Creating simple parametric families in Revit – Part 2 Tables

Today I will be posting the 2nd part in my Revit family creation series. I started last week with the very basics of parametric family creation, and will be going more in depth over the coming weeks, starting with part 2 today; Creating a simple table in Revit Architecture 2013. I have avoided repeating the basics that I covered in part 1, so if there is anything that you are not clear about, watch part 1 now.

Firstly, you will want to open a new Revit family template. For this instance, we are going to use the ‘Metric Generic Model’ template. The first thing we are going to do, like in any family creation is to set out the boundaries, or in Revit, the ‘Reference planes’. You will see 2 reference planes, 1 on the X-axis and 1 on the Y-axis. You will want to create 2 new reference planes to start with. Once you have created the new reference planes, you should add 2 aligned dimensions as shown in the image below.

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You have now set up your reference planes for your table top surface. To make these reference planes into the boundary lines of our surface, we will need to add labels to and lock the dimension lines in place. We do this by adding a parameter to our dimension in exactly the same way as we did in part 1. This time, we are going to call the 2 dimensions ‘Table Height’ and ‘Table Width’ both of these should be ‘Type parameters’. You do not have to worry too much about the actual size of the table at this point. Be sure to lock your dimension lines in place. 

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Once your dimension lines are locked, labled and in place, you are ready to begin some actual massing. We are going to add geometry by using the Create > Extrusion tool. There are many ways to create this extrusion. My prefered method is to draw a rectangle roughly in the middle of your reference planes. I now use the Align tool, to align my extrusion edges to my reference planes. By doing this, we can make sure to manually lock our mass to the reference planes on each line of the mass. 

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You should now refer to an elevation view. You will see that you have only 1 default reference plane, where our table top is hosted. We will need to create a new reference plane here which will host the desktop of the table. To o this, we create a new reference plane and name it ‘Desk Height’. Once the reference plane is created, we can click on our desktop mass and click ‘Edit Workplane’. We can now select the new ‘Desk Height’ workplane as the host. Create an aligned dimension between ‘Ref. Level 1’ and ‘Desk Height’ and be sure to lock it in place..

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Once we have our desktop in the correct position, we need to think about adding some legs to the table. We should now switch back to the plan view of the project. Again, we will need to use reference planes to define our table legs. Offset all of the reference planes which you have created by 100mm (or the desired thickness of your tables legs) using the ‘Pick lines’ tool. You should now see something similar to the image above, with 8 reference planes. 

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We will now, of course, add dimensions to our reference planes to lock them in position. We will again add a parameter to each one of these dimensions, but this time label it as “Legs Width”, this should again be a ‘Type’ parameter. Once you have labeled and locked one of the dimensions in place, you can then highlight all the other dimensions and use the same “Legs Width” parameter. You should now have 4 new dimensions with the “Leg Width” parameter, as shown in the image above. 

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Using the exact same method we used to create the desk top, we are going to now use to create the tables legs. Create > Extrusion and draw a rectangle roughly around where you want to have your tables legs. Align each edge of the table legs to the reference planes, and LOCK them in position. It is very important to lock your dimensions or you will end up with a strange looking table! Create your 4 table legs and hit, the tick to finish your extrusion.

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Refer back to your elevation view and add a dimension for the height of the table. I have choosen to label this ‘Type’ parameter as ‘Desk Height’. Once you have this dimension set and labeled, you will now be able to select the legs of your table, and constrain the ‘Extrusion End’ to ‘Desk Height’ as shown in the image above. You will now see your legs attached to the desk top of the table. 

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You should now hopefully see an object which looks like a basic table, as shown in the image above. Now, the great thing about creating families like this, is that we can set different design options, and sizes very easily. I will make 3 different default sizes to save me time when I am using the family in a project. To do this, we click on the ‘Family Types’ Icon in the top left of our ‘Create’ ribbon. It is now possible to add new types of the same table. Click new, call your family something appropriate E.g. ‘Table 1×2’ and then change the dimensions accordingly. 

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The last thing we are going to do in the family environment is to allow custom materials to be set for the table. In this case, we need to set a parameter for ‘Leg Material’ and ‘Desk Material’. We do this by click on the small grey box in the material properties, once we click on an element. Click on the legs of the table and then the small grey box. A new window will open, where you should click ‘Add Parameter’. This time we should name it ‘Legs Material’ make sure it is in the Materials and Finishes group, and set it as an INSTANCE parameter. Do the same thing for the table top, and we are just about ready to load this family into our projects. Save the family and close.

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We can now open a new project and enter our new family as a component. When you load the family, you will see there are 3 variations to choose from. (Depending on how many uniquely dimensioned tables you choose to create.) You will also be able to click on ‘Edit type’ in the properties panel to change the dimensions, also notice that you have customisation options for selecting ‘Leg Material’ and ‘Desktop Material’. Choose the options that you need, and your new table family is complete. As you can see, creating basic families like this in Revit is very simple, and the same basic rules apply for creating more advanced geometry. Stay tuned for part 3 of the ‘Creating simple parametric families in Revit’ tutorials.

Click here if you  missed Creating simple parametric families in Revit – Part 1


View Part 3 here – Creating simple parametric families in Revit – Part 3 Window


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About Ben Malone

Information Manager for BIM.Technologies in London

6 responses to “Creating simple parametric families in Revit – Part 2 Tables”

  1. syed says :

    How to create large radius elbow family

  2. Norm says :

    How can you add a parameter that inserts additional legs as the table lengthens?

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