Category Archives: Precast Blogs

Blog about techniques and tools used in Precast Detaling

Panel Comparison Demo

Suppose someone makes a change in the layout but forgets to do so in the shop drawing (and vice versa). If you move a cast in plate, and if it’s actually produced and taken to site, then you have a big problem, and a big cost. How are you going to identify the differences which exist in the thousands of panels that you make? What if you had a tool which allowed you to easily identify differences between the two drawings?

This is what this Panel Comparison tool does. It gives you confidence that somebody hasn’t made a boo-boo. And moreover, if somebody has made one, then this tool identifies sloppy shop drawing practices.

Here is the demo. I hope you enjoy it!

Compare Panels Demo – Import Panel Difference from the Shop Drawing to the Layout from Tek1 on Vimeo.


  • It can work for all clients with only very minor modifications. Very well abstracted out in the code.
  • It is super fast. Comparing the thousands of elements in each drawing takes a bit of computing power – but with smart algorithms, you can cut down the time.
  • It works for all sorts of edge cases – what if the panel was made up of arcs, polylines and straight lines – this plugin can handle all sorts of things. It can also handle voids in the panel?
  • What if an item is on the edge of a panel line – it can handle that was well.

Every single panel that we draw will go through the above practices. It should give you a lot of confidence that we’ll get the drawings right.



Demo – Create Revit Panels Directly From AutoCAD Panels

This is a demo of my latest plug-in which demonstrates a proof of concept – i.e. a MVP (Minimum Viable Product).

What does it do?

If you have drawn some panels in AutoCAD, this plugin allows you to quickly and accurately convert those panels into Native Revit walls. You can then give Architects and builders those Revit files –  otherwise it will be very difficult for them to work with AutoCAD files.

This gives you a competitive advantage over your competition, because you can quickly and easily do it – and it makes the job of architects and builders easier – especially given the rapid push everyone’s making into BIM technologies.

Enough talk. Here is the demo. Enjoy:

Create Panel Walls in Revit Directly From AutoCAD – Demo from Tek1 on Vimeo.

(I’ve made the command so that it works even when you have AutoCAD open. This allows detailers to quickly switch to Revit and AutoCAD and to delete and restart if need be. Also requiring that AutoCAD be open ensure that detailers know exactly what file they are working with and what files they are converting. It eliminates a whole lot of errors.)

The Curious Case of Overkill Not Working (AutoCAD)

A very perplexing question:

Why isn’t overkill working?

The result will stun you.

Overkill was not working
Overkill command was not working on these panel voids. Why do you think this is the case?

As you can see in the above picture, the top row of panel voids were doubled and in some cases tripled up. Obviously we don’t want this. Ordinarily, when such drawings are passed on to us we employ the overkill command. But for some reason it wasn’t working. And I couldn’t for the life of me figure it out.

That was until our lead Bubble Deck detailer suggested that the insertion points of the block references were not all on the same plane – some of them were in the Z plan – if that’s the case, then overkill would not recognise them as being the same block – and will allow them to continue to co-exist in the same drawing.


Check that all similar items have similar insertion points. If they’re different – that’s why overkill might not be working for you.

Tek1 Tools – Panel Comparisons

Demo – Tool To Compare Panels and Easily Identify Differences

Here’s the situation:

Someone from the factory floor calls in:

“Hey can you move a cast in plate across panel number ABC123”

“Sure – let me just check there are no —”


The problem with handing over the drawings without checking the layout is that you might make a big mistake! Or you might forget to ensure the two drawings link up and are the same.

You need a tool to easily check the panels, identify differences and to alert the detailer. This will also allow you to easily split up work. – you can assign that work to a junior detailer, so he/she gains experience, while it frees up time for you to focus on other things.

And if you do find a difference, it’s a big ordeal brining the layout up to speed. With this program, it automatically imports the pertinent block/polyline etc. without you lifting a finger.

The advantages are many. The simplicity is sublime. Enough talk.

Here’s the demo of the tool. I hope you enjoy it.

This tool currently works for only Bubble Deck. But I am going to make it work for all clients across a variety of edge cases and am going to speed up the algorithm considerably. I will post the new tool when it is completed.

Panel Comparison – Tek1 Tools from Tek1 on Vimeo.

Stair Outline Routine – AutoCAD Plugin – Code Attached

An example of the type of stairs we draw. We do a lot of stairs. Both AS 1428 and AS 1657 compliant stairs.
An example of the type of stairs we draw. We do a lot of stairs. Both AS 1428 and AS 1657 compliant stairs.


We continue delving into our discussion of stairs. The boss hates it when I do things like this – releasing code to the public. But it’s too good not to share. Below is a routine you might find useful. We use it to model stairs – it’s super fast, and efficient. It allows us to try different things out and to discard what doesn’t work with ease. I’ve gone to the effort of drawing up an entire flight of stairs and then realised that I’m missing a tread. Then I’d have to redo the whole thing from the beginning. Once you have this outline done, the a good chunk of the work is finished.

One of our many, many versatile routines:

Here is a gif of the project:

A Stair AutoCAD Plugin
A plugin I wrote for AutoCAD. Written using c#.

And here is the code for the benefit of study.

I suppose I should refactor it, but I don’t think I’ll be changing it any time soon. So why worry?

Tekla–AutoCAD: Interoperability Tool

Tekla – AutoCAD Interoperability Tool

Tekla licenses are pricey. About $30k + maintenance per license. That’s expensive. And if you had 10 licenses, or perhaps even 50 licenses, what if I told you that you needed: 30-50% less licenses than you currently hold? That’s a huge cost saving. If you only need 5 licenses, then you’ve saved $150k instantly, plus maintenance. You can now do that.


AutoCAD licenses are significantly cheaper than Tekla.


But if only the work you did in AutoCAD could be transferred into Tekla? That would save you some licenses.


That’s just what I’ve done here in my latest project. You can check it out here:


Tekla – Autocad Interop. from Tek1 on Vimeo.

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Past Precast Projects

Here are some of the projects we’ve been involved with in recent times – as of this photo (2016-2017). What’s cool about it is that they’re all in the same place at around the same time.

Rarely will you ever see them so closely located together, let alone in the same photo. Personally I thought it was pretty cool. (Please click on the photo below to get a close-up view).


The projects that we’ve been involved with in recent times. Either detailing or tracing.

Why Bubble Deck?

Bubble Deck – What’s so good about it?


A picture of a construction crew on a bubble deck slab.
A picture of a construction crew on a bubble deck slab.
  1. It’s fast, really fast.

If you can build something quicker, than translates into making money quicker. There’s a premium on speed.

  1. Less manpower

Less manpower on site. That means less potential problems to deal with. Which eventually translates into money. Generally speaking, the problems and costs associated with a project are proportional to the number of people involved in it.

  1. Structural Benefits

Bubble deck slabs, because they are filled with air, are significantly lighter. Also you can have wider spans – without as much column support. This is very desirable from an architect’s point of view.

  1. Cost of manufacturing

The BubbleDeckGroup tout it as being cheaper to manufacture. Personally, I’m sceptical of this claim. I think it’s the same, if not more.

  1. Environmentally Friendly?

They also say it’s more environmentally friendly. It probably is relative to other solutions, but I don’t think it’s actually helping the environment. It’s sort of like the marketing on a cigarette packet saying that it’s “healthier” than other cigarettes. It is probably healthier, but cigarettes as a whole, generally speaking are not healthy. 

What are the costs?

Everything has to be designed correctly and properly early on. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It forces designers to plan and think things out, before the actual construction. But if the design team does a bad job, you can be sure that the entire project is going to be delayed, and is going to be monumentally expensive.