How can you speed up modelling complex structures in an architectural BIM design software? Here’s the Edificius MagneticGrid tool at work directly in 3D View
In a BIM process software, unlike what happens with traditional CAD software technology, the objects used for modelling are “smart objects” with their own properties and data and not just simple straight lines.
These objects allow the user to obtain a three-dimensional representation of the building model and at the same time access the building’s information system as a whole or consult its specific object related data. To speed up the model input process, an extraordinary modelling feature, together with its own unique visual configurator, allows us to quickly define combinations of basic shapes in space in order to build up even the most complex of structures: the MagneticGrid.
What is the MagneticGrid?
MagneticGrids are a powerful tool for designing structures with the maximum freedom and in an extremely precise, simple and fast manner.
A MagneticGrid is equipped with magnetic nodes that allow it to be easily connected to other MagneticGrids, even of other different shapes and sizes, so that they can also form complex structures that are particularly difficult to model in normal conditions.
With one operation, the designer can require all grid segments, or a group of them, to be automatically covered with the selected element type. For example, we can apply a given beam section to the whole magnetic grid structure or to specific segments that can be either hidden or filtered appropriately.
But how can the MagneticGrid be inserted and customised to draw objects in 3D view using an architectural BIM software? More specifically let’s take a closer look at how most BIM process operators address these modelling needs with the Edificius BIM software by ACCA software.
How to use the MagneticGrid in a BIM software
It’s quite simple! You begin by drawing a MagneticGrid in 3D by selecting the MagneticGrid object from the Edificius objects menu.
This activates the MagnetiGrid editor. In the MagneticGrid menu, you can choose among various types of grid types to build up your grid structure.
A simple click in the view sets the MagneticGrid in its initial configuration. At this stage, the MagneticGrid can be moved because the cursor is connected to the bottom node of the grid.
To change the MagneticGrid’s insert point, simply press the F5 function key to switch to the needed anchor node. A particularly useful operation when needing to rotate the grid around a reference point.
When the MagneticGrid is set in the desired position, click again to set it into place.
A MagneticGrid can be customized and adjusted with great flexibility by editing and deleting segments and/or adding others.
In edit mode, click one side of the grid with the left mouse button. This operation selects the side and displays an orange node and two arrows at the ends to enable further edit options in order to vary lengths, etc.
Further fine tune adjustments can be made directly by directly typing the measurement manually while the segment is selected.
The MagneticGrid is easily adjusted according to designer needs by means of the local pop-up menus that are activated when doing a left mouse button click on the arrows placed at either side of each MagneticGrid segment or on its central node.
When clicking on one of the two segment arrows, you can easily duplicate the selected MagneticGrid section by choosing “Add” from the local menu. The new section is automatically connected to the side as indicated by the arrow direction.
After setting up the MagneticGrid structure (by now a simple wireframe), you can use its magnetic intersection nodes to quickly and accurately insert Edificius objects.
Example of inserting a BIM object using the MagneticGrid
The following example assumes that you want to add one of the various Edificius BIM objects based on a MagneticGrid structure, a sunscreen.
After attaching the object’s position to the MagneticGrid, you can freely edit the object dimensions dynamically by using the object’s magnectic grid selection grips and magnetic nodes.
With the position now correctly identified, the sunscreen object can be duplicated with a simple copy command (CTRL+C) and then re-inserted with the paste command (CTRL+V) directly into the drawing.
To finish, we’ll now insert the steel beams selecting them from the BIM Objects Library.
One of the most powerful tools, available when using MagneticGrids, is the magic Wand tool that allows users to automatically cover the MagneticGrid structure, or parts of it, with the selected Architectural object.