Plant in VR

AutoCAD Plant 3D/Navisworks in VR

Architecture and Engineering, Construction, Manufacturing 6 Comments

I had the opportunity today to work with a friend, Corey Arledge at Eledeco Inc., to get a Navisworks model up and running in a HTC Vive headset. One of the most exciting Navisworks plugin for Plant 3d is the Iris VR Prospect. The Iris VR plugin to Navisworks makes running a VR session push-button easy.

The workflow is fairly straight-forward and the Iris VR has the best Navisworks plugin installer I’ve ever seen (it just works…).  Here’s a helpful link to the details about what gets integrated with Navisworks + VR.

Here are the steps to get going:

  1. Install Navisworks
  2. Install Prospect
  3. Push your Navisworks model to VR (I recommend using a nwd file)
  4. Connect Headset
  5. View VR

Install Navisworks

First, you have to use Navisworks Manage, so make sure that’s installed. It’s a large install (~10GB) so give yourself plenty of time. Once installed Navisworks Manage is available on the desktop or through the Start menu.

Launch Navisworks

Launch Navisworks

Install Prospect

Prospect is available for a 45-day trial from Iris VR from here:

Once installed is available on the desktop or Start menu under Iris.

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Pushing Navisworks to VR

Once you have your model loaded in Navisworks, click the View in VR button.

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Step 2/15 is definitely the longest as it is responsible for mapping the Navisworks objects to the Iris VR mesh objects.

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The sample Plant 3d project model only took about 2 minutes to generate. Performance varies based on model complexity and size.

Connect Your Headset

We used SteamVR for connecting the HTC Vive. You’ll need to make sure your headset is connected through that, and the SteamVR app can talk to the IrisViewer application.

View VR

Once your headset is connected, click View in VR in the Prospect app to launch the VR viewer. For this write-up I’m not connected to a headset, but you can see the view that would be pushed to your headset.

2018 09 11 07 53 16

2018 09 11 07 53 16

We did get the loading screen for an extended period of time (~15 minutes) on the test model. Make sure you allow yourself plenty of wait time based on your model complexity. The plant sample model loaded in a couple minutes at most.

2018 09 11 07 54 55

2018 09 11 07 54 55

Plant in VR

Plant in VR

This being my first experience with VR with the HTC Vive, I’m not sure if the controls are typical or not. The left paddle held the settings for controlling your model. You can point your right paddle at the menu on the left and trigger click to open up saved views, and access markup and measurement options.

My perspective on VR has been that it’s still at the gimmick stage. However, with the ease of being able to do a one-button push from Navisworks, and with how intuitive the controls are, it’s safe to say Navisworks + Iris VR is a great platform for capturing design feedback, and experiencing the facilities in a whole new way.


  1. Excellent. I have been very interested in pushing Navis to VR without a lot of monkey business. What is the cost of the Prospect software after the 45 day trial ??

  2. Is there a special computer you have to Run VR on? I have an HP Cad workstation laptop with Nvidia graphic card. Have heard I may need a gaming card to get VR to run correct.

  3. Author

    Here’s the requirements for the system we used. The client has a VR safety training software that the machine has to run. It really depends on the machine you use and the type of VR you want to do. The machine we ran was about $2k.

    PIXO VR Minimum System Requirements:
    • Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10
    • Intel® i5-4590 / AMD FX 8350 equivalent or greater
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 1060/ AMD Radeon™ R9 290 equivalent or greater
    • 4GB of Storage on a 7200 RPM Drive
    • HTC Vive, Vive Pro, or Windows Mixed Reality Headset
    • 2’ x 2’ space free of obstruction (For standing only Mode)

    PIXO VR Recommended System Requirements
    • Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10
    • Intel® i7-6600 / AMD Ryzen 1700 equivalent or greater
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 1070 / AMD Radeon™ R9 380 equivalent or greater
    • 4GB of Storage on a SSD/M.2 Drive
    • HTC Vive, Vive Pro, or Windows Mixed Reality Headset
    • 10’ x 10’ obstruction free interaction space (recommended for freedom of movement)
    PIXO VR Software Requirements:
    • Steam VR –
    • If using Windows Mixed Reality Headset, This utility
    • Unreal Source Dependencies – (comes with packaged program)

    Example Laptop Systems:
    Asus 15.6 Laptop
    Acer Predator15

    1. Author

      Unfortunately, it does not. Only the solids were recognized for the VR translation.

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