2017.1 Import 3D Shapes – Swings and Roundabouts

The new ‘Import 3D Shape’ feature in Revit 2017.1 seems like an improvement – but it is not necessarily all good.  In previous versions we could link or import 3D SAT into Revit.  In v2017.1 the import engine for SAT files has changed (it is not just a UI change);  in addition, we can also import Rhino files (but not link them).
The underlying import engine for this new feature is different to the previous one used for importing SAT files.  I have heard anecdotal evidence that SAT files imported in v2017.1 perform better than in v2017; and that it may import more (of the) models, or sometimes not at all – at this stage it is too early to tell, so I will concentrate on the changes in functionality.

Sat vs Rhino

What is SAT?  It is not a satellite.  It stands for ‘Standard ACIS Text’ file format. 
ACIS is a 3D geometric modelling kernel used by various different softwares (currently owned by Dassault) – but since it is open-source, its data file structure has become a commonly…

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