Noob. Architecture best practices, workflow and other questions

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Wilson
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Noob. Architecture best practices, workflow and other questions

Postby Wilson » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:02 pm

Hi everyone,

First things first, I think the software is pretty impressive and it promises a lot. I'm an architect, experienced with CAD and BIM for several years.

I started working with FreeCAD a few weeks ago, using the Architectural Tutorial (thanks Yorik, great tutorial with an architectural classic). If this set of questions was already answered, sorry for the unnecessary spam and please redirect me. If not, I hope we can keep this post open for further questions about the software's workflow, best practices in Architecture and BIM and other issues.

At first, I didn't understand correctly the snapping tools. The snaps seemed random, but thanks to Regis tutorials on Youtube (cheers mate!!) I started over, using the snaps correctly (almost). This second time, by distraction, I added walls to each other and now I got stuck. I need to subtract a volume because some walls intersect a small slab, and when I do it, nothing happens. At first, they were all disappearing; now, not even that. Now, I know the tutorial recommends that we shouldn't add to much stuff to each other in order to avoid unnecessary complexity, but since it is also a BIM app, shouldn't complexity be part of it? I mean, shouldn't walls, if not adding to one another, at least merge directly to each other, like in Revit for example?

Also, I see that we can model directly with walls, instead of lines, wires or polygons. That being said, the tutorial suggests that we use lines, and in some videos on Youtube, wires and polygons, like in Sketchup. Is there a reason for, in these tutorials, instead of just creating walls directly in the model with the arch wall tool, to use draft objects as a first step? I just ask because it seems double work.

Another question is the Combo View organization. As you can see on the print screen attached to this post, I tried to organize all elements since the beginning. Is the way I work with other BIM softwares and it seems to me that a proper organization makes it easier to get back to these projects after a while, as well as sending them to other people to continue the work. Unfortunately, it seems to me that my organization is not good for FreeCAD. An example is the walls added to each other and the mess that it creates in the combo view. I'm just at the beginning of the tutorial and it feels already as counterproductive method. That being said, could someone help with a another method, that fits the software better than my own?

The version I started with (0.17.something) didn't allow me to use the BIM workbench, it was always crashing. Now I downloaded the last 0.17.13528 version and the BIM workbench seems to be working fine. Experimenting with creating walls directly from the Arch Wall tool, I realize that the results are the same as before, meaning a main wall where and several others as child ones. Here I reach my first conclusion, FreeCAD uses a main object, no matter what, and other ones that may somehow be related to these ones as child objects. Now, working with FreeCAD for architectural work, what is the advantage of this? Won't it, eventually, result in the same long tree that I have in the combo view, with objects as child of other objects and so on, in a confusing diagram, hard to work with? I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining here, is not at all what I'm trying to do here. I'm really excited about the software, I just want to understand better why things are like this in order to adapt my workflow to it.

Attached you'll find the .FCStd file, as well as a print screen of what I described. Sorry for the long text.

To finalize, here is my FreeCAD version info:
OS: Windows 7
Word size of OS: 64-bit
Word size of FreeCAD: 64-bit
Version: 0.17.13528 (Git)
Build type: Release
Branch: releases/FreeCAD-0-17
Hash: 5c3f7bf8ec51e2c7187789f7edba71a7aa82a88b
Python version: 2.7.14
Qt version: 4.8.7
Coin version: 4.0.0a
OCC version: 7.2.0
Attachments
Artigas v2.1.FCStd
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Artigas.jpg
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meme2704
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Re: Noob. Architecture best practices, workflow and other questions

Postby meme2704 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:25 am

Hi

Like any software, you have to work with rigor and method, to avoid getting lost and lose the timeline of drawing.
It is the logic of Fc that all the added elements do not "weld" with their close neighbors, that they cross. For the merge to be done, you have to do a Boolean add
To find the right method, rename objects (in the tree) with meaningful names
It is not a double job to draw the trace of the walls in a sketch, it allows to position it to 0.001mm of precision (not bad in Arch!), And to choose the reference side of the wall (center, to left or right), and it also allows to draw a complete chamber in 1 shot with the help of a closed sketch of N walls merged together
there is more than one way to share his file with his colleagues,
- send him the whole load to him to isolate what is intended for him
-copied (copied / pasted) the pieces to be shared and pasted into a new file
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Wilson
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Re: Noob. Architecture best practices, workflow and other questions

Postby Wilson » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:52 pm

Hi meme2704, thanks for your reply,

I agree, like any software, it's about working with rigor and method, that's why I ask. I actually named my objects meaningfully, by distinguishing the walls in three types, since the model has concrete, brick and interior walls (in the tutorial, the lines used to make them even have different colors). Of course I could name them like "Room 1 - North Wall", "Room 1 - South Wall" and so forth, but if you name them by material, giving them a more generic meaning, wouldn't you be allowing yourself some freedom in the creative process. It happens in meetings with clients that a bedroom, for example, after the meeting changes and becomes an office, a living room or something else. Sometimes, it even changes back to the initial solution after a few days, it's part of the job. That's why a more generic naming, like material for example, seems to me like a more suitable option. Also, let's say I was modeling a 5 storey high hotel, I wonder if naming objects like north wall, bedroom wall or kitchen wall would be a good method. Every time I change something, I would have to rename it and in a building like that, it could result in an insane amount of time spent just in organizing the model. Problem is, you need to organize if you want to send the model to someone else inside or outside the office (e.g. draftspeople, other architects or engineers). Therefore, I wonder if there isn't a best method. Maybe you shouldn't even bother naming them, maybe yes. I don't know, that's why, if there is someone out there with experience in doing architectural work with FreeCAD that could exchange some ideas, I would deeply appreciate.

Besides that, the software it's pretty awesome, not sure if can compete with Revit or ArchiCAD, for example, but maybe it does. Or maybe it will in a near future. Does someone has an opinion on that?
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Re: Noob. Architecture best practices, workflow and other questions

Postby saso » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:50 pm

If you want to understand freecad for use in arhitecture and construction by comparing it to other cad programs it is IMO much better to first understand programs like solidworks, inventor, creo, catia, nx,... If you want then to understand how this concepts and workflows from this programs can work for architecture and construction industries you should probably look how catia and digital project (is actually also catia) are used in this industry (in the "normal" architectural world of autocad, archicad and revit this is not very well known, but actually most of the biggest and most complex projects are done with it). When you will get this far, you will then also start to understand and see revit in a different way, it actually works on the very same principles, but it tries to sort of "help" the user by hiding and automatically managing a lot of the core parametric functionality for the user, while this is helpful for doing "basic" stuff it is actually quite dumb when trying to do something more advanced and then you see all kind of crazy workarounds from revit users. Getting back to freecad and arhitecture, it is still in development, so stay around and help make it awesome.
Last edited by saso on Sun Aug 05, 2018 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Noob. Architecture best practices, workflow and other questions

Postby NormandC » Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:34 pm

meme2704 wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:25 am
It is the logic of Fc that all the added elements do not "weld" with their close neighbors, that they cross. For the merge to be done, you have to do a Boolean add
I do not know if you are talking about the Boolean tool from the Part workbench, but in the Arch workbench, you hardly ever need to use Part Boolean operations, because the Arch workbench has Boolean operations built-in. Just like the PartDesign workbench which hardly ever needs Booleans, because they are built-in into the PartDesign tools.

When you want to fuse separate Walls, you use the Image Arch Add tool. And this is what Wilson already did I think.
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Re: Noob. Architecture best practices, workflow and other questions

Postby NormandC » Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:47 pm

Wilson wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:02 pm
Also, I see that we can model directly with walls, instead of lines, wires or polygons. That being said, the tutorial suggests that we use lines, and in some videos on Youtube, wires and polygons, like in Sketchup. Is there a reason for, in these tutorials, instead of just creating walls directly in the model with the arch wall tool, to use draft objects as a first step? I just ask because it seems double work.
The difference is that when creating a Wall directly, a Sketch object is created under it, and includes a single line. This sketch is also unconstrained. The Arch workbench developer is also the creator of the Draft workbench. I'm not sure why the Wall tool in autonomous mode creates a Sketch instead of a Draft line. The Sketcher Workbench has a completely different methodology that the Draft workbench and requires use of geometric and dimensional constraints. Constraint-based sketches are mostly used in mechanical design, and the Sketcher is a companion workbench to the PartDesign Workbench.
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Re: Noob. Architecture best practices, workflow and other questions

Postby Wilson » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:00 pm

NormandC wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:34 pm
When you want to fuse separate Walls, you use the Image Arch Add tool. And this is what Wilson already did I think.
Yes NormandC, I did that already. Thanks for your reply. What concerns me the most at this point is the organization of the combo tree, to understand it and figure out how to use it properly.
saso wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:50 pm
If you want then to understand how this concepts and workflows can work for architecture and construction industries you should probably look how catia and digital project (is actually also catia) are used in this industry (in the "normal" architectural world of autocad, archicad and revit this is not very well known, but actually most of the biggest and most complex projects are done with it). When you will get this far, you will then also start to understand and see revit in a different way, it actually works on the very same principles, but it tries to sort of "help" the user by hiding and automatically managing a lot of the core parametric
Thanks saso. I took a quick look on Youtube and yes, Catia and FreeCAD seem to be, at least at a first glance, very similar. That is pretty good, since Catia is also used by architectural companies and they manage to organize the model that way, obviously the same can be done in FreeCAD. The way I was organizing the combo tree doesn't seem to suit FreeCAD properly. That being said, you think that watching a few tutorials on architectural work with Catia will give me a proper understanding of how to organize an architectural model on FreeCAD. I only ask this because, at this point, I think you don't that many tutorials on arch with FreeCAD available, or at least with models of the same level of complexity.
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Re: Noob. Architecture best practices, workflow and other questions

Postby Wilson » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:08 pm

NormandC wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:47 pm
The difference is that when creating a Wall directly, a Sketch object is created under it, and includes a single line. This sketch is also unconstrained. The Arch workbench developer is also the creator of the Draft workbench. I'm not sure why the Wall tool in autonomous mode creates a Sketch instead of a Draft line. The Sketcher Workbench has a completely different methodology that the Draft workbench and requires use of geometric and dimensional constraints. Constraint-based sketches are mostly used in mechanical design, and the Sketcher is a companion workbench to the PartDesign Workbench.
Yeah, I experimented with that and a sketch is created and you align the wall the way you want (right, left or center). In any case, if you do it, there is going to be a main wall and several "child" ones. It's just a different way of working that I have to understand how to take advantage of. Maybe learning Catia in parallel can help.

By the way, if I wanted to model a piece a furniture in a building, say a closet or a kitchen countertop, I should use the PartDesign Workbench, is that?
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Re: Noob. Architecture best practices, workflow and other questions

Postby NormandC » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:14 pm

Wilson wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:00 pm
That being said, you think that watching a few tutorials on architectural work with Catia will give me a proper understanding of how to organize an architectural model on FreeCAD.
No. As far as I know, Yorik, the Arch workbench developer, has never even worked with CATIA. He has not modelled the Arch workbench to follow the CATIA work flow. In my opinion you will not get insight in how to work in FreeCAD by looking at videos of other programs.

I'm afraid I can't help you much understanding how to organize Arch models. I'm more of a PartDesign user. Maybe you can get some pointers from Yorik's blog and videos. You can find some of them on the Video_tutorials page on our wiki.
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Re: Noob. Architecture best practices, workflow and other questions

Postby NormandC » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:21 pm

Wilson wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:08 pm
By the way, if I wanted to model a piece a furniture in a building, say a closet or a kitchen countertop, I should use the PartDesign Workbench, is that?
That's actually a matter of choice. Personally that's how I would go about it, but you don't have to. You can use the Part Workbench too. In the case of a closet with several identical shelves, it will be useful to repeat them using Draft Array. In v0.17, the PartDesign workbench introduced more stringent rules that some people find difficult to work with. FreeCAD has always allowed mixing of tools from different workbenches and now, it's a little more tricky to do it regarding the PartDesign workbench.