Managing Documents Without Busting Budgets

Do you really need a CAD Document Management System (DMS)?

Organisations that steer clear of getting into the world of automated CAD document management do so for numerous reasons. Some feel that because it’s not core to their business, there’s no need. It’s not a necessity like Revit or AutoCAD, it’s more of an admin luxury, so why pay for it?

Some see the costs as excessive. They might have a point. Getting consultants in to design the system can sometimes cost more than the system itself. Costs of implementing document and drawing management software can be prohibitive for small and medium-sized enterprises. This applies especially when you add in the ongoing investment in upgrades.

Is there an affordable path to CAD document management?

In a technology-driven world, and more specifically in the document-centric, collaboration-focused sector that construction is, it’s a crazy situation to be ‘getting by’ with manual processes. So, is this a caught between the devil and the deep blue sea situation? Bespoke document and drawing management software might cost a small fortune a a plug-and-play doesn’t exist.

Think big
Disruptive technology is constantly appearing that brings the big-company software capability into the small company realm and certainly within the small company budget compass.

Brilliant admin processes ticking away in the background shouldn’t be the exclusive domain of the industry’s heavy-hitters. There’s absolutely no reason why a robust and reliable platform for better CAD document management processes shouldn’t be available to any organisation in the construction sector regardless of size: in the office, on any project, for any user, and for use in any collaborative environment with third parties or simply between branches of the same firm.

Great expectations
Between the individually tailored solution and the ready-made solution is the affordable and easier path. It enables any organisation to manage documents in the way they want, and meet expectations of third parties and shared projects, conforming all the time to industry standards. This is achieved in three steps:

  • Adopt basic drawing management software for organisation, retrieval, version control and such like
  • Overlay this basic solution with the ability to integrate with commonly-used tools and methods such as AutoCAD, Revit and ISO 19650 file-naming conventions
  • Make sure that the resulting ‘ecosystem’ revolves around your most common workflows.

Here’s how it works
An example of common workflows would be transmittals. This is also an area where basic mistakes can easily creep in, especially when it comes to version management. Document and drawing management software, based on the three-step approach above, can ensure that the ‘technical clerk’ is only presented with versions of the documents that are ready/approved for issue whilst allowing the design team to continue working on the source files.

Drive your business forward
This sort of automation impacts the business in many ways. It enables faster and more professional responses to clients and project partners. It eliminates human error, accelerates and increases productivity and saves vast amounts of time. What’s not to like?

Nobody needs expensive teams of specialist consultants devising unique solutions. You don’t need the time, effort and upheaval that all this would involve and you certainly don’t need the investment and recurring expense.

A simple and logical, basic document management system can align your business and integrate your workflows with business norms and every applicable standard. What’s more, you’ll delight and motivate your staff who won’t find themselves descending into the daily document doldrums any more, when they have far more important things to be getting on with to drive the business forward.

The trick is in going for a system that is built to meet requirements of construction professionals because there are many out there that are of a far more general nature intended for the ‘standard’ commercial office. The Document Management team at Excitech is here to help if you want to be sure of doing absolutely the right thing, and doing it at the right price.

Please feel free to visit our website or contact us on marketing@excitech.co.uk or 01992 807 444 to learn more.

Online Tutorials vs training with an instructor – AutoCAD Training

Learning a new skill requires knowledge and practice, and mastering AutoCAD is no different.

When you’re new to AutoCAD, learning how to use the software can seem like a daunting task – certainly without any guidance. You have two routes to go down.

  • You may start by looking at some tutorials but that will soon lead to some unanswered questions, that would force you to look for some more tutorials in a never-ending process. You may learn a thing or two, but it is unlikely that you understand how to leverage the potential of the software and work efficiently using this learning technique.
  • Alternatively, and the route I certainly would recommend, would be to invest in an AutoCAD course. By attending an instructor lead course will give you the structured approach that is needed and the opportunity to get answers to your questions instantly. Even its your questions are not part of the syllabus.

Let us use the example of someone that has never used AutoCAD before and would like to get a solid foundation by taking our AutoCAD Essentials course. A similar logic can be applied for a proficient user trying to get to the next level with an Advanced course.

We start by familiarising ourselves with the interface. Understanding what the different menus are and the different ways to access the commands will help you not only accessing the tools that you already know but also give you an idea on where to look for additional functionality that may be of use to you in the future.

We will then introduce how you can use coordinates, distances, and angles to generate simple geometry. It is vital to understand and master all these basic tools as there will be one of them that is better than the others on each situation. You would then be required to dominate all the drawing aids to refer to existing geometry, eliminating the need for construction lines.

Now that you know how to draw some basic geometry, it is time to start making changes and move, copy, rotate, scale, or mirror your objects. Further down the line, you will also have access to some more advanced editing tools, like trimming, stretching, creating fillets, offsetting, or creating arrays of objects.

Recognising the importance of using layers to organise and control your objects will follow and the use of blocks will allow you to group and reuse your entities. To finalise your model, we will cover hatching, annotations, and dimensions. From there, the use of layouts for printing will help you produce your final drawings.

Trying to learn all these skills on your own will likely lead to some inefficient practices and bad habits that can be hard to break. Conversely, an AutoCAD course will guide you through this journey in a seamless manner and put you in a position to expand your knowledge on your own even further if needed.

Explore our range of AutoCAD courses here:

https://www.excitech.co.uk/Services/Training/AutoCAD-Training-Courses

Returning to work – how will you manage social distancing in the workplace?

Whilst the requirement for social distancing remains, with many of us still being required to work from home, the next challenge for those with responsibility for the safety of their workforce is to begin planning the safe return to work.

Organisations are having to consider a wide range of never-before-considered questions, including:

  • How will we keep returning employees safe?
  • Will the whole organisation or only a percentage of it be allowed to return?
  • Will employees be able to work in the same way they used to?
  • How long will it take before the lockdown is fully over?
  • Will there be new legislation around social distancing?
  • Where will liability lie for ensuring social distancing is adhered to in the workplace?

All good questions and unfortunately, we do not have all the answers, however in Excitech’s CAFM team we have made some quite reasonable assumptions for the UK and many other countries across the world:

  • Employee interaction will be reduced significantly post-lockdown, at least for a reasonable period
  • Employees will have to maintain a ‘safe distance’ (definition of safe distance may vary job to job, country to country) wherever possible
  • Government advice or regulation will be provided to enforce this
  • Employees will be advised to put in practice a number of different lifestyle changes to reduce unnecessary contact/close interaction with those outside their household

Without knowing the specifics, we can begin working on some space management principals and functionality to support organisations in dealing with these challenges. The output of this thinking is the Excitech FM Return-to-Work software solution to assist with your space management. It’s main focus is to help organisations manage allocation of space and employees more safely and efficiently.

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The solution takes an organisation’s traditional floorplan distribution and highlights where this will now cause breaches of social distancing advice or regulation. The radius assigned to each location or employee can be adjusted to meet changing social distancing advice, or different regulation enforced from country to country.

Additional functionality allows users to manually (yellow highlighted) or automatically (red pen) edit this distribution to significantly decrease or completely remove any instances or overlap, ensuring the safest possible working environment. The revised employee distribution plans can be used to minimise employee risk and increase confidence that action to keep them safe is being taken.

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Users of the software can model the redistribution of employees on both live and ‘project’ floorplans (proposed floorplan change scenarios that have been modelled in AutoCAD/Revit), to see how adjusting the floorplan can create the safest and best utilised layout.

In order to help organisations through this challenging time, Excitech is providing the software elements of the Return-to-Work planning solution free of charge to existing Excitech FM customers who are on the latest version of the platform. New users will be able to deploy this element standalone and will only have to pay for the setup and hosting costs of the solution.

For further information about Excitech FM Return-to-Work software visit our website:

https://www.excitech.co.uk/Campaign/Excitech-FM-Return-to-Work-Functionality

Excitech FM is a space and moves management platform, which assists all types and sizes of organisations manage their space effectively and efficiently. Find out more about the platform here: https://www.excitech.co.uk/Products/Excitech-FM

Speak to us today about your space management requirements.

Sketchup Training – Moving from the Essentials to Advanced

By Enrique Barriuso, Application Specialist at Excitech

Do you have basic knowledge of SketchUp?Or maybe you have taken our Essentials SketchUp training course? If you’re looking to reach the next level in SketchUp by advancing your skills, look no further. This blog will give you a flavour of the additional knowledge and skills that you would gain by attending our Advanced SketchUp training course.

In order to be successful in this course, it’s advised that you’re proficient in the tasks covered in the SketchUp Essentials course, which you can find below:

https://www.excitech.co.uk/Services/Training/Training-Courses/SketchUp-Essentials-Training

What to expect in SketchUp Advanced

The use of images in SketchUp is briefly introduced in the Essentials course. By attending the Advanced course, you will expand on more advanced techniques like the use of multiple images, the ability to tweak textures once they have been applied on a surface and you will discover how and when to scale a model if you are using different images at different sizes.

Another important feature that is presented in the Advanced SketchUp training course is the use of AutoCAD files as a starting point for your SketchUp models. You will learn how to import the drawing in the correct units and understand how to manage AutoCAD layers and blocks once they are brought into SketchUp. Common practices to create a mass model from an imported 2D drawing and to handle plan and elevation drawings will also be described.

If you are interested in surveying or landscape design, some techniques will be shown on how to create a terrain surface from contours or maps, and how to design your own curved surfaces utilising functions of the Sandbox tools.

The section Tool is explained in detail, indicating ways to apply multiple sections and control their visibility. Some advanced procedures are also used to create a construction sequencing animation, with the help of the sections, layers and camera angle options in the creation of scenes.

A valuable addition is in the use of Layout in SketchUp to produce compelling presentations. You will practice controlling the view, scale, shape and size of the different view ports, modifying the title block, adding and linking a table from Excel or adding dimensions.

Additional beneficial suggestions include the use of Solid Tools to find the intersection between different objects, the creation of face-me components to simulate a 3D object from a 2D image and a demonstration of some of the more helpful extensions.

If this sounds like something you would like to explore with us take a look at the Advanced SketchUp training course here:

https://www.excitech.co.uk/Services/Training/Training-Courses/SketchUp-Advanced

Can Facilities Management software help manage or stop the spread of COVID-19?

By Richard Brayshaw, Sales and Business Development Manager for CAFM at Excitech

I’m not going to sit here and write that properly adopted Facilities Management software can save the world from this awful pandemic, or that it is the solution to all the current problems.

For those in the estates and facilities community looking to do their bit, there are however some technology solutions that can help prevent or reduce the spread of diseaseon an ongoing basis.There are some elements of Facilities Management software that will help manage the evolving workplace.

Within a finely tuned Facilities Management solution, there are a large number of elements or modules designed to support all facets of estate management. These range from the traditional helpdesk, preventative maintenance, asset management, space management, lease management, room booking modules to the less widely adopted. One of the Facilities Management solutions Excitech support is ARCHIBUS, which provides a number of modules which can be used to increase control and minimise employee, client and public risk. These include:

  • Environmental Health &Safety enables users to manage incidents, associating those involved with the location and potentially equipment needed. Employee training records and/or medical monitoring can be linked to these same incidents to give traceability and a full audit history. In an effort to help organisations provide safe working environments during the COVID-19 outbreak, ARCHIBUS has kindly offered our customers a free license of the ARCHIBUS Environmental Health & Safety application over an 18-month period.
  • Compliance Managementhelps users ensure a safe, productive work environment by implementing a structured process to comply with regulations, codesand/or best practices. With a wide range of compliance measures to adhere to, this solution allows for their management all in one place, with the ability to take quick action should anything arise.
  • Emergency Preparedness allows users to plan for potentially disastrous situations and effectively respond and quickly recover in the event of an actual disaster.It helps provide rapid access to critical facility, infrastructure and occupant information to ensure life safety procedures are followed, property is protected, and disruption to normal operations is minimised.
  • Clean Building allows users to ensure that all hazardous materials are quickly and accurately located, tracked, and dealt with. By managing risk in this way users can quantify and qualify scope, status, cost and risk of dealing with each hazard and proactively establish a safe working environment.
  • Actual Space Utilisation – while the primary use may be to monitor the efficiency with which the estate is being utilised, this module will also allow users to identify where employees have been, where they have worked all day and as such potentially who they have come in to contact with. This will allow organisations to assist with tracking those within their organisationpossibly at risk.

These modules will increase control of the estate – even when working remotely – and ensure that risk, whether from infectious disease or another source is minimised. The key is to adopt a facilitiesmanagement solution capable of integrating with or providing these kinds of modules/systems as part of a complete estate management platform.

Talk to us about your estate priorities www.excitech.co.uk/Solutions/CAFM-Software

Ensuring your Business Continuity during the Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

This blog discusses some of the infrastructure elements of a remote working strategy in the construction and manufacturing sectors, but many of these points will be relevant to other industries also.

Elements to Consider

Like project management, remote working has what I see as a triple constraint whereby there are 3 main aspects to remote working (security, performance and cost), and increasing one will result in changes to one of the others. For example, if you want users to be able to work on 3D models from home, but you don’t wish to decrease the security of your network, then it is more than likely you will have to increase your costs.

This is most challenging in construction and manufacturing because of the 3D models and large data sets that users work with.

So, what does this mean to you and your business continuity?

It is important to understand the need to provide a carefully balanced and considered approach when looking at how individual users work, and therefore how the business carries on working when faced with unusual events such as we are experiencing today.

Security

You will want to keep your data and network secure but by allowing remote access to the estate, you are exposing yourselves to more risks. The most common way to allow users to access work is via a VPN.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) provides a secure tunnel or connection between 2 endpoints without a man-in-the-middle being able to read the data, in this instance a user’s end machine (or CAD computer) and the business. VPNs are incredibly useful as they allow users to access company resources securely without being physically located in the office but depending on the nature of individual needs there are considerations and potential drawbacks.

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The most basic VPNs are normally provided by a firewall and allow the end user full access to the entire business from the end user’s device. Normally the business provide its users with a CAD computer with a VPN enabled, and only these devices can connect to the network. This means the company has full control of the set-up from end-to-end.

However, not all workers have a laptop.  Many work from workstations that are office located. In this scenario, VPN could be enabled on non-corporate devices i.e. personal devices, but this comes with the risk that all company data and applications could be accessed by a non-secure and possibly malware infected system without any protection in place.

With enhanced VPN hardware appliances you could open up access to personal devices, restricting VPN access to those systems that are compliant, fully patched and protected with anti-virus/anti-malware software, and even then access can be restricted to limited company resources.

Productivity / Performance

Due to the applications in use in construction and manufacturing, (e.g. Autodesk Revit), the CAD computer the user takes home needs more powerful hardware than a standard laptop or home machine meaning it can be bulky and unwieldly, and so users don’t like to use them especially with a long commute on public transport.

Even if the user and business are happy with the use of a CAD computer, normally the files are of such a size that accessing them remotely, even over very good fibre broadband connections, becomes unproductive. This is because of the way the software works and the amount of data in question. Users can work on the same models in the same office but when you add latency on the connection and reduced bandwidth via an Internet connection to the system, the user experience worsens.

An alternative would be to use remote connectivity software to connect to the desktop/workstation located in the office. This does not always require a VPN and these applications are normally installed on the user’s own desktop/workstation. What remote connectivity software allows is control of that office device (screen, mouse, keyboard) remotely; examples of these are Microsoft Remote Desktop, TeamViewer and VNC.

Remote connectivity software is useful for non-graphical office programmes like word processing, accounting packages, databases and emails but this is where construction and manufacturing businesses are different because of the applications they use.   3D applications can struggle to stay smooth and usable over standard remote connectivity software. To overcome this, a business can employ specialist software or hardware; examples include Teradaci PCoIP (PC over Internet Protocol) cards in a Dell workstation or HP RGS (Remote Graphics Software) at additional costs.

Firewalls and Internet Connections

The considerations don’t end here though if an entire company is to work remotely. These include the firewall and Internet connection of the business. For every user that connects they will use a VPN licence, firewall resource and Internet bandwidth, and each of these will have limitations that may be hard to increase. When it comes to Internet bandwidth, remote connections will use the upload bandwidth of a business more than download bandwidth, and for some businesses that only have a standard ADSL or fibre broadband connection they will have a lower upload than download speed. This could result in reduced performance for users or even be unable to serve remote connections for an entire company.

Useful Links

For guidance on working from home with your current licensing deployment, please read our blog “Autodesk Licensing and Working from Home.” For more information on CAD computers, please visit our website https://www.excitech.co.uk/Campaign/CAD-Workstations

Bringing SketchUp training to Windhill21 School

By Enrique Barriuso, Application Specialist, from Excitech

In my role as an Application Specialist for Excitech, I am used to delivering training courses and presentations for engineers and architects. This time around, the audience was quite different. We went to Windhill21 School in Bishops Stortford to show the potential of SketchUp to three Year 5 classes which ranged from ages 9 to 10.

The children had been using SketchUp for schools for several weeks during a 40-minute class. They were shown a picture of the Empire State Building and have been working in pairs to replicate it in SketchUp. They were taught the basic tools they could use but not specifically which shapes or dimensions to use. It was up to them to model the building, allowing them to be creative in achieving that goal. This means all the models were different, although at the same time all of them looked quite similar to the mentioned building. It is remarkable how they could get to that point in just a few sessions.

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It would have been unthinkable to do something like that when I was at school at their age. The most advanced technology that I had available at school back then was a calculator, which I wasn’t even allowed to use during class. The new generations have grown up with access to laptops, tablets and smartphones and you could see how it comes natural to them just by watching them interact with their models. The use of technology has become an important skill to have in today’s world, and it is great to see how it is integrated in the learning process from such an early age.

Our objective during this session was to show them the potential of the software, so they could see what can be done and be inspired by it. I demonstrated some of the tools from the full version of SketchUp that they could not find in the educational version they were using.

It was extremely rewarding to see how excited they got when they were shown some of the functionality. They liked how you can import images into SketchUp, create animations, add shadows and fog, and download models from the community from the 3D Warehouse. The biggest reaction came when I placed one of their own models in the playing fields of their school, using the geolocation capabilities of SketchUp.

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After the session, it was time for them to show their own models and ask me any questions that they had to improve their models. They showed a genuine interest in what they had just witnessed and asked loads of questions, some of which you would only get from children. One pupil asked if you can model a space station in SketchUp. As it turns out, not only can you, but if you search for ‘space station’ in the 3D Warehouse you can find several models ready to download. They were very pleased and excited by the possibility.

After the sessions, school continued as usual. I hope to have sparked some interest in some of them and that it will encourage them to investigate on their own and learn more about it. Some of them may even consider it as a career choice. At the very least, it will be beneficial for them to see how something that they have been doing can be used in practical situations they can relate to.

 

To understand the basics in SketchUp, why don’t you take a look at our essentials SketchUp training course: https://www.excitech.co.uk/Services/Training/Training-Courses/SketchUp-Essentials

And if you’re looking for advance Sketchup training, we also hold an Advanced course. You will find the agenda here: https://www.excitech.co.uk/Services/Training/Training-Courses/SketchUp-Advanced

AutoCAD training – How to imbed a company logo into a DWG

At Excitech, we regularly host a number of AutoCAD training, which are quite often interactive. In a recent class, we were focusing on external referencing. We discussed ways that external referencing improves the workflow and the file size, and when to use Attachment and when to use Overlay.

As an external reference we can reference another DWG. We can also reference images and PDFs.

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The External Reference dialogue box will indicate the current external references.

During this particular training session, a member of the class raised an addition to the External Reference concept. This was also something that another class member was keen to know about. The dilemma was, “how can we insert an image for a company logo, and have it imbedded in the DWG and not have a path to the image in the External Reference dialogue box?”

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The reason for having the logo image embedded is to make sure the image stays with the drawing as it may be part of a border or title block.

Many of the class had not used this feature, despite working with AutoCAD for some time.

We started by using the Paste Special feature in AutoCAD.

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 Place an image logo onto the paper space layout.

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Photoshop is a common paint programme we have on our workstation, we can also use the standard Paint from windows.

Let’s open the logo image we want in AutoCAD, in Paint.

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Use Ctrl – A to select the image then Ctrl – C to copy to the paste buffer. You can also click on Copy from the clipboard menu.

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Now if we go back to AutoCAD, we use the Paste Special to place the image into our AutoCAD paper space.

Using the Paste special we see that we have a Paintbrush Picture available.

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The image can now be placed on the paper space. Here, we will see a border around the image but as you see below the print preview does not show that border.

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If you now look at the External Reference dialogue you see that there is no reference to the image.

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The image is embedded into the drawing file.

Note: While in Paint, or your image manipulation software, ensure you make the image small so that the final file size is not inflated too much as this will impact all the drawings that have the image embedded.

This enquiry proved to be quite a little gem to finish off our AutoCAD training on External References.

The great thing about our training courses at Excitech is that they’re quite often dynamic, which raise little gems like this that are not specific in the agenda.

Take a look at our full range of AutoCAD training courses here:

https://www.excitech.co.uk/Services/Training/AutoCAD-Training-Courses

Revit 2020.2 updates

The second point release of the Revit 2020 version introduces some exciting new features and updates to the Dynamo platform as well as some nice additions and productivity tools for Revit 2020. Let’s start with the top new and improved features for Revit.

Internal Origin Point

One of the most important areas when working with multiple Revit models is the accurate geospatial coordination of consultant’s models and checking that the models overlay correctly. This has been problematic in the past as the internal origin of Revit was not readily visible. By default, the project base point is ‘clipped’ to the internal origin but users in older releases had the opportunity to unclip the Project base point and move this independently of the internal origin. Thankfully, this ‘feature’ has been disabled in 2020.2!

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It is worth noting that if the user has moved the Project Base Point in older releases then you can return this to the start-up location by right clicking over the Project Base Point and selecting ‘Move to Startup Location’.

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We now have a new sub-category of the Site category that will display the Internal Origin as a visible symbol in Revit views.

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When made visible, the internal origin appears in various views either with a 2-axis symbol (plans, elevations, sections etc.) or a 3-axis symbol in 3D views.

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The internal origin can also be shown in linked Revit models which is a great feature when verifying that the origins of linked models align. You can also use the align command to align models via the project base points and since the project base points cannot be moved, enables the models to align origin to origin.

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Schedules – Freeze Header

When working with large schedules it can be problematic to remember the headers for each column. To assist with this, Autodesk have now enabled Freeze Header which keeps the title and headers in view while scrolling though long schedules.

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The active row can also be highlighted when selected and you can zoom in or out of a schedule by holding down the Ctrl key and rolling the middle mouse wheel. These are small changes but very useful when working with large schedules with many rows and columns.

Dynamo 2.3

A new version of Dynamo is automatically installed with many new and improved features in Revit 2020.2. The virtual machine speed has been dramatically increased which helps workflows with Generative Design as the Dynamo processes can be run in parallel for faster processing times. One of the best platform features is the ability to see dependencies on other packages. When sharing Dynamo scripts with other users, the script can fail if the user has not downloaded the relevant package. Dynamo 2.3 now has the ability to show packages and versions that are required to execute the script.

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The Graph Package Dependency side bar can be located within the View menu.

When changing the configuration of connectors, you can now hold down the shift key to move multiple connectors or hold down the Ctrl key to move multiple connectors between nodes. This really speeds up the editing of nodes and connectors.

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Structural Connections

Revit 2020 enabled Structural connections to be placed and edited using Dynamo, this workflow is strengthened with new nodes that allow the loading of structural connections from a library file. This is great news as you can set up standard connection types for each member type and size, and then get Dynamo to add these to the relevant members.

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The Steel frame can be sent to Robot for the design and calculations, and then the values can be used to further refine the Revit model via Dynamo. This could be an interesting workflow when automatically checking the structural connections with reactions from Robot Structural Analysis.

If you require further information on Revit 2020.2, please feel free to get in touch by emailing marketing@excitech.co.uk.

Woodwork for Inventor – A Woodworker’s Tale

As a trainer my career transposed from being a Joiner many years ago into a Carpentry and Joinery Lecturer and then an AutoCAD Trainer. So when Inventor was introduced, I was keen to be on board with drafting and designing in 3D. When I was eventually introduced to Woodwork for Inventor, I was very excited that I could bring my skills, workshop methodology, terminology and experience as a woodworker into Inventor.

Many recent clients that are coming into Inventor are woodworkers, I have been developing training in Woodwork for Inventor for these clients and it has given me a great understanding of how we can marry the technology within 3D design and the traditional design processes in the woodworking industry.

Let’s look at an overview of the way Woodwork for Inventor is a great addition to Inventor design tools.

With a top down approach, the initial joinery design can be created in the form of an overall solid body, in the first instance. This is how Woodwork for inventor is quickly able to create board panels. The process is called Skeleton dress up. Here we see an example of the simple solid body used as the skeleton with the dress-up panels in place.

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We can then create the joints between the panels. We can define what each panel is made from, for example, laminated boards, solid timber or multi-layered boards. Adding edge veneers and lipping is also very straightforward.

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The great benefit of using Woodwork for Inventor is that the design is parametric and therefore dynamically updates when changes are made. If for example, you change the height or width of the overall cabinet, Woodwork for Inventor would update all the relevant components used in the cabinet. Adding fixtures and fittings is extremely straightforward too, placing a handle is a matter of choosing the handle and aligning it to a work-plane and finished surface and woodwork for Inventor will create the holes in the model as well.

Having all the components monitored is not only a vast time saver but crucially it allows Woodwork for Inventor to create a list of all the components that make up the cabinet/counter being made. This list is called a bill of materials.

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Taking this further, within Woodwork for Inventor we can also create drawings of parts and include any data that we require to manufacture the parts. Holes grooves and other features can be described in an AutoPlot drawing.

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The way that Woodwork for Inventor allows for design processes to take away the conversion of data from the designer and create that automatically is a huge benefit to the woodworking industry. I do remember as a joinery apprentice having to create drawings and cutting list of materials and a concept called setting out rods, this was a drawing on plywood that was full size to allow the marking out of components prior to machining. The development of CNC machines has greatly helped the machining of joinery components and Woodwork for Inventor has the ability through the CAM behaviour technology to send cutting instructions to a CNC milling machine.

Woodwork for Inventor is a very intuitive addition to Inventor. In my training courses I come across woodworkers who really find this process not just a great time saver but greatly eliminating any costly errors. Woodwork for Inventor within the power of Inventor has greatly advanced the woodworking industry.

My master craftsman taught me so much many years ago. I often wonder how he would comprehend the technology we have within Inventor and Woodwork for Inventor, I think he would be delighted.

Visit our product page for more information on Woodwork for Inventor, www.excitech.co.uk/Products/Woodwork-For-Inventor.