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.


  1. The swept case is a great idea!
    I was wondering if the intention was to keep the cross section of the panel constant in the swept blend case? if so it looks like when the angle is change from the @60 case to the @90 case the cross section is no longer constant and the corners on the profiles flip location.

    1. Thanks for your comments. I was merely showing the concepts using nested profile family in both sweep and swept blend for rotation. It was just something I put together quickly. You are right about the cross section not being constant from different rotation. It has to do with how the formula as well as the rotation from each end set up. One of the reasons I made the post is I have seen many people trying to use nested family from an extrusion to set up rotation as a parameter. This offers a much cleaner and simpler solution by using sweep and swept blend.

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  4. Hi Marlon,

    Part 2 has been posted. Please see the link below: