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Thread: Getting off of AutoCAD all together

  1. #1
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    Getting off of AutoCAD all together

    Lately, I've been making it my mission to remove AutoCAD from my workflow as much as possible. People at my firm cling to it everywhere they can: for schedules, our cover sheets, specs, details, control sequences, etc. Over time, I've gotten schedules up and running, followed by the cover sheet Legend/Abbreviations/General Notes, etc. Over the past week, I figured out how to get our piping symbols, graphical Legend, and even our specifications converted over to elaborate multi-category schedules. (I'm actually surprised at how good they look, considering the graphical constraints.)

    Now that I have a solution to importing CAD Mtext for those specifications, I'm wondering... is it possible to get off of AutoCAD all together? At this point, the only things I still need it for are Details and Control Diagrams, and those could be easily handled via Drafting Views. That's just a matter of putting in the time to convert our standard CAD content. The end of AutoCAD is actually in sight, all I have to do is convince my coworkers...

    So, has anyone out there taken the final step in their Revit MEP Journey and gotten off of 2D AutoCAD entirely? Or is that really where the MEP industry is headed? It seems to me that the writing is on the wall. 7 years ago only large, new construction projects were in Revit, now we're seeing it on 5,000sf office renovations. It seems like it's only a matter of time before 2D AutoCAD fades away entirely, I just want be ahead of the curve and get off of it as soon as possible.
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  2. #2
    Mr. Revit OpEd
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    My two pennies worth...sure it is. It's a people issue much more than a Revit issue. To be sure, there are some adjustments and compromises with regard to "We have always done it this way" but...definitely possible...always been possible.
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    Forum Co-Founder Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Im not in MEP, but i havent *used AutoCAD* for any type of actual detail/schedule/sheet/drawing/anything since 2006.

    Ive always still had it installed (which i still think is "convenient") because inevitably i have to open another consultants stuff (civil, subcontractor, GC, Owner, etc).

    But you certainly dont NEED it for getting drawings done. I cant even imagine why people would WANT to cling to it. As Steve said, totally a People Problem. Much harder to solve than a technical one, lol.
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    My firm uses Revit for 99.9% of our projects. We're pretty small (only two drafters and engineers atm) and seem to like to hire young drafters from the local polytechnic, so Revit adoption/training is sort of a non-issue (the current hires are from the architectural program at the college so there is the Revit MEP learning cliff). We use autoCAD only for preparing backgrounds that we get which seem to come mostly from interior design firms. I still see a lot of fairly major (e.g. 10 story condo) projects from other firms that appear to be created in CAD.

    We do our specifications in word so we have the word>pdf>tif workflow for that. Our Details are all in a separate revit file as drafting views and we just insert the views we need on the project. We draw all our schematics and diagrams in drafting views as well.

    I just implemented a huge overhaul of our Revit setup a couple years ago as it was not set up properly at all. As an example all parameters were project parameters called S-1...S.32 (ick). Now I'm slowly implementing the 'fun' Revit stuff like flow calculations which I couldn't get in the first go-around.

    My boss is largely on board with any changes/ features I introduce to the setup so that's pretty nice
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    I know it's possible, my question was how many MEP consultant users have actually done it? Lately I've been feeling very aware of the fact that I've been using Revit for 7 years and practically none of the rank-and-file "CAD guys" have truly transitioned into using Revit. It's like they're all holding their breath, waiting for Revit to go away. They've learned the bare minimum needed to obtain results (while relying on CAD imports) and stopped there. I guess I'm just trying to gauge where I am in relation to the rest of the MEP consulting industry in the US. From what I'm seeing, I'm in the top 5% and I'm no Revit whiz. I'm still learning new stuff every day.

    I'm just so sick of AutoCAD. I see my coworkers jumping through hoops getting it to work with Revit and simply refuse to do it any longer.
    Last edited by Necro99; July 11th, 2017 at 01:09 AM.
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    Forum Addict josephpeel's Avatar
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    Well I use Revit for 2D schematics.... but Im the exception in my company so far and the other people who normally do schematics seem to regard me as some kind of blasphemous satanist engaged in an unholy perversion of all they hold sacred....

    I used autocad for years but would never go back, so I just started doing everything in Revit.
    No, Revit is not the best program for 2D drawing... but in comparison to lots of separate files with no "Intelligence" built into them I think there is massive potential for doing schematics in a revit project. Not just to have everything in one place and to no longer have to worry about version management, but also for all the extra stuff you can potentially do by having families that contain data instead of stupid lines.

    For my last project I produced a PDF document of all the system schematics. The opening page shows an isometric view of all the MEP installations with labels for all the different systems. These labels have View Reference links that are clickable in the PDF. Each label links to a page with an isometric overview of just that system, the 2D schematic, a legend schedule and also some calculation schedules if relevant;
    I would like to share the PDF but its an active project so heres some images.



    One of the biggest arguments I hear for not doing schematics in Revit is that we already have all the required symbols and linetypes etc in Autocad and it would take too long to create them all again.... well if you dont ever start making the symbols you wont ever have them! It took me hardly any time to copy the standard symbols as detail items, including things like a Type Image for each one so they can be shown in schedules.

    In this project we also experimented with adding extra functionality to the schematics, for example using the fact you can schedule quantities for the costing of the project. A big challenge with extracting costs from a model is you can only quantify what you have modelled, so you are either driven to model everything (Which cost too much time) or estimate for the things that are not modelled. By making 2D schematics with component quantities for the non-modeled things and simple 3D distribution models without all the valves and pumps etc. you can build up accurate quantities in both ways.

    Another thing we attempted was linking model objects to 2D objects. So using a dynamo script we created links (Using parameters with the GUID of the linked 2D/3D object both ways) for things like Size and Flow so that these could be tagged on a schematic (The 'lines' are also line based detail items with properties) and updated by running the program when changes where made.
    This worked quite well and meant that showing sizes on the schematic (Which is normally a very bad idea because it creates information in multiple places that you have to keep checking) worked reliably and was always up to date with the model.



    The people that I worked with on this project where very enthusiastic about the results. However we had a wider discussion about whether we should adopt it further as a standard way of working and the resistance from 'CAD' people was unbelievable!
    "Autocad is better/faster" - Yes for you maybe, but not for the person who has to link that dwg and get it looking right on the sheet.
    "Quantities and linking data can also be done in Autocad" - Oh yeah? Then why hasnt anyone been doing that in the last 15 years?
    "It will take too long to make all the standards" - Ive copied half of them already..
    "Theres just not enough people who can use Revit" - No because you wont try it!
    And so on...

    Our conclusion.. we will keep Revit for 2D details as just an experimental way of working for the small number of people who are interested and Autocad as the standard, simply because otherwise the number of people who can/will do the work is too small and we will have to deal with endless complaints from the flat earthers.

    Im interested to hear about others doing this because there almost zero info or examples online
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Getting off of AutoCAD all together-schematic-frontpage.jpg   Getting off of AutoCAD all together-schematic-overview.jpg   Getting off of AutoCAD all together-schematic-sizes-flows.jpg   Getting off of AutoCAD all together-schematic-sizes-flows2.jpg  
    Last edited by josephpeel; July 11th, 2017 at 03:03 PM. Reason: Better image

  7. #7
    Forum Addict josephpeel's Avatar
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    As you can see from the images, the quality of the drawings still needs some improvement, but thats mostly because I threw this together under time pressure and Im someone who doesnt give a fek about drawing standards.... so long as its clear what the drawing is communicating. Which is also why it would be nice if the people who like CAD standards and the little details would get involved...

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    Forum Addict tzframpton's Avatar
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    The only thing I still use AutoCAD for is when I'm required to produce isometric plumbing schematics. I also have to utilize DWG for 2D Linking sometimes, which requires AutoCAD for cleanup, but that's not the same really.

    If Revit can handle an actual 30░ Isoplane in the Drafting Views, then I'd say yes - for MEP then you can fully offload AutoCAD altogether 100%.

    -TZ

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    josephpeel, you're my Revit guru! That's exactly what I want to start doing with our control diagrams. I have the same response as you when I hear the "It will take too long to make all the standards" - I've been quietly churning out families, schedules, and Template updates for years at this point. They don't even know what we have...

    Re: plumbing isos, I've used 3D views with all the non-relevant piping filtered out. I've done it for domestic water, sanitary, and storm water isometric diagrams. On larger buildings they do get rather huge, though.

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    Forum Addict tzframpton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Necro99 View Post
    Re: plumbing isos, I've used 3D views with all the non-relevant piping filtered out. I've done it for domestic water, sanitary, and storm water isometric diagrams. On larger buildings they do get rather huge, though.
    I've done it before too. They rarely come out good, let alone great. Isoplane plumbing riser schematics is something that Revit cannot do in it's current state. It would have to be a separate development via 3rd party I bet.

    -TZ

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