Friday, January 30, 2015

Receptacle Family Example

This article comes from my Revit Basics Blog which I have decided to shut down. 

Electrical construction documents depend upon the use of symbolic representations of devices in plan view. The symbolic representation on a receptacle, for example is larger than the actual 3 dimensional modeled receptacle used for elevations and interference detection. It has to be to effectively convey the receptacle type and still be readable at an 1/8th scale. Because it is oversized placing receptacles close together in the model causes the plan symbols to overlap. That is unless the symbolic part of the family can be independently moved from the modeled component. Using a receptacle family as an example, this article will demonstrate how to do just that.


Begin by creating the symbolic annotation family of the plan symbol. Use the generic annotation family template provided with Revit. Name it “Family_A”. Using detail lines draw the plan symbol at the size it would be on a plotted sheet.

Controlling Up and Down Movement

Create another generic family. Use the generic annotation family template again. Name it “Family_AA”. Load “Family_A” into “Family_AA” to create a nested family. Place the nested symbology above the horizontal reference plane in Family_AA, but centered on the vertical plane. Draw a horizontal reference line under the symbology, and make it a weak reference.

Using an aligned dimension or the Align tool, lock the nested receptacle family to the reference line. Add a dimension from the reference line to the horizontal reference plane in “Family_AA”. Add an instance parameter to the dimension and name it “Offset From Wall”. This will add the ability to move the plan symbol away from the hosting wall or entity.


Create a third family using the Generic Face Based or the Generic Model template. Wall based or other options can be used here, so pick what works for to maintain company standards. In any case, the family will be built the same, but “push/pull” options are slightly different once the family is placed into the model. Name the new family “Receptacle”.


Create the following instance Parameters in the new family.

• Offset From Wall

• Offset From Wall2

• Offset L R

Create the following type Parameters in the new family.

• Plan Symbol

• Plan Scale

Load “Family _AA” into the “Receptacle” family and place it on the intersection of the two main reference planes. Assign the “Offset From Wall” in your nested family to the “Offset From Wall2” parameter in the host family by selecting “Family_AA” and selecting the box to the right of the “Offset From Wall” parameter in the Properties palette and then selecting the “Offset From Wall2” parameter in the dialog that pops up. This will allow the user to add a dimension to move the receptacle symbology off the wall without moving the model portion of the family.



Since the receptacle family scale is based on the plan scale, and it is unknown what that scale will be until it is placed in a view, a way push that information to the family is needed. Otherwise, an entered 6” offset may move the receptacle symbol radically more or less than 6” on the plan.  The Plan Scale parameter will be used as a mechanism for the user to convey the view scale to the family. At this time, Revit families do not have a parameter for the scale of the view they are placed in. Click on the Family Types button on the ribbon and as a default, set the “Plan Scale” parameter to 0’-0 1/8”.  To get the proper offset for any scale, add the following formula to the “Offset From Wall2” parameter “Offset From Wall / 1' * Plan Scale”.  The “Plan Scale” parameter must be manually entered by the user.

Controlling Left and Right Movement


To control the side to side movement of the receptacle symbol a vertical reference plane must be dimensioned and labeled. Revit will not allow negative values in dimensions, so the base plane can not be placed in the center of the symbol. To allow the offset to go both left and right of the center reference plane, add a reference plane to the 4’ left of the center reference plane. This sets the maximum offset, so adjust if required. Set the “L R” default to 4’, to align the plan symbol and the elevation symbol when families are placed. This plane should be pinned and set to “Not a Reference”. Create another reference plane and name it “L R”. Lock “Family_AA” to this reference plane, and make it a weak reference. Add a dimension from “L R” to the left reference plane, and set it to “Offset L R”.

If using a face based family, the “push/pull” grips to control the Left and Right location of the symbolic annotation now exist, but the offset from the wall distance must be manually typed in the properties dialog.

If using a generic family, the “push/pull” grips exist for control left and right as well as the offset distance from the wall.



Thursday, January 15, 2015

What Revit Build Number am I on?

Revit is in a constant state of updating. Each update has a build number and it is best practice to keep all of your Revits on the same build. With Autodesk pumping out a build almost every month knowing where your users stand is getting more important. So, how do you know what build a particular computer is on? Look for the question mark in a circle in the upper right-hand corner of your Revit window, click it and select "About Autodesk Revit 2015".


Look in the upper right-hand corner of the dialog that pops up. There is your build number and the equivalent update status.


Older versions of Revit will not provide the update or release translation, just the build number. To figure that out, use the secret decoder below.

2015:    
First Customer Ship                         Build: 20140223_1515
Update Release 1                            Build: 20140322_1515
Update Release 2                            Build: 20140323_1530
Update Release 3                            Build: 20140606_1530
Update Release 4                            Build: 20140903_1530
Release 2                                      Build: 20140905_0730 (Subscription only release)
Update Release 5                            Build: 20141119_1515
Release 2 Update Release 5              Build: 20141119_0715 (Subscription only release)
                 
2014:    
First Customer Ship                         Build: 201310308_1515
Update Release 1                            Build: 20130709_2115
Update Release 2                            Build: 20131024_2115
Update Release 3                            Build:20140709_2115
                 
2013:    
First Customer Ship                         Build: 20120221_2030
Update Release 1                            Build: 20120716_1115
Update Release 2                            Build: 20121003_2115
Update Release 3                            Build: 20130531_2115
                 
Revit LT has different build numbers with this release:
First Customer Ship                         Build: 20120821_1330
Update Release 1                            Build: 20130531_0300
                 
2012:    
First Customer Ship                         Build: 20110309_2315
Update Release 1                            Build: 20110622_0930

Update Release 2                            Build: 20110916_2132

Saturday, January 03, 2015

The Family Man's Family Template

I created my own set of family templates to reduce the steps I always seem to take when making Revit families often on the fly. The process is straight forward and quite helpful.

First start a new family with one of the out of the box templates. I like Generic Model.rft. Now, make tweaks that apply to most every family of this type you like. I typically do the following.


  • Create additional reference planes.
    • I always need them.
    • I name them here to ensure consistent naming convention.
    • I apply the correct "Is Reference" parameter.
    • Reference planes have positive and negative sides. I have OCD, by modeling them in the company template I ensure they are all drawn left to right and bottom to top providing consistent results.


  • Constrain Reference Planes.

    • Again, I always do this. Most every family I make has three basic dimensions. For families placed on ceilings I use Width, Length, and Depth.  For families placed on floors and walls I use Width, Length, and Height.
    • Pre-constraining builds in consistency you will get no other way.

  • Add Solids
    • At this point you might as well add a default solid and lock it to the planes you created.
    • You can also apply default materials if needed.
After completing all the tweaks desired, save the new family as a *.RFA, then in Windows explorer, change the file type to *.RFT. You will get a warning from Windows, just go by it. You now have a Revit family template of your own. Encourage the use your templates by defaulting users to a folder with your standards templates in Options.


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

How Many times Has a View Been Called?

Today's Revit Question: The user has created a typical section cut and then used the "Reference Other View" check box to call it several times through out the project. Now the user wonders how many times they referenced the view and where.

Somehow I thought this would be easy. I started with a View List schedule, but could not access what I needed there. The properties of the view only listed a single Referencing Sheet.
What I found is that Revit list on only list the first sheet alpha-numerically if the view has been called from multiple sheets.

To track down all of the instances, I was able to Hide the call out on the first sheet to reveal the next sheet in the list.
To track down all of the instances, I was able to Hide the call out on the first sheet to reveal the next sheet in the list. Being careful that there may be multiple call outs on a single sheet, I was able to track down all of the references.

Not ideal at all, but it worked. If someone knows of a better way, please post a comment. I think we would all love to know it.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Rename Schedules Without Renaming Schedules Names

Thanks to Brad Beal for this tip. 

Today an engineer wanted to have several space schedules have the same name on the sheets even though the schedules were for individual areas of the building, and he wanted to maintain the original schedule names in the Project Browser (Mine is not to phantom why).

There is a great function for this with plan views, but it does not apply to schedule views. My buddy Heath suggested not showing the header at all and grouping all the header cells then typing the common name in. This works but, it is cumbersome.

Then Brad suggested that we just use the Clear Cell tool shown when clicking in the header cell.

Then just type whatever you want in the cell. The result was just what was wanted with about zero fuss.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Revit Toolbars

I have been thinking about Revit and speed. What makes one user quicker than another? That led me to all the customization I used to do to my AutoCAD environment. I also watched a Revit youtube video the other day the guy keyed everything in. He didn't go to the ribbon for a single thing! Kind of like me when I run AutoCAD. It was fascinating to watch.

So, I set out to customize my interface to break myself of the ribbon and build a bit of speed.

Keyboard short cuts will have to play a big part of laying off the ribbon, and I posted on Revit short cuts for Old People a while back. 

But, I need something else. Something like the old tool bars Revit used back in the day.


My solution was to edit the crap out of the Quick Access Toolbar by right clicking on any tool I need and selecting "Add to Quick Access Toolbar". Then I moved the QAT below the ribbon by clicking the down arrow at the end of it and choosing "Show Below the Ribbon". Finally I Minimized the ribbon to panels to produce the following.

I can't guarantee it will make anyone else any faster, but I have noticed that weening myself off the ribbon has made me "Feel" faster. Today that is all that counts.



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Filter the Project Browser by Discipline

The Project Browser is just too darn big for me. Not it's physical size, it's all the data. Scrolling through the never ending list of views, schedules, sheets, legends, blah, blah, blah, I am wearing my mouse wheel out. The image below shows a shared MEP model and just the top portion of views.

No matter your discipline, you have to scroll through the others to get to your work.....

Unless of course, you right click on "Views (Discipline)" at the top of the Project Browser and select Browser organization.


Then pick the "Edit" Button.

In the dialog that pops up, you can now filter by discipline.

Then there you go, nothing but Electrical.

This would seem to be great, but when a Mechanical opens the model, they will not see anything but Electrical. I am waiting for the Project Browser to be user specific. I am also waiting to win the lottery.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Delete Revit Backup Files - Everywhere!

If you know me, you know I am the opposite of a hoarder when it comes to electronic files. I love deleting things. It just brings me joy to delete data. So, Revit's need to create backups, just bugs me. It does not feel like good file maintenance to have all kinds of backups everywhere, and a bit dangerous when newbies open these files by mistake.

So once again, DOS to the rescue. Place this text in a batch file and save it in the root directory that you want to clean up.
del /s /F *.0*.rvt
del /s /F *.0*.rfa

del /s /F *.0*.rte
This will delete all the backups of projects, families, and templates in the root and every sub-folder that follows. Double click the BAT file and your work is done.  the /s tells DOS to delete files that meet the criteria in sub-folders, and the /F tells DOS to go ahead and delete locked files. 

To see what you just deleted and the word "pause" to the last line like this:
del /s /F *.0*.rvt
del /s /F *.0*.rfa

del /s /F *.0*.rte
pause               

If you want to know what you are deleting before you delete it. this this.
dir /s *.0*.rvt
dir /s *.0*.rfa

dir /s *.0*.rte

pause          

All of this works for me because a great IT department means I can restore old files at any time. If you don't have the same confidence, act accordingly.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Tags That show Imperial and Metric Units

I got question from long time friend last week asking if it were possible to tag a duct with imperial and metric units. He needed the tag to show  as
 12x12 (300x300)

On the surface it might seem impossible. The units for a Revit project are one or the other, but you can beat this by creating a special Tag family. For this tag start with the Generic Tag.rft template and categorize it as a Duct Tag. Add three labels in a row; SizeHeight, and Width. Use the Prefix and Suffix columns to add the open and closed parenthesis. Now select the Height parameter in the Edit Label dialog. Use the icon at the bottom with the image of the hand over the pound sign to change the format by un-checking "Use project settings" and then setting the units to Millimeters. Do the same for Width, and you have a mighty fine duct tag that will show imperial and metric units at the same time.