With the release of Revit Structure 2010 we now have the ability to model some very simple connections thanks to the subscription tools. These connections are, however, fairly limited allowing beam to column flange connection and column base plate connections. If you have not yet investigated these tools then feel free to link to our videos:
A better solution is to export your Revit Structure model to AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2010 and make use of the vast number of macros to generate automatic connections and machining to your steel models. You can then generate detailed 2D assembly and fabrication drawings and then link these back to your Revit Structure project.
To add connections to you steel model you use the ASD Model Ribbon in the Steel module. The Ribbon has a panel especially for connections organised logically into flyouts. These are 65 macros to choose from and if you can’t find one your looking for you can generate your own custom connections and save them to a library.
All the connections macros have a similar theme and are fairly intuitive to use. Once you have entered all the required parameters and sizes you can save your connection configuration as a template or match properties from other connections.
Once you have all your connections and machining created you are ready to produce some 2D fabrication drawings. This process can be highly automated utilising pre configured drawing layouts, scales and preconfigured templates, interestingly, these are numbered by country dialling codes e.g. 44 for a UK drawing! ASD will also add dimensions, tags and notes to the drawing views. All of these styles can of course be configured to your company standards.
Before the drawings can be produced, ASD needs to give each part a unique identifier so the components and assemblies can be referenced on drawings sheets and parts lists. This is done through the Object Inspector. The Object Inspector will have a column called position which will currently be blank.
Once you have run the automatic positioning then the object inspector will be populated with part numbers in the positions column as shown below.
There are many options of grouping parts and assemblies together to produce drawings. Drawings can be made of individual components or assemblies and parts lists and tags are automatically added to drawings sheets.
Here are some examples of individual part drawings and assemblies. Once you have generated the connection drawings you can then link these to Revit Structure using a drafting view so that if you update the ASD model, Revit Structure will update the drafting views. It will probably take you a few hours to get into the workflow but the rewards are worth it, so why not give it a try.