Showing posts sorted by date for query AutoCAD Microstation. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query AutoCAD Microstation. Sort by relevance Show all posts

From CAD to BIM: Part I - History of CAD

A brief history of CAD to understand the path that led to BIM
Català - Castellano - Deutsch
I mentioned on a previous post my intention to go into BIM and IPD. Unfortunately for now, I have not the luck to be working on a daily basis with either, so my initial approach here will be more theoretical. I am trying to build the basis of what my Master Thesis is going to be, so forgive me if sometimes things sound a bit basic or repetitive.

BIM, as I see it, is still Computer Aided Design, but it allows you to add an “n” number of dimensions (like costs, scheduling, etc), and strongly modifies the work process to design, build and maintain a building. But since it is in my point of view an evolution of CAD, I think it is important to start with brief history of CAD.

In 1957, Dr. Patrick J. Hanratty had developed the first commercial CAM (Computer Aided Machining) program. It was a numerical control (NC) machining software developed in Pronto , the first NC commercial programming language. Hanratty is regarded as the father of CAD / CAM since these two branches became slowly one.

The first CAD software with a graphical interface was Sketchpad, developed in 1963 by Ivan Sutherland. Sketchpad was a Program in which the user could graphically interact with the program through a screen, a light pen used to draft, and a set of buttons that allowed the user to enter parameters and constraints. Although it never became commercially available, the ideas on Sutherland´s PhD dissertation became highly influential for future generation CAD developments.

First-generation CAD software systems were 2D drafting applications developed by a manufacturer's internal IT group and primarily intended to automate repetitive drafting tasks. During the 1960s, Hanratty himself developed DAC, a CAD system, while working for General Motors Research. Other companies like Ford (PDGS - 1967), McDonnell-Douglas (CADD - 1966), and many others followed soon after that.

During the 1970s the transformation from 2D to 3D began. The French Aerospace Company, Avions Marcel Dassault, developed CATIA, after purchasing a source code license from Lockheed Martin. CATIA is still nowadays leading software in the Aerospace, Automotive and Shipbuilding Industries. One of the most important research dissertations of the decade was K. Vesprille's (at Syracuse University) 1975 PhD dissertation "Computer-Aided Design Applications of the B-Spline Approximation Form" on Complex 3D Modeling. It is from the end of this decade that one of the first books marketing CAD for architects appeared. “Computer Aided Architectural Design” by William J. Mitchell from 1977 is a hint that CAD was already being marketed to architects. The widespread adoption by architects would take still years.

During the 1980s the CATIA, Pro/Engineer, Unigraphics and I-DEA became the leading CAD software packages. All of them powerful 3D modeling software systems with their core business on the industrial production (for this reason sometimes referred as CAE systems rather than CAD) and their main hardware platform being UNIX. On the 2D and PC Platform Autodesk, with AutoCAD, was gaining market share.

It was on the 1990s, that the PC explosion happened and with it the raise of a new player. Autodesk had been focusing on the PC platform since its AutoCAD version 1 released in 1982. The licensing of the ACIS 3D Kernel, allowed Autodesk to release in 1993 AutoCAD Release 13. For the first time AutoCAD had 3D Solid Modeling Functions. AutoCAD became widely spread, but other packages like Bentley’s Microstation, soon became strong competitors on the mid-price market. The widespread adoption of CAD by architectural offices was happening slowly and soon would burst into being the dominant trend. We will see more on that on the next post on this series

Sources: CADAZZ, American Machinist

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About me - 2010 resolution

The BIM revolution is happening right now, I wanna be an active part of it.
Català - Castellano - Deutsch
I have never introduced myself properly in my own blog, kind of rude, but as some of you already know it all started as a record keeper of little things I was learning. The snowball became bigger and bigger, and then i forgot to be polite. Since this article needs a bit of my own background I am going to start with that.

My name is Martí Broquetas, I am an Architect from Barcelona. For those who don't know it I am currently studying a Master in International Building Project Management and working at the Construction Management Team at a big Project Management Company in Stuttgart, in Germany.

Before moving to Germany in September '09, I worked for the previous 3 years in Baltimore, MD in a mid sized (nearly 100 employees) Architecture and Design Firm, I worked as a Project Designer on big projects all over the world. After learning the insights of a big architectural practice i realized I wanted to get a better insight of the construction industry itself, and for this reason I chose the IBPM Master in Stuttgart.

My workflow has mostly comprised working with CAD Design softwares like AutoCAD, Microstation, SketchUp and Rhino and doing some tweaks with Photoshop and other image editing programs. This is the reason why most of the posts are related to these programs.

I haven't wrote much about BIM here since unfortunately it has not been part of my workflow since I started this blog. But I am intending to change that soon. I am very much decided on writing my Master Thesis on the role of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) to make the Design and Construction Process more efficient (I know, i need a shorter title line). I am not an expert on either, but I intend to become one.

So from now on (it might take a couple of months to really get something interesting enough to be published here) and with the same spirit of sharing knowledge that made CAD-Addict what it is, posts related to this two topics will hopefully appear here as often as possible. The idea is not only to publish posts that explain better ways to work with BIM programs like Revit or ArchiCAD, but also to encourage the discussion about the need for change in the way architects work to make building design a much more efficient practice.

The website is named CAD-Addict, and for a while i thought to maybe start a separate blog for the topic. But I sincerely think it is better to have the discussion here, since pure CAD users can benefit from and contribute to the discussion about BIM and IPD a lot. Plus, I am sure a lot of the readers of this blog are already BIM users. Aren't you?

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Autodesk - Graphisoft - Nemetschek Software for Free

Are you a student? Then you are lucky, the major CAD and BIM vendors will let you download their products for free.
Català - Castellano - Deutsch
Going back to school has an advantage, and that is that you can get free versions of the major CAD and BIM software available. If you are trying to learn a new software, or simply need to use on your personal computer the software that you already have available in the school PCs, don't bother looking for pirated versions. Most of the major vendors will let you get a free version of their products if you have an email address provided by your school. See that this are not intended to be 30 day trial versions, but 1 year subscriptions (except for 3Ds and Maya, only 6 months)Here come the links.

Autodesk Education Community: Here you will be able to download for free the following programs:
  • Autodesk Revit Architecture
  • Autodesk Reevit Structure
  • Autodesk Revit MEP
  • AutoCAD
  • AutoCAD Architecture
  • AutoCAD Civil 3D
  • AutoCAD Electrical
  • AutoCAD Map 3D
  • AutoCAD MEP
  • AutoCAD Mechanical
  • AutoCAD p and ID
  • AutoCAD Structural Detailing
  • Autodesk Ecotect
  • AutoCAD Raster Design
  • Autodesk Impression
  • Autodesk Maya
  • Autodesk 3Ds Max
  • Autodesk 3Ds Max Design
  • Autodesk Navisworks Manage
  • Autodesk Algor Simulation Professional
  • Autodesk Alias Automotive
  • Autodesk Inventor Professional
  • Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional
  • Autodesk Showcase
  • Autodesk Sketchbook Pro
Graphisoft Student and Teacher Webpage: If you are looking for free software from Graphisoft, here you will find:
  • ArchiCAD 12
  • Artlantis Studio 2.1
  • Cigraph Bundle
  • MEP Modeler
  • ECO Designer
  • CADImage
  • Objective
Nemetschek also allows free downloads of their software for students by registering. In this case the download sites are specific for each software.
Bentley only seems to provide a FREE version of their Microstation PowerDraft V8 XM Edition. But I thought I'd mention it here anyways.

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AutoCAD: Scale Objects in one dimension only.

There is a way to scale objects only on one axis.
Català - Castellano - Deutsch
I used to work with Microstation long time ago and that program has the scale in one dimension as a standard option of the scale command. Unfortunately AutoCAD doesn´t. If you need to scale objects on one dimension there is a way in AutoCAD to do it though.
You need to select the objects you want to scale and create a block out of them. Be sure to create the block with the "scale uniformly" option unchecked. Then, this block can be scaled in one direction by modifying the X or Y scale. Once you have the geometry scaled as you wanted you can explode the block.
Of course it is not as precise as using the scale command, but so far it seems to be the only way to do this.

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Rhino Plugins: Block Editor

Rhino does not have Block Editor by default, but there is a plugin for that.
Català - Castellano
If you start using Rhino like me coming from an AutoCAD, Microstation and/or SketchUp background you'll be used to create Blocks, Cells or Components, to edit them later.
Rhino by default does not have a Block Editor so you might find yourself a bit lost if you imported a file in Rhino from other applications that work with Blocks or similar entities.
No problem. Rhino, very similarly as SketchUp, has a wide range of Plugins to enhance its functionality. One of this is the Block Editor plugin, that will add the needed functionality to your Rhino. To download it go to this link. The Mcneel website has plenty of information about how to install plugins.
You need to use the PlugInManager command to load the Plugin, browse to the location where you have the plugin stored and click OK. After that you can select a block and run the command InPlaceBlockEdit to edit the block.
To manage Blocks Rhino has the BlockManager that allows you update and delete existing blocks and linked files.

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Finding Any Possible Vehicle Turning Radius

Do you need to find out if you have enough space for vehicles to turn? There is a pogram to draw any possible turning radius.
Català - Castellano
If you are designing a parking garage and have very narrow turning spaces or if you are trying to fit a service dock in an area where you are not sure if the trucks will be able to manoeuvre a template showing the inner and outer turning radius might not be enough.
What you need is a program that can simulate the trajectories of Cars, Trucks, Buses, etc. And there is one. The awesome piece of software created by Transoft Solutions is called AutoTURN. It is a commercial product with a price that varies depending on the type of license (we inquired at work some months ago and the price given for our type of license was around $250), but if you are into any kind of Site Design, Road Design or anything involving vehicle movement it is worth the price in a single use.
Let me show you a quick snapshot so you can get an idea. Recently we've been trying to figure out if we could fit a Service Dock for 4 SemiTrailers
16.50m long in a pretty tight piece of a project. With AutoTURN we managed to see that we did have enough space making some little adjustments on the project.

The Program works both on AutoCAD and Microstation platforms, it has a very wide range of vehicles for many different countries, works both in metric and imperial unit systems and I insist it is amazing how useful it is. Just imagine the fees you could save on Traffic Consultants...
You can download a Demo Version going to the AutoTURN Website to give it try with only one vehicle type (an articulated Bus).

kick it on

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AutoCAD Architecture: Hiding 2D objects (actually obscuring them)

Trying to find a way to hide single objects I came across a way to obscure them.
Català - Castellano
Someone told me today at work that Microstation has an option where you can hide objects regardless of their layer. I really don't know if that is true (haven't used Microstation for almost two years) but I was asked to find a similar command in AutoCAD. Be aware, I wasn´t successful.
But every failure has a part of learning, in the process, I discovered the AEC Tool: Obscure. You can access it by selecting geometry -- Right click -- AEC Tools -- Obscure. Or you can directly type the LINEWORKOBSCURE command.
See the two pictures below to appreciate what this command does.
On the image above we want to hide the withe and red geometry behind te white geometry. The process is simple. We select the geometry we want to show as hidden (in this case the white and red rectangles), right click -- AEC Modify Tools -- Obscure. Then we will be asked to select the geometry that is going to create the obscuring boundary. We select the two blue rectangles. Done, see the result below.
See how all the "hidden" geometry becomes dotted lines, and how even the solid hatch filing the central rectangle is "hidden" behind the blue rectangle. I say "hidden" because there is nothing actually hidden here, what ACA does is break the original geomtrey using the boundaries we gave it, and change the geometry inside those boundaries to a layer with hidden line properties.
It ia a useful command, but don't forget that this is pure 2D. I am still tring to figure out a way to configure the properties of this hidden geometry layer. By default the layer is called Aec-Detail-Hidden, but I know that this can be modified (as wellas the layer properties) because in my company when using this command the hidden geometry comes in one of our standard hidden layers. Will investigate a bit more and post the solution if I find it. Or do you knowhow to do it?!?

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How far could you go with Architectural Software?

You learn AutoCAD, then Photoshop, then SketchUp, then Revit, then 3DMax...See how far others have gone...
Català - Castellano
If you followed similar steps as I did, probably you started in School learning som CAD software. I was actually taught Microstation SE back in 1998. Together with this you probably learned some image editing program like Photoshop or Corel Draw to improve your presentations (I actually love the discussions between people with vector shaped brains because they learned Corel first and those with Raster shaped ones because they stated with Photoshop).
Soon after that comes the attempt to go 3D, not only for presentation purposes, but also from the design point of view.
Before @last software released SketchUp (yes, Google didn't create SketchUp, they bought it in 2006) crossing the 3D threshold was too much for many. Many of my friends back in School would say "I can't do 3D", nowadays it seems to me impossible to imagine an architecture school without almost all the students using SketchUp or something similar to design their buildings.
The use of 3D modeling programs is vital as I see it in the design process. Some old school guys say that real models are better, but I respectfully disagree. While a real model is a great tool to show to clients and to get a sense of scale of what you are doing, it rarely allows you to understand the real effect of the buildings and spaces you are creating. Modeling in the computer allows you to get that view from the human position as if you were in the project.
The hard step to do next is to have the ability to use 3D not only for design purposes but for presentation. Reaching and acceptable level of Image realism (enough to look professional with a client or to not let your professor make fun of you) takes some time. The most challenging part is to be able to stick to one rendering program/plugin and develop your skills fully.
In many years I've got into 3D MAX, V-Ray, Maxwell, Cinema 4D, Rhino... I have to say that for the easy of use so far Maxwell Render has proven to be the easiest to use (although render times sometimes skyrocket when using Multilight).
Many have followed this road before, and some have been extremely successful in getting the most of the process, reaching levels of excellence with Computer Graphics Software that allowed them to jump to other fields thanks to that.
I was reading in CGArchitect an Interview with Tino Schädler, who starting with an Architect background made it to the Film industry after becoming truly proficient with Maya.
Thanks to Tino, i got to discover some CG Artists who have done great jobs lately. Like Joseph Kosinski. For most of us involved in Architecture Software and struggling to work smarter, it seems a very long shot to ever reach similar levels, but as the end of this post I thought it would be nice to dream a bit.
Those levels of imagery require of course full time dedication, super powerful computers and time, but as read in Tino's Interview, improving those skills (even if it doesn't mean that you will turn into a CG Artist) can only help you on your daily struggle for better designs, better buildings (and better pay).

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Architecture Software Acronyms

What do all these acronyms stand for? CAD, CAM, BIM, IPD, CAE, AEC...Not so long ago, a friend of mine started publishing in his blog a list of Acronyms related to the Business Intelligence field. For a long time I wanted to do something similar, so finally that pushed my laziness away and here comes the list.
Since this website deals with Architecture related software, I'll try to list all those acronyms related to this topic, or at list the ones that I am acquainted with. The list might get updated as new abbreviations develop or I get to know them. Here is the list:
  • CAD: Computer Aided Design. Sometimes also referred as CADD (for Computer aided Design and Drafting). The most basic one (and the one that gives name to this website). Although originally understood for 2D drafting with a computer, nowadays is also used to refer to 3d Design. Most of the big names in CAD software deliver products with strong 3D modelling capabilities. The Almighty AutoCAD is the industry most widely spread CAD package in the construction industry.
  • CAM: Computer Aided Manufacturing. Originally Computer Aided Machining. Is the use of computers (and designs generally prooduced with CAD systems), to streamline the production of goods.
  • CAE: Computer Aided Engineering. Although in many countries the functions of CAE software are performed by Engineers and not by Architects, in some places like Spain, the Architect still plays the main role in this field, specially on Building Structural Analysis. The tasks accomplished with this software are analysis, simulation, design, diagnosis of built solutions (and thus, of buildings) and many others. The software range might go from CAD/CAM software to Structural analysis programs, Heating and AC system calculators, etc.
  • AEC: Architecture Engineering and Construction. The explanation is kind of obvious, software or any tool related to these 3 fields. The abbreviation is used by many BIM software to name some of the tools such as the AEC Polygons.
  • BIM: Building Information Modelling. This is were the industry seems to be strongly moving to. BIM means not only building a 3D modell of a building, but also adding to these model all sorts of real life properties, such as materials, plumbing, structure, etc. It is in certain way like building in a computer a complete model previous to the construction of the real thing. ArchiCAD is known to be the first BIM software (released in 1987), other big names on BIM are Revit by Autodesk, Allplan by Nemetschek or Bentley Architecture (the BIM version of Microstation).
  • IPD: Integrated Project Delivery. Not very extensively explained, seems to be a step forward from BIM. A way to not only build a model that has all the information of a project, but also to create an interconnection between Architects, Owners and Constructors (and all providers involved in the process) to minimize costs and maximize building efficiency. In this video, you can see a brief (and a bit stressing) introduction to IPD.
  • CGI: Computer Generated Imagery. A wide meaning of this would be any image you produced using the computer (kinda obvious eh!). The use of the term refers mostly to 3D imagery and animations produced using any of the softwares explained above (and many others)
There are other 3 letter Acronyms related to architecture like GMP (Guaranteed Maximum Price) and others, but I am not going to explain them here since they have few to do with Architecture related Software

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AutoCAD: Meet the OSNAPs

Have you ever wondered what does each and every Osnap do? I did, and I tried to find out.
Castellano - Català
On my personal experience and according to what colleagues and friends tell me, it seems that none of us takes full advantage of all the OSNAPs available in AutoCAD. I
think the way we work is mostly based on the way we always did, so we tent to not try new things, we like routine.
Once said that, I must admit that many times discovering a good way to use some of the OSNAPS makes your work flow improve considerably. So it is worth trying all of them and seeing what can they do to improve your AutoCAD proficiency. As a way of self discovering some of the OSNAPs I never use, and to share those that I think are the most useful, here is a compiled list of them with some quick description of what are they for and how they improve your drafting experience.
First a quick tip for those who don't know this. If you press Shift+Right Click on the drawing space, a contextual menu with the list of OSNAPs will appear ( See this previous post for more information about this). We will use this contextual menu (the picture on the left) as a list to describe each Osnap individually. The letters between parenthesis are the text entry/shortcut for those Osnaps
  • Temporary Track Point (tt): If for any reason you like to work with Object Snap Tracking (OST) not active, this OSNAP will allow you to track from one point you select. It has a weird behaviour I have to say, because it seems not possible to use it twice in a row (I need to investigate more because so far it doesn't make sense)
  • From (from): It allows you to click on a point and set the distance from that point you want to start or finish drawing. Almost impossible to use accurately if OST is Off, unless you use relative co-ordinates. It is actually useless in most situations because OST already allows you to do most of what "from" does (if someone knows any other use of this please don't hesitate to collaborate)
  • Mid Between two points - (m2p): My favourite one, it allows you to snap on a point exactly in the middle of two given points. Very very useful and quite unknown since it doesn't appear in the Osnap Settings Dialog Box.
  • Point Filters (.x .y .z): For those who used Microstation and miss that pressing the space bar to lock one of the Axis, this will make the trick. We can, for instance select to lock X, select the X coordinate that we want locked, and then choose any point. The resultant point will have the X we locked using this Osnap and the X and Z of the last selection. It can combine multiple axis locked, XY, XZ, YZ.
  • Endpoint ( end ): One of the most basic ones. Not much is needed to mention since normally everyone works with this one permanently active. It will snap to one of the endpoints of an object, showing a square sign.
  • Midpoint (mid): Another of the classics, it snaps to the midpoint of an object, it shows the triangle sign.
  • Intersection (int): It snaps to the intersection of two objects. The objects need to have a real intersection, if no intersection is found between two objects that apparently are intersecting, check the Z values of this objects, since one or both might be not on Z=0. The sign is the X
  • Apparent Intersection (app): What the previous osnap doesn't find as an intersection this one will. According to the active view it will ind the visual intersection between two objects. The sign is a square with an X inside.
  • Extension (ext): It will let you choose any point on the extension of an arc or line.
  • Centre (cen): Points to the center of an arc, circle or ellipse. The marker is a circle.
  • Quadrant (qua): Points to 4 Points on a Circle or Ellipse. These 4 points depend on how was the UCS when this geometry was drawn and will always follow the direction of this original UCS. They would be the North South West and East coordinates of an Arc or Ellipse, being North where the Y axis is pointing. In Arcs or Portions of Ellipse they behave as if the Circle or Ellipse was complete, but only those that fall on the arc or portion o ellipse will be selectable. The sign is a square tilted 45 degrees.
  • Tangent (tan): Allows to draw lines tangent to circles, arcs or ellipses. It doesn't work if we are drawing an arc. The sign is a circle with a line.
  • Perpendicular (per): Finds the point that makes the line you are drawing perpendicular to the geometry you want. It can be used with lines, arcs, circles and ellipses. The sign is like an inverted T.
  • Parallel (par): Only for lines. It allows you to draw a line parallel to another one. It is less intuitive to find out how to use it. You must select the first point, then chose Parallel Osnap if it's not permanently active, point on the line you want the new one to be parallel to. A Double line sign appears, then move the cursor away to where the parallel line should be. A dotted line appears and the parallel Osnap marker shows on the original line, click a second point.
  • Node (nod): To snap on points or nodes. If you draw points using the POINT command, the only way to Snap o them is using "node" osnap. Also, when you use MEASURE or DIVIDE, points (nodes) will appear on the object (unless you use the [Block] option). The sign is a circle with an X.
  • Insert (ins): With this object snap you can point to the insertion points of objects like Blocks or Text. The sign is a shape consisting of two squares.
  • Nearest (Nea): Not to be used if you are trying to be precise, this osnap will select the closes point on an object, it can be useful for quick drawings and measurements, but it shouldn't be used for drawings requiring precision.
  • None (non): If at some point we need to select a point and we don't want to use any osnap we can select the None Osnap that will turn them all off for one click. It would be the equivalent of pressing F3.

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The purpose of the blog

The main purpose of this blog is to share some of the knowledge I earned during my years as an architecture student and the recent professional practice.I'll share my tricks, new discoveries and of course also the questions I can't answer.
I am mainly focused right now on improving my rendering skills. Although i am pretty god with modeling any kind of object using AutoCAD, I have some problems on creating photo realistic renderings.
I'll share with you what I know about AutoCAD, Microstation, 3Ds MAX, Sketch Up ad Photoshop mainly. Lately I checked some programs like Autodesk Revit or Rhinoceros, so maybe in the future I will review them as well.

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