A large part of my role as Digital Design Manager is getting multiple software platforms to play nicely together. Frankly, getting one at a time to behave is often a challenge, but I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the compatibility of two programs that see a lot of use around here: Revit and RAM.
Revit to RAM
The first time we tried to link the two systems, we started in Revit. This was an existing structure, steel framed, that we were modeling for seismic analysis purposes. The goal was to start in Revit (so we’d have a documentation model ready to go for a later design phase) and then export to RAM Elements.
Unfortunately, it turned into a complete mess. We discovered (too late) that the ISM translator only pulls the physical model from Revit and ignores the analytical elements. This meant that our steel joist roof didn’t connect to the beams it was supported by, columns missed their connections to beams, etc. It was a real disappointment, after all the work we’d put in to making sure our analytical nodes were connected.
We eventually were able to get the model to run, but it was a real headache.
HOWEVER, I have not given up! This was only our first attempt, and involved RAM Elements instead of RAM Structural System. I hope to find a good test project soon for Round 2.
RAM to Revit
Our next experiment went the other way — from RAM Structural System to Revit. This was another steel-framed structure, and when documentation started the engineer had already built a RAM model for some schematic design calcs. It seemed silly to start from scratch in Revit when we could at least try the import.
And this one worked beautifully.
All the elements came into Revit right where they should be. The beams had physical and analytical components. (I haven’t figured out that quirk of ISM yet.) Anything that looked off, like a grid line that stopped halfway up the building, could be traced back to the RAM model element’s definition, not the import process. I estimate that it saved us at least 3 solid days of drafting/modeling time, if not more.
The catch with this second project is that it’s historic steel, not modern. So the RAM model had lots of substitutions for archaic shapes, which had to be swapped out in Revit to be properly displayed & tagged. So I don’t know yet if we’ll be able to round-trip the model. There might be some tweaks we can make to the mapping file to accommodate the historic shapes, but my research hasn’t gotten that far yet.
It’s a good start, though…onward and upward!
Dave Hein said:
I used to be able to understand just about everything you wrote, Kate. But with this blog you’ve turned me back into the mumbling idiot I once was. Maybe you can rescue me at AU later this year. 🙂
I just found your new blog today and I’m bookmarking.
Starting with the archives and coming back to the present, I haven’t seen, yet, if you have an update to the Revit-RAM roundtripping… will be looking for an update. We’ve only been able to, successfully, go one-way. But, our projects are LARGE so we rarely have an opportunity to try again with a new project. Keep us updated!!! Thanks.
Josh Cabot said:
This is a fantastic blog, Kate. Like Leanne, I am also bookmarking.
I work in an Architecture/Structural Engineering office and we rolled over to Revit just about a year ago. We have looked high and low for a good RAM-Revit connection and have only been able to come up with something similar to what your office did the second time around: model in RAM, export it to .dxf and then import that into Revit. We have been doing this strictly with steel structures and it seems to be working well, but only in this uni-directional work flow. We can add members later in the RAM model and then bring those into the Revit model. Alas, though, no round-tripping for us yet either. : (
Hah! Interesting and coincidental! Josh, you posted your reply on 1/2/14, but I just got a notification of it today, 3/19/14. A day when, at my new place of employment, I’m once again struggling with the Revit/RAM interoperability.
I’ve begun a Revit model and was able to export to ISM. But had to go searching for help on how to get that ISM into RSS. As I type, I am downloading updated tools from Bentley (with the help of Steve Crabtree at Bentley) and crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to move along…
Re-reading Kate’s original post, I’m now worried that the ISM will not include all the analytical data that RSS (and my engineer) will need.