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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Golden Ratio & Fibonacci Sequence: Part 1

The Golden Ratio in Revit?
Fibonacci Sequence in Revit?
Parametric too?
      No way!

To close off 2014's blog entries, I thought it would be a good idea to prove that the creation of the Golden Ratio and respective Fibonacci sequence in Revit is indeed possible. The creation and manipulation thereof will be much easier using a program such as Project Dynamo, but the half the fun is figuring out how Revit can natively achieve this.

In a nutshell: Separate mass families were created (up to the 19th) which were nested into the "Master" mass family. Each nested family needs to have separate reference planes and separate dimension labels in order to work. Each nested family needs to be aligned and locked to the previous nested family (in sequence) to retain its position. Each nested family needs its own visibility parameter to control the extent of the spiral. I have drawn a continuous start-end-radius arc, so as to create a continuous sweep. Confused yet?

The second part of this blog entry will focus on the creation of the parametric geometry.

May you have a festive and safe holiday season, and rest enough to tackle 2015 completely, well, revit-alized.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Curved Stair Path Representation

I thought a short and sweet entry on the creation of a curved stair path would be applicable so close to the December holiday period here in sunny South Africa.

We will start off with a standard stair by component.

To have the Stair Path continue through the entire stair, past the stair Cut Line, we need to edit the Visibility Graphics. The Stair Path category will have the <Above> Up Arrows subcategory checkbox which, by default, will be unchecked. Enable this checkbox.

When we enable the <Above>Up Arrow checkbox, click on Apply and OK, our Stair Path will now continue past the Cut Line, and terminate with an arrow at your last tread.

To change stair path representation at the landing corners to a Curve, select the Stair Path and edit its Type Properties. Under the Graphics area, you will see a Line Shape at Landing Corner property. Change this to be a Curve.

Quick and easy, isn't it? There is one drawback to this method though. Once you convert your landing to a sketch-based element, your stair path will not have curves at your landing corners. So the workaround is to draw your curves using detail lines (Indicated in red)

Monday, 8 December 2014

Closing the Revit/Construction Gap using Parts

Improving the Design to Construction process is a concept that should always be kept in mind when working on a project.

In this blog entry, we will investigate how the Parts functionality in Revit can assist in this streamlining this process.

Parts can be created from the following Revit 2015 categories (Categories containing layered structures):
  • Walls (Excluding stacked walls and curtain walls)
  • Foundation Walls
  • Floors (Excluding shape-edited floors of more than one layer)
  • Roofs
  • Ceilings
  • Structural slab foundations
  • Slab Edges
  • Fascias
  • Gutters
 Parts can also be generated from the following categories of loaded or in-place families:
  • Structural Framing
  • Columns
  • Structural Columns
More information about the Parts functionality can be found in the Revit help files:
We will use the example of walls and floors in this entry. 

The Parts command can be found in two locations, namely the Modify tab>Create panel>Parts icon, or via the Create panel>Parts icon when selecting an element.

Once we create parts from one of the corner walls, you will notice that the wall layers appears as per the wall join condition.

                                Butt Join                                Miter Join

After Parts have been created, one will now be able to Divide the parts. Remember to set your active workplane to the face of the element you want to divide. You will be taken into a sketch-based mode. Also notice the Exclude Parts command.

The form below will be used to create parts. This form will be replicated on all of the wall layers, but scale itself down as one divides the different wall layers.


The same concept as explained above has now been applied to the floor.

When we Exclude the Divided Parts, and lock the orientation of our 3D view, we will be able to tag the wall and floor layers with a material tag.

Every view in Revit will allow you to control the visibility of parts that have been created. The Parts Visibility will be found in the Graphics area

Parts Visibility set to Show Original - No Parts will show

Parts Visibility set to Show Parts - Parts will show

Parts Visibility set to Show Both - Both the original wall and floor, as well as its divided parts will show. When this option is selected, your material tags will lose its relationship to the wall and floor.

However, you can re-tag the materials, but you will have the same material tagging capability as you would have had for a wall before parts were created (Indicated in Red).

So, how far can we take the Parts functionality? Well, you can Displace your Parts 

You can schedule your Parts too

The scheduling of Parts is extremely powerful, because when parts gets Excluded, the schedule dynamically adapts. You do not need to select a Part graphically, you will also be able to Exclude the Part via the Excluded checkbox in the schedule itself. From the last two images you will see that both the Area and Volume amounts change when parts are excluded 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Revit 2015 UR5 Available for Download

The latest Update Release for Revit 2015, UR5, is available for download

All relevant documentation such as Readme files and Product Enhancements documentation, can be viewed from the respective download link pages below:

Revit 2015
Revit Architecture 2015
Revit MEP 2015
Revit Structure 2015
Revit LT 2015

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Back to Basics: The "No TR(ou)BL(e)" Method

I often hear students complaining that there are way too many options and properties to set when starting a Revit command. That might be true to a certain extent, but remove one or more of those options and other users will complain that Revit is too rigid and does not allow for customisation.

I teach my students who do not have a Revit background (And even some of the more advanced users), a specific method to follow when starting a command. I previously called this method the "Top Right to Bottom Left" method, but have recently renamed it to the "No TR(ou)BL(e)"method (Catchier, isn't it?)

If you follow this method, you will be able to execute a command properly right from the start (Complete with its applicable properties and settings), thus saving time and a lot of frustration.

There are 6 main areas in the Revit User Interface that one needs to look at, in order to systematically miss less and less settings, properties and checkboxes.

1. Green Contextual Tab and its respective Green Contextual Panels
2. Green Options Bar
3. Type Selector
4. Properties Panel
5. Status Bar
6. Drawing Area

Let us take the example of a wall command, and follow the No TR(ou)BL(e) method, step-by-step:
1. Green Contextual Tab and its respective Green Contextual Panels
  • Nearly all commands in Revit will provide you with a green contextual Modify/<command> tab, and green contextual panels specific to the command that was started.
  • Choose the wall geometry/form/drafting method you want to use
2. Green Options Bar
  • What properties or settings should the wall you want to create have?
  • Many of the options in the Options Bar will also appear in the Properties Panel, but if we can change it now, we don't have to change it later (And perhaps miss an important setting)
3. Type Selector
  • What type of wall do you want to create?

4. Properties Panel
  • Go into more detail with your wall properties, and work your way from the top of the properties panel, all the way to the bottom.
  • The more you practice this method, the more comfortable you will become with all of the properties, and will remember the property areas you need to change/verify, and those you can ignore for now.
5. Status Bar
  • This is one of the most often overlooked areas of the user interface. The status bar will tell a user exactly what he/she need to do to execute/continue/end the command.
6. Drawing Area
  • Do what you do best: Design and draw!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Wrapping Wall Layers in Section View Workaround

We have quite a lot of options regarding the wrapping conditions of wall layers within a Revit plan view, using various methods such as reference plane cavity conditions in a window or door family, or even setting the wrapping conditions of a specific wall type. However when we section a door or window, the previously mentioned wrapping conditions do not apply. So how can we achieve wall wrapping within a section view as per the image below?

First of all, we need a wall, a window and a section through that window

When we enter the type properties of the wall, we will see that the Wrapping at Inserts property is set to both, in other words, both the required exterior and interior layers will wrap accordingly. This representation works perfectly in a plan view, but not in a section view. The most often used method to overcome this, is to simply add a Detail Item family to section views as and when required. But how can we start automate this entire process? 

One method that can be used is to nest/embed a Detail Item family inside of the window family. This method is not foolproof, but will give you a good idea of what can be achieved. Upon entering the window family, we need to draw a section through the window in plan view and go to the section view.


We will now need to create a parametric Detail Item family, which we can nest inside of our window family. Remember: The basic principle to apply when creating any Revit family, is to create the framework first, and only after the framework is fully functional, adding the geometry, as per the image below.

We need to add instance parameters to our dimensions, in order to control these dimensions in our window family. All we need is the total Wall Thickness, and Layer Thickness parameters. This Detail Item family will be applicable to a cavity wall with 110mm Brick Layers and a 60mm Air Space. Test the family to make sure that all parameters are working properly.

We now add a filled region to our family framework, and use the Invisible linestyle to areas where we do not want to see any lines. Save the family.

To add the Detail Item  to your window family, set the Workplane by Picking a Plane, and enter the Section 1 view.

Load the Detail Item family into your window family and place it down. Lock the Detail Item family into place.

To make the Detail Item family parametric from within the window family, we need to Associate the Detail Item family parameters to a parameter in the window family. This can be done from within the Detail Item family's instance properties.

The Detail Item will now adjust to the dimensions that was set in its family. What we need to do now, is to adjust the Detail Item family parameters to correspond with the wall layer thicknesses.

Something strange happens when we adjust the nested family's parameters though. The filled region mirrors itself around the Y-axis.

To overcome the latter, we go back into the Detail Item family, and create four visibility parameters for the filled region: DC_Bottom_45°, DC_Bottom_135°DC_Top_45° and DC_Top_135°.

Upon reloading the Detail Item family into the window family, and back into the project, we will now be able to control the direction of the filled region at the top, and the bottom of the window family.