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AUTODESK REVIT TO COVE.TOOL
Download the Revit to cove.tool plug-in in Autodesk's App Store here. Also check out cove.tool's Vimeo and Youtube page for the latest video tutorials.
Before you begin
Cove.tool’s modeling software plugins were created to streamline the import of building geometry. With our custom data collector, we find your project, collect the geometry, and export the correct values into the cloud to run a fast and accurate energy analysis. Because the plugin imports geometry data instantaneously every time you change your geometry, you can reload the project and see the latest update of your building’s performance. Here is how you can use Revit to start a cove.tool project.
Error Free Export
Selecting the correct objects to import is important. One thing we are proud of is that our software can detect when these objects are and are not in the correct categories for import selection. This means that no matter what stage your Revit model is in when we want “wall” data the plugin will only take values from wall-categorized objects. Because cove.tool only uses values from objects which directly affect a project’s energy performance (i.e. walls, roof, skylights, floors, and windows) and cuts out miscellaneous objects, it cuts the need for geometry oriented model prep.
The Revit plug-in uses 3D views for its selection and data export process. These steps will not impact the building geometry at all, instead, the Revit plug-in will require edits in viewport settings to make seamless data collections. This process has yet to meet a building large or complex enough it couldn’t handle, but here are 4 steps you can take to make sure a geometry import in Revit, from beginning to end, takes 5 minutes or less.
CREATE 3D VIEWS
Step1: Cove.tool’s updated Revit plug-in now allows users to autogenerate 5 unique category 3D-Views (Floors, Roofs, Walls, Skylights, and Windows). These views will be your windows during the geometry selection process. As you update your project, these viewports will follow suit and throughout the project’s life, you will be able to go back and forth from Revit and cove.tool to learn about your building’s current energy and overall whole building performance.
CONFIRM EXPORT VIEWS
Step 2: Enter any of the newly generated views. Once inside, you should confirm that the visible objects are ones in which you want to be included in the export of the titled category. For example, during the Wall category export, the only objects crucial to the energy simulation of this category are opaque envelope objects of similar heat transfer/ insulation properties. So stray objects in the view such as interior walls, doors, fins, cantilevers, and other non-thermal envelope masses should be hidden. This step is also crucial for the windows and floor categories; see the images to the right for how views should look before and after clean up.
FILTER AND HIDE
Step3: To clear out these stray objects use the “sunglasses” Hide Element tab found at the bottom of the Revit interface. This command will prompt a temporary viewport which will hide unwanted objects in the current 3D-view. If manual selection is taking longer than expected, try the Left Click Select Similar Objects In Viewport option, to make select multiple similar property objects to then remove from view. Once complete, Apply Hide/Isolate View and complete this step for all the other applicable export viewports.
BEGIN EXPORT PROCESS
Step 4: Now that all your viewports are complete,begin the geometry export process. Log in to your cove.tool account to connect your project to the cloud network. If you haven’t already, start a new project in cove.tool’s web-application so when you start the export process in Revit, both projects can be linked using the Switch Projects command. After login and switch projects steps, go through each tab/category and select the correct view for each geometry export.
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Download the SketchUp to Cove.tool Plug-in in SketchUp's Warehouse here.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Cove.tool’s newest addition is the SketchUp Plugin. Like our other plug-ins, cove.tool uses 3D model geometry from SketchUp to auto-fill the geometry input page to complete your building‘s project profile. Unlike our other plug-ins, the SketchUp plug-in differentiates itself by being the only geometry export process which auto separates the different geometries into cove.tool‘ layers. This step makes sure all the objects area accurately categorized for final calculations.
CLEAR UP 3D VIEW
Step 1 is isolating the geometry that will be used during the export process. No context or extraneous objects should be left in the view. Pending on the users preference, there are two option to pursue when setting up a model. First, a user could export the building simple geometry and start a fresh new file with only the building as it’s content, or one could just hide everything else in view so that only the cove.tool project is left in view.
MATCH THE GROUND
STEP 2: Once the view is clear, the next step is to make sure you match your building ground level to the SketchUp ground plane. Depending on the stage of the model, the complexity of the file may vary. Models that are further developed, tend to have various changes such undulating contoured sites, this would cause the model to float in space once the context is hidden or removed. If your model ground doesn’t match project ground this could cause inaccurate calculation once you begin the geometry export process. Matching ground planes can be done be switching to a front view, and moving the building to line up with the ground plane, see left image.
SINGLE SURFACES AND LAYER
STEP 3: Next to make sure cove.tool’s plug-in can identify each building geometry object, make sure the objects are on the same layer and that the geometry is made up of single surfaces. Objects which belongs to groups or blocks will be skipped once the export process begins. The easiest way to make sure your geometry is all single surfaces is to highlight the model, then “explode.” The remaining geometry is ready for the next step.
CREATE COVE.TOOL LAYERS
STEP 4: Now that the model is ready, it is time to use the plugin. Once the plug-in has been installed and enabled, a new tab entitled “Extensions” will appear. Go ahead and click the tab and continue to select “Create cove.tool layers.” 11 new layers will appear at the bottom of the layers menu. Makes sure all the objects have been sent to their correct category. Misplaced object can be normally swapped between layers, so make sure this is done before launching cove.tool. Misplaced objects are the #1 cause of inaccuracy in this plugin.
STEP 5: The file is now ready for the geometry export. Again in the “Extensions” tab, select “Launch Cove.tool” to open a web-link inside the plug-in. Cove.tool’s login page will appear, as usual log into your account and navigate to the project you would like to connect to your SketchUp geometry. Inside the plug-in link, you have the option to either create a new project, or you can search through your project list to find the project you want.
SYNC WITH SKETCHUP
STEP 6: The cove.tool project has now been created/selected. Next you will navigate to the geometry page, here you will find a new option at the top of the page where you will be able to auto-fill the geometry details with the “Sync with SketchUp” button. Click this to see a comprehensive area calculation of your building. If you notice some of the information does not look accurate, flip back to SketchUp and double-check your model’s measurements. Likely there might be a object that is mis-layered and has added up to a calculation in the wrong category. Once everything looks good, click continue to save the geometry export and move forward to see how your building performs.
Download the Rhino/Grasshopper to cove.tool plug-in on Food4Rhino.com here.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Cove.tool‘s Rhino/Grasshopper plug-in is the most powerful of all the plug-ins. This walk-through will take you through the two part process, first setting up the Rhino file and second, completing the geometry export process inside Grasshopper.
SET UNITS TO METERS
PART 1: First step to using the cove.tool’s grasshopper plug-in is setting Rhino units to meters, this will be necessary once inside Grasshopper. This step will not effect the values you will receive once inside cove.tool, but when transferring area calculations through the plug-in, grasshopper’s structure only always accurate exports of objects in meters.
Part 2 is to make sure your model is oriented to the correct cardinal directions, you can check this by viewing your model in the “Top View” to see if your north façade is facing project north (top of the screen). This will be important as data collected from the plugin and inserted into the correct geometry categories. Correct cardinal positioning is crucial to getting a quick and accurate energy equation for performance simulations.
MESHES TO SURFACES
PART3: Once the file is ready, the project geometry will also need to be checked for meshes. Cove.tool’s grasshopper plug-in will only select single surface objects to export area data. In order to convert mesh objects into single surface objects, use the following two commands. First, “MeshToNurb” to create polysurface copies of the mesh geometries and while still highlighted delete the original mesh-objects. Second use “MergeAllFaces” command to weld many polysurfaces into single-surface objects. Polysurfaces that do not weld into a single surface object can be converted to single surfaces by using the command “Explode”. Also blocks will not be read and will need to be converted to surfaces as well.
PART A: Use the command “Grasshopper” to launch the app, open the covetool.gh file you should have downloaded earlier from Food4Rhino. Be careful navigating the file. Cove.tool’s grasshopper file was custom engineered to get the exact values from your project model. The entire process is modeled and several tips are placed around the file to keep you on track.
START A NEW PROJECT
PART B: Inside the Grasshopper file, there are only 3 areas which require your inputs.
Step 1: Fill-in the login and password panels with your cove.tool information. This will link your Rhino project to the cove.tool cloud. Make sure you have started a new project in the cove.tool web app before continuing.
Step 2: Once logged-in, the project list will update to show your cove.tool project history. Using the number that identifies the project you wish to link to the project in cove.tool, correct the project selector to connect.
USING THE LOCKSOLVER FUNCTION
PART C: You are nearly ready to begin the building geometry export process. Before doing any more actions, right-click the Grasshopper plane and activate the “LockSolver.” LockSolver is a Grasshopper tool which temporarily disables Grasshopper’s Solver, in other words, it freezes Grasshopper computing process so while activated any new components, parameters, or inputs added will not run immediately. Grasshopper is infamous for its freezing and crashing, but keeping Lock Solver consistently activated while you work, and only disabling when you are ready for the information to update, you should be fine and the entire process will be quick.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Now you are ready to begin the geometry import. To begin exporting geometry create Breps for the following pills, “roof surfaces, floor surfaces, skylight surfaces, opaque wall surfaces, and window surfaces.” Create Breps by double-clicking the grasshopper plane and typing “Brep” (aka Boundary Representation). Each export is unique and the following will explore tips and challenges for each category. Once all Breps are completed and lines connected, disable the LockSolver and jump to the cove.tool web app to see your results.
PART 1: Obtain building height by right-clicking the building height pill and selecting the “Set one Line” prompt. Jumping back to your Rhino model, begin a line from the lowest point of your model and continue vertically-locked to the highest point in your model. The measurement will be automatically recorded and once the “LockSolver” is disabled, the information will be updated in your cove.tool project summary.
PART 2: Using a new Brep pill, right-click the Brep and select the “Set Multiple Breps” prompt. Back in Rhino, select the single surface objects that best illustrate the combined surface area that entails your projects entire roof surface area. This includes all areas that are exterior and seal the areas below them, do not include cantilevers as they have no energy impact on a building. Once selected, back in grasshopper connect the Brep pill to the roof surface pill with a wire to complete the import.
PART 3: Repeat the same steps in roof surfaces for floor surfaces with a new Brep. However you modeled the floors (with thickness, or not) throughout your project, the only surfaces you should select are planes which best illustrate the combined floor surface area or your entire project. Be wary of selecting multiple surfaces on the same plane, as they may double-log surface areas and will result in unrealistic calculations and results in your cove.tool report.
PART 4: Repeat the same steps in roof surfaces for skylight surfaces with a new Brep. Not all projects have skylights, so it is ok to leave this category empty by not creating/connecting a Brep. This may give you an error prompt in the Grasshopper code, but will not affect the rest of the data exports, so there is no need to worry. Go into the cove.tool web app and manually enter zero in this category.
PART 5: Repeat the same steps in roof surfaces for opaque wall surfaces with a new Brep. Because cove.tool is an early stage energy modeling software the only data we need from your building geometry are the areas in which Heat Transfer occurs. Thus when selecting walls for the cove.tool plug-in, only exterior walls should be selected, everything interior is unnecessary for the types of energy analysis and results cove.tool will generate. If you have a project that has Fins or Overhangs, those do not need to be exported as they have their own page in the cove.tool app that are manually recorded.
PART 6: Repeat the same steps in roof surfaces for window surfaces with a new Brep. Similar to Opaque wall surfaces, the window surface selection only pertains to areas on the exterior face of the project. Also, mullions would, in theory, be included in the window selection process and not in the wall surface category, however because of their general size they tend to be minimal blips in the energy simulation results especially for an early-stage energy modeling software, therefore are not necessary to export to cove.tool.
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