Project Review with BIM 360 Glue

We are actively searching for a cloud-based solution for reviewing our models, and products from Autodesk were among the candidates, so I give a try to the Glue platform.

Autodesk BIM 360 Glue is the cloud-based solution for visualizing and reviewing BIM project, based on the DWF format from Autodesk.

I have to check it as a potential solution, so I will share my first thought here.

BIM 360 Glue work with a cloud-based repository, were we access from the web-browser admin page and the local client. As usual, everything is project-oriented.

GLUE

The admin interface provide every basic tools for administrating your projects.

Creating a project come in a few easy steps, were you name it and select user to be project administrators.

Create Project

After this first step, every project admin can invite new members to the project, and define their permission level.

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Once you have been invited to a project, you will receive a nice invitation to download and install the client. The entire process is well thought, and no user should have any problem to download the client.

This client provide everything you need to review your model, with properties, length and area measures, saved views, sections and markups.

ScreenClip [3]

To upload content to the Glue platform, we use the Revit plugin. Once you are connected with your Autodesk account into Revit, you can upload view and sheet directly from the Revit interface.

Just click the Glue button, select your project and the views you want to upload, and Glue will take care of everything else.

01_Process

It also check if a given view has already be uploaded, and ask us if we want to update it, or create a new one.

If we update one, a notification appear on the client. Hitting the refresh button give us the latest version.

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The activity panel show us every version of the uploaded view, and allow us to reload any previous version.

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It seems than Autodesk BIM 360 Glue is a really interesting solution for project review. The integration with Revit and the versioning system add great features to an already nice viewer. The only missing thing here is the ability to print directly from the client.

Use Grasshopper to produce fabrication drawings

I recently have to produce fabrication drawings from a set of panels covering a single curved surface.

These panel were modeled in Rhino 3D, so I decide to extract their boundary curves and use AutoCAD to produce a drawing for every one of them.

I build here an example by extruding a surface between two symmetrical splines.

1_BaseSurface

This construction method create a single curved surface, which is the easiest to cover with plane panel, here with the “Quad Panels” component from the LunchBox plugin.

2_PanelSurface

Then I extract every panel edge and orient it horizontally on the base XY plane.

3_PanelEdges

My objective here is to bake every panel boundary curve on a different layer to be able to sort them separately in AutoCAD. To do so, I use the “Object Bake” component from LunchBox. I also use a “Series” to create a layer names for each panel. Here the names are only numbers formatted as text.

4_BakeEdges

The next step is to add dimensions. Sadly, since native grasshopper dimension does not have any output object, we cannot bake them with the “Object Bake”. So I’m using my own Linear Dimension creation component. As you can see, the code is quite straightforward. I use standard Rhino functions to create my dimensions, and have a small private function for selecting or creating the layer to place our dimension.

 private void RunScript(bool Bake, Point3d A,
                        Point3d B, Point3d C, 
                        string Layer, ref object O)
  {

    if (Bake == true)
    {

      Point3d A0 = new Point3d(A.X, A.Y, 0);
      Point3d B0 = new Point3d(B.X, B.Y, 0);

      double a = (B0.X - A0.X) / (B0.Y - A0.Y);
      double Xc = 1;
      double Yc = Xc / a - A0.X / a + A0.Y;

      Point3d C0 = new Point3d(C.X, C.Y, 0);

      Plane refPlane = new Plane(A0, B0, C0);

      double u,v;
      refPlane.ClosestParameter(A0, out u, out v);
      Point2d A2d = new Point2d(u, v);

      refPlane.ClosestParameter(B0, out u, out v);
      Point2d B2d = new Point2d(u, v);

      refPlane.ClosestParameter(C0, out u, out v);
      Point2d C2d = new Point2d(u, v);

      Rhino.Geometry.LinearDimension dimension = 
                  new LinearDimension(refPlane, A2d, B2d, C2d);

      ObjectAttributes dimAtt = new ObjectAttributes();
      dimAtt.LayerIndex = ensureLayer(tag);

      if (Rhino.RhinoDoc.ActiveDoc.
Objects.AddLinearDimension(dimension, dimAtt) != Guid.Empty)
      {
        doc.Views.Redraw();
      }
    }

  }

  // <Custom additional code> 
  private int ensureLayer(string lay)
  {
    int i = doc.Layers.Find(lay, true);
    if(i < 0)
      return doc.Layers.Add(lay, Color.Black);
    else
      return i;
  }

With the “Disc” component, I retrieve every summit of my panel boundary, and place a dimension between two of these points. I also use an offset of my panel boundary to set up the position of the dimension line.

5_LinearDimension

Angular dimensions follow more or less the same principle, with two shift to retrieve the point before and the point after a given submit to create our angle measure.

6_AngularDimension

These two dimension components are linked to layer names, so when hitting Bake, each panel curve end up in its layer along with its dimensions. You can see the result below, with every layer displayed and with only one layer visible.

7_Result

I can now export every curve and its dimensions to a DWG file. This file is edited with an AutoCAD script to paste each layer in a new template file where the titleblock is prepared. It also add the panel number in the titleblock.

7_FinalDrawing

Use Navisworks Batch Utility to convert Revit files

A few days ago, I had to convert a large set of Revit files to NWC in order to create a general Navisworks File Set.

I used the Navisworks Batch Utility, accessible through the Navisworks main menu :

Icon

Batch Utility

You first have to select files to be included in your Navisworks File Set.

To quickly retrieve the list of Revit files to be converted, I’m using the Windows Command Prompt. I was quite afraid of this tool not so long ago, but it is actually pretty simple.

Windows Command Prompt

First, go to the root folder of your project:

cd C:\Projects\myRevitProject

and type :

dir /s /b *.rvt &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;ListRevitFiles.txt

This line requires a bit of an explanation:

  • dir : command for searching and displaying file in the current directory
  • /s : search in the current directory and all its subdirectories
  • /b (or bare) : remove for each file its metadata to display only the file path
  • *.rvt : search specifically for Revit files
  • >ListRevitFiles.txt : the ‘>’ character allows us to output the result of our research to a text file (here ListRevitFiles.txt) instead of displaying it.

We get the results of our research as text file listing paths to every Revit model contained in our project folder:

C:\Projects\myRevitProject\CENTRALS\ARC.rvt
C:\Projects\myRevitProject\CENTRALS\MEP.rvt
C:\Projects\myRevitProject\CENTRALS\STR.rvt

Back on the Navisworks Batch Utility, we open this text file to import file paths: File -> Open -> Select ListRevitFiles.txt

File List

As we want to create a single Navisworks File Set (.nwf), we select the “As Single File” Tab, and set the path to our future Navisworks File.

As Single File

I also select “View file on output” to automatically start Navisworks when conversions are done.

We add a path to a log file in order to know what may happen, and hit “Run Command”.

Here, I was confused by the fact that nothing seems to happen, but after checking my computer processes, I was able to see that the Navisworks Scene Convert Server was up and running.

Windows Processes

After a while, Navisworks starts automatically and appends every previously created .nwc file to a new Navisworks File Set.

Project

I am also using this feature to create a NWD file for a set of Revit file.

To do so, you just have to select the “Multiple file” tab and define a target folder for the export.

As Multiple Files

The Navisworks Batch Utility will convert every Revit file to a NWC cache file, and made it a NWD on the run.

 

Autodesk Formit and Revit

Autodesk Formit is an example of how far web-based solutions have progressed. Since 3D application need heavy calculation for display, they were generally limited to the heavy client format, until solutions like Autodesk Formit appear.

This 3D sketching tool allow us to quickly create building concept in a web browser or through the mobile app, then further develop this concept in Revit.

Autodesk Formit greets us with a nice introduction screen describing the main functionality.

ScreenClip

I generally start by setting up the units to metrics.

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Afterward, everything is quite easy to use, and look pretty much like a web-based Sketchup. Let draw a little sketch of our main plan:

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Extruding this sketch give us the first draft of a building.

We can define levels in our model to calculate gross area for our future building.

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These surfaces are updated as we edit the form of our mass:

FloorArea

Once our model is located, the shadow and Sun and Shadows tool allow us to create a small daylight analysis:

DaylightAnalysis

While we work, our model is saved to our Autodesk 360 account, in the Drive section. Along the Formit format .axm, a .rvt file appear. This rvt file is automatically converted from our Formit model to be used in Revit. We can download it to continue our design in Revit :

ScreenClip [9]

The Formit model appear as an In-Place mass in Revit, which can be edited directly in Revit. Each previously defined levels are also integrated in our Revit model, along with corresponding Mass Floors.

ScreenClip [10]

We can enhance our design by using this in place mass to create a Curtain System, some floor and interior divisions. Pretty quickly, we have a fully functional first sketch of our building, with elevation, floor plans and a nice rendering.

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My only regret is to have to use the Revit model provided by the Formit conversion. I think it would be more convenient to retrieve a Revit Mass family to be integrated in the Revit template of our choice. We would lose the levels creation, but gain more flexibility for an early stage workflow.