Monday, November 19, 2012

Schedule Simulation Using Phases - The Poor Man's 4D Timeliner

I have been doing alot of work lately providing supporting graphics for construction bids.  Sometimes the rain-makers like to show potential clients the sequence of how the building/site will go together.

Rarely do we have the time for a full 4d navis works animation with cranes and all that.  Actually having adequate documentation to support such an effort is even less likely!  I came up with this B.S. modelling approach based upon a presentation by Aaron Maller at AU 2011 about phases, links, groups and design options. did i do this in Revit in one day?

 Pretty simple actually.

First off, I built a simple model and applied the site plan as a decal to a base plane.  This involved saving the pdf as a jpeg, pretty simple in ADOBE.

Then the real work started.  I had to liaise with my scheduler.  I gave him an excel spreadsheet indicating the different parts of the model that could turn on and off.  The scheduler then informed me the timing and durations of the various activities.  I rationalized it all so that I could take snapshots of the construction at 2 week intervals.

Then I went into my Revit model and created phases for each interval in the schedule

This part gets tricky.  i created a phase filter called "Timeline" specifically for the task at hand.  I probably could have used "Show Complete" but I like starting fresh in case i need to tweak things.

After settling on a 3d camera view I liked, I locked the view and set the view template.  Then i copied it a bunch of times, one view/snapshot for each phase.

 Now it just gets tedious...follow this step by step:

  1. Work in an default 3d view, not one of your snapshot views.  Make sure phase filter is setup to "Timeline"  Set the default 3d view's phase to the final phase, in this case "Phase 14"
  2. Make sure the model is finished
  3. Assign materials to the "COMPLETE" elements
  4. Change the construction phase setting for all these elements to the final phase, in this case "Phase 14"
  5. Copy all the elements off to the side a memorable distance like 1000m
  6. Create a material to represent a "CONSTRUCTION" phase.  In this exercise, I chose transparent red
  7. Assign the "CONSTRUCTION" material to all the copied elements
  8. Change the phase of all the copied elements to to the initial phase, in this case "Phase 1", they should all dissappear
  9. Change the default 3d view phase to the initial phase, in this case "Phase 1".  The red "CONSTRUCTION" elements should appear, while the "COMPLETE" elements go away.
  10. Move your "CONSTRUCTION" elements back into place.
  11. For all "CONSTRUCTION ELEMENTS", change the "Phase Created" and "Phase Demolished" variables according to the grouping in the schedule spreadsheet.
  12. For all the "COMPLETED ELEMENTS",  change the "Phase Created" variable according to the grouping in the schedule spreadsheet, while setting the "Phase Demolished" variable to none.

Now you can check each of the snapshot views to make sure they look right.

To generate the images, i used the INTERACTIVE RAYTRACE display option.

I let it process for about 1 minute per shot.  then i stopped and saved the image.  Revit will save the picture to the RENDERINGS folder in the project browser.

Export all the images as you would for any jpeg renderings.  Then i compiled all of them into an animated GIF file.  Instructions for this process can be found here:


And thats it....enjoy.  See y'all at AU.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rhino to Revit in 47 Easy Steps

I have yet to find the magic button or transfer format which will bring a form generated in Rhino into Revit, and allow for the application of any Revit functionality.  The only ting i have found which works is ingenuity, tenacity and reference points.

So they came to me with this:
And said "lets rationalize the geometry and explore joist spacings and make structural drawings for this roof"

I'm not a Rhino guy...I know that it is a mighty program and plug-ins like grasshopper, salamander & polar bear extend it even further, but I am just not that capable....I knew I could recreate this in Revit faster than learning Rhino.  So here we go.

The first thing to do was bring the model into ACAD and setup the layout circles and cut lines which would govern the geometry in Revit, starting at the topmost form.
You will notice many small circles placed at positive Z values.  These have been placed at the heights described in the original architect's model.  The reason to use circles is that REFERNCE POINTS snap to circles really nicely in Revit.

Also if you look closely, you will see that all the arcs are split up as well. this will make it much easier for me to create the individual surfaces later in the process.

So i bring my completed "Guide-line DWG" into the Revit conceptual massing environment:
With these guidlines in place, recreating the geometry is quite direct.  First i place the REFERENCE POINTS in all the circles, then i select them 3-at-a-time and push the CURVE THROUGH POINTS button.
Then i pick the pairs of lines for the top and bottom of each surface until the roof forms are complete:
The work so far took me an afternoon.

Now that i have the basic geometry in place, I can start using the DIVIDE SURFACE tool to find the joist lines according to whatever spacing is desired:
But if you look closely, its not "perfect".  the design calls for the joists to match 1-for-1 at the ridges of all the roofs, and this most assuredly doesn't:
Playing with both the BELTLINE parameter and the number of segments for a selected divided surface, i could get the arrangement 'perfect'
To cut to the chase, when i bring the form into the project environment, I can start adding structural elements and get to all the juicy good stuff:
It took me about 2 days to input the rest of the base geometry:
 And divide all the surfaces:
 Then i could ship it back to ACAD to generate a DWG file:
And with the wire frame in-place, we could pass the whole arrangement into analysis. in the kingdom....and 3 days later I quit that job.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Making trouble with bricks

I changed jobs....I make trouble for a new master now....and this new master comes to me the other day and says, i wanna do this:

Maybe not literally, but figuratively.  He wants robots....and automated construction....and he doesn't want to build bathrooms anymore.

more info is here:

Flying Robots Build a 6-Meter Tower

found another awesome example here:

This troublemaker now has his work cut out for him.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Faulty Division_Abusing the DIVIDE PATH Command

I would like to go on record as saying that I am really happy with the divided path tool.  The possibilities of this thing are ridiculous.  Love It Love It Love It!!!!  I actually sat in a lab class at RTC so just so i could play with the tool...I wasn't interested in the class topic, only the divided path tool.  The guy next to me didn't seem to mind watching me screwing around either.

The basics are pretty simple.  Draw a curve, or a pair of them in this case:

Hit the DIVIDE PATH button:

and enter how many can link this to a parameter...great....

I made a simple rod as an adaptive component 

Bring it in and place on the path

Hit the repeat button
and voila....

Ok....thats nice...AFTER the element had been copied, I changed it so that the top and bottom curves had an unequal number of points.  Nice.

On a whim, i wanted to see what would happen if set an unequal number of points BEFORE the adaptive rod had been placed

Now we are getting into some i went further.  I made a rig:

Added a top curve and placed the adaptive rod, then i got the weird error message "There is only one component in this repeater"
Which is when I realized this tool is sensitive to the direction that curves are drawn!  So i attached the rod differently:

And then i got some weird stuff going on...

Dancing and singing in the happy valley ensues...

Does this picture create inner turmoil for anyone else?