type List.Transpose in the Search nodes and then add this to the workspace. Wire the Var node to the List node. You then search and add a Number node and also the List.GetItemAtIndex.
Wire these together as shown below. Again click the grey Square box to show a Watch window of the data. Notice that this is now reading the first column of the Excel Sheet.
10. You then repeat this process to create three separate lists. Note that you can copy and paste the nodes for speed. Select the nodes with the Ctrl Key and then Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V and then rewire. Your workspace should now look similar to the below image.
11. Next we create a new node to create the drawing sheets in your Revit project. In the search field type ‘Sheet By Name’ and then add the ‘ByNameNumberTitleblockAndView’ node to your workspace. You can then wire the Sheet Name and Sheet Number and connect these to the relevant lists as shown below.
12. The next step is to tell the node what titleblock to use. In this example we will use the default A1 Metric title block. Type ‘Family Types’ into the node search and add this to the work space. Also search for ‘Views’ and add this to the workspace as shown below. You can of course use your own settings for the title block and view. In this example I have used the North Elevation for the first view and A1 metric for the Title Block.
That should be your code. The Running of this code is probably set to Automatic by default but you can select run in the bottom left of the Dynamo interface as shown below.
I hope that this has shown how useful and simple Dynamo can be for automation of tedious operations. I will showcase some more uses for Dynamo in future tutorials.
Many of us have been eagerly awaiting the host of new features and product improvements to Revit Structure 2016 and today we have finally reached the date where we can showcase the array of new platform features as well as the specific structural tools to Revit 2016. Rather than just simply listing all the new features we will explain how these help on a day to day basis and understand where these new features may be heading in the future. A video will be coming tomorrow! (16/04/2015)
Link to Video:
Here is the list of the Major Structural Improvements
Structural Steel Profiles
The integration between Autodesk Revit 2016, fabrication and analysis software is getting more comprehensive and opening wider possibilities to the various disciplines for data transfer, collaboration and reuse of intelligent, data rich models. One of the key requirements here is to have a central, robust set of data relating to the section shape, structural performance and other important properties such as fabrication data for bolt and weld sizing.
This is now provided by the structural Section properties and an extended set of framing families that carry more detailed information such as section shapes, a logical set of dimensions as well as information found in the Blue book relating to structural performance.
The section Shapes have templates for the various hot and cold rolled elements which make it very quick and simple to define a new section. For example, if you start a Structural Framing family and assign a section shape then all the required dimensional and analytical parameters are created automatically and can then be populated with the relevant data.
Release and Member Forces
Member end forces can now be set to aid integration, communication and collaboration with fabricators to facilitate the design of connections. The member end forces can be scheduled and tagged and are based on the fixity of members. In the image below the analytical model for a beam has been selected and the release conditions are set for each end of the beam. The member end forces can then be manually entered.
I would imagine that this will, in the future become automated based on analysis results either from Autodesk Robot Structural analysis or from third party tools via the API. The forces will likely be rationalised and then automatically populated to each steel member. It goes without saying that the End forces can be tagged and scheduled.
Another small but useful change is a new graphical method to set the Structural Framing Ends.
Loads on Curved Members
Loads can now be hosted on curved analytical objects such as walls and beams. The loads can be set to the global coordinate system or the host’s local coordinate system.
Whilst placing the loads a new preview is given showing the local axis. This is very useful to predict which axis to apply the force.
Trusses – Rotate top and Bottom Members
You can now control the orientation for the top and bottom chords in relation to the rotation of the truss.
Extended Elevation Parameters
You can now add the following parameters to your tags for the following:
The elevation at top will be particularly useful for rotated beams at this tool will give the exact levels at the Top and Bottom of Steel. The Elevation parameters are also exposed to the schedules for Floors, Structural Framing and Foundation slabs.
One of the main issues with this is that it currently only reads the levels from the Project Base Point so for those of us utilising Shared coordinates I would image we will have to wait until Autodesk implement the option of taking the levels from the Survey Point. The below example is showing the tag applied to a floor slab, however, the floor does have to be structural for this tag to work.
Reinforcement – New Features and Improvements
There have been several improvements and new features added to the Revit Structure 2016 release which brings us even closer to a viable solution for RC detailing. I will start with the improvements to the scheduling capabilities.
The Reinforcement Settings Dialog box has a few new additions to allow the rounding method to be set, for example the Bar Length can now be rounded up to the nearest 25mm as opposed to rounding to the nearest. This is available for the Bar Length, Bar Segment Length and also the Fabric Sheet dimensions.
Autodesk have provided us with three new parameters which are:
These three new parameters make producing RC schedules much easier. The below image is an example I have put together showing the three parameters that have been utilised.
The ‘Number of Members’ is generated by using the Host Count, this was one of my biggest issues in previous releases as you had to start to add manual data which can add errors into the otherwise automated process. I have also used the Host Mark for the ‘Member’ column which works very nicely. The Host Category could perhaps be used to filter foundations, structural framing and floors for separate RC schedules.
Rebar Performance Improvements
When Autodesk first implemented Reinforcement into Revit a few people were wondering how feasible it really would be to model every single rebar in an entire project. Autodesk created a special element for rebar that had very good performance but consequently behaved a little different from standard Revit objects.
So for the Revit 2016 release Autodesk have added some very smart tools that adapt the views based on zoom levels and view extents. For example, if an element is very small on the screen then the bar will display in a course detail level regardless of the detail level settings. This does make large improvements to the handling of large models with reinforcement.
Please see my post on Revit 2015 R2 for these new features.
Some other placement improvements are holding down the shift key to ‘snap’ to a cover face whilst placing rebar. This can be useful when placing rebar that is required to be parallel to a distant face.
Using shapes in Structural Path Reinforcement
It is now possible to use the Structural Path Reinforcement tool to place other rebar shapes along a path, for example a U bar along a slab edge. This is certainly a huge improvement but we still need the capability to skew the bars rather than having the rebar perpendicular to the host face.
This is a basic summery of the most significant features to Revit Structure 2016. Look out for a video in the next day or so, I will add a link and update my post.
I will also review other areas of Revit Structure 2016 as they become available, for example, the structural Analysis Toolkit was not available for this post as well as any improvements made to extensions and the integration with other Autodesk Software products.
I thought I would share an interesting challenge I recently had for creating some complex geometry and being able to transfer this geometry both to Revit Structure and Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional. I have used my own data just to verify and test the procedures required.
The software used within the Building Design Suite Ultimate package is:
I modelled a Stadium within Autodesk Inventor and used the split command to create the various positions for the truss sections that I wanted to produce. The Inventor model is fully parametric and capable of change relatively quickly.
I then used the XEDGES command in AutoCAD to extract all the wireframe edges. The other option is to output the model to ACIS and then explode the geometry.
This model was then taken into Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis by opening the dwg file. The lines are automatically converted to bars. I then assigned the relevant members and the model was ready to design.
Finally you can then create the Revit model from the Robot model! A lot of Autodesk software used here but if you have the Building Design Suite Ultimate then this could be a viable workflow.
Here is a very quick tip and trick for modelling dead loads from internal walls to your analysis programs. You will first need to ensure that you have the Load Take down tool added to Revit which can be download from Autodesk Exchange Apps
Once this is installed you will need to add your internal walls and make sure that these are structural and have an analytical model. In the image below I have created a filter to show these in Red.
You also need to add Boundary conditions for the slabs, walls and columns and set the fixity for these. You can then start the Load Take down tool from the Extensions Ribbon.
Click the Structural Analysis command and then you can see the linear loads on either the entire structure or just the stories where the loads are applied. These linear loads can then be added to the Revit model (A manual process at the moment).
The model can then be transferred to your Analysis application.
Many of you will be using the Shaft Opening command within Revit to produce vertical openings within your models. Whilst being fairy efficient they have the following limitations:
Perhaps the biggest issue here is the results on the analytical model and the fact that this analytical model cannot be adjusted. This can result in gaps from the floor slab to a structural wall as shown below. I would suggest that you set the analytical model of walls to the outside faces which will eliminate the gap.
To solve the other issues of placement I have created a tutorial video which explains how to create your own structural opening family with step by step instructions which can be viewed here.
We start by creating a Metric Generic model.rfa family template to develop the mail opening.
2. Next you add two parameters to control the opening length and width. Create an Aligned dimension for the length and width and add the parameter as shown below.
3. In the Parameter properties box make sure that you select the Instance radio button to enable the shape handles and allow individual control of each structural opening.
4. Repeat this for the Opening Width parameter. Your family should now look similar to the image below.
Next you create the void extrusion. On the Create Ribbon click the Void Extrusion command as shown below.
Sketch a Rectangle and lock all four padlocks to ensure that the geometry is constrained to the Reference Lines as shown below.
Click the green tick to finish the void extrusion. In the Project Browser switch to the front view and align the top and bottom of the Void Extrusion to the Reference Lines as shown below. You will also need to create a parameter for the opening height; this will also be an instance parameter.
5. Next you configure the Family Categories & Parameters, on the Create Ribbon click the Family Categories & Parameters command. To ensure that you can use the void extrusion in any plane you select the Work Plane-Based option. The void will not be able to cut families unless the Cut with voids when loaded option is switched on. Lastly you can uncheck the Always vertical command to enable the family to be placed on any plane.
The main part of the structural opening is now complete; you will now need to create a 2D opening symbol that will appear on each section or elevation that projects the opening. Save your Family as Structural Opening.rfa. Do not close the file as you will load your 2D detail into this family in later steps.
6. We start by creating a Metric Detail Item.rfa family template to develop the 2D opening detail.
7. Create the four Reference Planes as shown below. I have mirrored the reference planes to initially make the planes symmetrical.
8. Next you create two Aligned Dimensions and then add instance parameters to control the 2D detail called ‘Opening Length’ and ‘Opening Width’. Both of these parameters need to be instance parameters. Your family should now look similar to the image below.
Next you create a sub category to allow control of line weight and visibility. On the Manage Ribbon click the Object Styles command.
In the Object Style dialog box create a new Subcategory named ‘Structural Opening Symbols’ and click Ok on both dialog boxes.
9. On the create ribbon click the Line command to start the place line mode.
Draw the two diagonal Detail Lines as shown in the image below and ensure that the Structural opening sub category is selected. There is no need to lock the detail lines to the Reference Planes as Revit will assume that the lines should be constrained to the Reference Planes.
Flex the family by selecting the Family Types command on the Create Ribbon to check that the Detail Lines respond to the changes. Save the Detail Component as 2D Structural Opening Symbol.rfa.
10. Next you load your 2D Structural Opening Symbol into your Structural Opening.rfa. On the Create Ribbon click the Load into Project command as shown below.
If the Load into Projects Dialog box shows then ensure that you select the Structural Opening.rfa. Depending on your last view you may get a warning, you can ignore this.
11. In the Project Browser make the Floor Plans, Ref.Level view active. On the Annotate Ribbon Click the Detail Component tool as shown below.
You should now be able to place your 2D Structural Opening Symbol onto the active view. Make sure that you lock the 2D Detail to the Reference Lines.
Your Family is now ready to test!
When inserting the family into a project you use the Place Component command on the Structure Ribbon. It is also worth remembering that you can control the placement mode to be on a Face or on the active Work Plane. Remember that a YouTube Video is published at: