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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 tree

All BIM projects require a project structure. All building objects must belong on a floor in a building, located on a site, as part of a project. This structure is known as the spatial tree.

In the Properties panel, click on the Scene Tab to display scene properties. If you scroll down, you will see a panel called Building Information Modeling. Click on the Quick Project Setup button. This will set up a spatial tree for you.

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

Step 3: Categorise our BIM object

Any BIM object must be given a category. Ensure you have the Cube selected (selected objects are highlighted in orange), and nothing else, and scroll down the Properties panel until you see the IFC Categorisation section. Let's call our Cube a piece of furniture, so select IfcFurniture from the drop-down, and press Assign IFC Class.

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

(Optional) Step 4: See your object attributes

This is an optional step, but is useful knowledge. If you go to the Object tab in the Properties panel, it will display object specific properties. If you scroll down, you can see Attributes that have been assigned to your IfcFuniture/Cube object. You will notice that the PredefinedType attribute has been set to CHAIR. This is an example of BIM data that we have assigned from the previous step.

Step 5: Place your furniture in the building

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

Step 6: Export the model

First, make sure you only have your IfcFurniture/Cube object selected. Then, navigate to File -> Export -> Industry Foundation Classes (.ifc). If you select the light or camera object by accident, this will cause the export to fail, because they are not correctly categorised BIM objects are not in the spatial tree.

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.