Advance Steel Tips, Tricks, and Workflows You’ll Want to Try at the Office

Autodesk University 2017

When you think Autodesk University, you probably think about learning the latest trends and technologies but also tips & tricks on your favorite products. And that’s just what you’ll find!

For this post, I’m going to summarize some of the Advance Steel tips and tricks that I described in my class “Advance Steel Tips, Tricks, and Workflows You’ll Want to Try at the Office” during the Autodesk University MEP & Structural Fabricators Forum 2017.

1. Center of Gravity

The Center of Gravity point of an object or an entire assembly can be found in the model by using the “Center of gravity and total weight calculation” command. As a result, an AutoCAD point is displayed in the model showing the center of gravity of that element.

Center of gravity in Advance Steel


2. Assign a Material to a Layer

When defining what an entire object will look like, it is a good idea to create a new material (using a specific color or texture) and assign it to this object. If you want to apply this material to several similar objects on the same layer, the Material Attach command can be used to assign a material to a layer with a simple drag & drop operation.


3. Using specific colors for parts on drawings

You can use specific rules to assign some of the standard AutoCAD colors to Advance Steel objects displayed on drawings. Once these colors are entered in a specific table accessible through the Management Tools, they become available in the Drawing Styles Manager. You can then use them when customizing a drawing style so that your drawings look like you want them to.


4. Convert multiple DWG shop drawings to PDF file

The Document Manager gives you the possibility to convert your DWG drawings to PDF files. But did you know that you can choose between converting into a single PDF file or multiple PDF files?


5. BIM Coordination with a Coordination model

With the collaboration model feature, you can use the Navisworks link to reference models from other members of the design team within Advance Steel to help you develop a better design. In this video, you will see how you can export steel members from a Revit model to Advance Steel, and how you can XREF the rest of the project as a Coordination model through Navisworks.


6. Panorama rendering for Google Cardboard VR

You can generate a Stereo Panorama from your Advance Steel 3D model that can be viewed in a Google Cardboard or compatible device. This offers a great and inexpensive opportunity to check your design in an early stage of the process.


If you want to watch the full class, check out the recording here.

For other Advance Steel tips and tricks, read these posts on BIM and Beam:

If you want to see some other Advance Steel features in action, watch the Advance Steel Product Features playlist on YouTube.

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Sharing the Advance Steel Roadmap

Roadmap on the plans for Advance Steel

As we enter into the new year, we would like to share an update about our Advance Steel product  plans. We call this the Advance Steel Roadmap. We want to do this so that our customers can gain greater insight into current and upcoming investments in this product.

Public roadmap sharing ground rules:

  1. We’re sharing some of the highlights of our product development roadmap to give you a sense of the general direction Advance Steel is heading. There’s a lot more work going on behind the scenes and this roadmap doesn’t reflect everything the development teams are working on.
  2. We’re planning to periodically update the roadmap because it is subject to change. When we can, we’ll also share videos that illustrate some of the work-in-progress software.
  3. Roadmaps are plans, not promises. We’re as excited as you to see new functionality make it into the products. However the development, release, and timing of any features or functionality remains at our sole discretion.
  4. These roadmaps should not be used to make purchasing decisions.


We use these marks and colors to keep track of the roadmap details.

Advance Steel Roadmap Legend




Features and Workflows Enhancements

The feature enhancements are focused on productivity and usability requirements prioritized by users through the Advance Steel Idea webpage. Additionally, our efforts are also focused on making steel detailers and fabricators connected across detailing service providers, fabricators and BIM process stakeholders.

Feature and workflow enhancements

Key Quality Improvements

We continue to look forward to improving the quality and reliability of Advance Steel especially in the area of drawings and documentation. The major focus is on making sure the drawings automation process reflects the original requirements of the detailer and to maintain reliability of drawings quality and behavior throughout model changes.

Key Quality Enhancements

We will continue to post updates on the Advance Steel product plans periodically and appreciate your feedback on any of the items listed.

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Adding Grout Tubes to Precast Walls using Dynamo

In this post of the Structural Precast series I would like to show you how in Revit we can easily add grout tubes and tubes on top to precast walls.

Grout tube and tube on top are families that come with the installation of Structural Precast Extension for Revit. They are both face-based families. When modeling you can use them or your own families.

In Revit, there are a few ways how these elements could be added to precast wall assemblies.

First, I would like to show you a traditional, manual way.

  1. We simply start the Place a Component command.
  2. Then select a family and a type.
  3. Next select a wall face. Note: Orientation of grout tubes depends on which side/surface of a precast wall has been selected.
  4. Then a position of these elements can be further adjusted using built-in Revit capabilities. For example, you can specify a distance from the edge, distance between elements, use copy or mirror tools etc. …

As you probably noticed already the process itself is pretty straight forward however it can be very tedious and it takes a lot of time as we need to do the same for every single precast wall instance.

This is a situation where Dynamo for Revit comes in handy. Let me show you my automated process of adding tubes to the Revit model.

I made a few assumptions:

  • My Dynamo script should be ready to be use in Dynamo Player.
  • It should work with multi-selection of precast walls.
  • Input parameters should allow selection of types of elements as well as their precise placement.

As a result I ended up with a Dynamo script with the following input parameters in Dynamo Player:
Let’s have a look inside the Dynamo script. First, I need to retrieve selected faces.

Next, I have to check the orientation of my faces.

My Python script checks if the beginning of local coordinate system of my surfaces is at the top or bottom and it calculates a rotation angle for grout tubes.

Now it’s time to get information about lengths of my wall parts.

Now I have all data needed to calculate coordinates of insertion points for both grout tubes and tubes on top.

My next Python script helps me calculate where insertion points should be located taking into account all input parameters:

And finally I can add these tubes to my Revit model in the right location and with correct orientation. Here I used the Springs.FamilyInstance.ByFacePoints node available in the Spring Node package.

Adding Grout Tubes and Tubes on Top

All nodes:
All Nodes

This automated process of adding grout tubes saves tones of manual and tedious work and save a lot of time.

Watch video:

For more posts on structural precast in Revit, check out these past articles on BIM and Beam:


Adding Grout Tubes to Precast Walls using Dynamo

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