Create BIM from Any CAD Model using bim.aero

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Create BIM from Any CAD Model using bim.aero

BIM continues to be a widely accepted platform for managing the phases of a building project from design to construction—as well as managing the building itself throughout its life cycle—adopting BIM has been difficult for many in the AEC industry. In addition, BIM continues to grow and evolve, making it challenging to fully understand the technology or keep up with it. Lack of funds, time or trained users are among the obstacles that some firms have sighted for not adopting this technology. Not only do these obstacles make adopting BIM difficult, but they can also start to get in the way of the actual design process itself. Designers tend to do their best work when they are focused on design, rather than the ins and outs of the technology itself.

The French based company iluac software has just released a new program, bim.aero, which addresses the obstacles that BIM presents to designers by allowing them to create BIM models using software they are familiar with. Available on the Mac App Store, the AEC industry software allows users to build a BIM model and database from almost any CAD or 3D source model. Because designers can use their CAD or 3D design software of choice, they no longer have to be worried about BIM considerations during the design and drawing stage of building projects.

X-Ray rendering in bim.aero. (Image courtesy of ATOP Architecture.)

bim.aero allows users to import a 3D model from their choice of CAD software. Once the model is imported, the user can build up a BIM database by assigning BIM hierarchies using built-in templates and standard IFC property data. Currently, bim.aero allows 3D models to be imported from the following formats:

  • SKP and SKB file formats (SketchUp)
  • 3Dxx file format (3DTurbo)
  • DXF file format (AutoCAD)
  • FBX file format (Autodesk)
  • OBJ and MTL file formats (Wavefront)
  • 3DS file format (3D Studio)
  • STL file format (3D Systems)
  • DAE file format (COLLADA)
  • ABC file format (Alembic)

Once a model is imported into bim.aero, users can easily create BIM data hierarchy, and establish connections between its components and the imported geometry with predefined templates and easy-to-use, drag-and-drop features. Users can also create their own property and quantity dictionaries. The software can also be used to browse BIM data and navigate through a model, as well as render it, making it a powerful 3D visualization tool.

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bim.aero is free, but by adding the software’s Premium Pack (in-App purchase), a final BIM project can then be exported using the IFC 2×3 format. IFC is a base language that can be used to transfer information between BIM applications while maintaining the definitions of different pieces of information in the transfer. This provides BIM interoperability.

The company’s press release highlights some of bim.aero’s key features, which include:

  • A user-friendly Mac interface
  • The ability to attach any kind of data to elements in a 3D model
  • The ability to create and compose BIM hierarchy and visualization
  • Drag-and-drop BIM entity to geometric components
  • History of operations on any individual model components
  • The ability to locate components in the BIM by clicking on a map
  • Intuitive and powerful hierarchical selection
  • Apple Metal API-based rendering with anti-aliasing and Retina display support
  • Accurate per-pixel transparency with fresnel term
  • Cut-Planes
  • X-Ray
  • Textures and transparency