London skyline from near my hotel
Alright, here we are waiting for the official start of Bricsys 2018 conference here in sunny London. We've already had a developer session, where we learned of some of the nuts and bolts about developing add-ons for BricsCAD.
The big news, of course, is that Hexagon of Sweden has bought Bricsys, making it part of its PPM devision that also houses Intergraph, famous for being one of the oldest CAD programs ever. To challenge the "A" company (Autodesk) is going to take more resources. By being acquired by Hexagon (which has a major presence in Huntsville Alabama through Intergraph), makes it easier to take on the American market,
CEO Erik de Keyser is on the stage saying "We are going to rock the industry. Again."
Attendees in The Brewery conference hall
He is reminiscing about the start of BricsCAD, which goes back to TriForma, which he sold to Bentley -- BIM before it was called BIM. And then they went to write BricsCAD, first based on IntelliCAD, and then rewritten independently of ITC. "Best decision we ever made" was buying the solid modeling from LEDAS.
Now hearing from Rick Allen, executive of Hexagon PPM, also president of CADWorx and Analysis Solutions. CADWorkx link is important, because all this began a few years ago when Intergraph ported CADWorx from AutoCAD to BricsCAD. In the slide below, the extra 180 employees come from Bricsys.
Why did Hexagon buy Bricsys?
They wanted customers to have a complete solutions. The most complex engineering problem today is the offshore platform, with issues like tight spaces and centers of gravity. Intergraph specializes in software that designs them, as well as oil processing plants, water treatment plants, and so on.
Intergraph/Hexagon is excited by the one-DWG platform provided by Bricsys, for CAD, BIM, and MCAD design in a single file format -- no translation. As opposed to Autodesk, who suffers from CAD (DWG), BIM (RVT), and MCAD (IPT), and the conversion headaches that result.
Bricsys ceo Erik de Keyser (see photo below) takes his inspiration from German architect Mies (full name Ludwig Mies van der Rohe):
- Less is more
- God is in the details, as amplified by Jim Eyre
So the aim these days is to simplify the use of BricsCAD, and yet represent the details with BricsCAD.
Bricsys ceo Erik de Keyser
User Group Meeting
The brief lunch is over, and now it is time for the inaugural BricsCAD user group meeting. First question on the boar, "Should there be a BricsCAD User Group?" Led by Steve Johnson, who says Bricsys asked him to tackle this.
User group leader Steve Johnson
Should there be a BricsCAD user group? Yes, we'll give it a try.
What should its goals be? Have Bricsys promote it; membership is free; hope Bricsys might fund direct expenses; exchange information about pain points
What should it do? Maybe discounts for members, reduced ticket prices for the annual conference, wish list, access to beta, exclusive training info, meet with developers; existing forum does a good job, so maybe a member-only section
Should it be primarily online? Meet once a year at the annual Bricsys conference, but then meet virtually
How independent should it be? Maintaining the independence of the user group is important to attendees.
Steven Johnson offers to lead the group initially, with a few others helping. The problem being we don't know what BricsCAD might be called in the future under Hexagon (Intergraph was renamed Hexagon PPM).
Building Information Modeling
VP of communications Don Strimbu is asking, Who thinks BIM is awesome? Who thinks BIM is too hard?
Four top BIM myths
- BIM is just hype
- BIM is just for the big buys
- BIM will just cost more
- BIM is just too much work
Now we are getting a demo of what's new in BIM for BricsCAD V19. The BIM module has a new UI that borrows from the free Sketch program, such as a toolbar-like ribbon and video-based help in a panel.
New user interface for BricsCAD BIM V19
BIMify is already two years old, the "AI" command that turns CAD elements into BIM elements. It recognizes beam, columns, components, rooms, internal and external walls, and so on.
Compositions is the most among the most BIM part of BIM, where the details of walls and floors/roofs are defined. A typical residential wall is gyproc on the interior, then 2x4" framing, insulation, plastic vapour barrier, exterior wall of plaster or brick or wood -- and the software needs to know which walls are exterior and which are interior. BricsCAD handles this.
Using BIMify to convert a generic 3D model into a BIM model
BIM V19 now imports @AutodeskRevit RFA family (component) files for use in architectural designs. This means that BricsCAD can now make use of the huge catalogs of Revit parts on third-party sites. Parameters and constraints associated with the RFA are imported. But when the RFA file lacks parameters, then BricsCAD can add them with a single click inside the new Block Editor environment.
Revit door component inserted in BricsCAD BIM model
BricsCAD BIM V19 improves drawing generation (design documentation) with
- labeled grids
- a Project Browser to track levels (floors) and content on each level
- schedules and quantity take-offs
- reflected ceiling plan
- and so on.
Hearing how to design a skyscraper with BricsCAD:
Draw the basic shape with 3D solids, then use the new multi-slicing command to create the floors. Shell the model to create walls and ceilings, and then BIMify to identify them. Add glazing. New grid is either rectangular or radial; any curve can be the grid axis, then use standard tools to modify the grid's look.
The new Propagate command quickly adds elements to a drawing, such as columns in a room.
New Curtain Wall tool adds curtain walls, after you specify the material (such as glass), repeating patterns, and thickness.
Twisted skyscraper with curtain walls
BricsCAD BIM V19 imports TIN files to display the terrain, and has site modeling tools for flattening areas for buildings and roads. Use the outline of the building's base to define the cut/fill volume. When volumes are removed, BricsCAD reports the volume.
The afternoon break is over, and now we hear about CDE -- common data environment -- which Bricsys deploys through 24/7, the new name for their online file sharing site that used to be known as Chapoo. 24/7 also handles project planning, editable work flows, multi-file viewing, and so on with unlimited users, each with different access rights. Cost is $200 per month but will be free for subscribers as of V19.
The example given is a 2.5-mile-long tunnel under Brussels being updated over a period of years.
Managing data with 24/7
For the future, notifications from BricsCAD, BIM collaboration format, and VR in 24/7.
And that's it for today!
[Disclosure: Bricsys paid part of my airfare, my hotel stay, and some meals]