Monday, June 10, 2013

Two Thousand Fourteen

Another day of kicking ass with ACAD, and wasting time with Revit.

I was getting some error messages today - I believe it was when I would close ACAD 2013 (which is still on my machine obviously - and opening some files from explorer seemed to select it rather than 2014).  It wasn't hurting anything, so I basically ignored it - everything I did with ACAD 2014 was smooth as silk, and thank fucking god, because I ran it (and myself) through the wringer.

One minor annoyance about the 2014 release, when  the programs are pinned to the taskbar, they almost appear to be open, even when they are not - because the icons are kind of shiny looking.  I've already bitched about how stupid Autodesk is about updating their 'look' rather than fix their fucking software, so I'll leave it at that for now.

I happened to notice a 'sample systems project' in the 2014 released that looked almost like (gasp) a power riser diagram!?!  Granted, with as little as I give in fucks about Revit at this point, it's entirely possible it was in a previous version, and while it is drawn in 3d, complete with 3d conduit fittings, it does appears to be an actual attempt to display the panels, their relative locations (in space), and interconnection.  I had always assumed it was possible to do a power riser in an 'elevation' view (apparently our architects stick a wall out in space for various details), but without any intuitive way to put one together, I wasn't about to waste my time (for dubious gain).

If you want to waste your time, you can open the sample systems project, and see one oddball panel/transformer off to the right of the rest - and if you go into a 3d view you will see they are rotated 90 degrees away from the rest of the panels (the way it is oriented in the building).   I'm assuming it could be displayed like the others - at least in this view, and that it is probably unnecessary to have 3d fittings and crap for a schematic that they are going to go build (and there is no telling exactly how they are going to build it in most cases - going the 'extra mile' often ends up getting you kicked in the teeth).

Now - we do some projects that are heavily geared towards showing specific conduits routed in specific ways.  We have one huge project (in Revit) that is a never ending maze of shifting and intertwining pipes, ducts, electrical conduits, cable trays, etc. - routed through service tunnels in a large-scale facility.  Our firm is not doing the actual electrical design, but was hired (in a sort of round-about way) to do the 3d Reviting.  It keeps one employee busy almost full time (although I'm not sure if we are making enough money on the project to justify that - and as I've mentioned previously - much of their time is taken up staring at Navisworks going 'wtf?).

I can almost guarantee the first thing that will happen when this projects gets out in the field, is the realization will hit that they (for some unforeseen reason) everything will have to be shifted around, and ends causing everything else to be re-routed manually, with all of that careful planning gone to shit.  You can call me a pessimist all you want, but reality seems to agree with me - the vast majority of the time.

I realized that the 'sample system' for electrical resembles a 3d plumbing riser more than it does anything in the electrical realm.  The difference being that plumbing has to be able to show the proper slopes, and is a whole hell of a lot harder to tweak and cram into places (same with HVAC ductwork).  That is one of the main things that escapes people - most of my conduits are small, easy to route (or re-route), and electricity flows uphill.  There are usually only a handful of large conduits (mainly service entrance, and maybe a few distribution panel feeders) in any given project, and they still aren't as hard to modify when necessary (although I've seen a few cases where they just flat-out screwed the electrical contractor - and no amount of 3d design would have had any affect).

Anything more than schematic design in most cases is an exercise in redundancy - even after it is an exercise in futility.

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