New Dynamo Features to Automate Connections Modeling with Design Input and Predefined Libraries

Engineering and Design

By Dan Peticila

With Autodesk University 2019 unfolding this week, it’s a perfect time to introduce new functionalities in Dynamo that will empower structural engineers to bring automation into their steel connection workflows. With the Revit 2020.2 point release, new Dynamo nodes and sample scripts bridge the gap between structural analysis and modelling phases, enabling standardization and faster iteration in the analysis and placement of steel connections.

The first enhancement of the dedicated Autodesk Steel Connections 2020 Dynamo package consists in a set of new nodes that read structural analysis results either from the native Revit analytical model or the data stored in the Results Manager, which can be imported from other applications like Robot Structural Analysis Professional. Forces or moments from load cases, combinations, and envelopes can be used as input and are read from the beam or column end tied to the selected node. These values are compared to user defined ranges of values for forces and moments to determine if the chosen steel connections are applicable. The takeaway: you can now filter steel connections based on structural analysis results.

Note that in order to leverage the full capabilities of using analysis information stored as results packages, the Structural Analysis Toolkit 2020 for Revit needs to be installed. It is available for free on the Autodesk App Store 

The other main feature delivered with this Dynamo package update is the ability to load on-demand connection types from Revit libraries or from past projects. Remember, a Revit library for steel connections is simply a Revit file, where multiple pre-configured connection types are stored. Several existing Revit files can be used to feed the parameters for a new project and only the ones required will be automatically extracted and placed. This new functionality is provided through dedicated nodes that use as input the paths of Revit files.

The workflows enabled by this feature are multiple, but just to name the most impactful ones: imagine sharing the same library with all of your peers inside the same engineering office. Or imagine using a library as a common database between engineers and fabricators, always ensuring the right types are used.

As it was the case with the first version of the Dynamo package, we put a strong emphasis on ease of use, so we’ve included more out-of-the-box scripts, ready to be used as-is or to be further tailored and developed based on what your engineering practice requires.  

The bottom line: with these new automation capabilities for steel connections, we enable structural analysis to be better integrated in the process of placing steel connections, while reusing engineering knowledge to transition a steel building model to a more detailed state in less time. 

Please remember to always share your feedback with us, leaving a comment in the dedicated section or on the Revit Ideas Station.

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