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TOPIC: Autodesk

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Revit Project Maintenance Guidelines

The first step of any Revit Model Maintenance process is Detach from Central with Audit. However, there is more to cleaning a project than this. This article is a cumulation of thousands of tech support cases, solved and logged in our CRM system.

When a model is not maintained, it takes more system resources, performance is reduced, packets of information lost and corruption in the data is the result. I’ve organized them in the best order possible, but it takes a team to get it all done, while in production.

Here are our recommended procedures for a terrestrial and cloud project.

  1. Sync with Central
  2. Close all local and central files
  3. Detach from Central
  4. Check the Revit Journal
  5. Purge Unused
  6. Export Families to review and audit
  7. Check Worksets
  8. Review and address Warnings
  9. Delete Backup and Temp Folders
  10. Create a new Central Model
  11. Create new Local files

 

  1. Have all users Sync with Central, SWC, and relinquish all borrowed or owned worksets.
    • Tip: I believe no one should own a workset, only borrow from them.
  2. Close all Local Files. In the BIM 360 world, we have no local files, other than the local cache in APPDATA
  3. The BIM Manager will open the Central model, by selecting “Detach from Central” along with “Audit”. In BIM 360 we can select the project we want to open on the Revit Home page. choose “Open and Audit” at the ellipsis, ” . . . “.
    • When the BIM manager works in the Central Model. No one should attempt to open or create a new local.
    • All work is stopped at this point.
  4. Check the Revit Journal.
    • Journal review can help determine corruption, We can use the Journal to check the Revit build version, locate errors, and even identify bad work habits.
    • I will create a separate blog for this.
  5. The BIM Manager should use the “Purge All Unused” tool.
    • Why not create seed projects that the team can open, browse and copy elements from?
  6. Export Families to review and audit. Use “Save As / Library / Family”. This tool will add all the families from the project to the folder you select. Careful, this could take a while. Don’t drop them on your or your client’s desktop. ;-). Note any warnings and the family name if any errors occur. The warning will pop up and interrupt the Save As process. The Status Bar will have the name of the Family, Revit is exporting.
  7. Check that the worksets are being utilized properly.
    • I create a 3D view for each workset in the project. I then isolate the workset in each view. This allows me to review the project and ensure elements are on the right Workset.
    • I’ve seen elements on the Shared Level and Grid workset. How did that happen?
    • Be sure to create worksets for links and to utilize the opportunity to close worksets when creating new locals.
    • I recommend we use worksets to allow a local user to close the worksets they do not need to be loaded in their local file. Experience has proven this is an enormous opportunity to increase project performance.
  8. Check and resolve all Warnings.
    • Easier said than done. It’s best to address every warning as it happens. This should be an ongoing effort from the start of any project.
    • Microsol Resources offers a Revit Model Health Check service. Contact me for more info.
  9. At this point the Backup and Revit Temp folders related to the Central Model are useless at this point, they should be deleted.
    • .slog file, Worksharing Log File, is part of the _backup folder for the central model. It is found inside the folder Central_File_backup where the Central_File.rvt is located. This file contains information on the Sync with central progress, element borrowing, and users accessing the central file.
    • An example of a permission issue is when someone can’t edit the element because it is being edited by another user, but this user is not currently in the model.
    • The Revit SLOG file could be corrupt and will be re-created after performing these maintenance steps.
    • The backup folder is useful only when the project is in production and the team wants to Roll Back the project to a previous date, indication in the project history.
    • BIM 360 does not have a .slog file.
  10. Once the backup and Revit folders are deleted the BIM Manager can create a new Central Model by performing a save-as and choosing “Make this a Central Model after save” in the options dialog with “Compact Central” checked. While in this dialog always ensure the following
    • Indicate the “Maximum” number of backups. 20 is the default. These backups are usable when the team chooses to Roll Back the project. Not my first choice.
    • Choose the option of “Specify” under the section called “Open Workset Default” This gives each local user the option to close worksets when creating their new local file.
    • When we close DWG Links worksets we see an enormous performance benefit.
    • Choose a simple drafting view, “Bulletin Board” as the source for the “Thumbnail Preview” section.
    • Lazy parsing plays a role in this performance gain.
      “Lazy parsing” means that the data for each element isn’t converted until it is actually needed. The main uses for the data in an element are to display that element or to regenerate it when there are changes to other elements it depends on. Thanks to Irwin Jungreis and their forum contributions
  11. All users can now Create new Local files.
BIM 360 Model Maintenance

When a project in the cloud, in BIM 360, is seeing signs of possible corruption we should use the same maintenance procedures on these files as well. First, one would need to take it down, or copy the RVT to a local computer and preform these maintenance procedures. But we shouldn’t just copy and paste.

There are many instances of the model in the BIM 360 project. We have the version we open and edit while using Revit. We have the published version in BIM 360 Document Management, which is viewable when using the browser via docs.b360.autodesk.com. We even have copies of the file in various shared folders or even within coordination spaces.

Because it is sometimes difficult to determine what has been published most recently and what sets are included. It is our recommendation to open the RVT via Revit.  Open your model, Sync with Central, and Relinquish all editable items.  use the “Save As” function to save a copy of the file to your desktop or the local machine. Make sure you check the options in the File Save As dialog, choose “make this a central file after save”.  Perform maintenance starting from step #3 above.

Let me know your thoughts on this process. You may have another tip I can add to this resource.

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AutoCAD vs. AutoCAD Architecture | Know the Difference

In a previous post, we talked about the differences between AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT. Depending on your needs, you may require more features within AutoCAD (ACAD) specific to architecture, design & documentation. AutoCAD Architecture (ACA), which is one of the vertical products available with AutoCAD Including Specialized Toolsets, has all of the same functionality as AutoCAD, plus the addition of tools designed for Architects to enhance the workflow of construction documentation. Since all AutoCAD functionality is available within AutoCAD Architecture, you get more in almost every way*.

*AutoCAD is available for MAC, whereas AutoCAD Architecture and all other products in the Specialized Toolset only have compatibility with Windows.

2D Drawing vs. 3D Modeling vs. BIM

AutoCAD is used to convey design intent, by utilizing Lines, Arcs, and Circles, to illustrate the design.  In AutoCAD Architecture, lines, arcs, and circles are complemented by intelligent walls, doors, and windows, known as AEC Objects. These intelligent objects give the designer the ability to manipulate building elements at a higher level, far beyond what Dynamic Blocks have traditionally offered.

NOTE: AEC Objects are not backwards compatible, and just because you can save back an AutoCAD DWG file from 2018 format to 2013 format, you cannot save back AutoCAD Architecture components.

These AEC Objects have hints of Building Information Modeling (BIM) which has become the standard for larger government and institutional projects. Autodesk Revit is a BIM authoring software that uses a standardized hierarchy of objects (Category, Family, Type, Instance) allowing the designer to build a 3D model at a higher level. Some may consider a project created in AutoCAD Architecture to be BIM, but this requires strict drafting and CAD Management standards to ensure. Even if it is not BIM, there are productivity studies indicating that AutoCAD Architecture can save up to 60% of the time vs. regular AutoCAD, which is a significant value proposition. Take a look at the potential time savings for all AutoCAD verticals, including 85% productivity gain with AutoCAD MEP, and 95% gain with AutoCAD Electrical!

Higher-Level Design

It can be a difficult task for drafters to ensure that a change to an element in plan view (like a door or a window), is updated across all relevant sections and elevations. In AutoCAD Architecture, elements such as walls, doors, and windows mimic real-world behavior and construction. So, you can insert doors or windows into your wall, and when you change the location or Style of object, you may update this same object in other drawings where it is shown. You can also modify all objects of that Style, meaning if you insert a certain style of window 50 times into several different walls, but want to update the style, you can modify it once and it updates every object; a huge time-saver!

(more…)

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Which AutoCAD is right for you?

CHOOSE THE AUTOCAD THAT FITS YOUR BUSINESS

There are numerous products out there to help with your design and documentation workflows, but which one is right for you.  This blog article will look at the breadth of what AutoCAD offers in terms of products and specializations.  There are many benefits to using AutoCAD, but this blog will focus on helping you decide which AutoCAD is right for you.  For a more comprehensive breakdown of the benefits of AutoCAD, please see this blog post.

First and foremost, with the release of AutoCAD 2019, also known as “One AutoCAD”, Autodesk has moved away from the separate ‘vertical’ cad program subscriptions (i.e., Architecture, Electrical, Mechanical, MEP, etc.) and had now provided access to “specialized toolsets” for each discipline within the same subscription of AutoCAD.  In other words, there is no longer a need to purchase different AutoCAD products depending on your industry – instead, you now get a subscription for AutoCAD. In addition to the ‘vanilla’ version of AutoCAD, you will have the various industry-specific specialized toolsets available for download.

Please note: Civil 3D has remained a separate product outside of the new offering (more on that below).  So, while compatible with AutoCAD, Civil 3D will require a separate subscription if you intend to use it in conjunction with other cad software.

 

WHICH AUTOCAD IS BEST FOR ARCHITECTURE, MECHANICAL & ELECTRICAL ENGINEERS? 

These industry-specific toolsets provide features and libraries specific to certain trades or disciplines that are useful in automating and streamlining the design and documentation process, whether it is 2D drafting or 3D modeling.

By providing automated workflows and collections of intelligent parts, symbols, and building objects, the new AutoCAD offers more flexibility in its functionality in the ever-evolving world of BIM.  So, let’s take a look at a brief overview of the various toolset options so you can decide which is right for you.

Below are the products available to you as part of the “AutoCAD including specialized toolsets” package:

  • AutoCAD (Windows & Mac)
    • Used by designers from all trades and disciplines.
    • Often referred to as the base or “vanilla” AutoCAD, where all of the below is built on top of.
    • Provides tools for drawing and annotation tools for 2D documentation, as well as modeling and visualization tools to create 3D models.
    • Can be customized to meet the unique workflows for each user/office.
  • AutoCAD Architecture
    • Used by architects and designers.
    • Think of AutoCAD Architecture as the midpoint between regular AutoCAD and the parametric modeling offered by Autodesk Revit.
    • Provides tools to automate the process of setting up 2D drawings, schedules, and various documentation tasks.
    • 8000+ intelligent architectural objects and styles.
    • New/Featured Tools:
      • Architectural Renovation: Ability to display existing, demolished, and new construction all in the same drawing file rather than edit multiple files.
      • Walls. Doors, Windows: Real-world behavior and construction built into the elements.
      • Design & Documentation: Utilize detail components and keynoting tools to cut down on drafting time.
  • AutoCAD Electrical
    • Used by electrical engineers and users involved in documenting electrical control systems.
    • Supplies tools to create panel layouts, schematic diagrams, and other electrical drawings.
    • 65,000+ intelligent symbols.
    • New/Featured Tools:
      • Automatic Report Generation: Generate and update customized reports.
      • Customer & Supplier Collaboration: Easily share DWG drawings with stakeholders.
      • Easily Manage Projects: Use folders to organize drawings and reorder files for electrical drafting purposes.
  • AutoCAD Map 3D
    • Designed for users who need to utilize and maintain CAD and GIS data for planning, design, and data management.
    • Equips users with tools to create, maintain, and communicate mapping and GIS information within the AutoCAD drawing environment.
    • Manages GIS data and uses task-based tools to aggregate with design data.
    • New/Featured Tools:
      • Use Feature Data Objects (FDO) Technology: Work with spatial data from a variety of CAD and GIS data formats and coordinate systems.
      • Connect to ArcGIS: Streamline the flow of data between ArcGIS and Map 3D and keep features information up to date.
      • Convert Data Between DWG and GIS Data: Perform high-fidelity data conversions using MapImport and MapExport.
  • AutoCAD Mechanical
    • Used by manufacturing, product, and mechanical design professionals.
    • Provides tools to automate mechanical engineering tasks such as generating machine components, dimensioning, and creating a bill of materials.
    • 70,000+ intelligent objects.
    • Key/Featured Tools:
      • Layer Management: Isolate and restore layer groups and specify line types and line weights.
      • Hidden Lines: Update geometry automatically when a change occurs and minimize rework.
      • Machinery Generators & Calculators: Efficiently analyze designs, including shaft, spring, belt, and cam generators.
  • AutoCAD MEP
    • Used by mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection professionals.
    • Supplies tools to help draft, design, and document MEP building systems in both 2D and 3D cad.
    • 10,500+ intelligent MEP objects.
    • Key/Featured Tools:
      • MEP Workspaces: Workspace environments include individual palettes and domain-specific ribbons.
      • AutoCAD Block Conversion: Batch-convert single or multiple blocks and symbols.
      • Styles Browser: Get more MEP components and add folders to the Content Library.
  • AutoCAD Plant 3D
    • Used for 3D design of plant models.
    • Provides tools to generate and share isometrics, orthographic, and materials reports.
    • Also provides tools to create schematic diagrams, plant layouts, and other drawings necessary for plant design.
    • 400+ intelligent plant objects.
    • Key/Featured Tools:
      • Collaboration for Plant 3D: Collaborate on plant models across project teams and maintain compliance requirements, all in a cloud-based environment.
      • Quick P&ID Drafting: In-context AutoCAD commands help P&ID drafting easier.
      • Data Validation: Quickly identify possible errors by scanning P&IDs for data consistency according to user-defined rules.
  • AutoCAD Raster Design
    • Designed to help users edit scanned drawings and convert raster images to DWG objects.
    • Key/Featured Tools:
      • Image Editing & Cleanup: Despeckle, bias, mirror, and touch up your images.
      • Raster Entity Manipulation (REM): Use standard AutoCAD commands on raster regions and primitives.
      • Vectorization Tools: Create lines and polylines from raster images, and convert raster files into vector drawings.
      • Image Transformation Functionality: Show and analyze geo images in Civil 3D engineering software and the AutoCAD Map 3D toolset.

To find out more about AutoCAD including specialized toolsets, click here.

For an overview of new features in AutoCAD 2021, please see here.

 

WHICH AUTOCAD IS BEST FOR CIVIL ENGINEERS AND INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS? 

As mentioned above, AutoCAD Civil 3D is still a separate product outside of the new bundled offering of AutoCAD including specialized toolsets.

AutoCAD Civil 3D is built on top of AutoCAD Map 3D and the base AutoCAD.  It has all of the features of both but also provides dynamic tools for civil engineering tasks such as grading, road design, pipe networks, and profiles.

Civil 3D is a civil engineering design software that supports BIM with integrated features to improve drafting, design, and construction documentation.

    • Key/Featured Tools:
      • Collaboration for Civil 3D: Securely access Civil 3D files, data shortcuts, and xrefs from multiple locations and companies, all in a common data environment.
      • Connector for ArcGIS: Streamline the flow of data between ArcGIS and Civil 3D.  Access the latest data and keep features information up to date.  Task-based tools to manage GIS data and aggregate GIS data with design data.
      • Dynamo for Civil 3D: Use the Dynamo visual scripting environment to develop routines that automate repetitive design tasks and expedites workflows.
      • Bridge Design: Coordinate workflows more efficiently across the various disciplines working on complex bridge design projects.
      • Pressure Network: Use enhanced tools for more efficient pressure pipe network layout and design.
      • New Transit & Rail Design Features: An expanded toolkit for transit and rail design including spirals, dynamic alignments, profiles, and superelevation design.
      • Design & Documentation: Create plans, profiles, and cross-sections for roads, land development, and other civil designs.  Consistent project standards with drawings organized in a project-based structure.
      • Access to Information: Standard data schema, automated business workflows, and report templates for Electric North America, Electric Europe, Water, Wastewater, Gas industry.
      • Intelligent Objects: Intelligent civil objects that interact to create interconnected designs along with configurable styles to conform to nearly any graphical standards.

To find out more about AutoCAD Civil 3D, click here.

 

SUMMARY

Choosing the right AutoCAD software can be confusing.  With the all-in-one offering created by Autodesk for AutoCAD starting in 2019, that has become a little easier of a decision.  You may still have the decision as to whether you want to move forward with AutoCAD or possibly go to a solution that leans more toward full BIM, like Revit.  Or, you may be looking at other 3D modeling software like Rhino, Solidworks, Sketchup, or again even Revit.

These decisions will come down to what you are trying to accomplish with the software – are you drafting and creating construction documentation, are you preparing models for renderings or 3D printing, or are you simply looking for the most affordable solution that meets the need of your team at this time?

You want the features and licensing options that make you and your team more productive. The truth is – it isn’t just the price you pay that matters. The right software will likely include features that save you so much time and labor costs that it more than pays for itself.

There are a lot of options out there.  This blog, hopefully, helps walk you through the options when considering AutoCAD as the solution that best fits your needs.

For more information on pricing and options, please email info@microsolresources.com.

 

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