Monday, 14 May 2012

Autocad WS meets google drive

What a nice suprise.

This week my google drive got activated. I already had Autocad WS installed for my browser. Guess what it asked?  Would  you like to use Autcad WS as the default program to open dwg files. This is a very nice feature and I didn't even have to do anything extra for it.

I downloaded the google drive installation and now I can synchronize files immediately from my computer and open it in a browser or a tablet anywhere.

I have to look into how to open dwfx because that doesn't work for me atm but that might be remedied soon.

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Thursday, 3 May 2012

Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler to Navisworks

Last year I received a very nice 2D data set for Autocad MAD 3D from one of my clients. As I have been playing a bit with Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler (AIM) before I thought lets see what I can do with the 2D map data in AIM. Soon I had a dataset that was an entire city center from the map files and I added sketchup models and photofly models.

For no pratical reasons I can think of yet I wanted to see and try if I could get that model to Navisworks. AIM can export to FBX. Exporting to fbx creates new challenges. How do we get things at the right spot. For practical reason I have dropped the heavy stuff from this export. (only later to find out that the fbx was still 1.2 gB big and Navisworks would not swallow it.) 

AIM site:

For my own fun I am adding a revit model in the mix as well. The revit model is supposed to end up on the spot by the arrows


1. I have MAP 3D info positioned at RD coordinates.(a Dutch system)

2. convert this to an Autocad dwg, at coordinates, and link into a revit model

3. setup the project basepoint and survey point as I described in this blog:
4. create a Navisworks nwc file from the Revit model (Appending the rvt file has the same effect)
5. pick some lines form the 2D cad drawing and turn those into modellines export those to nwc and append them together with the dwg from above and check if they line up.
6. export the AIM model to fbx, ground and building in seperate files
Here start the interesting stuff
1. Where do you set the origin? The extends do not work for me because this gives the lower left corner rounded to a whole number...
2. and 3. can be seen as a possibility to set a survey point. (or so it seems to work)
4. Is the site
5. For me it works to set the x and y to 0.0

Exporting this model to fbx is way to big to handle so I will set the export extends. You can do this with the mouse but I decided I want to use fixed numbers everytime and I want the same numbers every time. I went back to map and drew this line and I looked up the properties and recorded these in a textfile for further use.
These are the coordinates I now use for this project
 survey point X = 0                       Y = 0

 project base point m.    X = 234550.0000     Y = 581570.0000     Z = 0.0000
 project base point mm. X = 234550000        Y = 581570000        Z = 0.0000

x = 234250.0000
y = 581250.0000
x = 234880.0000
y = 581970.0000

Appending the fbx give this in Navisworks. The weird part is that Navisworks sees this file in cm... Looking into the file reader options in Navisworks does not help. There are no settings to change the units.
Wikipedia says about fbx:

In an earlier fbx export things were slightly different and I had to move the site manually in navisworks. Notice that the translation is the same as the earlier created project base point. Probably that export had wrong settings. Later 0.0 seems to work so either use extends or user.

AIM is meant to be a conceptual infrastructure modeler and the regular workflow would be to export to imx to be used in Autocad civil 3D and later to Navisworks. 

Things you could do in AIM is build a city model, create a new road, bridge, tunnel or train. Communicate the design and rationalize this next in Civil 3D, plan and clashtest this in Navisworks. 

by the way take a look at the impressive graphic engine of AIM. 

Small tip from me make sure you have you subscription up to date when the 2014 products come out!

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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Revit Origin

Recently I was looking through the search queries that people use with which they get to my site. I noticed that people were looking for the Revit origin. Well haven't we all? Before 2010 we used to import a small Autocad symbol drawing, origin to origin.

Since Revit 2010 it's possible to make it visible:

  1. Start the default metric template
  2. goto level 1
  3. goto visibility and graphics
  4. goto the model category site
  5. expand the plus sign
  6. turn on the project base point and the survey point.

The Project base point and the survey point are both at the revit origin. Be aware that these icons are a percentage of the screen so zooming in and out has no effect.

(i moved the survey point to the left just for the image)

If you need to coordinate your model with for example civil 3D you would need to make some adjustments to the survey point. The revit survey point becomes your civil 3D dwg 0.0 point. More info on that on

If you ever need to make changes to these point but you want your model not to be affected, click on the paperclip, make the change, and click on the paperclip again.

good luck, contact me if you have questions.

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