Thursday, April 26, 2012


Second day of punishment on AutoCAD, I tried my luck with urinals.  Now there are some truly horrendous native revit families out there in this genre.

OK so one of these is a mesh made in some other programme.  There are some urinal families that look half decent ... but if it's native revit, chances are that the corners with be sharp.

Hence my experiments with AutoCAD solid modelling.  It's not that the shapes themselves are very demanding.  It's mostly a question of rounding off the corners nice & smoothly so they render convincingly. 

This images was a product of my second day of torture, trying to roll back the clock on my autoCAD skills.  I lost a bunch of work because I forgot that you can lose the ability to Redo just by changing your view angle.  This doesn't happen in Revit of course. 

To make a rig for Autocad, I converted my symbolic views into model lines and exported to CAD.
I tried some fairly elaborate lofting, but the resulting curves were too complex for the corner rounding to work.  Another dead end.

The final solution was to make a revolve based on half an elipse.  Then I cut this with a couple of extrusions.  Corner rounding worked fine, so I'm happy.

Now there's lots of stuff you can model directly in Revit, but it's good to be able to spot those shapes where you need a different modelling approach.  Right now I've got 3 approaches: Standard Revit, Conceptual Massing & Autocad solid modelling.  Each has it's strengths & weaknesses. 

What we need now is to pool our resources & create a decent set of "free download" plumbing fittings.  (step 1) and keep up the pressure on the sanitaryware manufacturers & suppliers to upgrade their BIM content (step 2)


  1. one thing that bothers me with imported objects is that they can't have a parametric material (make material as family parameter) in revit.

    have you found a trick to do that?

  2. I've found that a lot of the manufacturer/supplier BIM content is marginal at best. I'm sure that they're struggling with how to justify hiring (and paying) a COMPETENT Revit user to model their products when they're still wondering what's wrong with their tried and truce plastic drafting template...

  3. Thanks for the comments.

    I agree that manufacturer content has a long way to go, but I think we can all help to "encourage" them. I make a point of bringing up the issue of Revit content with every sales rep I meet.

    As for materials for imports. It's not ideal, but you can make a workable solution through subcategories of "imports in families" in object styles. When it comes to plumbing families, you generally need porcelain, chrome, maybe plastic. As long as there are layers in the CAD objects that correspond to materials, you can rename these in family editor to your chosen convention.

    I should probably do a post on this.


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