March 26, 2013

Plant 3D Programming

Have you ever thought, "Hmmm, if I could program a little, I could get Plant 3D to do what I want it to do."  A good starting point would be to read through Scott Halmark's post on Python Scripting.

March 14, 2013

Indicating Double Home Runs Correctly in Revit MEP

Revit MEP will allow you to indicate double home runs when circuiting electrical fixtures.  This can be done by simply dragging a home run arrow from one electrical circuit to a fixture that is on a different circuit. The result will show a double arrow head on the home run and the circuit tag will call out both circuits.

Two Single Home Runs

Double Home Run

The one thing that has always bugged me about this is that Revit would also still show the home run arrow head tying the two circuits together.  Every time I taught this, I was asked how do you get rid of the arrow head tying the two circuits together?  Up until today, I did not think you could.  I have now found a way and it is very simple.

All you have to do is to duplicate the plan using the Duplicate with Detailing.

As soon as the plan is duplicated the arrow head goes away.

Double Home Run Without Extra Arrow Head

The only downside is that the duplicated plan must remain in the project.  If the plan goes away then the arrow head comes back.  Weird, but it solves the mystery of how to turn off the unwanted arrow head.

March 1, 2013

What's the best 3D mechanical design software package? It's in the way that you use it...

I read an article a few days ago that blew my mind. It turns out that Microsoft's "Bing" search engine has fallen to 5th place among internet search engines - which begged the question, "who's in the top 5?" Predictably, Google was first, followed by China's Baidu (volume, of course), then Yahoo, and in 4th place? Drum roll, please.....

Yandex. Ponder that for a moment, as the tumbleweeds silently blow across your mind. Granted, I'd never heard of Baidu either, but the reason that Russia's Yandex search engine has surpassed Bing isn't necessarily because it's better, or because there are more Russian speaking people than English. It's quite the opposite - to the casual observer (me in this case) Yandex doesn't "pop", or provide better information than Bing. To test my theory, I did a simple search on both engines using keywords "Atlanta Braves", and Bing was far superior in content, style, and the general layout.

While reading the article, I started thinking, "poor Microsoft - first the Zune, now Bing". Remember the Zune? Microsoft's answer to the iPod? By all comparisons (sales, functionality, style) it's been a colossal failure. However, they're still being made, and those who've chosen Zunes and (most importantly) mastered the features absolutely love them.

So what do search engines and mp3 players have to do with 3D mechanical design software? As Eric Clapton once said, "it's in the way that you use it". A trusted colleague at Autodesk once told me that when comparing software packages for 3D design, the best design package is the one that you've received training on - plain and simple.

The Yandex users, just like those who swear by their Zunes, certainly could choose Bing or iPods, but took on the task of learning how to use the tools, and now, they swear by them. And in fairness to Solidworks, Pro-E and other 3D tools that I believe (shocking) are inferior to Autodesk Inventor, with the proper introductory AND ongoing new feature training, any 3D mechanical design software is better than another WITHOUT proper training. Features in a software package are nice, but without knowing how to use them, they can't become benefits.

So I took a long route to get around to the main point here. But the next time you see someone who thinks that their Zune is better than the tricked out Gen5 32gb iPod you just bought, just remember - it's in the way that you use it....