Monday, August 22, 2016

Autocad 2017 - The Ribboning

Donde Esta El Skullfuck?

It's been busy busy here, we've got projects coming in the door like crazy - and I've got the tools to do the job.  The only problem I've been running into is the occasional client who doesn't know what the fuck they want (typical), or the ones that know exactly what they want (but don't know how to communicate it).

I banged out a massive 700,000 s.f. warehouse/production facility, then spent twice as long designing (what should have been) a fairly simple access control system.  The guy who sold the job was operating under the delusion that I knew what his client wanted (via telepathy apparently).

Meanwhile, the client couldn't keep anything straight, but instead of figuring it out first then going forward, they had me over-design everything to the nth degree before then going back through the resulting clusterfuck and tweak it to their liking (we are making a pile of money though).

Then it was on to a 180,000 s.f. media production facility upgrade - which I was completely done with when the client started poking around in it and making vague requests (with very specific expectations).

I thought I had him squared away, but then he came back claiming we hadn't sent him updated drawings (we had), and then when we re-sent them, he claimed we hadn't addressed his comments.  Fortunately the client was nearby our office, so we had a quick meeting with him this morning.

It turned out that we had indeed done pretty much everything he wanted - and just had to make a few corrections to the floor plan layout (the one they sent us to go by mind you).  We actually removed two devices that were excess to need, and then talked him out of moving some conduits.

I got those drawings submitted, then it was on to finishing up a 64,000 s.f. office building (inside of a government facility - so, of course, it's not going to be as simple as it should be), and we've got 3-4 more projects ready to go after that (with more to come).

I'm all for it because the day goes by faster (and thanks to some overtime - it makes my paycheck grow substantially).  It will also be nice to have a stack of large-scale projects under my belt when I come up for review (I had to take a little pay cut to come here, and I'm hoping to make it up).

Most important though is having the right tools - and even better than not being force-fed the newest version of Revit every year at my new job has been the fact that (while we have access to newer CAD) we are still ticking along perfectly happy in ACAD 2014.

I might eventually skip up to 2016 like I had at my previous job (fuck 2015 - piece of shit), but since I'm pretty sure these are stand-alone copies (rather than the subscription based license bullshit) I doubt I will worry about it for a while.

A quick review of 2017 seemed to show that they are doubling down on this ribbon bullshit - to the point of eliminating the 'classic view' altogether - although it can easily be 'recreated'.  This begs the question of why the fuck they wouldn't just leave it alone (unless they are just trying to drag the last few people kicking and screaming into ribbonland).

Fortunately, as long as they leave the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) the fuck alone, I'm golden.  The only other feature (there didn't seem to be a whole lot - but it's hard to improve on perfection) that I saw was built-in .pdf import, which would come in handy from time to time (assuming I get .pdfs that aren't scans of old drawings, etc. that import as nigh unusable bullshit (which is most of them).

I'm sure they probably broke some important shit (it wouldn't be an 'update' otherwise), but for now the only changes I have had to put up with here was when they put Windows 10 on our machines - fortunately the only problem I had with it (so far) was one of my printer drivers (other people haven't been so lucky).

Fuck Revit, Fuck Reviteers, Yadda Yadda.  Fuck you if you don't like it, etc. etc.


Next Time: BIM idiot opines not being able to use his shitty model as a deliverable (hat tip to SF Reader 'Hysteresis').


  1. Good afternoon,

    Posting a comment since I could not find another means of contacting you...

    I am a consultant working for Schneider Electric, and I recently I've been asked to conduct some research about the use of BIM software/ 3D models among MEP engineers.

    I obviously recognize you're critical of Revit and the Autodesk ecosystem; yet I would still be interested in your candid feedback about BIM for electrical engineering projects. Do you have specific needs that are not addressed by Revit/ other BIM software? Would you be willing to share any feedback (positive or negative) about your experience with Schneider Electric's "LayoutFAST" plugin for Revit?

    In addition to the LayoutFAST effort, Schneider Electric is considering developing additional BIM software tools intended specifically for MEP engineers – so I am curious to know more about when/where/how you are using BIM to design complex electrical systems. It would ideal to learn about your expectations and needs directly from your perspective as a consulting engineer.

    Please reach out if you're willing (and have time) to discuss in the near future.

    All the best,
    Matt Duchek

  2. Greetings Matt,

    I appreciate you taking the time to approach individuals within the engineering/design community with questions (a far sight better than Autodesk ever did) about what we need to do our jobs.

    Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to explore the full capabilities of LayoutFAST before I switched jobs to do something that focused purely on systems design and gave Revit two middle fingers (well, two more middle fingers anyway).

    It is telling that there is even a necessity for a plug-in like LayoutFAST or other BIM design tools - in that out of the box, Revit is an almost completely useless piece of crap.

    If it had been developed by competent individuals, rather than purchased from a third party and reverse engineered - it would have already had much of the functionality that third parties have been attempting to imbue it with.

    While this is a noble effort on the part of Schneider, and I applaud them for it, there is a downside as well - they are basically enabling Autodesk to continue to release substandard software.

    There was an unspoken expectation that the rest of the industry (including engineers and designers)would fill in the copious gaps - while overlooking massive flaws, limitations, and pointlessly elaborate processes.

    The systems I design now are indeed complex - and the fact that I don't have to worry about Revit getting in the way of my ability to complete those designs quickly, accurately, on-schedule, and under budget means that I get to retain some semblance of my sanity.

    I honestly don't know what Revit could do to 'improve' at this point - or what a third party like Schneider could do to alleviate the suffering of those still struggling under the Revit boot heel (I was at a fairly large A&E firm, I can't imagine what it must be like for smaller engineering firms being forced to pay exorbitant prices for Revit licenses, and hardware to run it).

    The best hope I can imagine would be if Schneider (or someone) could develop a user-friendly interface or shell that allowed the user to work within a Revit model - without having to open (or indeed, even own a license for) Revit at all.

    I'm pretty sure Autodesk's lawyers would have a field day with that one though.