Creating simple parametric families in Revit – Part 3 Window
Part Three of my Revit architecture family series will be about creating simple parametric windows. If you missed the First part or the Second part, follow the links to bring you up to date. These tutorials are starting from the very basics of family creation all the way up to detailed advanced families. If you are having problems with windows or new to window familes, use the tutorial below as a guide.
The first task you need to perform, is to open up a ‘Generic Window template’ as a new family in Revit. Once you have this template open, you should see, in reference/plan view an image similar to that you see above. In this case, I am not going to be tiling my screen as it will be easier to work with the views as we need them for a window family.
Now you want to navigate to 3D mode, as shown in the image above. The first bit of sketching you need to do, is to create a solid sweep following the path of your window opening. (NOTE: If you do not want your window to defined by height width, then it is essential to edit your window opening before you proceed, in this case we’ll keep it simple). Use the pick path tool and create a closed loop. The green square is representing the workplane/area that you will be creating your profile on.
Once you have finished your sweep, and BEFORE you click the green tick to end the command, you will want to click on ‘Edit Profile’ as shown in the image above. It will now be a good idea to go into a Left or Right elevation view to create your window frame / profile.
As shown in the image above, I am creating my blend profile in a Right elevation view. This is the most important step in creating a basic window family. The profile / sketch you draw now, will define how your window will look. Sketch a profile similar to the one I have shown in the image above. It is your choice how far you want the edges of the frame to extrude from the wall etc, so play around with this profile if your not satisfied.
In the above image, you can see I have created two new aligned dimensions. The first, set by me to 120mm is for the internal frame of the window, and will define the thickness of that. The second dimension, with the EQ property is very important. We are measuring from the outer edge of the profile, to the MID-Point reference line and then to the outer edge of the profile. Once we have done this, click the small EQ sign above the dimensions to give an equal dimension to both measurements. This step is crucial, as this will mean we can use this window on walls of varying thickness, and not just this exact size of wall. Once you are satisfied, click the green tick twice to end the profile and sweep.
Once you have finished editing your sweep, you should go into a 3D view and check you are satisfie with the frame that you have created. As you can see, I have chosen to design a window with a LARGE surrounding frame, what you do is your choice. The next step is to create some glass to go into our window, but before we do this, we need to make sure we are working on the correct workplane. To do this, follow the steps in the above image, click Create > Extrusion > ‘Set’ Work Plane. You want to select the Reference Plane: Center (Front/Back). This happens to be the same reference plane that you have created your EQ dimension to. This should help you understand the importance of those dimensions.
We now simply use the ‘Pick Line’ tool in the create extrusion ribbon and make sure the ‘Lock’ option is ticked and selected. Choose the inner edge of the frame and create a closed loop as shown in the image above. You can also change the ‘Depth’ (thickness) of the extrusion here, alternatively use the element properties to define the size.
You will now see a solid extrusion filling the space of the window, so of course, what we want to do is to change this extrusion mass to a ‘Window’ or ‘Glass’ material. We can be fairly sure that in any case we want to use this window, this layer will be Glass. For the frame, we may wish to choose a custom material depending on our project, If you don’t know how to do this by now, then simply follow the steps from the image above. Now you will be able to define the material of the window frame in a project environment.
As when creating any family, it is a good idea to include a few extra design options as standard. This can save time and means you don’t have to go in and edit the family every time you want a different dimension of the window. Create 3 or 4 different sizes following the steps above and then save your family. It is a good idea to save all your families in the same place, once you start to create many different families it is a good idea to organise them with a good folder structure.
Finally, load your family in to a project. As an example, the above image shows 4 of custom windows I just created. As you can see on the left of the image in the element properties dialogue, there are various design options, e.g. Sill height and ‘Window Frame’ material. And that is all, another very simple window family. I hope that this gives anyone wanting to create a custom window family some good tips and direction. Look out for part 4 in the Revit parametric families series coming soon!
Click here for Part 1 and Part 2 of the Revit Family Creating series
Or Click here for Part 4 of the series – Learn to create a coffee cup in Revit
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Creating simple parametric families in Revit – Part 1
Today, I will be showing you how to create simple parametric families in Revit. This tutorial is for anyone learning Revit who hasn’t yet got into creating families. I will be continuing to post more family tutorials so keep checking back over the coming weeks for more. This tutorial will show you how to create a simple ‘cube family’ with a fixed elevation height with parametric width and height as well as material options.
The first thing you want to do, is to create a new generic family template. When deciding what template to use, you should take into consideration what kind of family you are creating. For example, if you are creating a light fixture, you would of course use the light fixture family template. Be sure to think about where the family will be hosted, if it will be hosted on the ceiling, make sure you also use a ceiling based family.
Once you have your generic family template loaded, you will want to tile the windows. (Be sure you have no other active projects open) The reason you want to do this is to give you a good overview of all relevant views when creating your family. Plan view, Elevation front, Elevation left (or right) and 3D view.
Now you should see 4 equally sized windows fitted to your screen. In case the view has been obscured, zoom to fit in each window (double click mouse wheel). Now the most important part about creating families is using reference planes. Reference planes are crucial when designing families, as these will act as your control dimensions / constraints. Create a square with 4 seperate reference planes as shown in the image below. Always remember to draw your reference planes clockwise, this will be important for future developments.
Now you have set constraints to the floor plan view of the project, it is now time to set some elevation height constraints. We do this with the use of dimensions (di), by adding a dimension line to our elevation view. If you have a certain height you want your cube to be, then measure it off here, otherwise, for now just follow the example shown in the images below.
Once we have set some dimensions on our reference planes, we want to give these dimensions a parameter. Parameters are used to give custom or fixed assets to our families. Now you want your elevation view, where you have just created a dimension to be active. Highlight your dimension and click on the dropdown menu next to label, as shown below. To start with, the only option you will see is ‘Add parameter…’
We are now going to add a parameter to this dimension line, constraining the elevation height of the cube. As shown in the image below, we will create a name for this dimension parameter ‘Height of cube’. Be sure the ‘Group parameter under’ option is set to ‘Dimensions’ In this case, we will keep it as a ‘Type’ parameter. This means that we can use this parameter to constrain the height of the family to the ‘Height of cube’ parameter, which you can see is ‘2214mm’.
Once you have created a parameter for your ‘Elevation left’ view, you will want to do the same thing for your dimension lines you created on the ‘Floor plan’ view. Click on the dimension defining the height and add a new parameter label. This time we will call the dimension ‘Height’ again checking it is set as a dimension. This time we will use an ‘Instance parameter’ so click the ‘Instance’ checkbox. Instance parameters will give the user of the family the option to define custom settings, in this case height for the cube. Follow the exact same steps mentioned above for your ‘Width’ dimension on the ‘Floor plan’ view. You will now have 3 dimension, with 3 new dimension labels.
Now, once our template is set up and constrained we are going to start creating some actual physical geometry. We do this of course with the Revit massing tools. As shown above, navigate to the ‘Design’ tab and click on ‘Solid Extrusion’. You now want to draw a box with the square line creation tool, covering the reference planes you have set, as shown in the image above. Before you finish your extrusion, you want to edit some of the extrusion properties.
We are now going to modify the ‘Extrusion End’ constraints, otherwise known as the elevation height, or extrusion height. Click on the small grey box at the end of the ‘Extrusion End’ bar. You will now see the ‘Associate Family Parameter’ dialogue appear. You will also see the 3 new paramaters you have just created. As we are now trying to define the extrusion height of the cube, we will select our ‘Height of cube’ parameter. Click OK. You will now see that the ‘Extrusion End’ bar is greyed out.
The final parameter we are going to add is to be for a material. The reason we do this, is so that the user of the family, in a project environment will be able to choose which material they want the family to be. For more detailed families it is possible to split the materials into different sections, but I will be discussing that in another post. For now, we want to add a parameter for the material. Simply click on the small box at the right side of the materials bar and click on ‘Add parameter…’ We will name this parameter ‘Cube Material’ and make sure it is set as a ‘Material and finishes’ parameter and set as an ‘Instance’.
You can now finish your extrusion by clicking on the green tick in the modify extrusion ribbon. You should now be seeing something similar to the image above. If not, make sure all of your views are active and zoomed to fit. You can now save this family. Revit > Save As > Family – I like to add all my custom families to a new folder I have created in the Autodesk library, that way they are all stored together, but you can choose to save it wherever suits you best.
Once you have saved your family, Use the Revit > Close button. You can now open up a new architectural project file template, or the project where you want to add your newly created family. You can now add your family the way you always would > Place component, locate your family and load it. You will now see your cube in a project view. Here you will be able to set some custom parameters, such as material, width and height. And that is it! Extremely simple, and good foundation knowledge for creating Revit families. I will be posting part 2 in my Revit familys series soon. Hope this has helped someone who is having trouble, or someone who is just starting to use Revit. Any problems or questions, just leave a comment!
View Part 2 here – Creating simple parametric families in Revit – Part 2 Tables