Monday, September 8, 2008

David's Church of the Painfully Obvious - Part One, All in the Family

Welcome to church of the Painfully Obvious. In here, we'll try to find salvation as we muddle our way through the fun and games of Revit MEP.

As I go forth on this journey of personal discovery (or lunacy, depending on well you know me), my goal is to provide you with a few simple tips that I discover along the way. As you find your own moments of self awareness, please feel free to share this with us as we attempt to make it to the mountain top.

So here's today's sermon - it's titled, "All in the Family..." Enjoy..

1. Working with a client's symbols, my first discovery is that hosted elements don't have their generic linework for 2D symbols drawn on the plan view reference plane, but instead on the front or back elevation view. So, as I try to edit the linework for the lights, I found myself a little disoriented. To make life easy, I went and selected everything in the elevation view, then used a filter to deselect everything but the lines (at which point I used my cheap sunglasses (which is what I affectionately call the isolate element tool) to isolate the linework, making it a little easier to work with.

2. This led me to remember truth number 2 - use an existing family first that came with the program to make new ones - open an existing one and use Save As, and save them into a separate set of folders for your custom content. Thankfully, there's a lot more content in Revit MEP than there was in the past - so I used a wall-mounted light to make my wall mounted emergency lights, and simply made a few changes to the symbol lines and the model lines to show what I wanted.

3. One truth leads to the next - here I discovered that you can't use a fill pattern in a model family....bummer, it would have been nice to use a simple hatch pattern (oops, there's my AutoCAD reaching out), so it was back to the drafting board - I just added lines to fill in a gap. UPDATE: I did just learn that you can add fill regions to an annotation family - which works great since a lot of the electrical devices are created this way, so they can adjust for scale as text does in the model. Funny thing is, it's not clearly explained this way in the online help...but I guess that's why we're here....

4. The truths just keep on coming - I was able to take a bunch of symbols a buddy sent me, and drag them from Windows Explorer into my template - they were created in the previous release, so it had to convert them, but man it was easy - the only thing I had to watch out for was the light sources....

5. Another truthism - when you're working with Revit MEP, don't waste your time making ceiling-based, floor-based or wall-based content - they can't read through the linked backgrounds, which is what most of our users are doing. Instead, I used the mechanical equipment.rft file for (or electrical or whatever) - as long as it doesn't include ceiling, wall or floor in the name I'm good, but I definitely start from one of these to save time.

That's it for today's truths. Tomorrow, we'll work on figuring out how the Tampa Bay Rays are still on top of the American League East....

later - David B.

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