Fabrication Job Contains No Parts – Possible Fix?

Have you ever tried importing an MAJ into Revit and received the following error….Fabrication Job Contains No Parts.

There’s a lot of reasons this can occur and it’s NEVER because there are no parts. So much for Autodesk’s QA/QC and Error checking.

You may see this most commonly because parts used in the model contain data that’s no longer in your database. You’ve likely noticed from time to time database entries with curly braces around parts of the name like the following…

This happens when an entry in the database is used by an ITM but the database entry itself later gets deleted. Information is cached within the ITM so when it’s accessed, it creates a Proxy entry in your database if it was missing. Within the {Curley Braces} is the name of the object that created the entry.

While CADmep, ESTmep and CAMduct handle this fairly gracefully, Revit on the other hand does not. When it attempts to load an MAJ, it sees these entries and notices they’re missing from your database and prohibits you from importing the MAJ file. Revit thinks the database doesn’t match the MAJ and stops you cold!

A Possible Fix

If this is cause for the import error, you can use the following COD script to potentially work around the issue….

Take the following script and run in in CADmep, ESTmep or CAMduct. You should be logged in with Administrative Permissions while doing this. This script isn’t fixing Revit or the MAJ. What it’s doing is loading ALL the ITM’s from your Database Library into memory.

The process of loading all these ITM’s into memory creates all these proxy entries in your database. This way, when Revit attempts to import the MAJ, the data associated with those ITM’s are most likely present in your Database configuration. In many cases then results in a successful import of the MAJ.

If the Revit file you are importing the MAJ into already points to a Fabrication Configuration, you should reloaded the configuration FIRST before attempting to import the MAJ.

If for some reason this process still doesn’t work, verify that Revit is reading from the same database location as the version of CADmep, ESTmep or CAMduct where you ran the COD script.

In the event it still doesn’t work, there may be other reasons for the failure but this is often the most common, especially with MAJ’s created recently.

If it does work, you’ll want to use the other scripts I provide on this site to help analyze your database. You likely deleted those database entries in the first place for a reason. You either didn’t realize they were needed, or you didn’t know where they were used to repoint those ITM’s to a proper substitute. Those scripts can help you find which ITM’s use which database entries.

Hope this helps.

Autodesk Fabrication Scripting – Did You Know?

In the list of COD Scripting updates I just posted, there’s a couple undocumented functions that have been on my list to explore for more than a few years. I’ve finally gotten to them and figured out what they do.

I won’t comment on how long it took me to actually explore what I had listed in my “To Research” list for years other than to say, Procrastination is a Virtue for those with no Patience.

So without further delay…here you go….


Output Function

This first one is the OUTPUT function. You can call it a couple different ways, with and without parenthesis just like the DEBUG function. It doesn’t really seem to matter. It’s really kind of a worthless function in my opinion.

Not only does it only work in CAMduct and ESTmep (not CADmep) it really isn’t that helpful. It just outputs a message to the Console window. I was initially hopeful it would allow me to “script” some of the secret Console command but no such luck. It’s just a message.

You can see in the COD Code editor the below with both syntax examples…

When you run the script, it’ll call up the Console and display the text you specified. You can see from the following example, it doesn’t even space the text when you call it multiple times. Even tried embedding a Carriage Return in the string and still no luck automating via the Console.


Breakpoint Command

The other command is much more helpful and something most folks don’t know about. I have run into a couple now who knew but most it’s not known. I wish I knew years ago…it’s actually a small step closer to what you’d expect in a modern IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

The Breakpoint function calls up the panel on the right. It displays the values of all your variables. You can see how the value of the “z” variable is displayed. When you hit a Breakpoint, code execution stops until you hit the green arc’d arrow. Code execution then continues until you get to the next Breakpoint if any.

You can access the COD Script editor in CAMduct or ESTmep using the FILE pulldown menu. You can also use the editor in CADmep but unfortunately, there’s no way to display it without writing intentionally wrong code to cause your program to fail and display it. You can then use the editor like you do in ESTmep or CAMduct.

One thing to note, BREAKPOINT only appears to work when you execute code from the Script Editor. If you call it from AutoLISP using (executescript “myscript.cod”) or the EXECUTESCRIPT command in CADmep or by right clicking in your Takeoff items in ESTmep or CAMduct, it runs without stopping your code. This means you can leave the breakpoints in your code and edit/debug via the script editor but not have to remove them when executing them un a production setting.

Fabrication “Edit Configuration” Utility Documentation

I’ve added documentation for thee Autodesk Fabrication Edit Configuration utility to the site. You can find it here or in the Fabrication menu.

This utility is fairly misleading. Because it prompts for a Database Configuration, most people think the settings apply to the selected configuration. While some of the settings are saved in the MAP.INI and therefor specific to a database configuration, not all are. Many are saved in the Windows Registry.

How Settings Work

Settings stored in the registry need to be made for each program, program version and user. That is, if you make changes to settings stored in the registry using CADmep, they only apply for CADmep. If you’re using ESTmep, you need to make the changes there too. Additionally, if you use the utility that ships with the 2020 version of CADmep, they won’t apply in the 2021 version of CADmep without making the changes there too. Lastly, the only apply for the user who is currently logged in. Log in as another user and all those settings needs to be changed again.

This is the reason I typically make the changes directly using registry edits or automation that imports the registry changes. This allows me to ensure I’ve not missed anything and that they get set no matter the user.

Edit Configuration Utility Tricks

The Edit Configuration utility itself is confusing. The utility ships with each Fabrication Program (CADmep, ESTmep, CAMduct, CAMduct Components, Remote Entry and Tracker). The same utility will present slightly different options depending which folder it is run from. And to add to the confusion, the shortcuts are all named identically.

To make it easier, I go to the folder with the shortcuts and rename them. From “Edit Configuration” to “Edit Config (CAD21)” and similar. This helps me know which program I’m calling the utility for.

Even if you don’t edit the MAP.INI file or Windows Registry directly and instead use the utility the documentation is helpful for letting you know where the settings are stored. This helps you know how to edit them to your needs.

Updated From Prior Documentation

If you’ve attended any of my prior Autodesk University or MEP Force conference presentation, you may already have a copy of this documentation. However, I’d encourage you to use the version I’ve posted no this site. Not only did I add information for the CAMduct Components, Remote Entry, Tracker and Fab Review applications, I’ve also fixed some errors and typos in the prior existing data.

Renumber Revit Fab Parts – No Purchase or Coding Required

Most MEP contractors moving to Revit with Fabrication Parts at some point wrestle with renumbering parts. You can purchase tools or add-ins to make this easier or even write your own with Dynamo or C#.

But most contractors aren’t coders. And buying more software can also be a challenge. The good news is that those are not your only options, There’s some well written FREE Revit Add-Ins that make this a breeze.

Required Tools

Head over to DiRoot’s web site (https://diroots.com/) and download the OneFilter Add-In found here and the ReOrdering Add-In found here.

Once installed, you’ll find the tools in the DiRoots Ribbon in Revit along with any of their other tools you may have installed.

Getting Started

The following image shows 2 runs of Rectangular and 2 runs of Round duct work drawn in Revit using Fabrication Parts. One is drawn in a +2in WG service and the other -2in WG service. All duct has a tag configured to display the Fabrication Part’s Item Number property.

First Up – DiRoots OneFilter

Using the DiRoot’s OneFilter Add-In, you can easily select not just Fabrication Parts, but also select them based on their properties.

Once selected, you can see Revit selects the specified items in your model.

Next – DiRoots ReOrdering

Now that your desired parts are selected, you can use the DiRoots ReOrdering Add-In to renumber those parts.

After applying your renumbering parameters, you can see how Revit then displayed the updated Item Numbers for the Fabrication Parts.

Wrapup

As you can see, with a couple free (well written) utilities you can quickly and easily select and renumber your fabrication parts in Revit.

There’s a lot of other reasons beyond renumbering to use some of these Add-Ins. They’re very functional for a lot of workflows. Those uses are beyond the scope of this post but feel free to explore these Add-Ins or some of the other DiRoots tools when you get a chance. They’re some of the highest quality free Add-Ins for Revit than you’ll find anywhere.

COD Script Updates – 2020.07.08

I’ve made a couple updates to the Autodesk Fabrication script libraries. If you use them, you can download updated versions from here.

Scripts have been updated to include the Connector Material property found on CID/Patterns 522, 1522 & 2512 as shown below…

This property is intended to be used by a connector to specify a alternate material the connector can connect to. This allows a coupling to connect to alternate materials such as with transition couplings.

Credit for discovering the COD function to extract this property goes to Liz Fong at MacDonald Miller Facility Solutions in Seattle, WA.

Note: This property has also been added to the list of COD Item Properties located here.

Scripts Updated

  • Debug Scripts
    • Debug ITEM Connectors.cod
  • Job Item Scripts
    • WriteAllConnectors (Job).cod
    • WriteAll_Props (Job).cod
  • Library Item Scripts
    • WriteAllConnectors (Library).cod
    • WriteAll_Props (Library).cod

Autodesk Fabrication: Best Practice #13

Use “Match by Name only” in Database Settings

Do you have issues with duplicate entries in your Fabrication Database? These could be proxy entries…those followed by text enclosed within {brackets}. Or they could be identical..if someone made the proxy item permanent,

This can be caused by using the Strict matching setting in your database setting. It’s recommended to use Match by Name only.

When you use Strict naming, when you open drawings or MAJ files, the database settings within those files are compared to those in your configuration. If the data is deemed relevant and it varies, even something as small as a number 3 decimals vs. 4 decimals can add another entry into your configuration.

When using Match by Name only, as long as the name (and group) matches, the entry is considered the same and you don’t end up with duplicate entries.

MEP Fabrication Online Training

Not sure why Autodesk has this stuffed away under “Civil Engineering” but they’ve released 3 introduction online training sessions for Autodesk Fabrication. If you’re new to Autodesk Fabrication content creation, these will get you up and running with some of the basics.

Courses are…

  • Patterns and the Image
  • Create Product Lists
  • Connectors

You can access these them here…

https://customersuccess.autodesk.com/disciplines/civil/challenges/item-creation-for-fabrication

Fabrication Reference Data Updated for 2021 Versions

Autodesk Fabrication reference data has been updated to include 2021 versions of Autodesk Fabrication software.

Updated references include…

The only change I’ve found in from 2020 to 2021 versions is the CADmep command DWNLDC Command (DOWNLOADCONTENT Alias) is no longer present. This use to download ITM content from Autodesk’s www.Building3DContent.com site. This site is no longer active and Autodesk has included all the content within the default Imperial and Metric configurations that ship with Autodesk Fabrication Content.

User’s of Trimble’s Managed ITM Content (building-data.net) use to use this command as well. It was just redirected to the Building Data site. It’s unclear how this change will affect them as the core DLL’s used for this process appear to have been removed in 2021 versions of Autodesk Fabrication.

If you’re a user of Trimble’s Building-Data, I’d suggest contacting them for support if you have issues.

Where Did The Revit 2021 Fabrication Extension Addin Go?

Have you tried to Import or Export an MAJ file in Revit 2021? Have you tried to run a Fabrication Report or Export in Revit 2021? If so, you may have noticed that it’s not in the Add-Ins ribbon any longer.

Your first thought might be you need to install the Revit Extension for MEP Fabrication 2021. But even after installing, it’s still not there. You might then be tempted to submit a support ticket to Autodesk to help troubleshoot your install. No need. Autodesk simply moved the commands and made them more integrated to Revit.

MAJ Exports

MAJ Exports can now be found in two locations in Revit 2021. The first location is under File -> Export.

The second location shows up in the context ribbon when you select Fabrication Parts….

MAJ Import

MAJ Imports have moved as well. This is a little easier to find if you think about it, it’s located under the Insert ribbon.

Fabrication Reports / Fabrication Exports

Your Fabrication Reports and Fabrication Exports will also show up in the context ribbon when you select Fabrication Parts.

Context Ribbon Doesn’t Show MAJ Export or Fabrication Reports/Exports?

If you select parts in Revit and the context ribbon does not show the MAJ Export or Fabrication Reports/Exports drop-downs, take a look at the Ribbon’s title.

If the Title of the ribbon says Multi-Select, this means you have a more than just MEP Fabrication Parts selected. You can quickly filter your selection to just MEP Fabrication Parts using the Filter tool in the lower right of Revit.

Un-check all items except anything that begins with “MEP Fabrication …”. This will deselect any non-Fabrication Parts and your MAJ Export and Fabrication Reports/Exports tools will then show up.

Still Can’t Find These Tools?

Unlike prior years which required a separate install, Revit 2021 installs the Fabrication tools as part of the product install. However, if the tools somehow become uninstalled, and you don’t find them, you can reinstall them by downloading the Revit Extension for MEP Fabrication 2021 from your Autodesk Account. Alternatively, you should be able find it in the Autodesk Desktop App in the updates.