Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hosted versus non-hosted families...really...

So I've been spending a lot (I mean, a lot) of time creating families, and have discovered some nasty little secrets...

- I always knew that you couldn't use fill regions in a model - that they had to be in a detail component family. And most ceiling mounted, hosted families work fine with a combination of 2D families to be the plan representation.

What I've struggled with are the wall mount families. Since the "wall" is actually a flat plane, and a nested 2D family can only be placed on the flat XY planes, I'm having issues getting the 2D representation to work right. Some of our symbols require fill (which I'm not keen to using linework instead of a region), so using symbol lines can be used in some cases but not in others (i.e. I need fill).

And it's really inconsistent. The duplex receptacle families seem to work fine, so I applied the same logic - but didn't get the same results with a light family.

So my answer for now is not to use a hosted family for a wall mounted (or vertical face) family. The non-hosted element works fine, and it can still be alignment or dimensionally constrained.

- Why don't the family templates include all identity data - i.e. where's the label or type mark parameter? And if I add these, they still don't pick up the data. Once the family is in a project, you can add/edit this fine, but we really need to be able to define this in the .RFA file.

- Had a great sustainable design session with a couple of guys from Autodesk today - a couple of items I got out of it - our engineers need to understand that the world is changing, and that the families in Revit can include data such as the U-Value, R-Value, etc. - and that's OK. When we get to a point where the wall/opening/enclosure elements can transfer this data either directly out to gbXML, or better yet, have the space recognize the wall type/window type/etc. (re: AutoCAD Architecture) and work through linked files, then we can start providing even more data to the engineer in an electronic form. I understand where the engineer is coming from as well - traditionally, we'd rather control that information and offer the options back to the architect, but in this new BIM paradigm it's all about the interoperability of data between platforms. I can't wait for the day that data can be edited/transferred between linked files...and the future for better energy modeling is brighter than ever. Now - if someone can just produce some decent written documentation on Green Building Studio and Ecotect (and IES, too)...

Christmas is just a few days away - get your shopping done soon!

Later - David B.


Digital Design Revolution said...

I can sympathize with your wall mounted woes. I ended up not using wall hosted for wall sconces strictly because it would not use the 2d representation. I use a generic family, create a reference plane and make it a strong reference. Then upon insertion, when you tap the space bar, it will align with the nearest wall. Another good challenge is a thermostat.

I too have been disappointed that some of the fields (Type Mark and Label) are not available in the family editor. I'm not sure I know why either. Sure would be nice to preassign some of that stuff.

Catch ya later,
David Raynor

Eric Olson said...

I have been successful using face based components for wall mounted applications. There are definately some tricks involved, and I struggled but was able to make it work.

You can see successful builds at www.focalpointlights.com - I am building out thier catalog.right now for distribution to end users.

Or - if you have something specific in mind - I wouldn't mind taking a stab at it, and getting it back to you!


David Butts said...

The face based components that were placed on a wall actually work pretty well - for example, I started from a receptacle and built families from there. It was the horizontal families, and the non-device families that gave me grief.

I'd like to see the type mark and label available sooner than later - maybe if we all call Autodesk on the same day....LOL!