I've had some pets that for whatever reason, just manage to keep hanging around, no matter what I feed them. We had a cat (which I never liked but for whatever reason, loved me) that lasted 22 years, and no matter how grouchy she was, you had to love her.
AutoCAD MEP is getting like that - it's the old comfortable show, that you just can't seem to get rid of. Autodesk is kind of funny about this - they're all into the flash of Revit, and the analytical applications like Vasari and Stimulus that they're so stoked about. But for what it's worth, more than half of Autodesk's sales are still about AutoCAD...and there's a lot of users that are comfortable with it.
So Autodesk re-soled this shoe and put in some new laces, and we're ready to run again. Here's my favorite new stuff:
- Annotation Symbol planes for Front and Left views - this may seem like a small thing, but getting the corrected schematic symbol to appear in section view as the one in top views is actually, uh, important. It's crazy, but AutoCAD MEP has this, while Revit MEP doesn't (in fact, if you rotate a valve in Revit MEP, the annotation symbol gets turned on its edge and you can't see it at all). So I can see the valve consistently in all views. I created an exercise for the CADLearning series that shows this in great detail but you can either draw the linework, or import a design block you've used for years. Either way, this is a great tool.
- MEP Connectors - these data tools snap to the end of a pipe, and then let you make a connection to a Civil 3D or Plant 3D pipe - and pick up the size, material and system. One more step to integration (again, this doesn't work with Revit MEP...but I'm hopin'...).
- Schedule table groups make sorting the data a lot simpler - and gives you the ability to make your schedule's appearance really pop. I had always liked Revit's ability to group items, but this adds more for the ACAD MEP user - you can override the format by group, do group subtotals (and override their format),change orientation by group, indent...it just makes it all smoother.
- Autodesk systems and parts have really be dependent on Layer Keys for years, all the way back to the Softdesk days...but some users just like having their layers in their drawing when they start. Now that you can the layer directly instead of the key, it makes the customization a little simpler.
- The global replace fittings tool is nice - you don't have to pick items like elbows and tees, and worry about the connection getting broken. Being able to change them from elbows to tees (and back again) is even faster than the grip editing tool.
- With Duct Fittings, the radius is now controlled by the inner arc on reducing fittings - so now it looks and models more accurately than in the past.
- The Inclusion of the Fusion - man, I love this tool, for one simple feature. Use it to open an SAT, STL, IPT, etc. file - then use Save As to create a 3D DWG - and now it doesn't matter what the equipment manufacturer used to create their part. By getting the exact part used into the model, it makes the whole lifecycle part of BIM practical. And it comes with all of the BIM packages - both AutoCAD MEP and Revit MEP this year...man, I can't say thank you enough for making this easier. Sure, big files are still a problem, but we all have Windows 7, 64-bit OS, and lots of RAM....right?
You know, there are some days that I wish I was still running AutoCAD MEP all the time...and the 2013 release is making me jealous....but I do have an updated template available - you can get it around AU later this year...
later - David B.