Sunday, May 21, 2017

Four years!!! What happened?

Yep, the last post was in 2013.....

So what did happen; lots of things. Mostly I felt like I ran out of useful topics around Revit and/or the more interesting stuff couldn't be shared for various reasons.

More recently you can read my Design Technology focused thoughts as part of the Design Technology Summit blog posts here.

So what should I do with this blog; well there are other things in my life besides Revit (no way!!!).

Among them I've always had a passion for model railroads, and now that my nearly two year old son seems just as excited (I should add my 6.5 yr old daughter also likes trains, but that rascal.....) I'm diving back in!

So I'm moving forward with designing a model railroad, its a great hobby I might add for lots of people, whether you have a more artistic bent or engineering/electronics/design there is quite literally a little bit of everything!

That all said I'm getting out of my armchair of having read Model  Railroader for the past two decades and I'm actually going to do something about it! I've resurrected my old HO scale module and have planned a simple dog-bone track-plan around it.

The last couple of Christmases the kids received some cars and engines from Santa as well as a bunch of Bachman E-Z Track sectional pieces. Since that was a pretty big investment by Santa (and no its not me) I decided that while not my first choice, I might as well use the E-Z track as it would get me to "market" more quickly with not having to laydown roadbed, spike flex track, etc.

Now I wouldn't be a very good Design Technology guy if I didn't use software to do my planning... :-)

So I found what I think so far is a pretty neat little track planning tool that gets the job done SCARM; it even has a train simulator, so you could just live in the virtual world forever. While there are other software packages out there (that have been around since the 90's) I really like this one (did I mention its free?). Admittedly the "Simple" in the name is a bit too true for a BIM junky like me, but it gets the job done, and in the realm of track planning, it is BIM for track planning, as you can print out a parts list!

Of course, I also found a way to work Revit into the mix. I used that to design and plan the benchwork to support my wonderful track-plan. A little hi-jinx with images got the track plan into Revit at scale so that I could make sure things were lining up "close enough". I could also make sure it would fit properly in the basement thanks to having a Revit model of the house!

Of course I also used Revit to create a quick sheet with dimensions and a schedule. Thanks to a handy renumbering tool I could key each instance to the schedule.

The end result? After $100 at the big Orange Store, as of tonight three girders are nailed, glued and drying (ran out of clamps) and the west end of the track plan has been fitted and tested (the beauty of snap track).


With some luck I'll keep the updates coming. Stay on track!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Improving your BIM

So I think the news it out already, but Harry Madison (one of the most talented Revit API developers out there) has started his own blog and consulting business for developing Revit API tools.

He has put out a freebie on the Revit Exchange "Image-O-Matic". Which is a nifty little tool to generate an animation of a parametric family. There are a number of interesting possibilities with this tool, you could make  a cool family such as the one Harry used for his demo. However another interesting possibility with this tool would be to demonstrate how a family works for the purposes of educating users on how to properly use a family in a project.

So on top of all that he is running a contest until the end of the month, the winner will get a free tool of their choice (some restrictions apply) if they win the content. To win you have to provide the best example of the use of Image-O-Matic.

For all the details go here.

On another front, I'm working closely with Wes Benn (chairman of RTC), some of the North American committee members and some other folks from the industry for something special at RTC NA 2013. No other details to share yet, but stay tuned!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

AU 2012 - Is it a cloudy future?

So, after almost a week I've mostly dug myself out from the post AU work hangover. For the first time in several years I was quite pleased with the majority of the course I attended, though most of them were dealing with Data and Information, and not specific Revit techniques.

I was however a bit dissapointed with this year's Keynote. I thought last year's was better overall (though the  kid was great), however I'm getting tired of hearing Carl Bass tell me the same thing for the last three year running, ie Autodesk is investing in cloud software solutions. Ok, we get it, what else? Oh yeah, you're software is going to share seamless with all products, and they don't want to "restrict our data". Enough, tell me what else is coming! I get the cloud thing we all do, but its also going take you another three to five years to get to full enterprise level support.

So with that thought in mind the folks at Imaginit were kind enough to line up Beau Turner and Matt Mason (two of my favorite guys to chat with) to talk a little bit about where they see things going and why they're leading the software developer they are (which by the way does not have cloud, social or mobile in any product name) and where they seem some intruging possibilities in the not too distant future.

Consider it DoRevit's AU Keynote rebuttal/follow-up.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving & See You @ AU

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the United States!

I will be headed out to Autodesk University on Sunday and look forward to seeing many of you out there. I'll be kicking around so don't hesitate to look me up either through e-mail, blog comments, or whatever.
Kitchen Island, glass tile backsplash

Kitchen on left, tiled chimney and wood storage on right.
Wood Stove Hearth
Second Floor Foyer
Master Bath Shower (sans glass) and Make-up vanity beyond.

 The house is coming along quite nicely, painters are finishing up this week and next, we just need to get our guard rails installed and a few other minor finishing touches, here and there.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Figure a Problem Out, Document the Solution, Share...

Project Chronicle Screen Shot: Video & Command Tracks
I have been waiting a year for this Autodesk Labs technology research project to come to fruition, and finally tonight I got the e-mail I'd long been waiting for!

Project Chronicle has gone live!

Chronicle is kinda like Jing for Autodesk products except is also captures actual command data, so that someone watching the video can also "See" exactly what you did, what your settings were/are and when you did it. I'm really intrigued by this technology as I think it is a great way to easily share with people how to perform a task in Autodesk software.

Now it does look like everything is "public" so that means if you have something you want to "keep in your company" you're still going to have to use tools like Jing. Though I do hope that something like Chronicle advances to where we can choose with whom and how we share our "Chronicles".

Happy chronicling!

Edit: I've since been informed that Chronicles can be marked as "private" so you don't have to share with everyone, you can choose to share with specific people. Which is good news, as this person reminded me though, this is hosted by Autodesk Labs. That said, the more people use it and leverage ti, the more likely Autodesk will be to perpetuate it in some form.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Laser scanning: Any monkey can do it

Who says monkeys can't run a laser scanner? Of course we'll have to see if he can make all the clouds register together. It would have been preferable to do the scans before board and plaster went up, but when you're waiting for fun toys to fall off the back of a battleship you can't be too picky!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Coloring Rooms with Rules & Scheduling Project Info

So one limitation that I've encountered with Color Fill Schemes for Rooms has been that you don't really have flexibility in terms of a set of "rules" by which to color, its mostly an all or nothing proposition with regards to a single parameter's value. So this week, it finally occurred to me to try filters to color rooms. I tried several view setting with no luck. In my case I wanted to color some very specific rooms all the same, and while I could have used room name, and made each unique room the same color, and turned all the others off, that seemed like alot of work to me. There had to be a way to make filters work!

It finally occurred to me to apply the filter with a color scheme applied to the view. Viola! My filter changed the color of my target room(s). That still left me with the issue of how to only color the rooms targeted with the filter. This actually turned out to be quite simple, rather then turn the rooms off, I made them "white". The white is a good "trick", it means that I can reduce my color scheme to a parameter with fewer values, think Department Names rather than Room Names, you could even create a parameter for rooms to which you assign the same value. With all rooms still visible, but set to white, now I have the freedom to colors rooms based on whatever Filter Rules I can dream up, thus allowing me to effectively right conditional statements to group rooms together under the same color or pattern which a single value would not typically allow.

Another silly little thing I encountered this week. I needed a schedule to contain project information, in this case with a list of areas. I actually needed the Project Name with each row of data (don't ask too many questions). What is one to do? I remembered that a couple of weeks ago when working with schedules that "Project Information" was a valid choice in the schedule field's tab combo box. This time though, I created a new schedule and it wasn't there! Then it occurred to me to check the "include linked files" box. Once again, presto! I had project information available to schedule with my areas. Now ironically I don't actually need to schedule anything from my linked file(s), but that is ok, I can deal with that one way or another. I do somewhat understand why these choices only become available when choosing to include linked file data, but at the same time it is a bit of a needless limitation, I can't think of any good reason why Project Information should not always be a valid choice.