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BlenderBIM beginners tutorial: my first BIM project

If you are reading this and you have not yet got BlenderBIM, take a deep breath, and get BlenderBIM first!

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Step 1: Launch Blender

When you first launch Blender, you will see a default scene as shown below. Your screen will be divided into 4 panels. Don't be intimidated! Blender is incredibly powerful, but it's easy to learn!

Step 2: Create a project

All BIM projects require an IFC project. Within that project, you may then optionally have sites, buildings, and storeys. This hierarchy is known as the spatial tree. The spatial tree can then contain smaller elements like walls, doors, and columns.

In the Properties panel, click on the Scene Tab to display scene properties. If you scroll down, you will see a panel called IFC Project. Click on the Create Project button. This will set up an IFC Project for you, along with a simple spatial tree and some user preferences like units and which IFC version you are using.

In the Outliner Panel, you should now see a hierarchical tree of a project, site, building, and building storey.

Step 3: Place our object in the spatial tree

All BIM objects must belong inside the spatial tree. In the Outliner panel, you can drag and drop the Cube inside the IfcBuildingStorey/Ground Floor. Wasn't that simple?

Step 4: Turn your Blender object into a BIM object

Any Blender object that you want to part of your IFC project must be converted into a BIM object by assigning a category. Ensure you have the Cube selected (selected objects are highlighted in bright orange), and nothing else, and scroll down the Properties panel until you see the IFC Class section. Let's call our Cube a column, so select IfcColumn from the drop-down, and press Assign IFC Class.

The Outliner panel will now show that your Cube is an IfcColumn

Step 6: Export the model

Navigate to File -> Export -> Industry Foundation Classes (.ifc).

Navigate to where you want to save your IFC file, give it a name, and press Export .ifc file.

Congratulations! You have now created your first OpenBIM model from Blender! You can open the IFC file in any other program, and you will see something similar to the image below.