3D objects and 3D models: what’s their relationship with a BIM software and what are the recent changes in comparison to the old DWG/DXF CAD file formats?

In a BIM software, in particular in those related to architectural design, it is now possible to use 3D objects to design directly in three dimensions, unlike what used to happen in 2D CAD applications. In fact, 3D BIM objects aren’t simply unitary representations of 3D models but can also be customizable and assigned with specific paramteric information. This approach now allows the user to easily create and define new types of objects or families of objects.

The questions we need to answer now are substantially the following: can the old 3D CAD blocks be used in a BIM software? If possible, how can 3D Cad blocks be used in a BIM software?

The answer to this question is yes.

Using 3D CAD blocks in a BIM software is possible.

We can download our 3D objects directly from Internet portals specialized in this type of service, such as bim.archiproducts.com, archibase.co, BIMobject.com, etc., and in any of the most commonly used formats (*.skp;*.dae;*.3ds;*.obj;*xml;*.dwg:*.dxf;*.dgc; …etc).

Further on, we’ll be taking a look at how to enrich the library of 3D Models in a BIM software and more specifically in Edificius by ACCA software S.p.A.

How can I use 3D CAD blocks a BIM?

When using a BIM software, you can import external objects into your model by downloading them from the Internet and therefore enrich your projects with higher levels of detailing. There are thousands of websites providing an infinity of 3D BIM objects for designers. Here just a few:

  • bim.archiproducts
  • archibasenet
  • BIMobject, etc.

These are generally available in any format: *.skp (SketchUp) , *.dae*, 3ds (3D Studio), *.obj, *xml, *.dwg (Autodesk), *.dxf, ecc.
How are 3D blocks imported in Edificius?

Edificius allows us to import new blocks in three different ways:

Method A – importing 3D blocks from internet

  • open the “CATALOGUE” node in the project navigator;
  • access the “User” catalogue sub-node with a double click;
  • now select the “3D Models” category;
  • a right mouse button click enables the local pop up menu where you can choose “Add” > “Folder” assigning a folder name (for example “Sanitary elements”);
  • again, a right mouse button click allows you to choose “Append > Element”;
  • the far right hand side icon provides a direct link to the “Edificius for 3D Warehouse” feature;
  • click “Continue” to launch the built in browser to search for 3D Models published in the Trimble “3D Warehouse” service;
  • type in the name of a 3D Model to search for and then press “search”;
  • now download the Model.

Once the download process has terminated, you’ll notice that the 3D Model is automatically added to the Catalogue folder.

blocco 3D internet

Figure 1: importing a 3D model from the internet

 

Method B – importing a previously created 3D model:

open the “CATALOGUE” node in the Project Navigator;

  • open the “CATALOGUE” node in the project navigator;
  • access the “User” catalogue sub-node with a double click;
  • now select the “3D Models” category;
  • a right mouse button click enables the mocal pop up menu where you can choose “Add” > “Folder” assigning a folder name (for example “Sanitary elements”);
  • again, a right mouse button click allows you to choose “Append > Element”;
  • now select “Import from file” in the “Properties” toolbox;
  • a simple click on the button with three dots allows you to browse to the 3D Model file that you want to load. Supported formats are: *.skp, *.dae, *.3ds, *.obj, *xml, *.dwg, *.dxf, etc.).

 

import existing 3D Model

Figure 2: importing a previously created 3D model

Method C – loading a 3D model from the on-line catalogue:

 

  • open the “CATALOGUE” node in the project navigator;
  • access the “User” catalogue sub-node with a double click;
  • now select the “3D Models” category;
  • a right mouse button click enables the mocal pop up menu where you can choose “Add” > “Folder” assigning a folder name (for example “Sanitary elements”);
  • again, a right mouse button click allows you to choose “Append > Element”;
  • select “On Line” from the Toolbar to search for 3D Models saved in the ACCA online Catalogue (this catalogue of elements contains tens of thousands of free resources already optimized for Edificius (HD Textures, CAD Blocks, 3D Models, etc.) to help you with your design needs and speeding up the entire modelling process. You can download all the resources that you need for your project or even upload and share your own with other users.)
  • now proceed to the download phase to import the desired model (the model is automatically added to the catalogue)

 

importare blocco 3D da catalogo

Figure 3: importing a 3D Model from the online catalogue

Here are two videos that show these two procedures (Method A and Method B) at work.
Method A

Method B

 

Click here to access the ACCA software on-line Catalogue

Click here to download Edificius, the Architectural BIM Design software