Family Array Basics & Tips for Revit Beginner

Family Array Basics & Tips

Family Array Basics & Tips for revit

Basics

  • In the Family Editor you can Array a geometry or nested family (ex. linear or radial)
  • Always group and associate to assign an integer parameter for the array
  • Move to 2nd or Last depending on how you will dimension and calculate the Array
  • After an array, select an instance of the new group and then the array “dimension”
  • Assign a “Label” in the options bar to control the array count with an Integer Parameter

Tips

1. It’s not uncommon for a family content builder to parameterize the array count and then leave the count open for the end user to flex.  Consider adding an Optimal Spacing parameter so that when the length of the family is flexed, the spacing between shelves, muntins, rafter tails, etc. remains a desirable constant and let Revit calculate the Array Count.  The designers will love you.

Not good enough? For scheduling (ex. rafter tail counting) make the Array Count a shared parameter and the PMs will celebrate too.

Formula examples:

  • Optimal Spacing = a default “Length” value for the office standard
  • Array Count = (Length/Optimal Spacing) + 1
 

2. Ever need an array count of 1? There are a number of ways to do this:

  • Offsetting the first and last instance of an array (toward the center of the array) with an Offset Array parameter, so that the first and last overlap in the center when the array count is equal to 1.


Formula examples:

  • Optimal Spacing = a typical “Length” value for the office standard
  • Array Count = (Length/Optimal Spacing)
  • Array Count True = If(Array Count < 2, 2 , Array Count)
  • Offset Array = if(Array Count < 2, (Length / 2), 0′)
  • Other Possible Solutions:
    • hiding the first and last element of the array in the geometry of another element like muntins in the stile of a wood panel door
    • Using yes/no parameters to visibly turn off the array and turn on a single instance when Array Count = 1

3. Are you getting errors when you try to model 2 arrays in the same family?

  • Create the arrays in separate families and nest them into a host family

4. Are your muntins, shelves, or other crossing element arrays giving you the tic-tac-toe (#) look at an intersection? Does a join geometry not always work for you?

  • Consider adding a slight curve to the front and back of your muntins/shelves and don’t join geometry
    • might also be helpful for many railing family intersection challenges. Reference Family Array Basics & Tips by David.

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3D Technology – the essential partner to dynamic, value-driven Construction

3D Technology – the essential partner to dynamic, value-driven Construction

World-leading, innovative technology is being used successfully to make the aerospace and other manufacturing industries more responsive to demand, dynamic in development and increasingly efficient in delivery. I would argue that the construction industry is crying out for this innovation to drive efficiency, generate sustainability, improve safety and reduce waste. The techniques of Building Information Modelling (BIM), being applied in some areas of the industry, take us part-way but the full value has yet to be realized.

The technology used by the aerospace industry embraces the full spectrum: from initial design, detailed 3D digital mock-ups, to testing and proving in the virtual digital world. The 3D model is reviewed, revised, redesigned and tested to destruction without injury or damage. The same platform of collaborative data then tracks materials requirements and the manufacturing process, following the aircraft from assembly to sale and delivery. It integrates data across the life cycle of the programme, to generate efficiency, reduce cost, cut waste, increase sustainability, improve safety and create value.

Like an aircraft, a building is a system –  superstructure, foundations, air conditioning, useable spaces, arteries providing power, water, waste processing – a system for people. The building becomes more than concrete, steel, glass, bricks and mortar – it becomes a space for living, working or leisure, an intelligent space connected to other intelligent spaces – an intelligent system – an intelligent community.  This building, this intelligent space, lends itself to digital design, 3D digital mock-up, review and revision in the virtual world and the ongoing provision of through-life management. It is a complex logistical system which is simplified, made efficient, given value and given life through data integration and collaboration.

Guggenheim-Museum
Guggenheim-Museum

The architect Frank Gehry gave life to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao by approaching Dassault Systèmes to use its leading-edge technology from the aircraft industry to imagine and create the impossibly fluid lines of his building. In the architect’s own words, this was transformational, and signalled a cultural change in modern architecture. The building was completed on-time and well within budget, achieving financial savings of 18% in the process. That act was to prove to be a game changer.

The imaginative use of this technology has the potential to make buildings not only iconic and sympathetic with their place in the landscape, but to be intelligent, energy-efficient and sustainable. The manipulation of data enables the integration of retained, legacy buildings, harmonized sensitively with the new development to create places which are special; balancing the old with the new, seamlessly merging the ideas of yesterday with those of tomorrow. This information provides the arteries which allow the dynamism of the construction provider to flow and the imagination of the client to be realized. It harnesses the desired outcomes of the client, the strength and capabilities of the construction industry, and the power of leading-edge technology, significantly improving the quality of sustainable construction and creating assets which are fit-for-purpose, environmentally sensitive and of lasting value.

Posted by John Stokoe Head of Strategic Development at Dassault Systèmes. For more information contact here.

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furnishings and decorations

Introduction to Autodesk Homestyler

Introduction to Autodesk Homestyler

“Design your dream home in 3D.

Express your creativity, find inspiration and make smarter home design choices, faster.”

Autodesk Homestyler is a very useful application which will allow anyone to design their perfect interior. The website is user friendly and does not require one to be tech savvy, nor have intimate knowledge about interior design.

From the Home screen, one will be able to either access the 3D Room Designer function, or access the 3D Floor Planner function.

3D Room Design

Below you will find some examples of users who have designed their dream home and/or room, have been creative, have found inspiration and have made smarter design choices, faster.

smarter design

When Creating a New Design, Autodesk Homestyler will immediately provide a help window to assist you in using the website with all of its relevant commands.

Autodesk Homestyler

To start off with, one can create any building shape, using the Rooms, Walls and Areas tool.

building shape

building shape

After a basic room shape has been created, we can now start decorating the interior. Quite a number of typical furnishings and decorations are available from the catalog toolbar.

furnishings and decorations

I quite like the Itemsized Product List, which will allow you to see which materials, furnishings, decorations, etc. you have placed in your room.

Itemsized Product List

 A Printable View will provide a Bill of Quantities of sorts.

A Printable View will provide a Bill of Quantities of sorts

Autodesk Homestyler is not only applicable to interior designing aspects. One can also do landscaping around your home.

Autodesk Homestyler is not only applicable to interior designing aspects

I believe that for the average person who would like to investigate their options when designing a home, Autodesk Homestyler will provide a good understanding of the potential end result. This result can then be discussed with architects, interior designers, landscape architects and the like, for further refinement. Reference Introduction to Autodesk Homestyler by Herman Solomon. For more information about it then contact us and click here to see our services.

The Great Wall Of China

The Great Wall Of China

wall of china

Standing tall, mighty, and unmoved over millennia, the 4,000 miles (6,500 km) long Great Wall of China is an architectural wonder of epic significance. The Great Wall is the largest ever built structure in terms of mass and surface area.

The Great Wall of China

Standing tall, mighty, and unmoved over millennia, the 4,000 miles (6,500 km) long Great Wall of China is an architectural wonder of epic significance. Snaking along through hills, plains, deserts, and swamps, with an average height of 25 feet and housing 25,000 watch towers (beacons) along the course, this robust man-made barricade requires more than just applause to truly appreciate the engineering and architectural feat that it is.The Great Wall of China, made up of stone and earthen fortifications was built and rebuilt over several generations. The construction was started from scratch by the Qing Dynasty in 5th century BC.  Several chains of walls were unified over the centuries as the different warring states came together under a unified empire. However, most of what we see today was built by the Ming Dynasty and continued till the 16th century. 

Design of the Great Wall
There are primarily three structures that constitute the Great Wall, namely walls, passes, and signal towers. Each is elaborated as under:

Walls: The wall forms the major portion of the entire built structure. It stands to a height ranging between 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters). The width at the base stretches to 21 feet (6.5 meters) and tapers to 19 feet (5.8 meters) at the top. At some places, where the terrain is rugged, natural features like river dikes, mountain cliffs, and gorges have been used instead of human construction.

great wall of china big
Passes: Where the Great Wall came across major trade routes, secure passes were built. These crossover points are about 30 feet (10 meters) high, with a width of 15 feet (5 meters) at the top. The passes have access ramps and ladders that were used for getting horses, merchants, and soldiers across both sides. The outer parapet has perforated battlements and the inner parapet had a low wall of 3 feet (1 meter) to prevent people and their horses from tippling down.

Signal Towers: These high bastions placed 18 kilometers apart from each other, and usually located on hilltops were used to transmit military information and communication. Smoke signals were used during the daytime and fire/lantern (beacon) was used in the nights. Some other modes employed were hoisting huge banners, making sound with large clappers, or by firing guns. The lower portion of these towers had restrooms for soldiers, storage compartments, and stables for housing horses, sheep, etc. 

The Development of the Great Wall over Centuries
Built along an arc that roughly demarcates Mongolia from China, the Great Wall is the largest ever built structure in terms of mass and surface area. The Chinese had learned the techniques of building heavy-duty walls during the ‘Warring States Period’ of the 5th century BC. The states of Yan, Qi, and Zhao constructed massive fortifications to protect their borders. These walls were built by stuffing earth and gravel within board frames.

When Qin Shi Huang conquered numerous states and unified China under his empire in 221 BC, he demolished previous walls that separated the states and instead ordered the construction of new walls on the northern front to keep away the Mongols. Given the scale and dimensions of the wall, transportation of such large quantities of raw materials was not feasible. Therefore, local resources were heavily used. Stones were used for construction over mountainous areas where they were plenty, while rammed earth gave shape to the walls in the plains.

In the later period, different dynasties like the Han, Jin, and Sui repaired, renovated, or expanded different sections of the Great Wall to serve as the first line of defense from the northern invaders. In 1449, after the Ming army’s defeat at the hands of the Mongols, a massive reconstruction of the Great Wall was ordered. The Mings constructed stronger walls and reinforced previous sections by using stone and bricks. Use of rammed earth as previously prevalent was restricted to a miniscule. 
largest wall of chinaMaterials Used in the Great Wall 

Sections closer to Beijing, the throne of the Ming dynasty, were especially reinforced to the point of making them impenetrable by any means. The walls were plastered with lime and tiles to add strength. Stones were cut into rectangular blocks and used in areas like the foundation, gateways and brims. Small gaps measuring 30 cmx20 cm were provided in the upper portion of the walls for use during battles. 

Built primarily with construction material available nearby the site, we find limestone blocks in use near the Beijing area. In other places, it could be burnt bricks or granite. At many places, the blocks are cemented together with a mix of rice and egg-white. In the western desert areas, as raw materials are quite scarce, rammed earth and wooden planks is used.

Building information modelling bim and virtual construction

Building information modelling bim and virtual construction

building information modelling
Building Information Modelling

We have been hearing the term Building information Modelling (BIM) for around 20 years. The concept of digital and spatial representation of buildings has also been around more than that. Over this time, lots of variation and perversion has been occurred to the term BIM.

“BIM in itself is a revolution in the construction industry.”

Building information modelling (BIM) is the procedure of generating and managing building data for the entire lifecycle of a facility. The three-dimensional, real-time, dynamic building modelling software used in BIM can decrease the wastage of time and resources in the process of designing and constructing a structure. BIM provides virtual information model that can be handed over from design team to contractor and subcontractors and then to the owner and it benefits the overall project schedule. BIM helps build a project virtually prior the construction starts and it is known as virtual construction.

First of all, virtual construction is not a synonym of building information modelling and they should not be used interchangeably. Virtual construction technologies can deliver projects ahead of schedule and within the budget. It is helpful for planning, coordination and communication on civil infrastructure, commercial and heavy industrial buildings construction projects. It is sure that if a project is designed and constructed in a collaborative environment using BIM, it can really save time and costs on site.

Earlier, the speed of communication was inhibited due to limited forms of media. Fast communication, obviously often seeks to transfer risk from one member to another of the team, instead of addressing it head-on.

As 3D modelling improves site coordination, this risk is dramatically eliminated altogether. BIM can compile all project information in a universally understandable way. When the clarity and speed is improved, it will automatically reduce estimating time, which will result in higher quality.

Building information modelling bim and virtual construction

Objectives of various BIM stages

  1. Constructability analysis: With virtual construction and BIM modelling
  2. Coordination of Building Components: with clash detection and virtual coordination
  3. Extraction of quantities: with BIM model components
  4. Construction sequence simulation: By connecting construction schedule with model components

The benefits of 3D models by BIM are several. The data contained in each element in the model may appear to be just one small piece. But it is very necessary to complete the larger puzzle of the construction project. Moreover, everybody involved in the project can easily understand the exact quantities and quality of the entire project. That means, the team members do not have to sift through pages upon pages of drawings for several weeks to extract information. It will happen in a few moments.

Difference between Building information modelling bim and virtual construction:

As per expert’s BIM is implemented under the entire project life cycle from Planning, Designing, Construction and Operation but specifically under Architectural Building project types. On the contrary, VDC (Virtual Design & Construction) is implemented under designing and construction phase under different project types from architectural building, urban development, infrastructure development, etc.

In short, BIM covers all phases of a building life cycle horizontally. Even though virtual construction covers just two phases, it reaches multiple markets and project types vertically. Reference bim forum.

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BIM Technologies

BIM Technologies

Over the past week we have been blown away by how fast our 16 year old work experience student Olawale Labulo who is from Peckham has picked up Revit and learnt about the fundamentals of BIM.

Having no experience whatsoever with Revit, and only using Sketchup for around 6 months, some of the work he produced is highly impressive. Not only getting to grips with modelling in Revit but also the understanding of some of the more advanced tools in Revit, for example modeling parametric array families has really impressed us all.

Below is a sample of some of the work he has been doing and a short snippet of his concluding statement. After giving him a simple house to model (which he completed in a couple of hours) he took matters into his own hands and started to design his own building (apparently inspired from the computer game Minecraft!).

BIM Technology BIM Technology

Here at BIM Technologies I learnt how to use Revit at the basic level; learning how to make families, stairs, floors, ceilings, roofs and rendering. I also learned what they did as a job; help fix problems in building designs that they found in big builds they have been assigned with.

This experience at BIM Technologies hasn’t motivated me to pursue a career in Architecture because before coming to work at BIM Technologies  I already knew what career I wanted to pursue; to become an Architect. However it did give me a further insight to what was to expect in the line of Architecture. So overall I have always been motivated to pursue a career in Architecture, but this experience has enhanced the motivation I have in becoming an Architect.

The things I find interesting about these professions is that they get to work on wonderful buildings in London and across the UK. The thought of knowing that u help in the construction of an iconic building or just a wonderful looking build brings great joy to me.

Ola is sure to be a future star of Architecture or any other career he decides to pursue. All of us here at BIM Technologies wish him the best of luck in whatever he decides to do, and hope he remembers us when he’s famous! Reference COYO – Work experience student at BIM.Technologies by Ben Malone.

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BIM

Down Save Revit Models

Down Save Revit Models

Paul Crickard hates that Revit will not allow him to open a 2011 model in 2010. When upgrading to 2011, his office decided to only move certain projects over and leave others. They took in to account the fact that we could not down save and once They were in 2011 they were stuck in 2011.

There is a workaround! If you really need to open a model from a later version of Revit you can — by using IFC.

WARNING: You will lose information. Your walls, windows, doors, and some other elements will be safe, but the model will not be 100% complete — depending on how detailed it is.

To see what will export, go to EXPORT>OPTIONS>IFC OPTIONS

BIM

As you can see, Area Tags will not export by default. If you are familiar with the IFC tags you can export objects that are currently not exporting by specifying what tag should be used in the IFC.

BIM

Export your model to IFC. Voila! you now have a text file (.IFC) that should look as follows.

BIM

From an earlier version of Revit click R>OPEN>IFC and select the file. Now you have a 2011 model in 2010 or 2009. This is also a good way to get your file to many other programs.

DISCLAIMER: Paul Crickard does not recommend using this as a way to work on a daily basis. This tip is for those times when it is absolutely necessary to go between two different version of Revit. You should talk with all parties involved in a project and decide on a version before beginning your project.

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Revit 2016 Render Engine Comparison

Revit 2016 Render Engine Comparison

NVIDIA Mental Ray or Autodesk Raytracer? That is the question. I believe that both render engines have their advantages and disadvantages.
The first render engine comparison is of an exterior day render. The NVIDIA Mental Ray image is on the left, while the Autodesk Raytracer image is on the right. Even though these two renders were created using the same quality settings, sun settings etc., one can clearly see that the Autodesk Raytracer engine saturates colours far more than the NVIDIA Mental Ray engine.

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When comparing an internal night render, one can see that the NVIDIA Mental Ray engine is far more “realistic” than the Autodesk Raytracer engine. Pay attention to the floor lamp on the left. No electrical, nor photometric properties were changed between the two renders, yet something is “off” about the lamp lighting. (It might have been a mistake on my side)

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If you do not have access to a dedicated rendering/visualization program and you can only render from within Revit, if your renders do not look “perfect”, there is no need to start moaning about the “limitations” of the program. You have 5 main options to choose from:
1. Choose which render engine will give you the best result: NVIDIA Mental Ray, or Autodesk Raytracer.
2. If one of the above options do not give you the results you want, how about rendering through the Cloud?
3. If neither one of the above options work for you, start post processing the image inside of Revit. Change the Highlights, Saturation, Mid Tones, etc. to make your image as close to perfect as can be.
4. You always have the option to export your Revit model to an external software program, such as Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Showcase, Autodesk Navisworks, even Autodesk AutoCAD. From within these programs, you will be able to tweak your renders even further
5. Use post-processing software such as Adobe Photoshop.
Make due with what you have. Make what you have work for you.

Revit 2015 – sketchy lines

Revit 2015 – sketchy lines

Sometimes when using BIM for presentation purposes, especially during the design development stages, the digital outputs can look a little too polished. In the past an architect might of used hand drawn sketches & diagrams to convey the design. New for Revit 2015 is the Sketchy Lines feature which emulates a hand drawn visual style. This feature is available to be applied to any graphic display style including 3d views, perspective views, elevations, sections & plan views.

You can adjust settings for Jitter and Extension to create unique interpretations of any visual style as shown. The Jitter slider allows to vary the weighting & clarity of the line as if you had drawn it with a pen or pencil, where as the Extension slider allows you to how far lines overlap at intersections. Check out Tim Waldocks detailed overview for more examples of how this feature can be used.

A 3d view with the Jitter set to 7 & no Extension:-

Revit 2015 – sketchy lines

A 3d view with no Jitter & the Extension set to 10:-

Revit 2015 – sketchy lines

The combination of the Jitter set to 7 & Extension set to 10:-

Revit 2015 – sketchy lines

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Schedules Basics & Tips for Revit Beginner

Schedules Basics & Tips of Revit Beginner

Basics

Types of Schedules:

  • Schedule/Quantities Schedules: Schedule placed (and modeled in-place) families
  • Graphic Column Schedules: A graphical schedule of structural columns
  • Material Takeoff Schedules: Schedule materials in the project
  • Note Block Schedules: Schedule placed instances of a generic annotation family
  • Sheet List Schedules: Schedule sheets in the project
  • View List Schedules: Schedule views in the project
  • Embedded Schedules: In Schedules of Spaces, Electrical Circuits, Piping Systems, or Mechanical Systems
  • Key Schedules: Key in typical parameters to quickly populate large schedules of the same category
  • Keynote Legends: Keynote elements from a predefined list of Key Values & Text
  • Revision Schedules: Live in the titleblock families

Tips

There are a heck of a lot of cool ideas out there for schedules.  This post is a small fraction.

1.  Need to identify what type or category of schedule you are looking at?

  • In the Properties of the Schedule, edit “fields.” The type of Schedule is in the title of the window and the categories is often in the “Select from available fields” dropdown.
  • A Key Schedule will have an additional Parameter in the properties called “Parameter Name.”

2.  Is a Shared Parameter necessary?

  • Usually when you introduce a .rfa file (ex. tag or component) a shared parameter is necessary to tag or schedule the parameter. However, Generic Annotation families do not need to have shared parameters, to populate a Note Block Schedule.
  • In addition, a value that schedules for a system family does not need to be a shared parameter, unless you are also tagging it (.rfa).

3.  Are you using a Shared Parameter in a tag or component and you’re having trouble referencing it in your Key Schedules? 

  • Key Schedules will not support them. Consider FINALLY using those Hard-coded parameters that come with Revit families OOTB.  They ARE available in both tags and Key Schedules.

4.  Is text wrapping for your General Notes or other text (placed with the Text Tool) giving you grief? 

  • Consider creating a Key Schedule (preferably from an unused category). You will have all the flexibility of Schedules (and even access to some of the new enhancements).

5.  A material is in the model but you can’t find it in the Material Takeoff Schedule? 

  • Materials applied with the Paint Tool are excluded from a Material Takeoff Schedule

6.  A material is in the Material Takeoff Schedule but you can’t find it in the model?

  • Right Click and select “Show” to find where this item is in the model

7.  Want to manage in bulk the “issue dates” for sheets or the “title on sheet” for views?

  • Consider creating Sheet List and View List Schedules for internal QC

8.  Want to link an Excel File into Revit?

  • In Excel, Isolate just the portion of table you would like to import
  • Save as xls or xlsx
  • In AutoCAD, Create a table (command “TABLE”)
  • From a Data Link
  • Create a new excel data link
  • Browse to location of excel file
  • Select Excel sheet to link
  • Say OK and place in model view
  • In Revit, Create a new LEGEND view with scale set to 12” = 1’-0”
  • Link your dwg file into Revit
  • To Update your schedule
  • Make a change to the excel file and save
  • In the AutoCAD file, right click on table and “Update Table Data Links” and save
  • In Revit, Manage links and reload the DWG file
9.  Want to Calculate Costs for Material Areas or Volumes?

Formula examples:
  • QTO_Calc SF = yes/no parameter
  • QTO_Calc CF = not(Material: QTO_Calc SF)
  • QTO_Unit Cost = currency parameter
  • QTO_Unit Total = if(Material: QTO_Calc SF, (Material: QTO_Unit Cost * Material: Area / 1 SF), (Material: QTO_Unit Cost * Material: Volume / 1 CF))

10

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