Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Happy Holiday from Phil-osophy in BIM!

I wish all my readers to have a happy holiday and wonderful new year in 2014!

**I will try to spend some time in the near future to talk about the making of this greeting card in Revit**

Friday, November 29, 2013

AU2013 Next Week!

It is that time of the year again! Next week is AU2013 (Autodesk University) which will take place in Las Vegas. This will be my fourth time attending the event. Each year AU has something exciting to learn. I feel a bit relieved this year as I am only attending the event. This will also be a good opportunity to catch up with some old friends and hope to make some new ones as well.
Anyway, stay tuned to my future post and I will post my experience from this event.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Profiling - Part 4 (Tapping OOTB Resource)

Revit OOTB (Out-of-the-box) beam family has an extensive library from concrete to steel to wood. Many of these families, mostly steel shape, are actually created as sweep using nested profile family in family editor.

Steel Angle Sweep from Nested Profile Family
Often time I have to create custom family using an actual steel shape (such as L shape steel angle) as a profile to make a sweep or swept blend. Instead of drawing the steel angle (profile) shape, all I have to do is to pull one from the existing beam family, select the nested profile family from the project browser and re-use it.

Once you edit family, you notice the steel shape actually populate all the parameters based on the steel manual (b, d, t, etc...)

One tip I would advise is always check the origin and make appropriate adjustment to the origin of the profile before using it in a new family. Stock profile tends to set the origin at the centric location in the profile.

Knowing how to tap into the OOTB beam family and use them as a resource can greatly save your time and be more accurate and efficient.

OOTB Steel Beam Family library

I can now create custom shape steel angle family on a fly.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Buildz Schwag Arrived!

This arrived at my office a few days ago. It was very nice to see the package with a note from Zach Kron.

Thanks Zach!

AU is less than 2 weeks away. Look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Profiling - Part 3 (Cutting Structural Beam Family)

Continue on the part 3 of using nested profile family in family creation, this one has been very helpful for me when dealing structural beam (structural framing) family. In architecture, we have many different ways of having a exposed beam profile, whether this is wood, steel or even concrete. Although Revit comes with many variety of beam families already, there is no easy way to create custom profile at the end. I have seen many people who tried to create their own beam family from scratch, but if you think outside the box, you can make your own with out-of-the-box beam family to achieve the result easily.

I showed this tip when I was teaching a class at RTC North America 2013 in Vancouver, Canada back in July this year.

Normally, you can use reference plane to make cut out at beam family natively in Revit. There are limitations though. You can only cut it one at a time; if the reference plane moves, it is hard to maintain the location of the cut. Besides, the cut only works with straight edge since ref. plane can only be drawn straight.

Exposed Curve End Beam Trellis
For the shape of the exposed beam from the above image, there is no typical method to create such a cut, left alone if you need it at more than one instance. For that reason, I need to make a custom beam family. Keep reading...

To begin, I start by making a profile (generic) family. Set up reference plane and parameters and draw a profile like the image below...

Next, I use the Revit out-of-the-box Dimension Lumber beam family as a base. Go to edit family and load the nested profile family into it. Create a solid sweep by using pick path and pick 3D edge option. I would recommend using pick path as a preferred option because the sweep would behave like a dependent to the beam geometry. Once the path is selected, choose the nested profile family as the profile and finish the sweep.

You should get something like this:

Change solid sweep to void object under properties; then use "Cut Geometry" to cut out the beam.

Go to project browser, find the profile family and click the type properties. You will see the parameters from the nested profile family. Associate the parameters to the beam family (parent) parameters.

You can now control the parameters of the exposed profile in the family and it will self adjust it when it changes from one size to another.

Repeat the same step on the other end of the beam to create the cut. The only difference here is I will set this up as an instance parameter to control whether I want an exposed end profile or not.

To do this, go to the property of the void sweep geometry; there is a yes/no parameter called "Profile is Flipped", associate it to the family and name "Show_End Cut" as an instance yes/no parameter. Now go the family type, toggle the check box and you will see the void flip to the other side of the beam thus it will not cut the it out. Volia! We have created an on/off switch to control the void cut in the family the easy way!

The last step is to save this family with a new name, copy the original type catalog file (txt file) and rename it to the same as the new beam family. Make sure you keep both of files together in the same folder prior to use. You are all set to go!

Using this trick allows you to create custom exposed beam family on a fly. Another benefit of creating all the nested profile families let you keep them for future reuse. Happy Cutting!

Wood Trellis with beam system

Taper Wide Flange Beam

Exposed Steel Beam Rafter

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!


Head over to Buildz now and see the result from this year's pumpkin's carving!
I will have a follow-up post to show my pumpkin's entry this year.



Saturday, October 26, 2013

Profiling - Part 2 (Void Cut Visibility)

Continue from the last post, I will talk about another unique way of using Profile family in family creation. Like the last tip I showed, you can only use nested profile family on Sweep and Swept Blend form creation.

Let's try to use sweep for something different this time. I am going to create two different options for cabinet door. This concept could apply to other things though. Don't limit your imagination!

To begin, I will start by making a profile family and simply draw a circle and set the "radius" as a parameter.

I have made a simple version for the cabinet panel. In this case, I want to use a void sweep to create a recess door panel for the cabinet; at the same time, I want to have an option to maintain this as a flush panel.

First, make a solid sweep using the nested profile family of the circle.

Once this is done, go to the properties of the sweep, under Solid/Void and set it "Void". I always start off as a solid sweep in this step instead of void because doing so it will be easier for me to set up other parameters in the following steps. If I had made it as void in the first place, it would automatically cut out the panel adjacent to it.

Go back to the sweep properties, you will notice there is a parameter called "Horizontal Profile Offset". By setting this parameter with a positive value, it will offset/lift the sweep, thus move away from the panel. Not only that, you can use this value and assign it as a parameter.

So, here is what I do:
When horizontal profile offset is at 0", it will cut the panel; when offset value is at 6", it will move away.
What I need is to associate this parameter (Sweep Offset) to the family first.

Next, use "cut geometry" to have the sweep cut the panel. Go to family type, change the value again from 0" to 6", notice the void sweep now has moved away, so the panel appears to remain flush again

Using this idea, you can now set up a yes/no parameter to drive the void sweep (visibility). I name it (Show Recess Panel). Next, go to parameter Sweep Offset, under the formula field, type a condition statement like this:

if(Show Recess Panel, 0",6")

By doing so, you can now use the check box (yes/no parameter) to drive the void sweep location, which is like you have a switch to control the visibility of the void form.

Nest the panel to the cabinet (host) and associate the "Show Recess Panel" parameter, you have now created 2 different styles for the panels within the same cabinet.

You can also apply this concept on many other things.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Profiling - Part 1

A profile in Revit means many different things. Many model elements are created based on a profile such as wall sweep, curtain wall mullion or stair railing.
Understanding the use of the profile family is essential to family creation. Today I will talk about how to use profile family as an alternative way (set as a rig) for setting rotation in family. One thing I'd like to mention is that this is nothing new at all, I have known and used this trick since Revit 2009.

In the family environment, there are 2 different solid/void creations that can accept nested profile family. They are Sweep and Swept Blend. This little gem will only work when creating Sweep or Swept Blend with nested profile family

Let's start by making a profile family first. Go to New family -> choose Profile (Generic) template
Draw a simple box and set up parameter based off the origin.

Start another family (Generic in this case) and nest the profile family into it. Create a Sweep by defining a path first.

Once you finish the path, you need to "Select Profile" either by drawing a sketch or choose one from a "Profile family". Choose the nested profile loaded earlier. Go ahead and finish the sweep.

You now created a slat/board geometry.
Here's the key:
Select the sweep object and look under properties, there is a parameter "Angle", click that little box on the right to associate family parameter and add parameter "Rotation" to the family.

Go ahead and nest this slat to another (Generic) family and use "Array" to create a series of slat/board.

Next, go to the project browser and under family, locate the nested family "Slat" and expand it. Double-click on the type and it will open the properties of the Slat. Here you are able to associate the Rotation and other parameter again in this family.

Load it the project (or you can keep nesting it to another family), you have now created a series of slat that can rotate. One of the nice things about using this trick for rotation is that you can set the rotation from 0 to 360 degree and it will not break!
Try it with different degree for the rotation...

Use the same trick to make a swept blend this time, you can use the same profile or have 2 different profiles on each end to create the Swept Blend.  You have now created a twisted geometry that rotates.

Do the same and create an "Array" group by nesting this family. You will be able to create something interesting...

You will find this trick to create rotation in families much easier to behave and control. I have used this to create many things from louver family to curtain panel screen that rotates.
Profile family will come in handy to use it as nested family for other family creations. Stay tune for my future post and I will show you another trick using profile family in Revit.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

10,000 hit!!!

Today I am just excited to see that the site has over 10,000 pageviews since the blog launched in August this year. Thank you all for taking the time to visit my blog in this past 3 months and hope this site has offered some useful tips and insights. I will continue to do my best to keep up with my post and look forward to hearing from your comments as well.

Thank you!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Creating Roof Family for Folding Roof Planes

Not exactly. This is not a new family category in Revit where you can create a component family for the roof. However, one can actually create a mass family and use "Roof by Face" to achieve though.

I have a project where the design team came up with the roof design where two roof planes fold upward. Normally, I can use "roof by footprint" to create the roof. It is possible to do it but it can be tedious sometimes especially for those two end piece of the roof that folds upward. Since we are still studying the shape and want to explore with different roof pitch to get the best form. Trying to model the roof planes work together could be a time sink.

The team wanted to know if there is another way to do this more efficiently; so I thought I could make a mass family of the roof shape, set up a couple of parameters and we are in business!

Start making a mass family, I first lay out some reference points where I need to connect with model lines later. Once the points are set, create dimensions and set up parameters associated with those points.

Next, I use spline through points to create linear model lines (I later convert them into reference lines in the properties)  and get all the points connected.

I then select the reference lines and click "Create Form"; the forms are just surfaces that I need to use it to generate the roof once the mass family is loaded into the project.

Flex the family a few times to make sure the form follows with the parameters. One last thing I did before I loaded to the project was to add the formula to tie the "Height" parameter with the parameter "Roof Pitch". All that is done, it is good to go.

Load it to the project, offset it above the walls; I can use create "Roof by Face" to make these folding planes as a roof.

Since I made the mass family parametric, both the width and length are instance parameters, I can freely adjust the overall size of the roof form by pulling the shape handle. The nice thing about using mass family is that once the shape of the mass is changed, I can use "Update to Face" option to get the roof shape follows the new form as if I have a parametric roof family.

I can use the same mass family to generate the roof for multiple buildings in this project.