Autodesk AEC Collection Structural Workflows – 3 tutorials

Hi All,

A very happy New Year to everyone. Check out this link below for 3 useful workflows when using the Autodesk AEC collection for Structural and Civil design.

Structural Steelwork

Retaining Wall

SpaceFrame

 

 

Revit 2019 – New Steel Features

Well, it’s that time of year again to review the new features of Revit, seems to come round so fast. As I did last year, I will review the steel and concrete features as separate blog posts and videos as we have a raft of new features to look at!

New Steel Detailing Ribbon

If you would like to jump directly to the steel video then here is the link.

New Steel Ribbon

Autodesk are further extending the Level of detail that can be presented by adding specific modelling tools to extend the power of structural connections and end treatments. You now have dedicated tools to create notches, saw cuts, holes and chamfers and rounds to steelwork. This allows for a greater Level of Detail when modelling and these features can be directly linked to Advance Steel for full Automatic fabrication documents.

Revit 2019 - Steel Detailing Ribbon

The use of these new tools will depend on the need for modelling to this level of detail. For example, bridges may require a greater Level of detail but a traditional steel frame modelled by an engineering consultant may not require any connection details, these will be added by the fabricator.

A particularly nice feature is the ability to use a standard connection and then break the connection into the fabrication elements such as plates, bolts, cuts etc. This allows for easy modifications to connections and the ability to create your own connections.

Revit 2019 - Customise and Break Connection

For a detailed look at each tool check out my video at the top of this post.

Enjoy,

LawrenceH

Tutorial – AutoCAD Civil 3D Surface to Revit Topography

Over the next few months I will be posting some tutorials and workflows for taking civil engineering models such as drainage layouts and retaining walls from AutoCAD Civil 3D to Revit. The reasons for these workflows are to increase the Level of Detail and information that is held within the models. For example, the coordination and documentation of foundations with new drainage and existing underground services can be achieved very efficiently with the use of AutoCAD Civil 3D and Revit. This is even more relevant with the introduction of Autodesk Collections which will have Revit and AutoCAD Civil 3D available to all! See this link for a full list of products that are available in the Autodesk AEC Collection

https://www.autodesk.co.uk/collections/architecture-engineering-construction/included-software

In this first post I will concentrate on the fundamental task of getting a TIN (Triangular Irregular Networks) surface from AutoCAD Civil 3D to Revit as a 3D TOPO.

Triangulation

AutoCAD Civil 3D and Revit each use slightly different algorithms for the triangulation of surfaces. This could potentially allow errors to creep in if we simply rely on points and use these points to build surfaces in Revit and Civil 3D. In practice you should create the Revit Surface directly from the AutoCAD Civil 3D triangles. In the example below you can see a triangulation model from AutoCAD Civil 3D with the points shown in red and the levels shown in blue.

TIN Surface Original Trangles

In the image below the Revit Triangulation algorithm is shown in red. The points are connected in a different order and can cause minor differences in levels.

TIN Surface Revit Traingulation

To ensure that AutoCAD Civil 3D is showing triangles, select the Surface and then select ‘Edit Surface Style’ from the Right Click context menu. Select the Display tab, make sure that the View Direction is set to Model and ensure that Triangles are visible and all other component types are switched off.

Civil 3D Surface Style Triangles

Datums

To ensure correct coordination to Revit you should clearly mark a survey station that you would like to reference and also a project base point. An example may look similar to the image shown below.

Revit Project Base Point and Survey Point

Note that in the above example the Survey Point was unclipped and moved to the Station ‘ST1’. You could also leave the Survey Point at 0,0,0 which would be the OS False Origin. You should never unclip and move the Project Base Point as this can affect IFC datum and coordination with other models.

Coordinates can be given from either the Project base point or the Survey Point. You will also have to multiply the Easting and Northing by 1000 to take into account the scale difference between the Survey (in Meters) and the Revit Project (in Millimetres).

AutoCAD Civil 3D Export to AutoCAD

The TIN Surface in AutoCAD Civil 3D is a special object that cannot be used easily in Revit. The solution is to export the AutoCAD Civil 3D surface as an AutoCAD drawing. This will result in 3D Faces which can then be used to build the Revit Topography.

Click the Application Button, then Export and then Export Civil 3D Drawing.

Civil 3D Export to AutoCAD

The Export Dialog Box will automatically add a prefix to the drawing name to identify this as an AutoCAD drawing.

Civil 3D Export Dialog Box

One the export has completed the TIN surface will be represented as AutoCAD 3D faces. Make a note of the Layer that the 3D faces are positioned as this will be needed when creating the Revit Surface.

C3D to AutoCAD 3D Faces

Delete all other information and just retain the 3D faces and the datum’s as shown in the image below. The datum’s are very important for the coordination of the model within Revit. Scale the AutoCAD model from the Origin 0,0,0 and set the scale factor to 1000 (scale from Metres to millimetres).

Isolated AutoCAD drawing with 3D Faces and Datums

Revit Topography

Start a new project using your template in Revit. Make sure you switch to the site plan as the view range primary top and cut plane will be set to 10,000 to allow you to see the topograpgy.

In the Visibility Graphics/Overrides dialog box make sure that the Project Base Point and Survey Point are visible.

Revit Visibility Graphic Overrides Site Category

Next you link the AutoCAD drawing into Revit. Make sure that you set the import units to custom factor = 1 to ensure that there is no scale change. Also bring the AutoCAD file in Centre to Centre.

Revit Link CAD File Settings

Once the AutoCAD file has been linked it is a good idea to set the Visual Style to Wireframe to allow you to see the Setting Out information through the 3D faces.

Revit Set Visula Style to Wireframe

Unclip the Survey Point and move to the Survey Station of your choice (In this case STN1). Note that you will need to unclip the Survey Point, move to the location and then clip the Survey Point. I would then suggest pinning the AutoCAD drawing along with the Project and Survey Points.

Revit Project Base Point and Survey Point

Your Model is now coordinated!

To create the Topography, make sure that you first set the category to visible. Click the Massing and Site tab and select the Toposurface Tool.

Revit Toposurface

Click the ‘Select Import Instance’ from the context menu and select the linked CAD file.

Revit Select Import Instance

Do make sure that you now select the Layer where the 3D faces (triangulation) are positioned. You will now have a Revit Toposurface with Identical triangulation to your AutoCAD Civil 3D model.

Revit Toposurface From Civil 3D

Hope this helps,

LawrenceH

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,

LawrenceH

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.

LawrenceH

Revit 2017.1 & Dynamo Tutorial – Setting All Rebar Visible and Solid in View

As many of you will already know, controlling the visibility of reinforcement within Revit can be challenging and time consuming as each new rebar modelled needs to have the visibility set, for example, you create a new range of rebar and then are required to click ‘View Visibility States’ and then select the views that you wish to see the rebar unobscured and ‘as solid’.

Link to Video: https://youtu.be/BmDQ02GhtfE

revit-rebar-view-visibility

In this tutorial I will take you through the steps required to write your own app to automatically control the rebar visibility, the tutorial will use Dynamo 1.2.1 and Revit 2017. With this tutorial no external packages are required.

Here is the end result of the tutorial shown in the video clip below.

dynamo-player

  1. Open an existing model that contains a 3D view with Reinforcement and leave the 3D view active.
  2. On the Manage ribbon, click the Dynamo Icon and start a new dynamo session.
  3. Create the following nodes as shown below (Leave the Python Script Node to step 4).

revit-rebar-visibility-dynamo

I have labelled each node so you can understand how each node operates but feel free to watch the short tutorial video if you have never used Dynamo before.

4. In the Search Bar in the Node library search for Python and add the Python Script node as shown below.

python-script-node

Double Click the Python Node in the grey area as shown below to open the ‘Edit Python Script’ dialog box.

python-edit-script-node

Copy and Paste the Python Script below and Accept Changes (to Line 35).


import clr
#Import RevitAPI for Rebar Control
clr.AddReference('RevitAPI')
from Autodesk.Revit.DB import *
from Autodesk.Revit.DB.Structure import *

clr.AddReference("System")
from System.Collections.Generic import List

# Import RevitNodes
clr.AddReference('RevitNodes')
import Revit
clr.ImportExtensions(Revit.GeometryConversion)
clr.ImportExtensions(Revit.Elements)

clr.AddReference('RevitServices')
import RevitServices
from RevitServices.Persistence import DocumentManager
from RevitServices.Transactions import TransactionManager

doc = DocumentManager.Instance.CurrentDBDocument

#Assign Inputs and Output
rebarElements = UnwrapElement(IN[0])
views = UnwrapElement(IN[1])

#Change rebar Visibility
TransactionManager.Instance.EnsureInTransaction(doc)
for view in views:
 for rebarElement in rebarElements:
 rebarElement.SetUnobscuredInView(view,1)
 rebarElement.SetSolidInView(view,1)
TransactionManager.Instance.TransactionTaskDone()

OUT = rebarElements

Your Code should now look like the image below.

python-code
Add an additional input to the Python node as shown below and wire the Rebar elements into IN[0] and the view into IN[1]. (Note that even if you are just requiring one view it must be a list for the Python Code to run without errors.)

python-script-node-with-second-input-added

Dynamo Player (Revit 2017.1)

For those of you running Revit 2017.1 you can run this simple tool directly from the Player without having to open Dynamo, this could be very useful for people that want to use these tools without wanting to open Dynamo.

On the Manage Ribbon, select the Dynamo Player Icon as shown below.

dynamo-player-icon

The Dynamo Player will then launch, you need to select the folder icon as shown in the image below and browse to the folder that contains your .dyn files. You can then simply play the script!

dynamo-player-folder

Revit and Dynamo  – Set Rebar Unobscured and solid

Autodesk Revit 2017 – What’s New for Structures

It’s that time of year again when Autodesk start to release all the new 2017 software, and a very interesting release for Revit 2017. The first most significant change is the discontinuation of the singular discipline Revit software such as Revit Architecture, Revit Structure and Revit MEP; these are now replaced with Revit 2017 which contains all three products in one ‘box’. The application icon will now simply read Revit 2017 as shown below. Notice that the logos have also had a makeover!

Link to video: Link to Revit 2017 whats new Video

Revit 2017 Icon

In this review I will just focus on the structural changes that have happened in Revit 2017 which I have broken down into the following:

  • Reinforcement (RC Detailing)
  • Structural Columns
  • Structural Connections

Let’s start with the new features for reinforcement features which are very significant in this release! The first feature to look at is varying range rebar. You can now easily add rebar to tapered beams and also to cranked slabs.Revit 2017 - Varying Range Rebar
You will notice that the structural rebar now has a new Rebar Set type for Varying Rebar. This can be used in all sorts of situations where the bar is not parallel to a particular surface or face.varying range rebar
The varying range bar can also be detailed and scheduled as shown below. The varying bars can be called up separately or with a ‘sub mark’ such as letters or numbers. These options can be set within the reinforcement settings.

Varying Range rebar - Range indicator and schedule
Next up are the new reinforcement bar couplers which add not just couplers but also anchors and any product which aids the continuity of concrete systems. The rebar couplers have a new category and can also have a 2D symbolic representation as well as a 3D model.

Revit 2017 - Structure Ribbon

The couplers will attach to reinforcement bar that matches the bar diameters and can also be added to rebar ranges and also scheduled.

Revit 2017 - Rebar Couplers
Bent fabric is now incorporated within this release and can be simply sketched onto any element that can host rebar.

Revit 2017 - Bent Fabric

Structural Columns

A small new feature is now the ability to attach a structural column to an isolated foundation. This can be useful if you have situations where the foundations are changing level as the columns automatically lengthen or shorten based on the moves. If a concrete column is attached to the foundation then these elements will become monolithic.

Columns can now be split which again is very useful for situations where a column has been modelled through many different levels and then requires section changes as the design progresses. Another use is for analysis where nodes are required at floor plates.

Structural Connections

Revit 2017 now adds 22 structural connection types into the product which are directly taken from the Autodesk Advance Steel product. This is obviously a very big improvement as many structural consultants will not directly design connections but want to show design intent within a steel frame to communicate better with the client and the fabricators. Another advantage is that early design coordination can now be realised by modelling items such as haunches and gusset plates that could cause clashes with other elements.

Structural Connections

The connections can be designed to EC3 and will directly take design loads from the results of an analysis that are stored within Revit.

Structural Connection Settings

At present you cannot create fabrication drawings from the various members and plates but this could be a direction that Autodesk move into in the future. At present Revit is not very good at dealing with small elements so perhaps this is a little way off into the future.

Connections - Coordination with rebar

Coordination with connection holding down bolts and anchors with reinforcement.

Click the below link for a full video review.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IO3Hq0DBts

Enjoy,

lawrenceh