Wednesday, October 29, 2014

From Rhino to Revit with Dynamo, Grasshopper, Python and mantis shrimp

Konrad and Mostapha are working on something, and the functionality does not look shrimpy at all. Check it out:

"Mantis Shrimp is a Dynamo (Revit) and Grasshopper (Rhino) interoperability project that allows you to read Rhino’s native *.3dm file type as well as export geometry from Grasshopper. It is written in Python in form of a user objects (on Grasshopper side for exporting) and custom Python nodes (on Dynamo side for importing). It’s an OPEN SOURCE project with all of the source code available on GitHub. At the moment it’s a collaboration project between myself and Mostapha Sadeghipour.

I decided to make this project an open source for multitude of reasons but most importantly because it was written on top of Dynamo (an open source project) using OpenNurbs (an open source project) and inspired by Rhynamo (an open source project to be in December 2014), and finally I was helped along the way by Mostapha who’s almost never written anything that he didn’t like to share. I think i got the “bug” – not Ladybug – for sharing from him.

Here’s how to get started with Mantis Shrimp..."

Read the rest at:
mantis shrimp – getting started… | archi-lab

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Editing Keyboard Shortcuts in Navisworks

Most of you would be aware of keyboardshortcuts.xml in Revit. However, did you know about RoamerCommands.xml? This file lives in the Layout folder under you Navisworks install, and it can be edited to modify keyboard shortcuts in Navisworks.

Note: This process is very risky, so this file should be backed up before editing it. During experimentation, I had a lot of crashes and often had to restore this file to fix the issues.
  1. Backup RoamerCommands.xml (rename the backup or copy it somewhere, like this)
  2. Edit it in a text editor like Notepad++ or Sublime Text
  3. Look for something you want to change / add
  4. Modify the file
  5. Make sure there are no duplicate entries, like this
  6. Save it
  7. Restart Navisworks
  8. If Navis crashes on opening, restore the old file from Step 1 and start again
  9. If it doesn't crash, see if your keyboard shortcut works
I was able to change the keyboard shortcut for File Open as shown below:

Video showing that my modified RoamerCommands.xml worked:

File location on my system:
"C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Navisworks Manage 2015\Layout\RoamerCommands.xml"

There is a good list of the vanilla shortcuts at this post (this is also where Lee mentions RoamerCommands):
Keyboard Shortcuts (Hotkeys) for Autodesk Navisworks - Beyond Design: the Construction and BIM blog

Monday, October 27, 2014

How to get Energy Analysis for Dynamo - Open Beta (CORE studio)

Finally, a few links, details and instructions for those of you who want to get rolling with the tools.  The nodes are available in Dynamo’s package manager, using a recent daily build of Dynamo.  We expect an official release with this functionality by the end of October, but in the meantime you can use a daily build to use the tools. 
To install the package, search for the name in the Dynamo package manager – Dynamo > Packages > Search for a package > ‘Energy Analysis for Dynamo – and install the package.  Once the package is installed, you’ll likely want to check out our sample files in the package’s ‘extra’ folder, and watch our first round of tutorial videos (1,2). 
We should also note that some analytical information (constructions, schedules, etc.) can only be analyzed using Dynamo on top of Vasari. The source code is available on Github under an Apache v2 license – it is open for anyone to use and modify.

via Energy Analysis for Dynamo – Open Beta Release! | CORE studio

The github page is here

Friday, October 24, 2014

Using Dynamo with Navisworks to Automate Common Tasks (using DynaWorks)

Full credit goes to Adam Sheather for all his hard work on this. Basically, it is a Dynamo package that can talk to Navisworks. I think he has started something pretty special here...

How to get DynaWorks 15:
  1. Download and install Dynamo version 0.7.2
  2. Launch it from the Start Menu ie. DynamoSandbox.exe 
  3. You can download DynaWorks directly from
  4. or to use Dynamo package manager: Open Dynamo from the start menu, Packages, Search for a Package, wait to synchronize package list, then click to install DynaWorks
  5. Install GetClashIDs too if you want
  6. Mine installed itself to this location:
    C:\Users\Luke Johnson\AppData\Roaming\Dynamo\0.7\packages\DynaWorks15\bin
  7. To get my install to work, I had to copy missing XML files from step 2, and then used Import Library and chose DynaWorks15.dll from the path above to 'refresh' the install and display the extra nodes (you might not have this problem)
  8. To test it is working, grab the runClashTests definition from this folder,
  9. Open it in Dynamo, point it at one of your Navisworks files by modifying the String property,
  10. Click Run in Dynamo, and it will automatically open the file and run all the Clash Tests.

The above steps should get you up and running... but there is so much more capability here that it deserves more than one post. As Adam mentions in his post, you can use DynaWorks to run Navisworks in hidden mode. I'm looking forward to seeing how others use this ... particularly in getting Navisworks to communicate with Revit more effectively.

Adam's video:

Adam Sheather:
#Dynamo #DynaWorks #BIM is released!! Check here for installation details or herer for demo.

The github page:

More info at:
Stuff and BIMs: DynaWorks is here!! The Navisworks library for Dynamo

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Copy / Monitor capability - Tekla Structures vs Revit Structure

A document was recently released that essentially describes differences in the way that Tekla and RST respond to changes in a linked architectural model. This document doesn't really take into account the other benefits of working in a completely Revit environment - not having to convert to and from IFC, tagging through links, scheduling, bidirectionality, and so on (I don't feel a need to keep listing reasons :-)

Download the comparison PDF (keep in mind this was prepared by/for Tekla)


Wondering how to get started with A360? Download and videos here...

Download PDF Guide here
... and check out videos embedded below 
via twitter and this forum post


October 15th Webinar (46 min):

October 1st Webinar (12 min):

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MEP Space Bounding and Revit Links - Overlay or Attachment?

Interesting post by troywright on AUGI, in relation to setting up segregated links as room bounding in your Revit MEP file:  
We have this issue frequently, as with major projects we will receive different models for architectural fitout, shell and core and facades etc. 

The solution we have (in your example) is to; 
- Link the structural model into architectural as an overlay, set to room bounding 
- In your MEP model link in the structural model and the architectural model. 

That's it. Essentially it is an extra step, but it means that the architectural model knows it is bound by the structural model, even though it is only an overlay! I think someone else mentioned this method earlier but with worksets. I can't see a point in doing this as the nested structural model is an overlay, so it's irrelevant. 

Another issue you may have is that your spaces act up when an architectural model has floor finishes set to room bounding that are higher than the level they are on. To fix this just change all of your levels to have a calculation height above that of the floor finish.

via 2014 MEP Spaces

Free Rhino to Navisworks addin

Can be downloaded from Autodesk Exchange.

This addin allows direct import of 3DM (*.3dm) files into Navisworks 2015. You no longer need to go via DWG / DXF / STL...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Some Mobile apps that might be useful for Construction

Its possible you are already using one or more of these... This list comes from Revit Modelling India:

Aconex Mobile Aconex App
As Aconex Mobile app is used for iPads, you can capture photos, audio and videos on project site and access and manage existing project document. It also helps to review the images and drawings as well as view and edit project information offline. Therefore, you are able to sync with the platform, when a connection is available.
BIMx is a free construction app and with this we can turn gadgets into 3D communication as well as presentation tools for the architectural designs.
This iPhone construction app makes you able to create and track the bidding procedure with your subcontractors. The accessible info that this app offers make it easier and timelier to bid projects.
construction appWheatland EMT Calc
Wheatland EMT Calc, which helps contractors and engineers, is available for Androids and iPads. For example, with this app, they can canculate the amount they can save on twenty feet of conduit
construction appiBlueprint
iBlueprint is highly useful for real estate agents and contractors, as it has an access to blueprints on job sites. Users can create as well as export custom floor plans with this iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad app.
construction appsArchitect’s Formulator
Architect;s Formulator with over 200 formulas for plumbing, carpentry and electrical calculations goes for $9.99. Besides the excavation and concrete formulas for calculating the bricks and concrete required for a job, this app also have formulas for steel design, parking areas and even swimming pools.
construction appGreen Pro
Green Pro helps engineers, contractors, owners and architects access and follow up leadership in Energy & Design credits for major renovations and new construction projects. With this app, users can access credit requirements and also can find out when a particular requirement has been met.
construction appProcore 
This free construction app makes the users able to create and control punch-list items, access contacts and log time card entries and share and store project pictures. In short, It can make the construction management very easy.
construction appiQuick Contract Maker
This app, which costs $2.99, makes the users able to create and email contracts to customers from iPads, iPhones, or the iPod Touch. With this, the users can also customize contracts for a particular industry or trade.
construction appPlanGrid 
PlanGrid is a free app and it allows the users to put all their project plans, specs and photos on their iPad. Moreover, cloud-founded annotations that instantaneously sync with colleagues is also allowed with this.
construction appUstream Broadcaster
Even though Ustream Broad caster is not a necessary app, it can help the construction industry in many ways. For example, It allows users stream alive from their device, while they are on a job site or looking at properties for future development.
construction appCarpenter’s Helper
As the name indicates, this free app helps the users calculate the stair length, roof pitch and rafter lengths etc.
construction appJobTrac
With this app, you can set up email alert, track jobs, get the advanced bidding news and vies from all over the state.

Useful Mobile apps for Construction Professionals

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Modelling Mullions in Two Mirrored Pieces for Parametric Corner Joins

Revit Wants you to use a good, clean, consistent technique when setting up Curtain Wall mullions for high quality detailing. Here is one way to set these up for nice corner joins - the advantage is that the curtain wall can be properly 'joined', you do not need to Disallow Joins and hack the glazing position:
When finished, and the endpoints share a common location, the corner looks like the figure below.

Why is this preferable to assigning a single mullion to one curtain wall and leaving the adjacent curtain wall without a mullion?  That would require that the edge handle of the CW without the mullion to be manually aligned to the edge of the mullion where it crosses the panel's path; a feature that should be automatic in Revit.  Changes to the mullion profile won't necessarily be reflected in the open-ended CW and is an opening for errors.

via Jon McFarland at
CurtainwallBIM: Mullion Halves

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Free Navisworks Manage with your Glue subscription

I'm looking forward to tighter BIM 360 Glue and Navisworks integration moving forward...

All project and enterprise BIM 360 Glue subscriptions now include access to Autodesk® Navisworks® Manage and Autodesk® Point Layout for use by the purchasing company.

Navisworks Manage 2015 and Autodesk Point Layout 2015

With this new entitlement, connected office and field teams can more easily collaborate using streamlined BIM workflows on everything from multidiscipline coordination and material takeoff to component staking and installation. By removing access barriers, teams can improve information accuracy at the point of construction and help accelerate project delivery.

Navisworks Manage and Point Layout may only be used by the purchasing company's employees who have access to a BIM 360 Glue Project. These products may be used in conjunction with BIM 360 Glue in order to do work on that specific BIM 360 Glue Project.

In order to grant access to a user to either of Navisworks Manage or Point Layout, the employee will need to be a Host or Project Administrator on the BIM 360 Glue project.

Read more:
New in BIM 360 Glue | BIM 360 Glue | Autodesk Knowledge Network

Monday, October 13, 2014

Array in a Revit Family that allows Count of 1 (without IF)

Typically when editing Revit families, if you want to deal with arrays and stop them breaking when the count is 1, you set up some IF() formulas in Revit. However, a recent comment by David over on Revit Beginners describes another possible method:
Thank you Luke. Another possible solution is to nest the element into an adaptive component family, then nest the adaptive onto a conceptual mass family surface and use the repeater tool which can have an array count of 1. 

I posted about this method a while back:
Download the example file here

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Send Site Photos, Comments and Questions directly to Revit using Mobile app

Moustafa Khalil has freely released an Android app and a Revit listener addin that essentially accomplishes a site-to-Revit connection for RFI input into Revit. Essentially, you install the Revit addin, setup the FTP connection, login on the Android app and then take some pictures of RFIs from site. You then add some comments and data to the photo submission, and this is automatically captured into Revit through the FTP site and Revit addin.

Its an interesting approach to this problem. Amazing what someone can accomplish when they think a little outside the box and connect a few different technologies. Nice work.

Download links from Moustafa:
I have uploaded the two applications Mobile and Revit on these 2 sites:
Mobile app:
Revit APP:

via SUPER RFI | Architecture For Humanity

How to Share and Sync Your Google Tasks with other BIM Team Members

There are lots of ways to share and track tasks among teams, and this is probably one of the most rudimentary (ie. least feature packed). But I have tested it, and it does actually work. Basically, you install a script from the instructions below, and it allows you to share a given Google task list with selected people.

Scroll down to How to Create a Shared Google Task List? and follow the steps after clicking below:
Shared Google Tasks: How to Share and Sync your Task List with Others

Download BS 1192-4:2014 PDF Collaborative production of information


Part 4: Fulfilling employer’s information exchange requirements using COBie – Code of practice

Fill in the form to get your free copy at:

or use this link:

Friday, October 10, 2014

Don't Forget about the Discipline of the View in Revit, especially when it comes to Hidden Lines

The View "Discipline" setting in Revit is a high level visibility control that can have some significant consequences on how a view actually looks. Amongst other things, it works as a high level switch for Hidden Lines.

As the online Help demonstrates:
In view properties for 2D views and 3D views, set the Show Hidden Lines parameter to By Discipline to display hidden lines based on the assigned discipline of the view.

For all views, the default value for Show Hidden Lines is By Discipline, with the following results:

  • If Discipline is set to Architectural or Coordination, do not display hidden lines.
  • If Discipline is set to Structural, show hidden lines.
  • If Discipline is set to Mechanical, Electrical, or Plumbing, show hidden lines.
The By Discipline value also ensures that the view displays hidden lines specified using the Show Hidden Lines by Element tool of the View tab.
Help: About Hidden Lines and View Discipline

Here is part of a recent discussion in the BIM + Revit MEP group on LinkedIn, where we see David is trying to hide Hidden Lines in a Section View in Revit MEP:

Some more pieces of the View Discipline puzzle:
Determines how discipline-specific elements display in the view. You can also use this parameter to organize views in the Project Browser.
  • Architectural: Displays all model geometry from all disciplines.
  • Structural: Hides non-load-bearing walls in the view and shows elements whose Structural parameter is enabled.
  • Mechanical: Displays architectural and structural elements in half-tone, and displays mechanical elements on top for easier selection.
  • Electrical: Displays architectural and structural elements in half-tone, and displays electrical elements on top for easier selection.
  • Plumbing: Displays architectural and structural elements in half-tone, and displays plumbing elements on top for easier selection.
  • Coordination: Displays all model geometry from all disciplines.
Help: View Properties

If you see an entire category of halftoned objects that are not set to display as halftoned (see About the Visibility and Graphic Display Dialog), try changing the view discipline. The Discipline setting determines how different object categories display in discipline-specific views. Also, select Coordination to show all object lines as solid without halftones. See View Properties.
Help: Common Issues with Visibility and Graphic Display

For more detail on View Discipline implications, check out:
REVIT Rocks !: REVIT View Discipline Explained - Kind of
Revit OpEd: View Discipline

(I found the above posts using my custom Revit Master Search engine) 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Installing Fusion 360 using the command line only

  1. Open an elevated command prompt (Start - type cmd - right click Run as Administrator)
  2. @powershell -NoProfile -ExecutionPolicy unrestricted -Command "iex ((new-object net.webclient).DownloadString(''))" && SET PATH=%PATH%;%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\chocolatey\bin
  3. choco install autodesk-fusion360
  4. It will be installed somewhere like this:
  5. If any problems (missing shortcuts etc), you can go here and directly re-run the installer:
  6. Upon opening, it should login to your Autodesk account and give you access to your files on Autodesk 360
You might also try
choco install CADConverter(to easily convert DWG to PDF and more)
choco install freecad

Free Explorer Extension that lists Revit version and Worksharing information for RVT and RFA files

The latest version of CTC BIM Project Suite installs an Explorer extension that can list the following without even opening Revit:
  • Saved with Revit version
  • Saved with Revit build
  • Last saved path
  • Is Revit LT file
  • Worksharing mode
  • Is central file
  • Preview image
All you need to do is install the trial, and the Explorer extension will become available when you right click an RVT or RFA. The trial includes free tools that do not expire (see image below):

Here is a direct download link

More info on "Revit Properties"

Revit Properties is now available within the CTC BIM Project Suite download, and runs outside of Revit. This user interface provides access to basic data about Revit project files, family files, project template files and family template files.
  • See the version of Revit that last saved the file
  • View worksharing information about project files
This is a free tool that does not have licensing requirements

Main page:
BIM Project Suite - CAD Technology Center