Tuesday, June 17, 2008

ThomasNet - Source for downloading 3D Manufacturer Equipment

I found this website where you can insert specific manufacturer equipment as solid objects into your AutoCAD MEP dwg directly from the website. Once the dumb 3D solid is inserted, you can create an MvPart from it, and add electrical, hvac or plumbing connectors to it so that it can be used to perform as it would in the BIM Model. You can add property set data to the part as well completing the convertion from a dumb 3D solid; to a rich, data filled working part.

You can also download them in the following formats:
DXF 3D, Step, Acis, Iges, jpg, bmp, png, tif, xml

The ACIS solid will allow you to insert the 3D solid into a Revit MEP family template so that you can add either electrical, hvac or plumbing connectors to it and make it more intelligent and more useful in your BIM Model. You'll be able to add various parameters to this ACIS solid once you convert it to a Revit Family so that you can generate tags and schedules for the equipment.
The advantage of these solids is that they have all the various model sizes and options that the manufacturer provides which is almost unlimited. The drawback is that you can end up creating millions of parts because they are static in size and shape. One of the advantages of drawing them in Revit MEP or AutoCAD MEP instead is that you can create parametric solids that can flex based off of dimensions that can be driven from the users input, or a table. That way you only need one model to drive all the various sizes a part can come in.

It's not exactly what we're looking for in the industry, but it's a start. This gives you the ability to finish the 3D solids yourself and create your own manufacturer specific MEP content in either AutoCAD MEP or Revit MEP. There is 2D content there as well, but that old technology is really worthless in this new age of BIM.

Some day, manufacturers will not only provide their equipment in 3D, but also with all of the needed connectors, data, and also make them parametric so that they can easily be modified on the fly.

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