One Giant Leap - Revit 2018.1 Precast Tools

Are you one to push off updating Autodesk® Revit®? Do you work with precast concrete design and fabrication? If you answered yes to those questions, keep reading. (Regardless of your answers, keep reading!) Autodesk updates Revit mid-release. These updates are indicated by a .1 suffix. These releases are heftier than the typical service packs, and often contain new features that are intended for the next release year (i.e. 2019, in this case), but are rolled out early for subscription customers.

Figure 1: Revit 2018.1 Splash Screen

Precast Tools Tab

The Precast Tools tab loads automatically regardless of the template used. However, there are specific families that need to be loaded to use the Precast tools. Revit kindly reminds you of this when you first click the Configuration button. You will see a warning that there is a template available to use so you do not have to go through the exercise of loading the families in each new project. (Add this template to your default template list in the Application Menu – Options – File Locations). Clicking OK to the warning then loads the families so they are available in your current project.

Figure 2: Precast Tools tab

Figure 3: Precast template warning

The Configuration dialog box is hefty, but includes all settings pertaining to Precast design. Lifters, Bracing Inserts, and Connections are set under the Wall – Solid Wall – Part section of the dialog box.

Figure 4: Wall part configuration

The next step is to set the Segmentation configuration. In this section of the dialog box you will be able to set dimension such as Minimum and Maximum Wall Height and Length as well as the Maximum weight.

Figure 5: Wall segmentation configuration

Reinforcement settings are next with options for Area and Edge reinforcing. Click on one of the options to make that option current, or create a new custom configuration by clicking in the last blank line of the list, and giving the new configuration a name.

Figure 6: Reinforcement configuration

The last section under Walls gives options for Shop Drawings. Once the configuration settings are applied, Revit can create shop drawing sheets and automatically places views on those sheets.

Figure 7: Shop drawing configuration

The ability to control how embedded families in the Wall Assembly are annotated and dimension is contained in the Built-In Parts, Annotation and Dimensioning section of the dialog box. If changes are made, use the Mounting Parts button on the ribbon to update the placed families.

Floor Slabs, Too

It should be noted that similar options are also available for Floor Slabs. We will not rehash all the options, but proceed in a similar fashion as with Walls.

Time to Apply

After setting the configurations, the rest of the process follows the ribbon menu from left to right. (It’s my opinion that the Configuration button should be on the left side of the ribbon menu, but that’s beside the point). Starting with the Segmentation panel, Split button, select the Walls (or Slabs) to be segmented. When all walls are selected, click the Finish button on the Options bar. This creates a Parts Assembly of the wall segments.

Figure 8: Wall segment parts assembly

Once the panels are created and the embedded families are set, the next step is to create the reinforcing.

Figure 9: Reinforcement panel

Click to select the Walls or Slabs to apply the reinforcing. Revit gives an option to check and change the reinforcement settings before applying them to the walls/slabs. It is possible to select several panels at a time to apply reinforcing; however, it is good to find a balance as Revit calculations can slow the process. Better to take smaller chunks than risk Revit crashing.

Figure 10: Rebar options

Shop Drawings

The final area we’ll cover is Shop Drawing creation. Select a wall assembly panel, then click the Shop Drawings button on the Precast tab. As long as a Shop Drawing sheet template is loaded, Revit will automatically create all the shop drawing views AND place them on the sheet. Of course, this is something your firm will probably want to customize to suit preferences, but it really does save time by automating the process.

Figure 11: Shop drawing

From there the project can be exported to CAM data files for fabrication.

Time to Upgrade!

Stop dragging your feet on the Revit 2018.1 upgrade! The precast tools are a great addition and an area that continues to see growth in the industry, and we didn’t even mention any of the other improvements in this release. There are several YouTube videos and tutorials to help you further explore the intricacies of the new Precast tools for Revit 2018.1.

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