After seeing BIMsmith at RTC 2016 NA, I thought it was high time I signed up for the service, and started creating content with it. I'm pleased to write that the experience was painless and yielded better than expected results.
Here's the process I went through.
On the BIMsmith landing page, there was a convenient link to signing up for free.
Registering required a modest amount of information. I appreciated that a phone number and address weren't required.
After submitting my information, the system immediately sent me a confirmation email. I clicked on the included link to complete my registration, and was taken to the My BIMsmith section of the site, and an introductory video began playing.
It's from My BIMsmith that assemblies can be created, and it's here that I discovered BIMsmith's plans to soon add roof assemblies to the service!
After clicking on "let's get started" in the walls area, a Loading worry screen was presented for several seconds. Thankfully, it featured a thoughtful quote to help pass the time.
I was then presented with the Forge interface for wall assemblies. This interface features an area for specifying wall material layers, a 3D viewing area, and a collapsible tray with recently used components.
To start creating a wall assembly, one simply need select a layer type. Additional options subsequently appear based on one's selections.
One may create either generic layers or ones from included manufacturers content.
One simply continues to add layers as needed for the desired assembly. The 3D view is created and updated automatically.
Similar to reordering one's Netflix queue, one may use the hash marks on the left of layers to re-position layers within the assembly by simply dragging and dropping them.
One may click on Material Properties (the compass icon on the right side of layers) to access details of the layer. When doing this with the Paint layer after selecting Sherwin Williams as the manufacturer, one is presented with the following paint selector.
Similar to Autodesk products, one can use the view cube to rotate the created assembly in the 3D viewer.
One may also explode the assembly by clicking on the icon below the view cube that looks like a stick of dynamite.
At the bottom of the 3D viewer, one may name the assembly by clicking on the pencil icon.
One then saves the assembly by clicking Build. This adds the assembly to the My BIMsmith dashboard.
From here, one can click on the assembly and download it as a Revit RVT file* (and/or an AutoCAD DWG file, a 3-part specification file, a PDF cut sheet, or a JPEG image).
* System families cannot be stored in Revit family (RFA) files but only in Revit project (RVT) files.
Thoughtfully, the downloaded Revit file contains documentation for the assembly, as well as the actual system family.
One may use the assembly in other Revit project files by using Transfer Project Standards to copy the assembly from the downloaded file.
That's pretty much it!
I found the BIMsmith service very easy to use, and there were a lot of thoughtful touches that I appreciated. In particular, the design of the web interface is, quite simply, beautiful.
I appreciated the ability to use manufacturer components or generic components, and the ability to mix and match, as desired.
As far as value is concerned, BIMsmith is free for designers to use. This is because manufacturers pay for the opportunity to connect potential customers with their products through the BIMsmith interface. For users, it doesn't get much better than that.
I give BIMsmith Forge an A+, and am happy to award it an Editor's Choice award!
Want to get started with BIMsmith? Sign Up! It's free!
There's more information available on the BIMsmith website.