A method for importing DWG into FormIt 360

A common question we receive is “Can I import a DWG file into FormIt 360?” While we do not yet have a DWG import feature, I thought of a bit of a workaround: fill regions of your DWG so that they can be exported as surfaces. This method will work well for site plans where you want to extrude areas of the site. There are two ways, depending on your approach and which platform you prefer to use (tablet or web.)

1. 2D Surfaces

This method requires use of the iPad version

  1. Open your DWG in AutoCAD
  2. Select a portion or the entire drawing
  3. Run the REGION command – which will fill in all enclosed regions
  4. Save as > Other CAD Formats > SAT
  5. Upload the SAT file to your A360 Drive
  6. open FormIt on your iPad and import the SAT file. Boom! you have a site plan with all of the filled regions as 2D Surfaces

2. 3D extrusions

Assuming this is a site plan where you will want the regions to be slightly extruded anyway, you could replace step 3 above with the EXTRUDE command, give a specified thickness, and then export a portion of, or the entire, drawing to STL. STL files can be drag n’ dropped right onto the Web app to import them.

Extrusions imported as STL

Give this method a try and let us know on our forum how it works for you.

Dispatch from Down Under: FormIt 360 to Revit to Cloud Rendering

Today we have a nice video from our friend and colleague Sam Macalister – Senior Technical BIM specialist in Australia. He does a really nice job of showing how to leverage groups and materials to quickly generate some nice renderings via Revit and Cloud Rendering. Check out some of Sam’s other great cloud renderings and BIM related YouTube videos.

The FormIt Deck Chair

While we do not have a FormIt Friday webinar this week, we DO have another great design from our Principal Software Engineer (and architect) Markus Bonn. He showed us another practical design with FormIt last year.

This is a deck chair, loosely modeled after the Corbusier Chaise Lounge, but intended to be built out of wood. The structure is out of cedar with ipe seat boards. The curved sides are made up of a pair of cedar boards. The top edge of the inner board is offset by the thickness of the seat to allow for a mounting surface. The FormIt Offset Face tool worked perfectly for that.  The seat is designed to swivel over the two horizontal rails to change the position form upright to horizontal (i.e. from “while drinking beer” to “after drinking beer”). 

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Prepare for FormIt v9!

Hello FormIteers!

As we prepare for our massive v9 release (Seriously. Our web and iOS apps have drastically evolved since v8 when we introduced collaboration) we wanted to tell you about one change that we are pushing live this week.

Our FormIt to Revit conversion is now using the Revit 2015 API! This change increases the success rate on conversions (to roughly 100%!); supports the creation of Revit native splines and arcs; and is necessary to support the new features (about to be announced) in v9…

The reason we’re telling you about this ahead of time… your FormIt to Revit conversions will now result in .rvt files that can only be opened in Revit 2015 (and 2016 when it arrives). If this becomes a problem for your FormIt workflow, here are a couple of things to consider:

If you have questions or comments, please leave them on our new Support Forum.

Check back soon for the announcement of our v9 release!


FormIt Friday: Customer edition

It is the first FormIt Friday of the new year! I know…its not actually the first Friday in the new year, but the FormIt team has been digging ourselves out of a mountain of email after a much needed two-week break. This year, we are going to use these Friday posts to profile work from our passionate FormIt customers. So, if you would like to get profiled, please post your work on our online Gallery.

First up is David Flores from fleeds.ch in Switzerland. He created this beautiful solar house concept using FormIt. Click on the link to visit our gallery and see more images.

Solar house concept from Fleeds.ch

Their philosophy from their website: (Google translated)

We connect people and nature together to create a harmonious balance. To achieve this goal we create living spaces that encourage people to bring nature and its environment increasingly into his life back.

I think we can all get behind that! It is great to FormIt being used for this kind of work. All of you FormIt users out there will be very happy this year to see some of the things we are adding to enhance building analysis! More to come on that later…


A FormIt Success Story from a-lab

The best part of my job is speaking to our users. Even when someone is frustrated, it means I have an opportunity to listen and hopefully make it better by guiding our development process. Even after almost a decade dedicated to designing tools for architects, I am still constantly impressed by what our users can produce with our tools. During a recent interview with a-lab, a 43 person firm in Norway, I was once again blown away by not only the quality of the design, but also the sophisticated use of multiple Autodesk tools to create a high quality design in, what seemed to me, an insane time constraint!

Angie Arroyo Mendez, the BIM Manager and the rest of the folks at a-lab were gracious enough to allow me to share the story and the images. The firm had entered a competition for a mid-sized housing block – and had two weeks to generate a proposal. Odd Klev, the lead design principal had recently discovered FormIt and had fallen in love with it as a design tool. Angie imported the terrain model as an OBJ into FormIt and Odd spent a few days at home generating up to 20 plus options. Odd used the full FormIt feature set of to generate the options. This included the satellite imagery, imported OBJ files, materials, simple modeling tools, shadow studies, and the space-tracking feature to ensure he was staying within the program constraints.

The team quickly narrowed down the options and began focusing on a design with multiple free-standing structures to optimize open space, views and access to light. These options were imported into Autodesk Revit where Angie began to turn the FormIt massing model into a more detailed BIM. The team then brought the Revit file into Autodesk 3ds Max to create a number of high quality renderings. At the final client presentation, they used Autodesk InfraWorks to display live views of the sight lines from the surrounding park. The best part of all this, they won the competition! Congratulations!

Check out theses images, courtesy of a-lab, that illustrate the FormIt > Revit > 3DS Max > Infraworks workflow.

Practical Design with FormIt

Let’s face it. Design is not always sexy. Sometimes you just need to get the outhouse built. Markus Bonn, one of the Principal Software Engineers (and former architect) on our team used FormIt to design and build this very practical piece of architecture. It is interesting to note that he used OBJ import feature to bring in some elements from another 3D modeling app that he is very familiar with.

Outhouse Design

The first ever outhouse designed with FormIt (that we know of)

Finished Outhouse

That is going to be a chilly user experience!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from the FormIt team! My friend and colleague Zach over at BuildZ hosts a parametric pumpkin contest every year. So why should all the Revit and Dynamo heads have all the fun? Here is my “entry.”

I also 3D printed the little bugger just for fun. If anyone is interested I will do a longer post about how I made the pumpkin and printed it.

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