Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kicking It Old School - DWFx it!

What is the easiest way to send 3D model for review?

A question recently came up when the design team wanted to send a 3D model to the contractor for review. The project was done in Revit and the contractor had no access to the software. The intent was to allow the contractor (Note: This is the residential contractor who relies on paper drawing for construction) to spin around the model and understand the project better in 3 dimensions.

So I said "Why don't we send him the DWFx file?"

DWF file has been around at least for the past 10 years. Up until now, many people would still prefer PDF as a standard format when it comes to transfer drawing files. Still, the DWF technology remains with the Autodesk product year after year. Personally, I love DWF, it is more compatible with AutoCAD and Revit, file size is usually 30-40% smaller than pdf. Of course, you can export it as 3D DWF file straight from Revit without any plugin or workaround. What's not to love!?

DWFx was introduced later on as another format where you can view it via the IE browser (Note: It supports all the way to IE10 based on my test). To export the 3D DWFx, all you need is to go to the Revit "R" icon, Export, DWF/DWFx.

Click "Next" in the DWF Export Settings

When saving, make sure the file type is DWFx format.

Once this is done, you can open the file with Internet Explorer.

When viewing the DWFx file via IE, it offers the same tools as you use the Autodesk Design Review program which is free from the Autodesk site. You can use tools like markup, measuring tape, hide/unhide elements, or even "section box". The only complaint that I have is the orbit tool is very poor with the mouse cursor. I would hope Autodesk can improve it in the near future. To get around this, using the Viewcube or the Steering Wheel could result a better control of spinning around the model.

I think DWF/DWFx is a very good collaboration tool. Besides, Autodesk continues to push DWF format to integrate with online tool like Autodesk 360 and other mobile device.

1 comment:

  1. Good option, but I've never been able to get Design Review to work well. If we assume that the contractor has to download some viewing software, can we recommend Navisworks Simulate, and export an NWC file for the contractor to review? Which one would provide more of what the contractor needs?

    Thanks for your site