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Fixtures, Fittings, and Furniture

BIM for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Curriculum

Exercise 1.5.3: Creating New Families

In this exercise, students will learn how to:

  • Use the family editor to add reference planes, dimensions, and parameters.
  • Test parameters and define family types.
  • Create forms, set constraints, and assign materials to forms.
  • Save, load, and place instances of a custom component family.
Figure 1.5.10 - Testing custom component parameters

Video Tutorial



Student Exercise

Download Unit1_Lesson5_Exercise3_Start.zip: Imperial or Metric
Revit
  • Modify the console table component created in the tutorial by editing the family to add additional parametric features. Change the tabletop from a 4" slab of a single material to two pieces—a table surface and a table frame whose thickness and height can be resized parametrically.
  • Start by adding reference planes and parameters to control the thickness of the frame:
    • Open the reference level plan view.
    • Add new reference planes on all four sides of the table. Place these 1" away from the existing reference planes that define the tabletop boundary toward the center of the table as shown in Figure 1.5.11. It may be helpful to use the Pick Lines tool to place these planes using a 1" offset from the existing planes.
    • Add a dimension from the existing reference plane to the new one on each side of the table
    • Select one of the dimensions and add a parameter named Frame Thickness. This should be a type parameter of type length grouped under the Dimensions section of the properties.
    • Select the remaining 3 dimensions and set the Frame Thickness parameter as the label for each of them.

 

Figure 1.5.11 - New reference planes controlled by Frame Thickness parameter

  • Add an opening to the existing tabletop extrusion to create the table frame:
    • Select the existing tabletop extrusion and edit it.
    • Sketch a new rectangular boundary inside the existing one to create an opening.
    • Align the edges of this new opening to the reference planes and lock them in place.

 

Figure 1.5.12 - Sketch of opening creating the table frame

  • Create a new extrusion to model the table surface using a solid extrusion with a rectangular boundary that is constrained (locked) with the reference planes.
    • Open the Solid Extrusion tool.
    • Sketch a new rectangular boundary inside the frame.
    • Align the edges of this new extrusion to the reference planes and lock them in place.

 

Figure 1.5.13 - Sketch of table surface within frame

  • Add reference planes and add parameters to control the height of the table frame, the table surface, and the pedestal base:
    • Open the front elevation view.
    • Add new reference planes about 1" below the existing reference plane that defines the top of the table as shown in Figure 1.5.14.
    • Add a dimension from the existing reference plane to the new one.
    • Select this dimension and add a parameter named Surface Thickness. This should be a type parameter of type length grouped under the Dimensions section of the properties.
    • Select the existing dimension that controls the thickness of the tabletop and add a parameter to it named Frame Height. This should also be a type parameter of type length grouped under the Dimensions section of the properties.

 

Figure 1.5.14 - New reference plane and parameters to control thickness of table frame and surface

  • Lock the top and bottom surfaces of the extrusions to these reference planes:
    • Switch to the wireframe visual style to see all three extrusions clearly.
    • Align the top of the table surface extrusion to the table top reference plane and lock it.
    • Align the bottom of the table surface extrusion to the middle reference plane and lock it.
    • Align the top of the pedestal base extrusion to the middle reference plane and lock it.
    • The table frame should already be locked in place, because it was created by modifying an existing form.
  • Assign a material to the table surface and add a new instance parameter to enable users to dynamically change this material:
    • Open the 3D view and select the table surface form.
    • Click the small button that appears in the material value field to open the Materials dialog box, and choose Glass as the default material for this form.
    • Click the small button that appears to the right of the material value field and add a new parameter to control this material setting.
    • Name the parameter Table Surface, and define the parameter to be an instance parameter of type Materials grouped under the Materials and Finishes section of the properties.
  • Save the family and load the new component into your project.
    • Duplicate an existing type to create several new types with different sizes by experimenting with the parametric dimensions. Change the proportions of the table frame and the pedestal base to model a wide range tables, benches, and similar objects.
    • Place several instances in your project, and assign different materials to the table frame, table surface, and pedestal base for each instance to vary the resulting look and application.

 

Figure 1.5.15 - Two instances of the console table component placed in the residence showing different sizes (type properties) and materials (instance properties)

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