How to model an electrical system in 3D as easy as using a CAD
How to automatically obtain electrical diagrams, project drawings and cost estimates using a MEP software
Do you deal with the design of electrical systems? Do you want to model your electrical system in 3D, have a single view of the building-installation system and automatically obtain all the project documents (calculations, tables, graphs, etc.)?
If you want all the advantages of designing in 3D, but don’t want to lose the freedom that CAD drawings gives you, then follow my tips.
First of all, I suggest you to download the free trial version of Edificius, the BIM software for architectural design and 3D installation systems modeling.
In this way you can build the 3D model of your installation system project and experience firsthand all the useful features for your work.
Why is it so important to have a MEP software?
I’ll be showing you how to model an electrical system using the MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing) environment of Edificius for mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems design.
Modeling an electrical system with Edificius-MEP is very easy and allows you to get the most of your work through:
- integrated 3D modeling -get a 3D model that integrates all the aspects of design, for immediate control of interferences between elements of the architectural / structural / installation system model, etc.
- automatic project drawings – automatically obtain executive working drawings, construction and technological details, electrical diagrams, cost estimates from the 3D model, always connected to the model and updated in real time
- evaluation of different solutions – analyze the 3D model, you can plan the different design solutions, comparing different parameters such as functionality, benefits and costs and evaluating the choices with your client. The system 3D visualization is also more understandable by the customer who can make real time choices, avoiding misunderstandings with the designer
- automatic quantities calculation – extract the exact quantities of the project components, eliminating the percentage of error during the estimating phase
- cost estimating – associate the price list item of your reference price list to the objects of your model and obtain the cost of the work automatically, without manually calculating the quantities
- model clarity – you have a complete view of the installation system to be planned, not just a simple 2D representation showing only a single view of your model. You can view the rendered 3D model and also browse it in virtual reality to identify any problems and interference, as if the model was already built
- management and maintenance – the BIM model can be useful throughout the life cycle of the building. Know the positioning of all systems, limiting any problems and interference during subsequent renovations or maintenance
- construction site – reduce problems during the construction phase of the project because you already have the precise and clear layout of the different processes to be performed
- work planning – simulate in 4D the times and sequences of installation of the components and accurately identify the times of realization of the work.
How to model an electrical system
Before showing a practical case study, we’ll be taking a look at the Edificius-MEP modeling process.
With Edificius-MEP you can design the system quickly and easily thanks to the intuitive and adaptive 2D / 3D “Smart MEP” modeler, which uses intelligent connections and automatic alignments.
This means that you do not have to model the system only in plan or section views, but also work directly in 3D in a simple and intuitive way with dedicated parametric objects. The “Smart MEP” modeler makes software behavior adaptive which automatically draws what you expect to achieve.
Each MEP object added to a plant network changes automatically both from the geometric point of view (diameter, width, height, etc.) and shape (by inserting curves, fittings, etc.) for the correct connection with the other system objects.
Furthermore, the electrical system that you model is integrated with the architectural model in order to always have the control of any interference and incompatibility between the different systems, always operating on the same model.
A practical example
To model an electrical system with Edificius-MEP, simply access the
Drawing menu and chose the section dedicated to electrical systems which are grouped in:
- pipes and corrugated
- cable ducts and trays
- accessories and general switchboards
- equipment and devices.
Here you have all the MEP objects to be included in your architectural model to create the complete electrical system.
For example, you create a device box that you customize based on the parameters of the object and its position on the wall, indicating the distance from the wall and the floor.
The software recognizes the space available in the device box and therefore already offers you all the compatible switches, sockets and buttons.
In addition, copy the modules already chosen from one object to another and quickly complete the modeling of all the objects included in the model, such as fruit boxes and paintings. To make a connection between two junction boxes using the conduit, choose the material and the profile and connect the conduit directly to the surface of the box. The cube and the ruler guide you when modeling but you can also indicate the length value directly from the keyboard and automatically obtain the fillets.
By managing the visibility filters, you completely hide the levels and display the systems of the level on which you operate.
See how each individual component of the system is articulated in space and how it interacts with the entire plant system from the first phase of design, minimizing the possibility of making design errors.
To model an electrical system, it is essential to have many objects available that allow you to design according to your needs.
With Edificius-MEP you can access an extensive collection of objects to design your system and you can also create the system components yourself, thanks to the parametric modeler that generates 3D objects in a few seconds.
You can import 3D models from external files provided by the manufacturer (in .skp, .obj, .ifc, etc. format) and use them freely in your project.
With Edificius-MEP you can get:
- the MEP system elevation views, floor plans, cross-sections and 3D views
- project working drawings, complete with schedules and tables with the electrical symbols of the various objects
- technical reports
- bill of components
- cost estimating
- the model IFC file.
Together with the project drawings you can insert the MEP object legends used in the drawing. You can label all the objects on the working model while the software automatically aligns the labels, recognizes the object you are labeling and automatically reports all the object data on the label.
Here is a practical example and a 3D MEP model ready to use.