Friday, April 22, 2011

What do Irvine, Los Angeles, Ontario and San Diego have in common?

3d Connexion devices! This week 5 people started their 30 day trial of their Space Explorer devices. We will start collecting weekly feedback, but initial impressions ranged from excited to giddy to greedy! I hope to get these people who are testing them to try it out in Revit 2012 in addition to Sketchup, Rhino, 3ds Max and Bonzai. The tough part will be at the end and justifying the purchase to management, as noted by Tom over at the factory...

BTW, I wonder if anyone at Autodesk paid any attention to the "backwards" keyboard used in this marketing graphic????

Friday, April 15, 2011

The 3D Connecxion Has Been Made...

With Revit 2012 now supporting 3D Connexion devices, I decided to get out my old Space Traveler. It had been about a year or 2 since I last had tried to plug it into a computer. In that time, I've switched from XP to Vista, gone through several laptops and several version of Autodesk products have passed. I found out that 3D Connexion no longer supported this device and the last driver published was for Vista x64bit. I eventually managed to get it installed, however, not everything works as great as it used to.

So, I dropped a note to 3D Connexion telling of my plight and that I wanted to evaluate their devices for the firm I work with, HMC Architects. In the end I spoke with a very nice gentleman there and he offered to set me up with a 30 day trial of 5 of their Space Explorer devices. At 3:19pm, Thursday April 14th, a box showed up full of glorious new hardware. It was a joyous moment marked by the scent of freshly manufactured parts off an assembly line along with a hint hardware envy... 

Granted, we will have to return them after 30 days, but by then I hope to get a better sense of what our designers think of using them in their day to day work. I plan to report back here some of their thoughts at the end of the trial period.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

*GASP* A Command Prompt for Revit???

I know so many Revit diehards out there that shudder at the mere mention of a command line from their days of using AutoCAD. I know a lot of AutoCAD lovers who can't get over the loss of their command line when they get into Revit. Well, if you ever needed to know what commands are being issued by all those keyboard and mouse clicks, now you can. You can also type out commands and enter them to your hearts content (not that I would want to...). Check out the recent post over at BIM Kicks for the tool...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A portable viewer for Revit projects?

The other day I was contacted by a company purporting to have created a portable viewer to share Revit models. I was a bit skeptical at first, but thought I would give it a shot and check it out. The company is called CADFASTER ( ). Basically, they have a plugin that gets added to Revit which will convert a Revit project to a single EXE file. Once converted, you just double click the EXE file and it launches a small applicaiton (think similar to Vasari) which then uses your video card to display the geometry from the converted Revit project.

I tried it on a training file of a Revit project and it translated the information relatively well and quickly, however the curtain walls seemed to be missing. Then, I decided to use a Revit project currently in production for reference.
* 235MB, 5 story hospital project from Revit 2011
* Roughly 25 mins to create the exe
* 41 seconds to open 21MB exe file.

In the end, the file once opened in the viewer, was so far zoomed out that I could hardly see the building. No zoom window function, orbiting was limited, couldn't really do much more. At this point, it's not really a technology usable, but it definitely looks promising. If they can work out some of the usability/translation issues, we might have a winner.

Since they plan to have the ability to share the model remotely with multiple users and be able to add annotations to it, it could have great potential for collaboration with extended project stakeholders.

A Little Bit of Yesterday...

I found AutoCAD 2000 on a computer today - still running! It took me back more than a few years seeing that familiar red and yellow icon...

Fortunately, I won't need to worry about using it today!

A Little Bit of Everything

Welcome to my latest blog, Adventures in the World of BIM! I felt my previous blog, 2d or not 2d had outlived it's name and original intent. Postings on that blog had become more of a general nature about the technologies surrounding Building Information Modeling (BIM) rather than focused on a specific technology.

On this blog, you can expect to see a little bit of everything, hence the description under the title. You may see reflections on past technologies and how they got us to where we are today. You'll also see current trends and tools for today along with insights and glimpses into the future. Add me to your RSS feed or bookmark this blog because this is going to be one interesting adventure!