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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Complex Slabs and Paths

Modelling complex floors, roofs, footpaths etc....

Revit is not there yet when it comes to modelling complex slabs with falls in different directions, or footpaths on a steep and varied site, this tutorial tries to fill the gap.
We are going to model a footpath on a steep site with a few given RL�s (Relative Levels), and put a curb on it that will follow the path.

1. open a new project and click on the �site� tab
2. click the �toposurface� and proceed to create your shape using points.

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3. Finish surface and go to 3D view, my path looks like this:

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4. While in 3D view, export to DWG, for clarity reason, we�ll call it �path�
5. Start a new massing family, File->New->Family...
6. Go to 3D view and import the DWG we created 2 steps ago.
7. Save the Mass family and call it �path Mass� and load it into your project.
8. In your project, click the �Massing� tab and choose �Place Mass� go to 3D view for a better view.

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9. Click �Roof By Face� edit the roof and change properties to suit you, I changed it to a 200mm concrete roof with a paving render. Pick the whole mass and click �create roof"

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10. Revit will create your roof, in order for you to see it, you will need to hide mass. Now our path looks like this:

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As you can see, Revit uses triangulation to interpolate the point and that leaves some lines on the path, you can use the �Linework� tool to get rid of these lines and clean up your path.

11. Next, we are going to add a curb to our path, Under the �Modelling� tab click Host Sweep->Roof Fascia, choose your profile and click on the edges of the path to create your curb, to look like this:

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This tutorial can apply to many situations and it�s only a base for you to explore further. This is how my path looks like now:

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How to Grow Your Family

How to grow your family: Making use of models created in 3D studio or AutoCAD

With the family content fairly light in revit, it seems to me that a good source of pre-modelled objects is that of 3D studio and AutoCAD. There are an abundance of well drawn, readily available objects that can be used in revit as a quick fix for that awkward to model, time consuming family. The only real downside can be that they can be heavy in file size (depends on the complexity of the original) and they lack the parametric qualities that makes a true, well constructed revit family so flexible.

From the links page here at Revitcity is a link to the '3d cafe' website. This is a great source of material and where I started this tutorial.

1. Identify and download the object you desire. This is usually a zip file and for the purpose of this exercise, I will assume it is in a .3ds file format. (also that you know how to unzip and locate the file).

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2. Open your copy of 3D studio Max or Viz, and go to 'file', 'import', then select the file you have just unzipped. Select 'completely replace screen'.

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3. Once open, go to 'file', 'export' then select a location and name for your file. Most importantly, select the file format as either AutoCAD dwg, or dxf (doesn't matter which). You will be prompted as to which version of AutoCAD (2004 or 2000 being the most common). Make sue all the boxes are ticked then click 'ok'.

4. Open your version of AutoCAD. Find and open the file you have just created.

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It's easiest to work with from one of the isometric views - 'view', '3d views', 'sw isometric' for example.

5. Normally it is exported as a block, explode this only once. This should leave the block as made up as a series of individual meshes which normally will relate to groups of materials (for instance, the tires will be part of one mesh, the windscreen and windows part of another etc. Without picking a command, simply touch objects so the grips appear thus showing you the grouping.

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You will notice that there may be other miscellaneous objects exported alongside, simply delete those that are not necessary. Select the whole of the remaining objects and make them 'bylayer in colour'

6. Create new layers: You will find that there is usually only one layer within the dwg. For later use, its best to create a series of new layers (I name them to correspond with the material I will later apply in Revit), for instance, 'Toyota paintwork', 'Toyota glass', 'Toyota wheels' etc. For ease of viewing, ensure these have all different colours (the actual colour is irrelevant unless you are very fussy!).

7. Once the layers are created (normally no more than seven or eight are needed), you need to pick the individual meshes, one at a time and assign them to those layers. I find it easiest to start with all layers switched off except for the layer the object started in. Then, for example, select the main bodywork , and assign the new layer to it. You will see it then disappears (as the new layer it has gone on to was switched off) thus just leaving the objects that you still need to assign a layer to.

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8. Once all the objects have disappeared (it takes a few minutes), switch everything back on and take a look. Type 'shade' to view it as a shaded object if you prefer. Try to see that your material distribution matches that of the real object. (For many of the cars I have imported, I will check out the manufacturers websites to see images of what material goes where on the real vehicle for an authentic visualisation). Save the file, close AutoCAD.

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9. Finally you get to use revit! Open it up and go to 'file', 'new', 'family' and open up the 'metric generic model' family template. Then go 'file', 'import/link', 'dwg'. Locate and select the file you have just created paying attention to the units it was created in (ie: meters, centimetres etc. If necessary, go back to the file to check.) Import object.

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10. Once imported, open up the floor plan view and position centrally on the reference planes. Check the side elevations to see it's wheels are actually on the ground! If not move it to the desired locations.

11. Go to 'settings', 'object styles', then the 'imported objects' tab. Here we will tell revit to assign materials to those AutoCAD layers we created earlier. To do this, simply select the layer name under the 'category' heading, then select the adjacent material under the 'material' tab. Now you should be in the material editor and the final straight.

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For example: for the layer named tyres, select to create a new material called 'tyres', then associate an appropriate texture for it. Personally I create a new material for each of the layers I have created, then assign the render map I want individually to each one. This helps in a project where you may use for example 'glass' as a material name, but want it to display in different ways depending on the object. Finish off assigning all layers with materials.

12. Enjoy the results. Place the family in a 'test showroom' project ( big enclosed area with good lighting etc) and see if you like it.

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If once rendered, you are not happy with the material selection, go back to the family and edit it there. If however you have assigned meshes to the wrong layers whilst in Autocad, go back to your dwg file and alter it there, then re-import the file into the family you have already created, deleting the previous imported dwg. That way you will not need to re-assign materials.

Useful tip:

Setting up all the layers in AutoCAD, then assigning the materials within revit is a bit laborious. However, you should only need to do this once. Next time you download a 3ds file, export it from 3D studio into AutoCAD as before. This time, open up your existing dwg file (this will become a template file for you) where you have already created all the layers and import the new object into it. 'Save as' a new file, delete the old unwanted objects then simply assign all the meshes to the already created layers as before. Similarly, once you have assigned your layers to the meshes, open up your existing revit family, import your new dwg into it. 'Save as' the file to a new name, delete out the old imported dwg, then the new dwg's layers will already be assigned to materials. (another template file for you.)

I hope this will be useful to you all, don't forget about all the other content which can be taken from other software packages and converted through dwg or dxf. Good luck!

How to Make a Sloping Rounded Roof

A rounded roof sloping to one of the gables. In Revit there are two ways to accomplish this. Use a roof by extrusion in combination with voids, or an in-place roof family. This tutorial explores the latter method.

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1. Start with some walls, windows....Something like this.

2. Choose Create on the Modelling tab of the Design Bar. And then choose the Family Category - Roofs.

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3. Name it to something fancy or just accept the default name.

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4. Choose Solid on the Design Bar and then Sweep.

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5. Click Sketch 2D Path on the Design Bar.

6. Click the Plane button or click Set Work Plane on the Design Bar or on the menu Tools > Work Plane > Set Work Plane and choose to Pick a Plane.

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7. I choose the facade with the windows.

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8. Draw a sloping line in the South Elevation And then click Finish Path.

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9. Now click Sketch Profile on the Design Bar and choose some view.

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10. Click Line on the Design Bar. I used Arc passing through three points to make two interconnected curves. Click Finish Profile.

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11. Then I clicked Finish Sweep and got this.

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12. I could now move the roof a bit down. I discovered that I needed a roof that was a bit longer so I clicked the button Edit with the roof selected.

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13. And then I clicked Sketch 2D Path and I could make the path a bit longer.

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14. And then Finish Path and Finish Sweep. Now I choose Void and then Extrude to cut a bit out of the roof. And I choose Level 1.

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15. And Lines on the Design Bar and sketched a Rectangle.

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16. Then Finish Sketch and I could use the arrows on the Void to make it cut out the part of the roof I wanted.

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17. And I could select a wall and then click the Button Attach and click the roof.

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18. And perhaps continue with making some new walls under the roof and attaching them.

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Finding the Origin

Every CAD program has an ORIGIN. Revit has also an ORIGIN but it is hidden. If you want to know there the ORIGIN in Revit is situated this is a method to locate it.

1) Begin with making a wall with a corner on level 1 with suitable height so it will pass through all the levels you are going to use.

2) Choose Tools > Locations and Coordinates > Report Shared Coordinates

3) click the corner point and you can read the location for the point in E/W East/West direction and in the N/S North/South direction and its Elevation.

4) Use the move tool to move the walls

5) the corner point gets the location 0 in E/W direction and 0 in N/S direction and 0 as elevation. Now you know where the Origin is situated. You can save the file as eg. origin.rvt

6) Now you can use the origin then you make new walls

You can select and copy the corner-wall and paste it(Edit > Paste Aligned > Select Levels by name) into some other project-file. And you have got the same start-point in both files. You can also use origin then you are linking files for coordination.

Remark. Revit advocates that you use shared locations but the shared locations are not visible only names. Perhaps this method suits you better? Or you can combine the methods. It is always nice to know something absolute. Everything is not just relative in this world and in the CAD-world though the absolute may be hidden to the eye.

Sculptured Walls

This is how the result can look:

Start with making a floor:

Then choose Modelling and Create � continue with choosing category Walls:

Choose Solid and continue with choosing Extrude:

Choose Set Work Plane and then Pick a Plane � click one of the sides of the floor:

Now you can begin with Lines to draw the contour of the wall. Perhaps easiest is to begin with drawing a rectangle and then for a timber wall use Arc through three points.

This is the result. The contour can not have any openings and no crossings.

Choose Extrusion Path and fill in some suitable values. You can use negative values, too! Choose a material: Wood � Cherry perhaps a little too exclusive, but this is just an experiment.

Click Finish Sketch and the wall is ready.

Too make an opening or several choose Void and then Set Work Plane � Pick a Plane � and click a plane at right angles to the wall.

Use lines to draw a rectangle and then an Extrusion Path of suitable length. Click Finish wall.

To place a window or door in the wall you have first to make a hidden normal wall inside the sculptured log wall and then place the window or door in that wall.