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Doors: Creating your own Door Family: Part 5

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Welcome to the fifth 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 concentrate on creating a door handle. In doing so, we are going to talk about the concept of “nested components”. We will talk about what they are, how you create them and what the advantages are in using them.

So let’s just dive in to the whole topic of “Nested Components”. The term “Nested Component” is simply used to describe

one Family that is loaded in to another Family. For example, we are about to create a new “door handle” component, that we will then load into our Door family.


So why would we want to do this? Isn’t it easier to just create all the geometry we need, in one single family? Actually, there a number of reasons why we would want to split the components into a number of sub-components. Let’s look at each one in turn:-

· Reuse / time-saving: Let’s say that the door handle that we are going to create, is a standard door handle that we would like to use again and again, on may different door types. Why would we wish to model it from scratch time after time? Let’s just model it once as its own distinct component- and then load it in to any door family we like

· Scheduling: Nested Components can be scheduled separately (from the component that is hosting them). So again taking our door handle example, it may be really useful to schedule all the different types of door handles within a project, irrespective of what door types they are hosted by.

· Simplification of modelling: Generally (in Revit and in life) things get a lot more simple and easy to tackle if you break them down into smaller chunks. This is particularly true when modelling complex components. So if you can rationally sub-divide the component into a number of constituent parts; you will find it easier to produce- with less chance of mistakes.

OK, enough theory, let’s make a start. Just like the door family, we will keep the modelling very simple- this is so that the tutorial doesn’t become too long and laborious- and more importantly, allows us to remain focused on the principles, rather than the details.

To form the door handle component, I am going to use a new “Metric Generic Model face based” template…..

Why am I using a “face based” template? Simple: When we have created our door handle and loaded it into our door family, we want to be able to have it “hosted” by the “face” of the door leaf. Hence the choice of family template for this particular nested component.

Before we add any geometry, let’s take a quick look at the blank template- I’ll use a 3D View for this…..

So the only thing that is in this new template is a simple horizontal block. The top surface of this block represents “the plane” that the final nested component will attach to. If we now look at the Plan View of this template………

Looking down on the block, we can now see that there is also a couple of Reference Planes included in the template. These are named “Center (Front/Back) and Center (Left/Right). Together they form a “cross-hair” which represent the “Insertion Point” when you come to use this component in a Project Environment.

We are going to create our door handle geometry on its side. This is because it has to relate correctly to “the plane”, and when we come to insert it into our door family, the plane that it will be hosted by is the face of the door leaf.

So let’s create a simple back plate to our handle. I’ll use an Extrusion for this. Please don’t worry about the detail or the exact dimensions- but if you are struggling with the theory (ie why or how are we doing this), please get in touch via the Forums.

Here is our finished back plate, formed by a simple Extrusion…..

If I view the back plate from above (ie in a Plan View) you will see that I created it “off center” from the Insertion Point…..

This is because I want the Insertion point to coincide with the shaft of the handle. I’m going to go ahead and form the rest of the handle by using the Sweep tool. First of all I’m going to sketch out the Path….

Now I’m going to sketch the Profile (a simple circle) and create the solid geometry….

Very simplistic I know, but I hope you can recognise this as a door handle? When you create yours, feel free to make it as detailed or complex as you like. Hopefully now you can appreciate why we have created it in this orientation? When we insert it into our door family and choose the door leaf as the plane- the door handle component will be orientated correctly.

So go ahead and save the door handle family- I’m going to name mine “door_handle_type_01”

If you do not currently have the Door Family open in Revit, go ahead and open that Family now. Here is my door family that I’m going to add the handle to….

The next we need to take is to “Load” the door handle family into this one. This is very simple- just choose “Load Family” from the “Insert” tab…..

Now that the Door Handle family is loaded, we need to actually place an instance of the Component, in to position. Go ahead and choose “Component” on the “Home” tab. Your Door Handle family should now be on the end of your cursor- ready for placement!

Hover over your Door Leaf and then click to place your handle into position. Of course, if you were doing this for real, you would probably want some parametric control over the position of the handle. You would do this by use of Reference Planes, labelled dimensions and parameters.

I’m going to simply “mirror” the handle in a Plan View, so form the duplicate on the other side of the door leaf.

When you do this, you may notice Revit grumbling about the “Loss of association with the Work Plane”- don’t worry about this right now.

And there we have it folks- A simple door assembly (door opening, frame, architraves and door handle furniture) ready to use in a Revit project.

But just before we end this particular article I want to quickly discuss the “Shared” family Parameters. PLEASE do not confuse this topic with “Shared Parameters”, because they are NOT the same thing. Component families have a specific parameter named “Shared”, which can either be “on” or “Off” (0 or 1, etc., etc.).

If a nested component is “Shared” (that is, it’s “Shared” parameter is set enabled) then that component is capable of being scheduled (in a Revit Project environment) independently of it’s host. So in our example, if the Door Handle components have their “Shared” parameter enabled, we will be able to schedule just the door handle, should we wish. By default, the “Shared” parameter for newly-created components is disabled. Let’s go ahead and enable the “Shared” parameter for our door handle components. Before we do this, there is one strange idiosyncrasy we must remember: You need to enable the “Shared” parameter BEFORE you nest the component into it’s Host. So unfortunately, we now need to delete the door handles from our door family.

No we can open the Door Handle family up in the Family Editor. Once we have the family loaded into the Family Editor, go ahead and click on “Family Category & Parameters”……

If you take a look towards the bottom of the panel (in the “Family Parameters” section), you will see the “Shared” parameter- and you will notice that it is currently unchecked. Go ahead and check the tick-box for this parameter….

Save your door handle family and then repeat the process described earlier in the article, in order to load this component into the Door Family Host- and place an instance of the Handle on each side of the door leaf. Finally, Save the completed Door Family.

All there is left to do is load our completed Door Family component into a Revit Project and place it in a wall! Here is a simple wall with 5 instances of the family placed into it….

Now because we made the door handles “Shared”, we are able to Tag these “as well as” the complete Door assembly. You will note in the image below, that we are able to Tag the Door Family AND the Door Handle family that is “nested” into it….

As we said before, we are also able to “Schedule” these sub-components separately too. In the image below, I have created a very simple door schedule, you will not that BOTH the Door Family and Door Handle Family Instances have been scheduled….

PLEASE NOTE: In order for this to work, I had to change the Family Category of the Door Handle family to “Doors”- If you recall, we used a “Generic Model” category of template. It is absolutely fine to start with one Category of template and then to change it’s Category to suit it’s use.

We have covered quite a lot in this article. But hopefully you have now grasped the basic concepts of “Nested Components” and the “Shared” family parameter? The principles that you have learnt here can be used on any type of component that you create within Revit.

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