Sunday, November 9, 2014


My last post took a look at some manufacturer BIM content and suggested that it could be improved considerably with a little extra effort: probably much less effort than it took to create the content in the first place.  One of my readers pointed out that there is some well-modelled content on the BIM Object website. It's certainly worth a look.  Probably over-modelled for some people's taste, and if you are going to aim for that level of accuracy you should consider using symbolic work in elevation views as well as plans.  But that's nit-picking.  Keep up the good work guys, we love you.

It was interesting to review the American Standard families, but I doubt that we will get to use thme here at GAJ.  Duravit is a different case.  They are quite popular in the Dubai market and when we use them there is probably an ID component in our scope, so it's worth having decent families.

 Over the years I have made several families based on downloads from their website.  They have very good 3d & 2d symbols, but no BIM content.  Sadly the 3d geometry often loses a face or 2 when loaded into Revit.  I'm not sure why.

Also there is often extra detail that we don't really want.  We don't section plumbing fixtures in Revit so we don't want to model hidden detail in 3d.  It creates an unnecessary load on the processor, especially on large projects.

Now that we can explode CAD geometry, there is a workflow that could be used to create smooth flowing forms in plumbing fixtures.  Model it in conceptual massing.  Export to .sat.  Bring into a standard plumbing template.  Explode

So I decided to try this out on the Starck WC & Bidet that I had previously worked up using CAD imports from the Duravit web site.  It helps to have 3d CAD geometry as a guide when making these forms in conceptual massing. 

Set up a series of profiles.  Create form.  That's the basic bowl done.  Now for the rim.

Create form from one profile, gives an extrusion.  Make another extrusion crossing this horizontally. Change to void.  Voila.  But we are left with sharp edges and it's not so easy to round these off in Revit.  Where plane surfaces meet at right angles you can use a void sweep, but curved surfaces are tricky, especially when they curve in 2 directions.

Fortunately we are going to export to CAD anyway, and AutoCAD has solid modelling tools that eat this kind of task for breakfast.  Fillet edge, click on a set of edges, type in a radius, enter, enter ... done.

I went through a couple of iterations on this, going back into Revit and adding the recesses for the fixing bolts and cutting out a bowl for the bidet. 

This is the original Revit geometry, so I will have to round off all the edges again.  Export to SAT, open in Autocad, find the solid editing tools, Fillet Edge.  I used a soft curve to remove the edges on the underside also.  Probably you would never notice these, but it's easy to soften them out, so why not?   Softening the sharp corners does make a huge difference to rendered images.

Actually I discovered later on that those fillets bump up the file size fairly quickly, so don't get too carried away.

Bring the SAT back into Revit and explode.  No problem.  Apply materials and subcategories.  I modelled the seat directly in Revit using a void sweep to round off the edges.  Added a tap for the bidet (based on the CAD import from the original Duravit download)  Set up visibility controls to swap between WC & Bidet (one family, 2 types).

I already had the symbolic representation for plans & elevations from my previous efforts.  So that was that.  Half a day's work, divided by 1000 architects world wide ... has to be worth it.  Please, please Mr Duravit, give us some BIM content.

The image above shows my current collection of Duravit families.  I started by dropping all the cad downloads into one family.  That way I can copy paste them into individual families whenever I get time.  So far I've only converted a handful of these. I probably need 3 or 4 weekends to do the rest. Just imagine if all this was available as nicely crafted native Revit families.  It's an impressive range, and you have to admit their styling is really cool.

There's another post to come yet in this series.  After that I will try to bundle some of the best / most useful families up and make them available.  Maybe I can even persuade some of you to chip in and convert a couple.  Many hands make light work.


  1. Great post Andy, I would be happy to help model some content if it save everyone some time in the long run. out of curiosity what was the end file size of the WC you showed?

  2. thank for the wonderful post , lots of information gained , visit us Revit Modeling in uk


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