If you find Revit Zone useful, you may wish to consider helping to support our running costs.


Doors: Creating your own Door Family: Part 3

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Please Note: If you're new to Revit, you may be interested in my "Beginner's Guide to Revit Architecture" 84 part video tutorial training course. The course is 100% free with no catches or exclusions. You don't even need to sign-up. Just enjoy the course and drop me line if you found it useful. The full course itinerary can be viewed here



Welcome to the third part in this series of articles in which we explain how to create your own Door Family using the Family Editor, in Revit Architecture. If you have missed the previous parts in this series, you may wish to start here.



In this article we are going to create the door frame and architrave for our door family. We will add some more Reference Planes to control the solid geometry that we are going to create. And we will also add some Parameters to control one of the dimensions of our door frame.


So where did we leave off in the previous article? Well, we just go as far as taking a look at the stock Metric Door template and deleting the included architraves. Here’s what we have at this stage….



So let’s start right away with our door frame. For the purposes of this exercise I’m going to keep this very simple, with regards the technical detail of the frame. This is all about learning some important Revit concerts- and not about how to produce sound joinery details!


What I want to do is set my door frame back from the exterior face of the wall. And I want to be able to vary this distance from within the Project Environment- ie once my door family is actually placed in a Revit Wall. So I need some way to control this set-back (or “rebate”). To do this I’m going to use a “Length” parameter, a dimension and a new Reference Plane. I’ll walk you through this step-by-step as there are some VERY important concepts going on here- concepts that you will use time and again in your Family Creation process.


First of all let’s create our new Reference Plane. Simple select the Reference Plane tool from the “Home” menu…..



And then draw a “horizontal” Reference Plane in the Plan view- draw it some distance back from the Exterior face of the Wall- the exact distance is unimportant as we are going to control it with a parameter anyway. Here is my new Reference Plane…..



You can see it highlighted in blue, in the image above. Now we need to NAME our new Reference Plane so we can “refer” to it when we create our door frame. Make sure the Reference Plane is selected and then go to its’ Properties and name it “Face of Frame”….



Now let’s create a new parameter to control the rebate of this Reference Plane. Go ahead and click on the “Family Types” button….



And then in the “Family Types” control panel, click on “Add…” next to “Parameters”….




Up will pop a “Parameters Properties” panel. Let’s go ahead and create a new parameter called “Rebate”. Change the parameter type to “Instance” (it is on “Type” by default). You can leave all other settings as they are….



In order to use our new parameter to control the position of our Reference Plane, we need to label up a dimension. First of all add a dimension between our new Reference Plane (“Face of Frame”) and the default Reference Plane named “Exterior”….



IN the above image you can see our new dimension, It just happens to be 33(mm) at the moment. Go ahead and select the dimension. Upon doing so you will see the “Label” drop-down menu on the Options Bar. Go ahead and pick our new parameter from the drop-down menu….



Don’t worry that the value of “Rebate” is set at 0. It will immediately change to reflect the current length (ie 33mm) as soon as you hit “OK”.


So now we have a Reference Plane that will always be set back from the outer face of the wall, by a distance that is equal to the value held by the parameter “Rebate”.


With that done we can now get on and make our frame. To do this we are going to use a Sweep. You can read all about the basics of Sweeps here. First of all w will switch to an elevation view (“Exterior”) and set the “Work Plane” to our new Reference Plane- this will enable us to sketch the path for the sweep on the correct plane (ie our new plane).


Here is the elevation……



Now just before we form our Sweep- let’s remove those 2 diagonal dashed lines in the centre of the door opening. These are “Symbolic lines” and they are included in the template by default. I will explain Symbolic Lines to you later- so let’s just select both lines and delete them….



That’s better. Now let’s crack on and form our door frame. First set the Work Plane to our “Face of Frame” Reference Plane. Do this by using the “Set Work Plane” panel- and choose our Reference Plane from the drop-down list….



We can now just hit the “Sweep” button to enable us to start defining our Path and Profile. At this point I am going to refer you to this article if you are unfamiliar with the concept of Sweeps. When you’ve digested that, come back here and continue reading.


First of all I’ll sketch my path. I do this in an elevation view and the path only needs to be on 3 sides of the opening. Here is my sketched path…



With Path complete, I can now start sketching my Profile. The shape of the profile will be the cross-section through the door frame itself. I sketch the Profile in a Plan View. Here is my completed Profile….



And if I zoom out you can see the sketched profile in the context of the door opening…



If I go ahead and complete my Sweep, the door frame is formed….



NOTE: When you build your own door families you may well wish to create all sorts of parameters to control (say) the frame size itself. You can make your families as complex of as simple as needed. It just involves more Reference Planes and Parameters.


And finally (for this article) we will create our architraves. We can do this one of two ways- we can either create an extrusion in an elevation view OR we can use the Sweep tool again. Which method you choose is determined by the complexity of your architrave. For a simple rectangular profile, I would simply form an extrusion….



You can see the sketch for my extrusion in the image above. A few IMPORTANT NOTES: Remember to change the Work Plane to “Exterior” BEFORE you start sketching your extrusion. Also remember to LOCK your sketch lines to the Reference Lines that control the Opening. If you do not do this- your architrave will NOT adjust accordingly when you change the width or height of your opening. And finally, remember to put some absolute dimensions into your extrusion sketch in order to maintain the correct “width” of architrave, when the door width changes- see below…



It’s very easy to just create various Sweeps and Extrusions that initially behave correctly- but your job is to anticipate how the various forms (INCLUDING their respective sketches, profiles and paths) will behave when you start adjusting the parameters! My Golden Rule: Always TEST your geometry as you create it- CHANGE the parameter values and SEE if all your elements are still formed CORECTLY and are WHERE you EXPECT them to be. You’ll get better at this over time and with practice.


Here is my completed architrave….



I just need to create the same thing on the interior wall- remembering to set the Work Plane to “Interior” before sketching out my extrusion. Here is the plan view of my family so far…..



I think that’s enough for one article! Have a play around with Reference Planes. Get used to controlling them by the use of parameters. Also please note my comments about LOCKING your sketch lines-either by locking them to Reference planes OR by setting locked dimensions. MOST of problems that you will encounter when creating your own families are down to geometry definitions (ie sketch lines, etc) NOT being properly constrained.


In the next article we will press on and create the door leaf itself. We will also test out the parametric nature of our family by creating some Family Types.

If you are new to Autodesk Revit Architecture and like my teaching style, you may be interested in my free comprehensive Online Beginners' Course. This is a complete FREE 84 part Course. Each Unit is presented as both a written article and a fully narrated video. This course covers all the fundamentals of the software and will give you the skills necessary to both model and detail your design. I go into a lot more detail than you'll find here at Revit Zone.

If you'd like to know more about this free Course (including a full breakdown of it's Itinerary),just click here for details.