Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Don't forget about the Shaft Opening Tool

A recurring theme is the use of model lines to indicate where an opening occurs in a floor. In the transition from 2D drafting it seems a bit counterintuitive to bother to create a floor. In plans the perimeter of the building defines the floor...or does it? Sometimes. In Revit the task of creating a floor should essentially equal the task of developing a slab edge plan, at least the sketching of it.

When it comes to predictable poorly coordinated work we need look no further than shaft floor penetrations (hmmm, we should look further, but not for this post). Thus the subject of the post. Remember to use the Shaft Opening tool in Revit instead of sketching Lines, be they Detail or Model.

Two features stand out for Shaft Openings, they cut through floors, ceilings and roofs they come into contact with and they can include Symbolic linework to represent the classic "X" for an opening, the "yin/yang" of vertical round duct risers or elevator car graphics for example.

You find the tool via Modelling (Design Bar or Menu) > Opening > Shaft Opening. They are sketch based elements, meaning you define them in Sketch Mode.

When you are done you must "Finish Sketch" to finish. To change them you must select them and then choose "Edit" from the Options Bar. A Shaft Opening sketch can include multiple closed boundaries, to describe multiple openings, but they will all rise or fall exactly the same way, according to their Base and Top Constraint parameters as well as Base and Top Offset parameters. This means you must use separate Shaft Openings when their shape/profile changes at different elevations.

You can refer to THIS post and THAT post for additional comments.

Don't forget your friend, the Shaft Opening tool.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Radial Dimensions and Annotation Crop Boundary

These two features interact poorly when you choose to display the center mark of a radial dimension. Radial dimensions have two parameters which control the display of a center mark and its size.

When you use these to display the center mark you will need to expand the annotation crop region so that the center mark is visible, otherwise the dimension will not be visible at all.

As pictured here.

If you need to crop a view and see the radial dimension when its center mark is well outside the cropped view you need to use a dimension style that does not display the center mark. Just create a new dimension style and uncheck those options. Use this style in any view that you need to crop but still see the radial dimension. You also need to adjust the dimension line length so it does not extend beyond the Annotation Crop Boundary.

Keep in mind that if you want to see the Center Mark in a coarser scale view, just use the original dimension style.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Identical Grid Numbers

In some situations it may be desireable to define two Column Grid segments as the "same" grid number/letter. Revit however restricts each Column Grid" to a single segment and a unique number. A structural grid layout that simply changes direction but is the "same" grid as far as the team is concerned as pictured here.

The above example shows the use of extra characters to make the second segment almost the same, 1 and '1, 2 and .2 and 3 and -3. These seem like reasonable solutions but sometimes they are met with either resistance or outright refusal. If you meet with outright refusal then you can consider this option.

Create half of the "same" grids in a separate project file and then Import/Link the file into your project. These linked grids will be unique in their own file so you can re-use the numbers/letters that are already assigned in the real project.

This approach isn't perfect as you may need to change the layout of the grid in specific views. In order to manage these specific changes you need to create special views in the "angled grid" project file that provide the offset or individual adjustment needed. Then in the host project you can override the visibility/graphics settings to use this special view instead of the default setting.

The above example displays the special view created and used when a unique situation is required. Link both files together so you can manage the appearance of the grids in either file more easily.

Fwiw, the Copy/Monitor tool will not permit you to re-use the same grid numbers so it isn't an option.

[Added: Daniel Hurtubise suggested another approach that we had already considered but ought to be included. Each Grid Line type can be assigned a specific Grid Head family. A special Grid Head can be made that displays a fixed value using Text and does not display the Grid number/name. A separate grid type is required for each grid name that needs to be repeated and a separate grid family assigned accordingly. You use the special grid types for each end of the segment(s) and then use another Grid line type that uses no annotation for those in between, if needed. Each Grid has a number so it is important to number them uniquely and in a way that they do not interfere with real Grid numbers in use.]

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Revit to Navisworks workflow

Autodesk NavisWorks Jetstream needs to be installed to enable an export from Revit. Here are some simple steps to achieve this.

1. Install NavisWorks Jetstream v5.4 for compatibility with Revit Architecture 2008
2. Via Windows Control Panel add the Revit plug-in > Add or Remove Programs > NavisWorks Jetstream v5 > Change/Remove > Modify > Select Autodesk Revit Architecture...

3. Create a 3D view for name this view “Export for Navisworks”, use VG to set view that you need to export.
4. Go to Tools > External Programs > Navisworks Jetstream V5
5. Save .NWC to folder ..\Revit\Publish\Review\YYYY-MM-DD description (folder is HOK standard)
6. Open NWC file in Navisworks Jetstream > save as NWD, this file can now be circulated.
7. A free viewer called “Freedom” is available from:

The Revit > Navis workflow can be enhanced by introducing an NWF file where the NWD from Revit can be linked in. Save views including section views, eyelevel views for floor levels etc in the NWF. The NWD for publishing can then be written from this NWF file. The immediate improvement to workflow is that you can create new exports on a regular basis and quickly produce a file for distribution with the same views saved.

Kevin says: "This is great. Exactly what I was looking for. Thank you."

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Exporting/Plotting - Multiple View Selection

We resolved an issue in Houston today that was causing some confusion. You are probably familiar with these dialog boxes.

The Show options that appear for Sheets and Views are filters to control the display of views in the list above. They do not affect whether a view is selected or not. If you have Views selected and turn off Views display, they remain selected and they will print/export regardless.

It is important to either scroll down the list to make sure just the views you really want are selected or click the Check None button to start over, otherwise you may end up with a bit more than you expected.

Amended to include Autodesk Support Response: (01/30/08)

This appears to be the result of an interaction between the Annotation Crop and the Revision numbering mechanism. This has been reported in a few cases before this. I will log this problem and you will be updated on the progress of this.

The workaround for this is to go to the View Properties for the view with the Tag in it and turn off Annotation Crop. Insert your Revision Tag. Your Tag should now be visible but your annotation is now visiable every where. Go back into the View Properties and turn Annotation Crop back on. This should fix your problem.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Detailing and Error "Line is slightly off axis..."

Revit is quite controlling about the tolerance we use to create things. This is because Revit's internal mathematics is ordered according the the scale or tolerance of buildings (inches/mms), not manufacturing tolerances (thousandths of inches/mms).

For example we cannot draw a line segment smaller than 1/32" (0.79mm). Revit will generate an error message, "Line is too short". Also, Revit will generate errors when we sketch a line at an angle that is as or more precise than 0.2 degress. This is the familiar warning Revit presents.

When you are doing large (fine) scale details that include and/or are representing manufactured parts/components it can be quite frustrating because the cad files we get from manufacturers include lines that are too short, in Revit's view, and are drawn at very precise angles. If you use these files and explode them (shouldn't routinely do that, explode them that is) in a project file you'll likely quickly acquire hundreds if not thousands of Reviewable Warnings (Tools menu > Review Warnings).

Too avoid inflicting this on your projects consider first using these cad files in a Detail Component family. Even if Revit generates these warnings in the family itself, when it is loaded into a project the warnings do not appear in the project's warning list. This will go a long way to cleaning up the list of Reviewable Warnings, rather reducing the list of warnings to review in the first place.

As for the details themselves, tiny fillets and short segments of linework is "lost" on Revit and in fact the short lines are deleted as "too short". Lines that are drawn at very precise angles can be left alone as they are not going to generate errors once loaded into the project. But consider that it may not be important to keep that degree of accuracy since your detail is not what the manufacturer will use to make the part, you are referring to/using their information after all.

Regarding exploding cad files in Revit, don't do it in projects and if you must do it in an isolated project file first, cleanup the line work and then paste or create components from the cleaned up linework. Exploding cad files proliferates object styles for each layer in the cad file. This will most likely unnecessarily bloat a project with objects styles, line patterns and linestyles, unless the details you use are extremely clean and well organized.

Curtain Systems (Applied to Massing) and Doors

Curtain Wall Panel Doors that are used in Curtain Systems applied to massing do not acquire a Level parameter. This will affect your ability to schedule doors according to Level. Their Level parameter will be blank in your schedule and this will place them at the top of your schedule.

This is one solution assuming that a door should/could be used in the Curtain System at all, meaning the wall is plumb and not a warped surface.

Switch the panel for the Empty System Panel (which leaves a "hole")
Sketch a plain curtain wall in the hole (no pattern, panel or mullion assignments)
Disallow Join for each end if desired (select curtain wall, right click over each blue grip "dot", choose Disallow Join)
Switch the panel for the curtain wall panel door you need.
Adjust height parameters of curtain wall.

This approach permits the door to acquire the level parameter. You can use the curtain wall panel door families you already have.

[Note: When using Linked Projects and scheduling those linked projects you can use Level to Sort/Group schedules. Unfortunately you cannot use Level as a Filter. You must come up with a different strategy for Filtering. The most obvious solution is to evaluate the door number (mark paramter) in some fashion.]

Revit Architecture Build 20080101_2345 released

New build includes fix to "Revit leap year problem" plus:

• Improves stability when editing groups, saving views/groups to the library or creating a new project with template set to “None”.

• Improves stability when upgrading or linking a project from Autodesk Revit Building 8.1/Revit Structure 2 or older.
• Allows the ability to array face-based families placed on a vertical face.
• Allows the ability to maintain face-based instances on curved surfaces of a Revit link when the link is unloaded.
• Improves stability when selecting sections.
• Allows the ability to insert an electrical receptacle into a legend view.
• Improves stability when accessing the Help menu in Revit Architecture on a computer with the Microsoft
Windows Vista operating system.
• Improves stability when applying a view template to a sheet.
• Improve the performance of a view when it contains many objects with overridden graphics by element.

Full details of enhancements

For more information visit Steve's blog and AUGI Revit forums.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Revit Leap Year Fatal Error

Lee Miller writes: Please be advised that there were some problems reported with Revit Architecture 2008 that creates fatal errors and can cause your program to shut down. The problem is caused by some code written to address the leap year, and should only effect the month of January. Autodesk is aware of the problem and is apparently working on a resolution.

So far, three activities have been reported to cause this fatal error:
1. Saving a drafting view to a new file
2. Saving a group to a new file
3. Creating a new project with a template set to “none”

1. Before saving the drafting view or group, make sure to save your work.
2. Change the date of your computer to the previous or following month.
3. Save the file.
4. Change the date back to the original date.

4 Jan - Dave says: Revit will also bomb if you try to save a schedule from your project for use in another project!!! Select scheduled from the project browser, right mouse click and save. You will recieve the same error message. The Autodesk work around is to move the date forward on your pc to Feb. 2008, hmmmm not too sure what impact that will have on other applications as well as your email. However, I am told that a new build is being worked and should be released in the not to distance future.

7 Jan - Steve says: I have not experienced fatal errors, just the message "Unspecified Error". Clicking OK accepts the message and you can carry on but you can't complete the task you wanted without changing the pc date.

8 Jan - Miles says: Revit development team have worked quickly on this one new Revit Architecture Build 20080101_2345 just posted....SOLUTION!