Do you know what ‘Connector Matching’ is as it relates to Autodesk Fabrication? It’s been in the product since the 2020 release. Yet most people I run into have no clue what it is.
There’s a good reason for that. It’s hidden from view. That is to say, there’s a good reason you don’ know about it. There’s no good reason it’s hidden from you besides Autodesk is pretty slopping (lazy?) when it comes to product design in recent years.
What is Connector Matching?
Connector Matching only works in Revit w/Fabrication Parts. If you’re not using Revit, you need not worry about it but setting it up won’t cause any issues either. It’s designed to place a matching connector on pipe after you cut in a fitting when modeling in Revit. CADmep, ESTmep and CAMduct will simply ignore the settings.
As an example, if you’re drawing a welded piping system and want to break it with a Grooved coupling, Connector Matching places the proper grooved connector on the end of the pipe when the Coupling is placed. This helps us build a system with Welded Pipe Spools that’s assembled in the field with Grooved Couplings…a very common activity in mechanical construction.
When Connector Matching isn’t configured, you’ll have issues cutting in things like a Grooved Coupling into a Pipe that’s part of a welded system.
Configuring Connector Matching
The reason many don’t know about connector matching is because it’s hidden. None of the 3 views (Manufacturing, Costing & Drawing) display this option.
To set Connector Matching, you Right-Click on a connector that’s configured for the Item you need to match. In this case, it’s a Victaulic 77 Coupling.
You can see the Matching Connector is set to “Same” by default. That’s certainly not what we need so select that menu option.
You can see now the Matching Connector is set to a Grooved Connector. So every time an Item with the “VIC_Coupling 77” connector is cut into a piece of pipe, the pipe will get a “VIC_Groove” connector.
Added Configuration to Make it Work
Above, you set the matching connector. Unfortunately, that’s not enough. There’s some added configuration to verify to ensure that it works.
One of the requirements of Connector Matching is to make sure the Pipe’s Connectors are NOT locked and defaulted to the connectors they should use. In other words, ‘Set’ but not ‘Locked’.
Here’s what your Pipe ITM most likely looks like…
What I recommend here is, Unlocking only 1 of the Connectors and Clicking OK. After you do that, go back and edit the ITM again and take a look at the Connectors.
You can see here that after Unlocking one of the Connectors and Clicking OK, going back to edit the ITM the Connector changed to “None”. This is a tell tale sign that there’s yet another thing you have to change to make it work.
In some Configurations, people have the Specification set to drive the Connectors. This is most commonly done for Sheetmetal but you see it in Piping as well. In the following image, the Piping Specification is configured to set the Connector to “None”.
What we need to do here is set the Connectors in the Breakpoints to “Not Used”. Note, if the Connector you unlocked earlier didn’t change to something other that what it was, you most likely don’t have this issue but still could…it could just be configured to use the Connector the ITM was set to.
You might have to hunt around for which settings apply. It could be on the ‘Any’ material or a specific material the ITM is using. The ‘Valid For’ could have it in ‘All Types’ or ‘Straights Only’. It’s possible too that you don’t have any breakpoints in the Specification at all. If that’s the case, then your Specification is likely already good. But if it’s not, simply ensure the Connectors are all set to “Not Used”.
Once your Specification is setup correctly (if it was a problem in the first place) you can go back to your ITM for the pipe and unlock both connectors but leave them set to the Connector it typically uses.
Once everything is set properly, Revit will then let your Grooved Coupling be placed in the run of pipe.
If you Double-Click on one of the pieces of pipe, you can see the Connectors are now set to a Groove for the end where the Coupling is.
A Final Word
Note that these settings were added in 2020. If you’ve had your Database configuration a long time, they’re likely not set. Even Autodesk’s ‘Out of the Box’ configurations that shipped with 2024 don’t have these set. So you’re pretty much on your own to make it work.
If you do ANY Administration of your Database Configuration in 2019 or earlier, these settings will be lost. As I’ve advised many times earlier, pick a version for Administration and stick to it. If you have Admin permissions and use 2019 or earlier, all those settings get lost and because they’re not displayed, you won’t really know.
You can use these settings for all kinds of things. They don’t have to be limited to Grooved Couplings. Changing the end of Steel pipe to Threaded when Cutting in a Threaded Coupling, Threaded Adaptor, Threated Tee, Threaded Valve, etc. All of these things should have their connectors looked at and Matching setup. Just about any of those types of fittings in all materials should have Matching set.
Hope this helps improve your Revit workflow.