First, let’s manage some expectations – Aconex is generally viewed as a closed platform. They seem to deliberately resist platform-level integration with other tools like BIM 360 and Revizto. However, you can achieve the promise in the title of this post – with a bit of work!

The basic steps are:

  1. Setup a sync between the Aconex Doc Register and Autodesk Docs (BIM 360 Document Management), using the Aconex PIF and Autodesk APIs
  2. Connect the BIM 360 project to the Revizto project and connect your BIM 360 ‘official Aconex’ PDFs to Revizto 2D Sheets.

Step 1 – Aconex Document Register sync with BIM 360 Document Management

Aconex provides a PIF (Project Integration Framework). This essentially acts as an API, and clients are able to build integrations between Aconex and other tools using their own budget.

aconexpif
The Aconex PIF is hard to find on the inter-webs…

As part of my strategic consultancy work as a Director at Virtual Built Technology, I have assisted clients in setting up the Aconex to BIM 360 sync. This will require considerable time, effort, $$ and planning. Although the scope is basically the same for every Aconex client that wants this, it seems individual Aconex clients will be charged significantly for this development to occur and operate on their ‘own’ PIF.

Once complete, you will begin to see PDFs arriving in Autodesk Docs from Aconex on a daily / nightly basis. Depending on how you have briefed the Aconex development consultants, you may end up with some interesting PDF file naming in the BIM 360 environment – so how can we deal with that?

Step 2a – BIM 360 Preparation Script for Merging Filenames to a single Folder

Let’s say you have your Aconex-to-BIM360 sync running, and you have PDFs arriving in 360 into “Discipline” folders like Architectural, Structural and so on. Not bad! But what if your PDFs are named like this:

  • SheetNumberX_Rev_1.pdf
  • SheetNumberX_Rev_2.pdf
  • SheetNumberY_Rev_1.pdf
  • etc

When thinking about downstream applications like Revizto, this is really sub-optimal. Why? Because a Revizto 2D sheet will want to connect directly to a SINGLE BIM 360 PDF document with Versions – not to a mangled set of ‘revision suffixed’ pdfs like the above. So we need to clean this up! And it needs to be repeatable and automated

For this, I have created a PowerShell script. Here is a description of the logic in the script:

  • it takes a list of BIM 360 Docs folder paths (the local folder path from Windows Explorer address bar), these are ‘monitored folders’
  • those folders need to be ‘synced’ prior to the script running (I’m still looking for a way to call the Autodesk Desktop Connector sync from a Powershell script, for now you have to right-click in Windows Explorer first)
  • it will process the folder list and:
  • create a subdirectory called “Current”
  • create a logfile in that subdirectory called deepSpaceSync.log
  • split the filenames at the _REV_ part
  • process each available Revision number individually in a loop (to ensure Aconex revisions are stored sequentially into BIM 360 versions)
  • check if the file was already copied – and skip it (using existence of that filename in the log folder)
  • or, copy the file to the “Current” subfolder
  • Sleep 5 minutes between each loop to allow Autodesk Desktop Connector sync to catch up.

So this script essentially merges the messy “REV” filenames into a nice clean SheetNumber.pdf filename structure AND actually creates BIM 360 file versions in the cloud (due to the sleep functionality).

We have released this script as a publicly available Deep Space Automation at this link.

egoutput
example output from the PowerShell script

Step 2b – Revizto 2D Sheet to BIM 360 PDF Connection

Now that we have a nicely named, version-rich PDF on BIM 360 Docs, its time to connect that up to Revizto.

Firstly – you should always publish 2D sheets from Revit BEFORE setting up the Docs connection if possible, as this is the only way to get the automated viewport overlays (Note – you can export with “Sheet coordinates only” option in Revizto Sheet Exporter from Revit).

Secondly – you then

  • open Revizto
  • ensure you have connected Docs to the right BIM 360 hub in Revizto
  • browse to the “Current” folder for a specific disciplines PDFs
  • click “Send to 2D”
  • select all and Done

    syncrev1
    Connecting Docs to Revizto 2D Sheets
  • then review that the correct sheets are going to be replaced and connected to the BIM360 PDF
syncrev2
Confirm that sheets are correctly connected using the Sheet Number

 

Final steps

Once your PDFs are flowing well between platforms, you may want to automate further. For example, the PowerShell script provided above could be set to run as a Windows Task. You would want it to run as soon as possible after the Aconex scheduled sync to BIM 360. As always, you should monitor your inputs and outputs for any problems or gremlins.

Done! You now have official documents from Aconex flowing regularly into Revizto via BIM 360. This means your site teams using Revizto on the iPad can now be accessing the official For Construction PDF Drawings (synced from Aconex Doc Register) while in the Field!

When a recent update to Autodesk Desktop Connector forced a migration to Autodesk Docs, file paths were generally change like this:

FROM – C:\Users\USERNAME\BIM 360\YOURFOLDERS

TO – C:\Users\USERNAME\ACCDocs\YOURFOLDERS

 

If you were doing some interesting tricks with BIM 360 Docs, and sharing and federating Revit models as non-initiated files on BIM 360, you may find that links were broken and “Not Found” in Manage Links after that latest Desktop Connector installation.

 

But don’t worry! You can just set a symbolic link to point from the old BIM 360 Docs location, to the new location. The Command Prompt script looks like this:

if exist "C:\Users\%USERNAME%\BIM 360" rename "C:\Users\%USERNAME%\BIM 360" BIM360.old
mklink /d "C:\Users\%USERNAME%\BIM 360" C:\Users\%USERNAME%\ACCDocs
Run these commands to fix links Not Found

The moment after this script was run, I was able to hit Reload from Manage Links in Revit and the new location was detected and links were loaded successfully. Note that they still appear in Revit as if they are in the old location, but really it is reading the latest data from Autodesk Docs, and that new location is being updated by Autodesk Desktop Connector.

Related Note:

I had already setup a symbolic link to move my BIM 360 Revit Cache folder to a secondary hard drive.

At this stage it appears those links are still working, as the Revit CollaborationCache is a different technology to the simple file sharing mechanism of Autodesk Docs.

Today I was trying to open a particularly stubborn DWFx file. In Autodesk Design Review 2013 it would stall completely. ADR 2018 would throw an error, crash or stall as well. I ended up using Autodesk 360 and Navisworks 2019/2020, and these were able to read the model.

 

However, in the process I found these links to install the very latest version of Autodesk Design Review:

 

Its also quite weird that the main Autodesk Design Review page still links to the 2013 version, not the 2018 version?

https://www.autodesk.com.au/products/design-review/download

In the old pre-BIM360 days, if you really had a problem where a Revit user didn’t relinquish elements in a workshared model, you could either

  1. Pretend to be that user and sync (yes just by changing your user name in Revit Options), or
  2. Detach that Central model and Save As.

Modern day BIM360 Revit Collaboration doesn’t allow either of those to happen easily…

So how do you relinquish elements in a BIM360 cloud Revit model?

Here’s how:

  • Open Revit and a model
  • Then go to Collaborate and Manage Cloud Models.
  • Browse to your BIM 360 Project and then the actual Model
  • Use the icon to view the model Actions menu and choose “Relinquish”
Screenshot from Revit 2018
Screenshot from Revit 2018

When prompted, choose “Force Relinquish”

Choose the User and then click Relinquish
Choose the User and then click Relinquish

and Continue

Confirm by pressing Continue
Confirm by pressing Continue

Then, wait for the process to complete.

Finally, it is probably a good idea to Sync with Central 🙂

 

Revit Help Links (note, the process is basically the same for all current versions):

What happens if you enable BIM360 Design Collaboration on a project, but would then like to switch it off? I asked Autodesk this question, and here is part of the response (in italics):

Unfortunately we cannot disable active services on specific projects. Once a service is active, it remains active.

If the project is underway and there is information that cannot be moved (such as issues/ RFI’s, etc), then my recommendation would be to make sure no one has access to the Design Collaboration module on the project.

If you would like to see a feature implemented that allows the ability to deactivate a service, you can share your thoughts and request it via the Ideas Board using this link: https://forums.autodesk.com/t5/bim-360-ideas/idb-p/2032

 

In light of the above, if you do want to make sure no one has access to Design Collaboration, switch it off per-person in the Project Members page as shown below:

Try this first:

Using the latest installation file –

  • Uninstall Autodesk Desktop Connector
  • Restart
  • and then re-Install Autodesk Desktop Connector
  • Login with your details

Did it launch?

Other things to try:

Logout from Autodesk services prior to starting Desktop Connector. You can do this easily with the sign out option at top-right of Autodesk Desktop App.

Through Task Manager – Details, attempt to “End Task” on these. Probably AdskLicensingService.exe won’t close.

Then try to start Autodesk Desktop Connector again from the Start Menu.

You can monitor starting of Desktop Connector in the tray.

 

Other errors that may pop up:

A360 – Service Unavailable

“Requested service not available”

Just try again on this one. You can also check Autodesk Health Dashboard at https://health.autodesk.com/

The 2020 release season is here…

Links are for Autodesk 2020 trial versions, you will need your own official Autodesk licenses to activate.

 

Autodesk Revit 2020 Direct Download Links – WIN 64 – EN

https://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/RVT/DEB896FF-86A4-4C44-89A4-46C550BEDB60/SFX/Revit_2020_G1_Win_64bit_dlm_001_007.sfx.exe

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https://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/RVT/DEB896FF-86A4-4C44-89A4-46C550BEDB60/SFX/Revit_2020_G1_Win_64bit_dlm_007_007.sfx.exe

 

Revit LT 2020 Direct Download Links

http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/RVTLT/1AE76102-B066-40B6-B420-7119BE7E8FCD/SFX/RevitLT_2020_G1_Win_64bit_dlm_001_004.sfx.exe

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Navisworks Manage 2020 Direct Download Links

http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/NAVMAN/89ED309E-DEA4-4070-9CE7-DB285722CD73/SFX/Autodesk_Navisworks_Manage_2020_Multilingual_Win_64bit_dlm_001_002.sfx.exe
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/NAVMAN/89ED309E-DEA4-4070-9CE7-DB285722CD73/SFX/Autodesk_Navisworks_Manage_2020_Multilingual_Win_64bit_dlm_002_002.sfx.exe

 

Autodesk Navisworks Simulate 2020 Direct Download Links

https://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/NAVSIM/57A5CFFD-773D-4741-8DF6-CE51F5847396/SFX/Autodesk_Navisworks_Simulate_2020_Multilingual_Win_64bit_dlm_001_002.sfx.exe
https://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/NAVSIM/57A5CFFD-773D-4741-8DF6-CE51F5847396/SFX/Autodesk_Navisworks_Simulate_2020_Multilingual_Win_64bit_dlm_002_002.sfx.exe

 

Autodesk Screencast 3.6 – free screen recording utility for AutoCAD+LT 2013-2020, Inventor+LT 2014-2020, Revit 2013-2020, Fusion 360, InfraWorks, SimStudio (Win)
http://download.autodesk.com/us/support/files/screencast_app/ScreencastSetup_V3.6.exe

 

DWG TrueView 2020:: free AutoCAD DWG file viewer, version converter and measure tool (any DWG version, incl. DWG2018; for Windows 10/8.1/7)
https://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDL…7D/SFX/DWGTrueView_2020_Enu_64bit_dlm.sfx.exe

 

Autodesk AutoCAD 2020:
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/ACD/DD1F773A-1D42-4410-B712-ADFFB842921D/SFX/AutoCAD_2020_English_win_64bit_dlm.sfx.exe
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/ACD/DD1F773A-1D42-4410-B712-ADFFB842921D/SFX/AutoCAD_2020_English_win_64bit_dlm.sfx.exe

 

AutoCAD LT 2020:
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/ACDLT/7F468CAC-1BC9-4C74-8B11-E85973E5059E/SFX/AutoCAD_LT_2020_SWL_English_Win_64bit_dlm.sfx.exe

AutoCAD Architecture 2020:
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/ARCHDESK/6B7B4098-B868-4BC5-BAE9-55023FD693EB/SFX/AutoCAD_Architecture_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm_001_002.sfx.exe
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/ARCHDESK/6B7B4098-B868-4BC5-BAE9-55023FD693EB/SFX/AutoCAD_Architecture_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm_002_002.sfx.exe

AutoCAD Electrical 2020:
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/ACAD_E/E6E5783E-9B32-4275-AC81-05FEFB14EA74/SFX/AutoCAD_Electrical_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm_001_002.sfx.exe
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/ACAD_E/E6E5783E-9B32-4275-AC81-05FEFB14EA74/SFX/AutoCAD_Electrical_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm_002_002.sfx.exe

AutoCAD Mechanical 2020:
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/AMECH_PP/0AF6D34F-9E17-4473-B268-A4E11BC0A93F/SFX/AutoCAD_Mechanical_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm.sfx.exe

AutoCAD MEP 2020:
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/BLDSYS/95E105B8-ECE3-4B07-A05D-4C76E43BD40B/SFX/AutoCAD_MEP_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm_001_002.sfx.exe
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/BLDSYS/95E105B8-ECE3-4B07-A05D-4C76E43BD40B/SFX/AutoCAD_MEP_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm_002_002.sfx.exe

AutoCAD MAP 2020:
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/MAP/1666DE37-3355-46E6-A1C8-69AB3F5F0417/SFX/AutoCAD_Map_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm.sfx.exe

AutoCAD Plant3D 2020:
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/PLNT3D/1896C40C-5BF8-4FB2-92D2-1F5D732E992A/SFX/AutoCAD_Plant_3D_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm_001_002.sfx.exe
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/PLNT3D/1896C40C-5BF8-4FB2-92D2-1F5D732E992A/SFX/AutoCAD_Plant_3D_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm_002_002.sfx.exe

AutoCAD Raster Design 2020:
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/ARDES/361F4178-3CAC-4794-A841-7FB6F900B33D/SFX/AutoCAD_Raster_Design_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm.sfx.exe


Inventor Professional 2020: English links:

http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD…ro_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm_001_003.sfx.exe
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD…ro_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm_002_003.sfx.exe
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD…ro_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm_003_003.sfx.exe

 

Inventor LT 2020: English links:
https://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDL…nventor_LT_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm.sfx.exe

 

Autodesk Inventor Nastran 2020 (x64)
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/NINCAD/E858B3EC-14C0-4348-A649-7DE22DE14DD8/SFX/Autodesk_Inventor_Nastran_2020_R0_Win64_dlm.sfx.exe

 

Autodesk Point Layout 2020:
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/PNTLAY/1.2019.03.13/ESD/Autodesk_Point_Layout_2020_Win_32-64bit_en-us.exe

 

3DSMAX 2020: Multilanguage:

http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD…ds_Max_2020_EFGJKPS_Win_64bit_001_002.sfx.exe
http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD…ds_Max_2020_EFGJKPS_Win_64bit_002_002.sfx.exe

 

3ds Max Interactive 2020:

http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD…ve_2_2_0_0_EN_Win_64bit_dlm.sfx.exe

 

AutoCAD Raster Design 2020: English link:

http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD…ter_Design_2020_English_Win_64bit_dlm.sfx.exe

 

Autodesk SketchBook Pro 2020 v8.6.5:
https://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD/2020/SBPNL/10AACA17-1C6D-4E1B-B6CE-7E2AAB1568AD/SFX/SketchBook_Pro_2020_ML_Win_64bit_dlm.sfx.exe

 

Vault Basic: English links:

Vault Basic – Client 2020:

http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD…EDDE5723A25/SFX/VBC2020_ENU_64bit_dlm.sfx.exe

 

Vault Basic – Server 2020:

http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD…8CB8A042BBD/SFX/VBS2020_ENU_64bit_dlm.sfx.exe

 

ReCap Pro 2020.0.1: Multilanguage link:

http://trial2.autodesk.com/NetSWDLD…Cap_600110_Multilingual_Win_64bit_dlm.sfx.exe

 

You can also obtain many of these links through AVA, or this forum thread:

Autodesk Virtual Agent

What’s New pages:

AutoCAD 2020

Having recently installed some more storage hardware, and previously posted about moving folders with symbolic links, I then decided to move my BIM 360 Glue cache folder and Navisworks Cache folder to a secondary hard drive. I did this using symbolic links.

You need to:

  • start a Command Prompt as Administrator
  • use the commands shown below

Moving BIM 360 Glue cache storage location:

if exist "%localappdata%\Autodesk\Bim360Glue 2016\LocalCache" rename "%localappdata%\Autodesk\Bim360Glue 2016\LocalCache" bim360glue2016.old
mklink /d "%localappdata%\Autodesk\Bim360Glue 2016\LocalCache" R:\BIM360Glue2016
if not exist R:\BIM360Glue2016 MD R:\BIM360Glue2016
robocopy /mir "%localappdata%\Autodesk\Bim360Glue 2016\bim360glue2016.old" R:\BIM360Glue2016\

Moving Navisworks cache storage location:

if exist "%localappdata%\Autodesk\Navisworks 2019\LocalCache" rename "%localappdata%\Autodesk\Navisworks 2019\LocalCache" Navisworks2019Cache.old
mklink /d "%localappdata%\Autodesk\Navisworks 2019\LocalCache" R:\Navisworks2019Cache
if not exist R:\Navisworks2019Cache MD R:\Navisworks2019Cache
robocopy /mir "%localappdata%\Autodesk\Navisworks 2019\Navisworks2019Cache.old" R:\Navisworks2019Cache\

After you have run the scripts above, you can delete the old folders with the .old suffix (Navisworks example shown below).

It is extremely easy to reduce the size of a point cloud dataset using Recap. “Decimation” is the process of discarding points from the data to improve performance and reduce disk usage.

With the release of point cloud support in Revizto, you can now bring a point cloud into the Revizto platform in a number of ways:

  • Export from Navisworks
  • Export from Revit
  • Import points directly in RCP or RCS format

Once the reality capture model has been added to Revizto, you sync it to the cloud. From there, you can download and view the point cloud on your iPad, and of course you can start creating issues that relate to the captured condition on site. You can even overlay 2D drawings onto the reality capture data.

The decimation process is very easy :

  1. Open your Recap file (add scans and index first if necessary)
  2. Click Export
  3. Give your file a name

  4. Click the settings button
  5. Move the slider to adjust your point decimation – you might use around 50mm decimation for a lot of site applications.

  6. Save the file

There are other considerations, such as:

  • How can you set up coordinate systems to work with Revit, Navisworks and Revizto?

These will be considered in more detail in another post.